Shuttered island: Disney's mysterious abandoned attraction

What became of Treasure Island?

Shuttered Island: Disney's Mysterious Abandoned Attraction

Once upon a time, in 1974, Disney opened an attraction called Treasure Island based on the Robert Louis Stevenson adventure tale of pirates and buried gold. It mysteriously closed in 1999, and nobody knows why.

Located near Orlando, Florida, it was bought by Walt Disney in 1965 and he turned it into a place for tourists to observe wildlife including flamingos, swans, lemurs and five Galapagos tortoises.

But in 1999 it was closed for mysterious reasons. The animals were relocated, with many going to the then newly-opened nearby Disney attraction Animal Kingdom, which proved more popular with tourists.

The island was seemingly left to ruin. Then, six years ago, in what sounded like a plot from a Scooby-Doo episode, a blogger avoided security by swimming out to the island to find out what became of the spooky, abandoned attraction.

He found the place had not been maintained and had become a neglected, eerie world. But, weirdly, the lights had been left on and he found reptiles in jars.

"We were literally surrounded by what sounded like thousands of birds. (The island had) heavily overgrown paths and disorientating animal noises," the blogger wrote.

"Disney seems to like keeping all the lights on even in their abandoned properties in order to give the impression that they are still functional. It's a bit eerie."

The 11-acre attraction also had a dark past, according to a 1989 Orlando Sentinel article.

"A two-month investigation resulted in 16 state and federal charges filed ... most dealing with the death of vultures which were crammed into a tiny, overheated shed for days with limited food and water."

The Walt Disney Company later pleaded not guilty to charges and settled out of court, the article says.

Rumours later spread that the island would be re-built with a theme based on the TV show Lost. But it has remained an abandoned, ghostly place.