Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012

Shijingshan Amusement Park

Take a ride on the Way Back Machine to a 2006 archive of the now-defunct English website for the Beijing Shijingshan Amusement Park. Ignore the very lengthy narrative about the construction of the park, which began in 1986, and focus on the attractions which include a gothic Cinderella Castle, an Arabic Restaurant, a European Blue Bridge and a Russian Entrance Hall, and its clear the park was indeed designed to be "more than 60 amusement facilities in one." But the problem with the park isn't its rides, which admittedly look quite fun, but its apparent copyright violations. When ABC News visited Shijingshan in 2007, they reported that much of the place looked eerily similar to parts of Disney theme parks and that the characters bore striking resemblances to Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse and Snow White. Even the park's slogan, "Disney is too far, please come to Beijing Shijingshan Amusement Park," hints as the park's motives. Still, when pressed, Shijingshan's deputy general manager Yin Zhiqiang told the AP in 2007, "We do not have any agreements with Disney. The characters in our park just look a little bit similar to theirs." While there hasn't been much written about the Beijing Shijingshan park since 2007, it was rumored that the park's managers toned down the similarities with Disney characters. To see if it's true, you'll just have to visit.