Florida November 03, 2016
Step Inside This Forbidden Disney Park That’s Been Left To Decay In Florida
Anyone who’s ever been to Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida knows it truly is an amazing experience designed to create memories to last a lifetime. But most people don’t know that Animal Kingdom had a predecessor that’s now abandoned and rotting in plain sight inside Disney World.
When the Disney World theme park first opened in 1971, the master plans included an animal park with a pirate theme. Part of Walt Disney’s original aquisition for his fantasy theme park of tomorrow included an oasis named Bay Lake, which has an island in it. That island is where the first animal park at Disney World was located.
When the new animal park opened it was called Blackbeard's Island, but it quickly became apparent that it wasn't going to be Disney World's most popular attraction. It's speculated that it was just too small.
They closed the park and added 55,000 cubic tons of soil to expand the island and revamped the "exhibits" to make the experience here more fun.
The new attraction was called "Treasure Island," and still had a pirate theme.
The island included a wrap-around sandy beach where, on the western side of the island, there was even a sunken pirate ship.
But attendance for Treasure Island was never as expected, so once again Disney's zoological attaction was closed temporarily while the park was overhauled.
According to WDWmagic.com's
, in 1974 the new attraction opened as "Discovery Island." A reworked theme park with more attractions that actually held the interest of millions over the coming decades.
By all accounts, Discovery Island had a good run and was well received. However, about 15 years after the opening, the powers to be started drafting plans for a bigger animal park. And in April of 1998 they opened the Animal Kingdom.
And in 1999, exactly 25 years from the date Discovery Island welcomed their very first guests, the gates on the dock were closed and Discovery Island was shuttered.
As far as anyone can tell, only two persons have documented what's happened to this island since it closed in 1999. All indications are that it's exactly as they left it.
Step inside this abandoned Disney attraction to see what's become of this shuttered park in Bay Lake since it was closed.
Firstly, around 2005 Disney removed the pier to the main gate. Discovery Island was an attraction only accessible by boat. The pier used to be here, attached to these pilings that remain in the photo above.
But the dock and the main gate are still in place, and stand eerily empty. You can almost imagine the scores of families passing over the threshold on their way to and from this animal oasis.
In addition to avoiding it because it's just super creepy, you should avoid setting foot on this abandoned island in the middle of Bay Lake because it's highly illegal. But that didn't stop one person from penetrating the water barrier here to capture these photos of animal pens still intact from when this park was in operation 18 long years ago.
It almost looks like they just left everything behind. In some places stuff is strewn all over, as these animal stalls indicate.
According to the reports of the individuals who managed to document the abandoned island, even a kitchen on the property still has all the appliances. It looks as if they just left every thing behind making this abandoned place seem as if it's ready to fire things back up at a moment's notice.
Along the western side of the island you'll see the remains of that popular pirate ship that made the perfect backdrop for countless photos taken by guests of Discovery Island. It lays covered by overgrowth, sadly rotting in its watery grave.
Disney's abandoned Discovery Island sits right behind the magnificient Contemporary Hotel. Park guests riding the monorail through the hotel undoubtedly cast an occasional glance in the direction of this eerily empty park and probably think nothing of the few mostly obstructed buildings that might be visible from a distance.
Did you know Animal Kingdom had a predecessor park that's now been abandoned? For a detailed look at the history of this creepy abandoned island at Disney, take a look at this video from YouTube user Bright Sun Films. VIDEO
Do you have any great ideas of what Disney can do with this abandoned island? We’d love to know in our comments!
Want to see more abandoned spots in Florida?
Nature Is Reclaiming This One Abandoned Spot In Florida And It’s Actually Amazing.