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The “Fake Disneyland” of China that died before it was ever fully alive

David Goran

There was a Disneyland-styled amusement park that was being developed years ago, about 20 miles outside of Beijing, in the village of Chenzhuang. Construction on Wonderland began sometime in the 1990s, when Thai-owned property developer the Reignwood Group announced its plan to build the largest amusement park in Asia, covering a total area of 120 acres.

In the Changping District of China, some 20 miles outside of Beijing, the ruins of an abandoned castle once rose out of the desolate landscape. Photo Credit

In the Changping District of China, some 20 miles outside of Beijing, the ruins of an abandoned castle once rose out of the desolate landscape. Photo Credit

It was intended to become Asia’s largest theme park, China’s answer to Disneyland – a magnificent theme park attracting millions of visitors a year with state-of-the-art rides in a chintzy fairytale setting.

At time it was being touted as the largest amusement park in all of Asia. Photo Credit

At the time it was being touted as the largest amusement park in all of Asia. Photo Credit

 

On the outskirts of Beijing investors envisioned a project that would rival Disneyland. Photo Credit

Investors envisioned a project that would rival Disneyland. Photo Credit

Construction work at the park, which developers had promised would be “the largest amusement park in Asia,” stopped around 1998 following financial problems with local officials and farmers over property prices.

Wonderland was intended to be Asia's largest amusement park, yet due to complications it was abandoned midway into construction in 1998. Photo Credit

Wonderland was intended to be Asia’s largest amusement park, yet due to complications, it was abandoned midway into construction in 1998. Photo Credit

On the other hand, An Feng, the chief inspector of the investment supervision department of Reignwood Group, said that construction was suspended because most land covered by the park is forestry land, and the policy to protect such land changed after major floods in 1998, forcing the company to review its plans.

 

According to some, the farmers could not agree on the value of the land on which Wonderland was to stand. Photo Credit

According to some, the farmers could not agree on the value of the land on which Wonderland was to stand. Photo Credit

The site featured a number of abandoned structures, including the framework of a castle-like building and medieval-themed outer buildings. Developers briefly tried to restart construction in 2008, but without success.

Most of the unfinished Wonderland Amusement Park in Beijing's Changping district has been demolished after 15 years of abandonment. Photo Credit

Most of the unfinished Wonderland Amusement Park in Beijing’s Changping district has been demolished after 15 years of abandonment. Photo Credit

 

According to International Business Times, a luxury product supermarket is now planned for the site. Photo Credit

According to International Business Times, a luxury product supermarket is now planned for the site. Photo Credit

The farmers that used to own the land have returned to grow their various crops while the site was abandoned.

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The incomplete and abandoned structures were demolished in May 2013. Most of the park has been reduced to foundations, leaving no hope for the abandoned park to ever be finished. Local media suggest that space will eventually make way for a shopping center.