Florida Guide > Water Parks
Typhoon Lagoon....a history.
River County was the original Disney water park and I well remember visiting this low key attraction in the early days and how sweetly old fashioned it was and also how BUSY! ! !
Well, Disney noticed as well and when you could not gain entrance after 10 a. m. on some days it was time for some action.
Old Walt Disney himself had thought of a park such as this and although he was well gone by the seventies the incumbent C. E. O. (Michael Eisner) drove forward the idea for Typhoon Lagoon. And of course, this was Disney so any park they built had to be bigger and better than anything that had gone before it.
The land they earmarked was 50 acres which was 4 times the size of River Country. This would give space for all the attractions they intended to build and lots of room to relax in the tropical plantings.
Disney remain famously tight lipped about the costs of their various projects but an analyst put the final costs at somewhere north of 30 million dollars.
Thus in 1987 the builders moved in to build this masterpiece and managed to complete the park one month ahead of schedule in june 1978 (any UK builders hearing that! )
The centrepiece of Typhoon Lagoon was to be a 95 foot mountain with a lengthy Lazy River, 8 water slides, a surfing lagoon and a salt water snorkelling lagoon.
All this was to be set in lush tropical planting as a counterpoint to the (then) only rival attraction of Wet and Wild which had a more utilitarian feel.
The theme and back story was that this was the wreckage of a typhoon that took place on a tropical island. All round the park were boats and fishing tackle that had been tossed and turned and wrecked and a 50 foot mountain that erupted 15 metres in the air every 30 minutes.
For our family, the peak of this park was the mid eighties when they held a beach party every night. Our 2 children were just the right age for all this nonsense and I think we ended our day there on 7 nights out of 14. . . happy days!
Well, what of today? Nowadays Typhoon Lagoon still averages over 2 million visitors a day (despite closing for 2 months annually) and is the most visited water attraction in the world.
This attraction can be found off Lake Buena Vista Drive between Hollywood Studios (the old M. G. M. ) and Market Place.
Entrance is somewat over $30 per person and believe it or not, on weekends and holidays you still need to arrive well before opening to be sure you get in (this despite the opening of a third water park! )
And what of River Country? Well sad to say it saw its last guests a decade ago and in 2005 Disney confirmed that it would never re open. R. I. P.
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Page added on: 24 April 2011
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