Wonderland in China
Written By: JASR
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
For many people, amusement parks are a huge part of their childhoods. Exciting rides, cute souvenirs, and delightful snacks are only some of the things that make our amusement park experience memorable.
With all the great memories amusement parks bring, it almost breaks our hearts to hear that some parks did not even reach completion. China’s Wonderland, for example, was not completed because of disputes over money and land. The park that was supposed to be the largest amusement park in Asia – covering 120 acres – is now completely abandoned.
What Caused the Unhappy Ending
The ruins of Wonderland sat near a highway in Chenzhuang Village, China – around 20 miles northwest of central Beijing. Due to disagreements with the local government and farmers regarding property prices, the park’s construction stopped at around 1998. Developers attempted to restart construction in 2008 but failed.
The park was conceived by Reignwood Group, a Thai-Chinese property developer. The company already had significant interests in China, and Wonderland was yearned to be the flagship property of the company’s portfolio.
When construction stopped in 1998, rumors swept the nation. Some say the area was haunted, while others say they found mass graves. The truth, however, was simple: Those who were part of the project ran out of money. When they were not getting additional sources of income, the park was left uncompleted.
Other sources say that An Feng, the chief inspector of the investment supervision department of Reignwood Group, explained that construction had to stop because most of the land covered by the park is forestry land. The policy to protect such land was revised after major floods in 1998, which forced the company to review its plans.
What Would Have Been
The photos of the unfinished park would undoubtedly make one think that it would have been an incredibly beautiful and fun place to visit.
The park was envisioned to be like a Disneyland theme park for China. Even though the buildings were not finished, one could easily notice that the castle at the park is similar to the castles in Disney parks.
With Wonderland’s similarities with Disney parks, it was suggested that Wonderland’s designers copied the designs – believing that Disney won’t protest against their copyright usage in the country. They did not expect that Disney was discussing with the Hong Kong government to build a park there. In 1999, a year after Wonderland became abandoned, the agreement was signed.
How It Is After Abandonment
After being abandoned, Wonderland was simply reclaimed by the farmers in the area. They started to raise livestock and grow crops. Some reports even say that it was common to see men working in the fields with a castle as their backdrop.
The park’s castle suffered the most because of exposure to inclement weather. Parts of the incomplete building collapsed into ruins over the years. Meanwhile, the other buildings became overgrown with vegetation.
In 2013, five years after the failed attempt to revive the project, Wonderland was finally demolished. The construction of a shopping mall called the Badaling Outlet was completed in 2015. The mall, which only takes up around 40 of the 120 acres allocated for Wonderland, opened to the public on June 26th of the same year.
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