Nothing ... it's been left to decay/rot away since closing in 2001 ... and clearly WDW doesn't need the park capacity because you never (he sez sarcastically) see both Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach closing due to capacity at the same time.
how did river country compare to the other water parks anyways?
It was extremely small compared to the two newer water parks. But considering it was one of the first (if not *the* first) modern water park, I think it was decent for what it was. It only had a few slides, though. Two or three body slides, an inner tube raft ride, and a couple short slides that dropped you out a few feet above the water and you splashed down. I believe there was also a kids area with an arm that kids could hold onto and swing out over the water and drop in, probably a couple rope swings into the water. As Disney described it the perfect "Ol' Swimmin' Hole".
I've heard of two reasons for it remaining closed (apart from the obvious fact that it can't compete with BB or TL). One is that the structure of the hill that was built for the slides to run down is deteriorating. That it used a wooden sub-frame, and it's decaying either naturally or by bugs.
The other is connected to the fact that they don't allow swimming in the WDW lakes anymore. There's some sort of bacteria or algae that has infested many Florida lakes and waterways that can cause lots of problems if swallowed. It lives on the bottom of the lakes and when the bottom is stirred up is when it becomes a problem. This is why they still have water skiing and other lake activities, those happen out in the deep water of the lake.
Anyway, most of the water in River Country was just lake water that was pumped in. It circulated through the slides and into the "swimmin' hole" portion of the park. The water level of the park was a couple feet higher than the lake, and the lake water returned to the lake over some sort of large air bladder/balloon thing that could be inflated or deflated to keep the water level the desired height. I don't believe this lake water was treated in any way (or heated), so the algae/bacteria problem would be present in the park water, too. The only thing they'd be able to use is the traditional pool with chlorinated, heated water.
There was talk of possibly opening the park back up solely for guests of the Campground, sort of like Stormalong Bay at the Yacht & Beach. But because of the above reason(s), it hasn't happened.
Rob, most of your explanation for River Country's untimely demise is basically what Disney CMs (not the best source for info.) put out on the web and became 'fact.'
While RC definitely needed refurbishment, none of the structures were in any danger of collapsing/rotting away ... but you can bet they are now. The bacteria that you speak of also wasn't a factor. The water was lake water, but it was also treated ... there was no danger.
Honestly, it came down to one issue -- money for upkeep. Disney decided to close the place rather than maintain it. In about 4-8 years, they'll get around to actually doing something with it.
FWIW, I LOVED RC. It was the water park I grew up with. And none of those newfangled 25 second water coasters (like Crush N Gusher) or Super Weggie Maker Slides (like Summit Plummet) can offer the beautiful natural scenery and peaceful retreat of the Old Swimming Hole.
I'm really glad that I forced the family to go to it when we were at WDW. It was really like swimming in a lake around here. It's sad to see something left to rot until it is not fixable. I sure hope they put another water park in there eventually, it seems like a waste of space to have it empty - especially with its great location!