The Things They Left Behind: Disney’s Two Abandoned Parks

By | November 21, 2019

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Discovery Island. Source: (

The Walt Disney Company is constantly expanding its theme park business, opening new parks across the world, adding new attractions to their existing parks, and completely revamping the ones in danger of becoming outdated. This is why it may be surprising to learn that there are two Disney parks in Orlando, Florida, which were abandoned and left to rot for decades.

The first park to be abandoned was Disney’s Discovery Island. The island was originally purchased in 1965 along with the rest of the land which was used to build the Walt Disney World. It is located in the middle of Bay Lake, across from Disney’s Contemporary Resort and the Wilderness Lodge, and could only be accessed by boat.

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Abandoned building on Discovery Island. Source: (

The park originally opened as Treasure Island in 1974 and featured shipwrecks, secret caves, and buried treasure, all of it inspired by the 1950 movie Treasure Island. In 1976, the name was changed to Discovery Island and the theme was reimagined. It was converted into a zoological park, accredited by the Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums, and housed an array of over five hundred endangered species, including the last dusky seaside sparrow which died in 1987 and was declared extinct in 1990. The main attraction of the park was the aviary which included an elevated walkway which allowed guests to walk among the flying birds. Other attractions included the Alligator Swamp, the Flamingo Lagoon, Primate Point, and the Monkey Canopy.