Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - Florida - East Central -

Also known as:  Black Lake

Lake Buena Vista is a magical lake in a magical land. This tiny natural lake in Florida’s East Central Region has been transformed by Walt Disney World, it’s latest owner. Originally called Black Lake, the pond rested just outside of the small town of Vineland. Vineland never was a very big town; it’s one-time post office left town before the local roads were ever paved. The attempts of farmers at grape growing weren’t terribly successful so Vineland never grew either. In fact, the entire area around Lake Buena Vista was primarily wetland dotted with small ponds and lakes making up part of the Kissimmee River system that feeds the Everglades.

All of that changed when Walt Disney came to Florida looking for a location to build his second vacation extravaganza. He settled on Reedy Creek, a couple of miles east of the current location of Lake Buena Vista. In order to have free rein and deal expediently with zoning issues, the area was incorporated as a town wholly owned by the Disney Corporation. In a way no one can quite explain, the center of the town was moved to Black Lake away from Reedy Creek. Black Lake was renamed Lake Buena Vista in honor of the street Mr Disney lived on in California. The town itself became Lake Buena Vista, the location of Disney Downtown. Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and the newer additions of Disney-MGM Studios, Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach Water Park, River Country Water Park and Pleasure Island were all built in the immediate area. Lake Buena Vista itself, however, has remained as a hotel and resort location primarily for Disney visitors. In a manner that would cause a modern environmentalist to cringe, the Disney complex carved out a series of lakes, rivers and lagoons from the wetlands around which to site their feature attractions. Village Lake, the manmade centerpiece of Disney Downtown, is now connected to Lake Buena Vista by canal. Of all of the lakes in the complex, Lake Buena Vista remains the most natural, with a section of wetlands along the north shore. And Disney has recently has in recent years purchased a large acreage to the southeast of the area which The Nature Conservancy is restoring to wetland as a mitigation project.

The entire town of Lake Buena Vista is mostly uninhabited. Last census, the total population was 16 people – all Disney employees. Lake Buena Vista is a town of visitors and is entirely geared to vacationers and fun-seekers. Lake Buena Vista itself is rimmed along the south and east shores with resort hotels placed back from the water’s edge, overlooking the peaceful little lake. Resort visitors wishing a quiet interlude away from the crowds and bustle of the Disney attractions can retire here to watch the swans glide serenely across the water. Visitors are welcome to stroll across the lawn to the water’s edge but there is no beach, no swimming and no fishing from the shore. The only way to fish in Lake Buena Vista is to engage a fishing excursion at Disney Downtown and go out with a ‘guide’. Fishing on all Disney lakes is catch and release, with huge largemouth bass common, thanks to the Disney stocking program. Depending on the health of the fish population, Disney sometimes allows bass over a certain size to be kept and can even provide mounting. But the general rule is to release all fish. The lagoon complex also contains big bluegill, crappie and channel catfish and in some areas of the park, fishing docks are provided where visitors can rent poles and bait. Again, the general rule is usually catch and release.

The resorts and rentals around Lake Buena Vista are an excellent location for a week-long vacation: in addition to the well-known large Disney attractions, a variety of smaller specialty attractions in the area do a thriving business, such as Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach – both Disney water parks that will delight the kids. And tons of specialty shopping, dining and entertainment will please the most discerning grown-up in Disney Downtown. It would truly take more than a week to see everything Disney World has to offer. There are a variety of challenging golf courses, both within the Disney Resort complex and in the Orlando area.

Outside of Lake Buena Vista are at least another week’s worth of attractions and activities to keep the visitor busy. The Orlando Science Center holds four floors of exhibits and hands-on activities for pre-schoolers through adults. Wonderworks (the upside-down museum), and Ripley’s Believe-It-Or-Not Museum are just wacky and weird enough to appeal to the most jaded teen-ager. Sea World is well-known, but Gatorland will be new to many visitors. Known internationally as the “Alligator Capital of the World,” Gatorland provides family fun with thousands of alligators and crocodiles, a breeding marsh with boardwalk and observation tower, one-of-a-kind reptilian shows, aviary, petting zoo, swamp walk and educational programs. Learn of 12,000 years of Central Florida history at the Orange County Regional History Center. And for a quiet change of pace, visit the Harry P Leu Botanical Gardens-southern-style, semi-tropical gardens with miles of walking paths thru beautifully designed garden-scapes. In addition, Orlando provides galleries and art museums, including the Orlando Museum of Art. And the city park system provides miles of cycling and hiking trails, along with playgrounds, swimming pools, tennis courts and ball fields. For the family angler, he can schedule a bass fishing charter on West Lake Tohopekaliga (also known as Lake Toho), the lake with the unique reputation of being the #1 trophy bass fishing lake in the United States. Deep see charter fishing in just an hour away.

Finding vacation rentals in the Lake Buena Vista area is limited only by preferences and budget. On the lakefront itself, only resort hotels are available. But immediately off the park and hotel grounds, around the boundaries of the town of Lake Buena Vista, rental condos and private homes are readily available, many with water views. Small hotels, motels and other types of vacation lodgings are often found at reasonable prices where the budget-conscious visitor can still vacation in style. Real estate is always available, with timeshares and outright purchases available for homes, condos and townhouses. Several area campgrounds and RV resorts cater to the bring-your-own-housing crowd. So plan a trip now to the Lake Buena Vista area. Create your vacation memories of a lifetime.

Things to do at Lake Buena Vista

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Swimming Pool
  • Beach
  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • City Park
  • Museum
  • Playground
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Lake Buena Vista

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Sunfish

Lake Buena Vista Photo Gallery

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Lake Buena Vista Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 24 acres

Shoreline Length: 1 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 97 feet

Lake Area-Population: 16

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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