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The Forbidden Areas of Disney World

August 26, 2015

Walt Disney World is roughly the size of San Francisco, so it’s not surprising that there are a few places within its borders that are strictly off-limits to guests.

Discovery Island

Forbidden Disney WorldOriginally named Treasure Island, guests were once able to view its population of animals and plants, and was closed in 1999 when the animals were relocated to the Animal Kingdom theme park. Disney’s “Imagineers” considered turning the island into an attraction inspired by the popular video game Myst but the idea never made it past the conceptual stage. Plans to build an attraction based on the hit TV show Lost suffered the same fate a decade later. Currently, Discovery Island is considered abandoned with no plans for its renovation. However, a group of brave Disney fans managed to sneak onto the island in the 2000s.

Disney’s River Country

This Huckleberry Finn-inspired water park was the resort’s first, and it opened in 1976. River Country had numerous problems with water quality because its source was nearby Bay Lake, and ‘70s-era filtration systems weren’t powerful enough to clean the water effectively. In 1980, a guest contracted an amoeba-carried disease called Naegleria fowleri from the ride and died. Attendance declined, and a new Florida law that banned theme parks from using unchlorinated water from natural sources led to the permanent closer of River Country in 2001. Many of its buildings and features are still standing. Planning to go for a swim? Don’t do it. Security guards patrol the grounds 24/7 in order to prevent guests from trespassing.

The Laundry Building

Given Orlando’s humid climate, Disney World’s immense workforce (about 60,000 employees) tends to work up an enormous amount of sweat. That’s just one of the reasons why the resort has a large building devoted solely to cleaning all of their uniforms and costumes. Disney World currently uses around 2,500 different outfits and Mickey Mouse alone has over 300 different ones. This works out to around 1.8 million different articles of clothing. The original laundry building eventually couldn’t handle the immense task of keeping everything clean so a new one opened last spring. It’s off-limits to guests…but would you really want to visit it?

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