Finding River Country

Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, Florida U.S.A.

One of the photographs from this series is hanging at DDB & Tribal Amsterdam.

One fine day...

As a child, I used to dream of going to Walt Disney World, Florida. The things I read about it totally fascinated me. To me it was almost unbelievable that Walt Disney had a figment of his imagination turn into a place dedicated to fun and entertainment, twice the size of the island of Manhattan.

One of my friends at highschool knew about my fascination, and brought me some souvenirs and a postcard after she went. The postcard was showing a waterpark called River Country.

On it’s backside it read:

‘Whoop-’N-Holler Hollow in River Country certainly lives up to it’s name. Packed with slippery twists and turns, it keeps guests whoopin’ and hollerin’ with glee.‘

It had these amazing waterslides on it, which were definitely the curviest and most spectacular I had ever seen. I pinned the postcard above my bed and dreamt about the place from time to time. I promised myself that one fine day I would slide down those amazing slides…

River Country opened in 1976. Sadly it closed a long time before I ever got a chance to visit.. When I read the news I was pretty heartbroken.

Much later, on a beautiful morning in spring 2009, I managed to get permission to go inside the waterpark I had always wanted to visit. Even though by then the place had been closed for 10 years, and things were overgrown enormously, everything still seemed to be there. In my dreams there were always lots of people enjoying themselves, and here I was all by myself.. Stunned by its beauty, I couldn’t resist to take out my camera and took a few photographs to commemorate this very special occasion.

My intent was to capture the remains of River Country with a sense of melancholy and dignity.


Geert Jan

The print being delivered to the Director’s room at DDB & Tribal Amsterdam:

Here the book that accompanied the print: