Yesterday, BFG told you all about the abandoned Disney water park, River Country. Today we’re going to take a look at River Country’s abandoned neighbor, Discovery Island.
Sitting it Bay Lake, easily seen from the Contemporary Resort, is a small lonely island. Discovery island was purchased on the sly while Walt Disney was secretly buying up massive amounts of land near Orlando, Florida. His plan? To build an immense Disney theme park resort… a Disney world even!
In 1974, Treasure Island opened its gates. A wildlife park with a pirate theme, guests could ride a boat to the island’s dock and spend the afternoon observing many different wildlife species. The pirate idea did not stick around too long. Soon the island was recognized as a legitimate animal park and the theming and the name was changed to Discovery Island.
While Discovery Island was enjoyed by the public, it was not easy to get to. In 1998, Walt Disney World opened a brand new, accessible by land, immense version of Discovery Island, Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The newer park was a much bigger draw for crowds and the following year, Discovery Island shut it gates for the last time.
Discovery Island now sits abandoned just like its neighbor, River Country. Most of the animals were shipped over to Animal Kingdom. Also, in true Disney fashion, honoring its history, Disney renamed the center island of Animal Kingdom (where the giant tree is) Discovery Island. Here’s a weird thing: the lights were kept on on the abandoned island every night until at least 2008.
Talks for what to do with the island have included an immersion-type gaming experience based on the Myst video game and a Honeymoon island.
Both of those plans were scrapped. Scuttlebutt now says that plans are underway to use the land, but no word has leaked as to what for as of yet.
Did you have a chance to visit Discovery Island before (or after) is closed? Did you know about this abandoned park? Comment me!