Amusement parks are synonymous with smiling families, blissful children, and fun rides. Even if you’ve haven’t spent a day in a gigantic Disney park, parks like these are where dreams are made and where they also come true. They’re positively magical.
What many of us don’t think about is how, over time, these parks have been added to, remodeled, or torn down. Because of this almost constant change, there are bound to be projects and areas of parks that are left behind or abandoned in the middle of construction.
You might think that these locations would be put into immediate use for something new, but in reality there are many long-forgotten areas of fun and enjoyment that still remain standing, if dilapidated. These fascinating locations show you glimpses of the grand past of these gigantic parks, as well as the possibilities of once promising projects that never made their mark the public at large.
1. The What-If Labs: This interactive area at Epcot opened in 1982 at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Closed since 1998, it was replaced with another interactive area one floor below.
2. Pripyat Amusement Park: Located in Pripyat, Ukraine, this park was abandoned in 1986 after the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, only a few kilometers away. Riddled with dangerous radiation, this park was opened and closed on the same date – only a day after the Chernobyl disaster.
3. Faux Disneyland: Japan’s Nara Dreamland was built in 1961 and closed in 2006. Much of the layout and design was almost an exact copy of portions of the original Disneyland.
4. Disney’s River County: This was the first water park at the Walt Disney World Resort in Bay Lake, Florida. First opened in 1976, it has been abandoned since 2001. It looks like a lot of fun was had at this park while it was open, but now it remains abandoned.
5. Spreepark: This amusement park in Berlin, Germany was closed in 2002 due to financial insolvency. Today, it remains relatively intact for those wishing to explore its grounds. The bankrupt former owner actually attempted to start a new amusement park in Peru, and was later sentenced to seven years in prison for attempting to smuggle 400 pounds of cocaine into Germany.
6. Gulliver’s Kingdom: This oddly themed park in Kamikuishiki, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan was only open between 1997 and 2001. It closed due to poor ticket sales. Some speculate that its failure was due to its proximity to such ominous locations as the Suicide Forest and the village headquarters of a doomsday cult.
7. Discovery Island: This is where Disney’s Treasure Island was in 1974. Once filled with a wide variety of interesting and exotic animal life, the place was abandoned in 1999. Although plans were made to revamp the area, they were never put in motion. Some animals, such as the vultures below, still call the area home.
8. Disney’s Pop Century Resort: A portion of Walt Disney World Resort is dedicated to each decade. Themed rooms are devoted to the 1950s through the 1990s. They intended to finish another building for 1900 to 1950, but after the events of 9/11, the project was halted and never resumed.
9. Okpo Land: This fun park in Okpo City, Geoje Island, South Korea is somewhat mysterious. Not much is know about the history of the park, but there were numerous deaths reported in the park. After the final one, the owner of the park disappeared and was never heard from again.
10. Six Flags New Orleans: Originally opened as “Jazzland” in 2000, this park was closed after it was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina. The flooding that occurred has left the park abandoned with an uncertain future.
Especially when you consider how successful so many amusement parks have been, it’s certainly fascinating to see what projects have failed or been abandoned for one reason or another. It makes you wonder how many other strange, abandoned locations there are, and ones that we’ll perhaps never see.