An artist rendering of the resort that will be built on River Country land (Photo: Walt Disney World)

After sitting abandoned for almost two decades, Disney’s River Country will be reimagined as a new Disney resort. Walt Disney World recently announced their plans for the new unnamed resort along with some concept art for what the resort may look like in the future. Since this land has sat abandoned for some time, it will be nice to see the area where River Country once entertained being utilized again.

River Country was Disney’s first water park, and also holds the title of first themed water park in the world. Disney’s first water park opened in June 1976, less than five years after Walt Disney World opened. The inspiration for this water park was a “new-fangled version of an old-fashioned swimmin’ hole.” With multiple slides, a lazy river and two pools, this water park was a perfect idea for additional experiences in sunny Walt Disney World. As Disney’s Florida theme park continued to grow, the need for this small water park began to diminish. River Country closed for the season in November 2001, only to never reopen again.

The new resort to replace River Country will be positioned on the picturesque shore of Bay Lake, between Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. The theme of this resort is said to be “nature-inspired,” which couldn’t be more fitting for the area surrounded by Disney’s campground and the majestic Wilderness Lodge.

This deluxe resort will have a 900-room hotel, as well as villas for the Disney Vacation Club. Set to open in 2022, this new resort will be located close to the magic, and will be opening right after Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary – just in time for all the new and exciting experiences that will be added to the parks to celebrate!

Walt Disney World currently offers over 30 resorts on property to its guests, so with the tourism industry continuing to grow, it’s no wonder that new Disney resorts are on the horizon for the Most Magical Place on Earth. These next few years at Walt Disney World will be exciting, as the property continues to grow in its offerings. Although it is always tough to see a piece of Walt Disney World’s history go, River Country will live on in the nature-inspired aspects of this new resort!