Going beyond Restricted Areas at Walt Disney World

Ever since I discovered, oddly the name of the former island named Discovery Island, now closed to guests at Walt Disney Would, I have been fascinated with it. The reason is, this island has been closed to guests well over a decade and the island supposedly still has power on and music playing as if the is open to guests, this is of course has been told by the people who have sneaked over to the island.

This island had a few names, but before we get to a few names that the island had I want to give you a little history.  Back in the 90’s, the island’s name was Raz Island, named after a family that lived there, then in 1930, was purchased for 800 dollars by Delmar “Radio Nick” Nicholson who then changed the name to Idle Bay Isle for 20 years. The in 1950 the island was sold and the name had changed to Riles Island which was used as a hunting retreat. In 1965 Disney purchased the island but kept its name, but then on April 8, 1974, the name was changed to Treasure Island as a place to observe wildlife, then sometime the name was changed one again to Discovery Island when it was recognized as a zoological park. On April 8, 1999, it closed to the public but still operated until July 9, 1999, and from July 9, 1999 until today it has been closed to the public and really no one has been on the island.

Today there is a Discovery Island, but the Discovery Island that is open the public was originally called Disney’s Animal Kingdom (whose Safari Village hub) area was renamed Discovery Island.

The only way to get close to the island that is legal is by taking a boat ride that passes right by the island witch here are some photos from Wikipedia:

Photo of Discovery Island is from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Discovery_Island_(2727209019).jpg, who uploaded it Wikipedia, where it originally came from http://www.flickr.com/people/29210421@N03 who licensed it under CC BY 2.0 (link to license is https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en)

In the photo above you can see some ruff; this may have been one of the exhibits. For a better close up, see this photo on http://www.moderndayruins.com/2008/01/disneys-discovery-island.html.

Photo of Discovery Island is from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Discovery_Island_(2727208903).jpg, who uploaded it Wikipedia, where it originally came from http://www.flickr.com/people/29210421@N03 who licensed it under CC BY 2.0 (link to license is https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en)

In the photo above was, I am assuming the main entrance where a pier was, which you can see in this photo http://www.disneypix.com/Recreation/Discovery/2001a/Rec0505-11.htm

For photo of the island and also into the buildings, see this website below:

http://shaneperez.blogspot.com/2009/12/discovery-island.html and you can also see a map at http://www.darkroastedblend.com/2011/09/abandoned-disney-part-1.html

Other websites have some good photos are http://io9.gizmodo.com/the-trashed-remains-of-abandoned-disney-projects-1466546591 and also http://www.youmovies.it/2016/02/02/5-sconvolgenti-segreti-disney.

As I was looking for photos I came across this YouTube video that shows Disney showing this as one of its attractions.

https://youtu.be/7f3cnbdh2VQ?t=11m33s For Discovery Island and our next place is River County, that is close to guests.

River County is right across the water from Discovery Island. According to Wikipedia it says it was the first water park at Walt Disney World which opened on June 20, 1976 and on September 1, 2001 it closed. Five years later, January 20, 2005, Walt Disney World officially decided to close River country indefinitely.

Today River country can only be seen through the cracks of a fence that looks like a temporary fence, however some people have decided to go to the fence and check out River country. You can take a look at some of the photos that people have snapped. This website http://io9.gizmodo.com/the-trashed-remains-of-abandoned-disney-projects-1466546591 shows the before and what it looks like today.

It is not exactly clear why River country officially closed, a few possible reasons which are:

  • After 9/11 people coming to Disney World declined and they halted opening it beck up, unless there is a higher demand.
  • Another possible reason is, the state of Florida changed a law prohibited un-chlorinated natural water bodies from being used for water park attractions.
Photo of Abandoned River Country is from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Abandoned_River_Country.jpg, a user on Wikipedia who goes by the username https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Coreyjune12 who licensed it under CC BY-SA 3.0 (link to license is https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

This video is fair the best one of someone exploring River Country

Video part one

Video part two:

History of River County see

To see a video of when it was open to the public see this video:

Why did River Country close?

The reason why River country close is debated, although based on the research that we have done we have concluded a logical reason of why River country closed.

Here are a few reasons that are being passed on, but they are NOT the reason why River Country closed.

  • River County closed because of amoeba, a brain eating bacteria. No, that is false and here’s why:

It is true an 11-year-old boy was swimming in River County and may have gotten amoeba because the boy’s family says that was the only place he was swimming. On Thursday, August 28, 1980, the Associated Press (AP) published an article that says a total of four people had died because of amoeba. According to this website, they copied an arctic from the AP witch is says “two Florida children earlier and then another youngster in the past month. River County remained open 21 years later after four deaths.

  • River country closed because of a few children drowned. No, that’s not the reason either.

I think we can safely rule out amoeba and  a few children drowned was the cause of River County closure.

Here is most likely the logical reason why River country closed.

  1. Walt Disney World also has built two other water attractions witch also making River County viewership declined significantly so it was not as profitable.
  2. River country close for regular scheduled maintenance, like all attractions do, to ensure they are safe. A few days later the worst terrorist attacks happened on United States soil which was September 11, 2001 which while our nation was under attack people coming to Walt Disney World dramatically declined.
  3. While it was closed the state of Florida passed a new law that prohibited un-chlorined water to be used for recreation i.e. river or lake water witch was most of River County.

I think it is fairly safe to say these three reasons are most likely the exact cause of why River country closed and in 2005 it was officially announced that River country would not reopen.

Source: http://www.yesterland.com/rivercountry.html

What somewhat odd is for children die for allegedly getting amoeba while they were in River County and after those four deaths River County remained open, but after a 18-year-old girl died from getting amoeba at US National Whitewater Center (USNWC), they temporarily suspend all whitewater activities voluntarily, however all other regular scheduled activities will continue as scheduled. Sources: https://www.rt.com/usa/348430-brain-eating-amoeba-park and https://www.facebook.com/usnwc/posts/10154124629740907

So this is a bit interesting.

Utilidor (utility corridors)

What is a utilidor?

A utilidor is an underground utility corridor or tunnel that allows a person or stuff to be moved from one point to another point without effecting above ground traffic i.e. a subway in New York City. Disney calls these utility corridors or tunnels if you wish to call them utilidors which allows crew, cast members, anything they need to keep the park running for day-to-day operations.

Public access to the utilidors:

The public is not permitted to go down into the utilidors; the people who have gone down in the utilidors are kicked out from the park and banned for those who have been caught, however they are not totally shut off from guests they do offer tours that allows people to go down into the utilidors. You can see if this will be for you at https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/magic-kingdom/keys-to-the-kingdom-tour. (Note: According to their website it says “a five hour in-depth look” would probably mean you would want to wear comfortable shoes and may want to eat something prior to this tour.)


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