YouTube Channel Matthew Stcyr just uploaded one of the biggest things in Abandoned theme park history: recent footage of Discovery Island. The YouTube Channel BrightSunFilms was the first to find this footage after it was uploaded, and he and I were both astonished at what was posted: An hour of raw footage of two brave explorers going through the entire island, documenting it all.
In this post I want to analyze the video to find the most important pics, most amazing parts, and the most interesting things about this new exploration of Disney’s Discovery Island.
UPDATE: The following part of the article is from the original videos posted, which have since been taken down and replaced with a single video with higher quality after the two went back to the island.
I was completely shocked when I discovered that Discovery Island footage had been posted earlier today. Frankly, I couldn’t believe it. After I fangirled for about five minutes, I watched all of the videos, and every second of it saddened me, but I loved it. The entire park is a monument to decay, with absolutely no help from Disney in the way of cleanup. The island has completely deteriorated, and has been completely overtaken by thick Florida jungle. Much like River Country, Disney just leaves the island to rot. But unlike River Country, Disney refuses to acknowledge the existence of Discovery Island, and are even more secretive about what lies beyond the fence and the thick brush that hides the once glorious island theme park.
I find it really sad that Disney treats the island, which entertained thousands of people over its 25-year life span, with so little respect. They’ve left it to rot, and they’ve left thousands of great memories to rot with it.
When were the videos taken?
In the description of the videos, the explorers say that the footage was taken four years ago, in 2013. However, this is untrue. The videos were in fact taken in late 2016 or early-mid 2017. First off, this screenshot shows the fence, an obstacle added by Disney in August of 2016, nullifying the claim that the footage is from 2013.
The other piece of evidence was pointed out to me by BrightSunFilms: The phones that are shown in the video are running iOS 10, which was released in the fall of 2016.
UPDATE: One of the scenes when they have their phones out says the date: May 10th, 2017. Today.
What are some of the most memorable parts of the videos?
In part 3, the two wind up at the entrance to the island, and get up close and personal with the fence. The entire scene is breathtaking, with the sun on the horizon, sparkling pink and purple over the calm lake, and the decaying ruins of the theme park laying under thick layers of trees and darkness. I find the fence and why it was put in place to be super interesting, and think that the entire entrance area is beautiful, even in ruin.
The Snake in a Bottle
The infamous picture by Shane Perez taken back in 2003 made rounds around the internet for how strange it was, and the bottle still remains after 14 years. Very interesting.
Broken And Deteriorated
One of the many bridges on the island, the bridge showcased in Part 9 of the Discovery Island series leads nowhere. Trees and plants have grown through the bridge, so now it leads absolutely nowhere. The planks have also fallen victim to decay, with many of them broken or missing. The deterioration of the park is so interesting, I honestly have no words to describe it.
In part six of the videos, the brave adventurers walked across the bird watch, and the view they captured is amazing. Where twenty years ago you may have seen people and vibrant birds, there is now only deteriorated wood and unruly plants.
This screenshot comes from Part 4 of the series, and is a picture of an abandoned freezer on the island. In the freezer is a bag labeled ‘Flamingos’ and dated November 10th, 1999. I don’t believe this is flamingo meat, as some might believe. I believe that it is food for the flamingos, particularity shrimp, which a park of their diet. This leads me to believe that they intended on feeding them and caring for them for up to seven months until the animals were transferred. What actually happened is unknown, but it does mean that the animals remained on the island for a while after it closed to the public. Maybe even until 2008 when the power was finally cut off to the island and all animals were removed?
From part two of the videos, this calendar depicts a peacock and the month: December, 1999. This is just a really cool artifact from a long time ago.
The Riverless River
While the screenshot isn’t great, this picture from part ten shows what once was a creek which flowed through the island, completely empty and overgrown. One thing none of us thought was that the rivers would be empty. But we all can be wrong.
This picture, also from part ten, shows an unkempt bridge covered in old, dry leaves, left to rot by the ones who created it.
These are a few pictures that I can’t really explain: one depicts a strange building that has either been gutted or was recently built. Possible construction on the island? You tell me.
Unkempt Staff Quarters
The staff area is moldy, deteriorated, and sad. What once was filled with passionate people is now filled with dirt, leaves, and mold.
Ravaged but Intact
One of the buildings that was explored was pretty interesting. Parts of it were completely destroyed, ravaged by storms and natural decay, and yet, the glass windows still remain. Cool.
First off, this footage means that Disney has done almost nothing to clean up or maintain the island for years. There were once rumors of them building a hotel, but these seem completely fabricated and false now. Any hope of that died with these videos. Disney has simply left it to rot and be reclaimed by nature. Aside from the possible construction, nothing has happened. The island remains the way it was fifteen years ago. The videos were amazing, but did not show a lot of details, so analyzing the videos and hunting for possible rumors is almost impossible to do. What I can say is this: There are ways in, meaning Cast Members have been able to get into the island, whether for construction purposes or for the ultimate stunt to get fired.
Honestly, I don’t think the island will ever be redeveloped. It’s too far gone to be cleaned up, and the costs of demolition and building a new hotel or park would be astronomical. Disney put themselves in a bad position with Discovery Island, and I don’t think they’ll figure out how to get themselves out of it anytime soon. There wasn’t anything life changing in these videos, aside from the breathtaking decay and ruins of a park loved by thousands.
If these videos mean one thing, it’s that it’s still possible to get into the island, and that we don’t have to live without knowing what lies behind the thick brush and metal fences and on Disney’s abandoned island.
Side note: The people filming this have no idea what they’re doing. They have my respect for doing this, but they’re kind of annoying.
Pretty soon after they uploaded the exploration, it was met with criticism over the quality of the videos, which were awful. After getting tips from BSF, they went back and shot much better footage. Click here for that footage.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you find it just as interesting as I did! Once again, credit to Matthew Stcyr for his bravery and his footage.