The 330,000-gallon Upstream Plunge was a major attraction at the now abandoned water park. It is surrounded by manmade boulders for jumping and diving platforms.
Opened in 1976, River Country closed in 2002 after Disney’s newer water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon, became more popular.
The Internet has been filled over the years with photos and videos of the ghostly area. In March, BuzzFeed ran a series of pictures from photographer Seph Lawless that showed waterslides covered in weeds and algae in the Upstream Plunge.
“It’s actually surprising that it’s taken them this long” to fill in the pool, said Scott Smith, assistant hospitality professor at the University of South Carolina.
Disney said it has no immediate plans to tear down any other remaining parts of the park, some of which can be seen from Bay Lake. Disney said the work had been planned for a while now.
The pool backs up to Mickey’s Backyard BBQ at Disney’s Fort Wilderness campground. It is a potential liability, Smith said.
“Just one small child gets away from their parents and falls in there, now you have another tragedy,” he said.
Disney already had one child die this year, when an alligator attacked a toddler in June on the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon.
Also, standing water can attract mosquitoes – a growing concern as cases of non-travel-related Zika virus are popping up in Florida. Disney said the work at River Country is unrelated to Zika.
There has also long been speculation that the area could eventually be developed into more Disney Vacation Club timeshare units.