Disney World has been engrained as a vacation destination for families since it opened in 1971. With that imagery comes thoughts of 3-hour waits in zig-zagging attraction lines, noisy restaurants, children running every which way, and costumed characters lining the street to Cinderella's castle. But somehow, all of this is part of the magic. When you strip away the crowds, vendors, and pomp, an amusement park quickly takes on the slightly eerie persona of a ghost town. This is exactly what happened to Disney River Country—a destination for families around the country that opened in 1976. The location was Disney's first water park and welcomed visitors until its last day in 2001. In all of Disney history, River Country is one of two parks that have permanently closed down, the second being Discovery Island.
So what does an abandoned Disney park actually look like? For one, it takes on an entirely new kind of beauty, completely taken over by nature and at the whim of the day's weather forecast. This is no longer a family destination. This is a real-life Dismaland.
Cleveland-based photographer Seph Lawless has made a career out of exploring decaying areas and sharing them with the world, much of which can be found in his book "Autopsy of America," highlighting the economic downturn's effect on our physical landscape. We've previously covered Lawless's adventures into a Wizard of Oz-themed amusement park, and a number of other deserted destinations. Ahead, the photographer's look into the overgrown space.