China's shonky Disneyland-a-like park closed

A Disneyland look-a-like theme park outside of Beijing called Shijingshan has been shut down by Chinese authorities, apparently as a consequence of the deal to open a Disneyland Shanghai park. Shijingshan sported some intensely crappy rides and attractions that seemed to have been designed by making wild guesses about the equivalent rides in the actual Disney parks (amusingly, the "American Adventure" ride was a haunted house).

Shijingshan management claim that they aren't copying Disney, merely taking their inspiration from the same sources. It's an interesting example of the difference between copyright and trademark; from the particulars I can see online, I don't think there's much merit to a copyright claim here -- though there are a few examples where there are clear derivative works, most of the design is merely generically derived from public domain sources such as castles and fairy tale characters. On the other had, there's a very strong trademark case here, since the use of distinctive ride-names and such seem deliberately chosen to confuse customers about the nature and origin of the park's designs.

Deputy general manager, Yin Zhiqiang, said: "The characters in our park just look a little bit similar to theirs. But the faces, clothes, sizes and appearances are different."

"We do not have any agreements with Disney."

Despite the striking similarities to foreign characters, Yin insisted the Beijing park's are all locally designed.

"Take our Cinderella as an example. The face of Disney's Cinderella face is European, but ours is a Chinese. She looks like a young Chinese country girl," he said.

Fake Disney Theme Park in China forced to Close (The Disney Blog)

'Fake' Disney park faces closure (

(Image: DSCF6882, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from maxview's photostream)


  1. Considering that Disney just rips off public domain stories like Alladin, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast etc. it seems a bit rich coming from them.

    1. Oh come on, Mojo, it’s one thing to take public domain stories and add your own spin to them. It’s another to outright copy someone’s rendition of them. Look at the picture of Snow White in the linked article-looks identical to Disney. There’s nothing in the public domain source describing Snow White as wearing a dress that’s yellow below the waist and blue above with round pinkish dots on the sleeves-that’s purely ripoff of Disney.

      The Metro article says an ad showed kids “cavorting with Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto….” Those aren’t drawn from public domain sources.

  2. Whatever ideas might have originated in Disneyland — and let’s face it, Cinderella Castle is a blatant rip-off of a Grimm brothers/ folk tale character, and Disney himself was inspired by other amusement parks of the time! — they should have passed into the public domain by now, if copyright laws had realistic end dates.

    OK, I’m back to suing Disney Corp. over Mickey Mouse’s likeliness to Felix the Cat.

  3. I love the idea of a legal Disney park knockoff since a lot of Disney is built on public domain stories. Would this hold up in the US?

  4. Man, I’ll take Shonky Weird Unique Chinese Knock-Off Park over Soulless Sterile Mass-Produced Disney Resort aaaanyday of the week. And twice on Sunday.

  5. “Shijingshan management claim that they aren’t copying Disney, merely taking their inspiration from the same sources.”

    Their source being Disney.

  6. Hey, wanted to let you know I updated the story on The Disney Blog. The order to destroy the ‘Disney-clone’ was four years ago, but the park is still operating today with many of the same buildings and clone-characters. Guess Disney needs to apply a little more pressure.

    That photo from #4 above is pretty damning.

  7. “Take our Cinderella for example…” You can’t make this stuff up! Just when you think a stereotype is dead, they serve it up on a gold platter.

      1. Oi, I passed by that same place last year too. Was told by the local guide part of the reason it was closed down was due to the subprime crisis in the States. They ran out of backers to fund the place.

  8. I would like to see this location used for the ending of “Zombieland 2: The Shonkification”.

  9. Never been to a “theme park” of any kind.

    Am I alone in being more interested in the knockoff than I would be in the real deal?

    That said, I’m also a big fan of Chinese Lego knockoffs as well…

  10. Couldn’t they just give that park to Oswald and let him use it with all the other forgotten toons?

    I would love to hang out on Mean Street and Ventureland.

  11. Yeah – like Disney have a monopoly on anything looking vaguely like a mittel-European castle/chateau type building.

    Chinese rolling over and having tummies tickled by Disney just because Disney invests a bit locally, when most of rest of Chinese industry is busy infringing any copyright they can get value from either as products to sell back to us or to uplift their own industry (a.k.a industrial espionage) is just a tad ironic, no? Well it would have been if they hadn’t just been pretending to have tummies tickled. Another case of The Chinese nod means ‘no’.

    (PS: Lookalike. It’s a word.)

  12. Disney already rips off almost every single public domain fairy story tail and then goes after anyone using those same stories. I say this is fair play.

    On the bright side, at least the chinese can start buy some of the cheap shitty plastic disney toy crap that they already manufacture there. I have yet to see a disney brand toy of any quality.

  13. That article on Tivoli Gardens mostly talks about how it’s different from Disneyland, not like it. Elegant landscaping, a subtle sense of order, open-air shows, and parades aren’t exactly a unique concept.

  14. China copies so much shit so shittily (sp?) so long they even copied mimeographs.

    I bet they’re even making 3D copies of that ‘Makers’ book. “Oh, but the text is European, but ours is a Chinese.”

    China and Disney deserve each other.

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