Not Quite the Happiest Place on Earth

A theme park in Beijing looks strangely familar.

ByABC News
May 4, 2007, 12:40 PM

May 4, 2007 — -- The fairy tale castle, the duck in a blue sailor suit, the big-eared mouse, the seven dwarfs Disneyland, right? Wrong.

Disney World? Nope.

Give up? Try, Shijingshan Amusement Park in Beijing.

Images of the park have in recent weeks made the rounds online and include characters that look an awful lot like those from Disney movies, including, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Snow White. Many of the park's buildings also bear a more than passing resemblance to those found at Disneyland, including a palace not unlike Disney's signature home for Cinderella.

On a recent visit to the park, however, ABC News did not see any Disney-inspired characters traipsing the grounds. There is, however, a castle, also named for Cinderella, with a roller coaster and Ferris wheel in the background -- a tableau similar to the one found in Anaheim, Calif.

The Beijing park also includes a movie theater contained within a golf-ball-like structure, reminiscent of the Spaceship Earth building at Epcot, part of the Disney World complex in Florida.

China is already home to an official Disney park in Hong Kong. That park, however, is more than 1,000 miles away from the country's capital and home to many of its urban poor.

Perhaps that's why Shijingshan's slogan is: "Disney is too far, please come to Beijing Shijingshan Amusement Park."

Leslie Goodman, a senior spokesperson for Disney parks and resorts, said the company had "no comment" at this time about the Beijing park.

Disney, which owns ABC News, has in the past complained about violations of its intellectual property in China and elsewhere.

"Disney values and protects its intellectual property vigorously and takes reports of suspected infringement very seriously. Protection of intellectual property rights is of paramount importance to any creative company and is vital to our business," wrote Alannah Goss, a spokesperson for Hong Kong Disney in an e-mail.

Despite market rumors, Disney has, in the past two years, persistently denied that it has plans to build theme parks in the mainland cities of Beijing and Shanghai.