What is it with these half-built, then abandoned, Beijing amusement parks? We’re old fans of The Romance Park of the Heart, which is filled with Swiss chalets, Siamese pagodas, and packs of wild dogs looking to tear your legs off. But we kept hearing about another one, in the opposite direction… Wonderland!
Just off the Badaling Expressway, on the way to the weirdest section of the Great Wall, this sprawling amusement park has been almost completely deserted. The pink castle walls and turrets looks well-tended and clean from afar, but are crumbling up close. Massive doors are falling off their hinges, and there are open gutters and even wells, everywhere. There were old ladies, carefully trimming the hedges and sweeping to keep up appearances, but in the back, it all turns to hell. There’s a crumbling castle, and the red-iron frame of a building that was never finished — it’s now just farmland and dump.
“Some company took out a lease on the land,” said Zac. “It’s a long way from anywhere, but they figured they could get a lot of people, and it would be really cheap. I reckon they were right. But just before the olympics, land prices went nuts. The company couldn’t pay the rent, and couldn’t afford to finish.”
“From what I heard it also had something to do with Happy Valley,” pitched in a friend of his. “They did not want to have more than one new park during the Olympics, so the ones that owned Happy Valley made a deal with the land owners to stop the building of this park, so from my understanding the land owners still got paid a bit and made a new friend.”
“I’ve always wondered what that is,” said my mom.