Since Walt Disney World opened in 1971, new attractions have been added to the original theme park, Magic Kingdom, and new theme parks have opened including Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios (opened as Disney-MGM Studios), and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. And what Walt Disney said about Disneyland, “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world” holds true for Walt Disney World, too. But as Walt Disney World continues to grow, there are attractions that, for one reason or another, no longer exist.
Disney’s version of an “old fashioned swimming hole”, River Country was Walt Disney World’s first water park. With just a few slides and a river rapids tube ride, River Country was much smaller that the Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach that would come later to Walt Disney World.
Opened in 1976, River Country was located in the Fort Wilderness area of Walt Disney World. It featured slides that splashed riders into a man made fresh-water lagoon just off Bay lake. Typhoon would remain open until 2001 when it was closed permanently.
Opened in 1974 to Walt Disney World visitors, Treasure Island (as it was originally named) is an island in the middle of Bay Lake. The island was home to many animals including the last known dusky seaside sparrow before it died in 1987. The island featured nature paths, a sandy beach, and animal exhibits.
The island was closed to guests in 1999 and the remaining animals on the island were transferred to the new Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park and other zoos around the country.
Mickey’s Birthdayland was the first ever “land” added to the Magic Kingdom. It opened in 1998 as temporary “land” to celebrate Mickey Mouse’s 60th birthday. Visitors to Mickey’s Birthdayland would board the Walt Disney World railroad (renamed for the occasion, “Mickey’s Birthdayland Express”) bound for the new train station at Mickey’s Birthdayland.
Once at Mickey’s Birthdayland, visitors could tour Mickey’s house, Minnie’s house, visit the petting zoo at Grandma Duck’s Farm, and even attend a surprise birthday celebration for Mickey’s 60th!
While Mickey’s Birthdayland was meant to be a temporary “land” at the Magic Kingdom, it was so popular that in 1990 it was renamed Mickey’s Starland and the surprise birthday show was replaced with Mickey’s Magical TV World. In 1996 Mickey’s Starland became Mickey’s Toontown Fair. The area finally closed in 2011 to make way for the New Fantasyland. However, there are two Mickey’s Toontown Fair’s; one at Disneyland in California and the other at Tokyo Disneyland.