I heard about River Country after listening to episode 2 of FEaB and my love for all places abandoned (and theme parks) led me on a Google search. I found these two photo journals of the Disney waterpark that’s been closed since 2001.
It was described as an “old-fashioned swimming hole”. The original working title before being changed was “Pop’s Willow Grove” and featured a sandy bottom and unique water filtering system using confluent water from adjacent Bay Lake, which was dammed off creating a natural-looking man-made lagoon.
On FEoB, Matt Mira said that River Country was closed due to new laws where water can’t come in from a natural source, but I couldn’t find a definite answer.
There are several theories for the closing of River Country. Even though the park was popular during the hot summer months, the majority of the water was unheated. Because of this, River Country would often close for refurbishment in early fall when it became cooler or it would be closed during the middle of the week.
Rising admission prices and the addition of two larger water parks on Disney property may have made many visitors feel that River Country was no longer a good value for the price of a ticket compared to the limited number of things to do there. [source]
Regardless, River Country still exists albeit closed off. I imagine many people still sneak in, though. Especially after hearing this disturbing fact:
Reports suggest that music, plumbing, and electricity are still on within the abandoned park.
Related: The Abandoned Joyland Amusement Park