Disney's first water park has been decaying for 15 years

When Disney River Country opened in 1976, visitors flocked to Orange County, Florida to ride the winding slides and traverse the wooden bridges.

The park closed down 25 years later. After leaving the park empty and abandoned for 15 years, Disney finally drained and filled River Country's 330,000-gallon pool in 2016.

As the Orlando Sentinel reported, the Upstream Plunge pool filled it with cement, since standing water can attract mosquitoes — a growing concern due to the Zika virus. Disney said the work was not related to Zika, and doesn't have any plans to re-open the long-closed park, the rest of which is still decaying.

A Cleveland-based photographer who works under the pseudonym Seph Lawless documented the abandoned park in his photo series "Dismaland." (This is also the name of Banksy's 2015 art exhibition, a fake apocalyptic theme park near Bristol, England.)

Lawless captured ghostly portraits of the once-busy attraction.

Take a look:

15 PHOTOS
Disney's decaying water park
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Disney's decaying water park

River Country in Orange County, Florida, was Walt Disney World's first water park.

Photo Credit: Seph Lawless 

It is one of just two Disney parks, along with Discovery Island in Orange County, to close permanently. Both parks were left to deteriorate.

Photo Credit: Seph Lawless

Lawless took about 150 photos of the decaying park, he tells Business Insider.

Photo Credit: Seph Lawless 

Almost everything is covered in water and moss.

Photo Credit: Seph Lawless 

Vines and weeds overrun this slide, one of five in the park.

Photo Credit: Seph Lawless 

This is the Upstream Plunge pool, which crews drained and filled with concrete in 2016.

Photo Credit: Seph Lawless 

Leaves, paperwork, and ripped cardboard boxes fill the manager's office. Much of the wallpaper is peeling off.

Photo Credit: Seph Lawless 

A mysterious top hat lays on this bridge.

Photo Credit: Seph Lawless 

"I want the viewer to feel like they're completely alone while looking at my images," Lawless says. "I want to bring that sense of abandonment to the viewer on a very intimate level."

Photo Credit: Seph Lawless 

Lawless, who considers himself an activist before an artist, travels around the US to photograph abandoned locations.

Photo Credit: Seph Lawless 

He hopes Disney will take notice and continue to renovate the parks at least for the wildlife living there. With some sprucing up, the park could transform into a nature reserve or walkway, he says.

Photo Credit: Seph Lawless 

"I have no problem asking that of a multibillion-dollar enterprise such as Disney," he says. "No corporation should be powerful enough to hide the truth and not clean up their mess."

Photo Credit: Seph Lawless 

But until then, it will remain as Dismaland.

Photo Credit: Seph Lawless 

"It's always a surreal feeling shooting anything abandoned," he says. "It was also very beautiful — like witnessing something out of this world."

Photo Credit: Seph Lawless 

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