Disneyland in China?
Important Update: After a wave of shame brought about by Japanese media coverage and a a few hundred thousand people around the world viewing this page, the amusement park appears is taking action to remove the most blatant violations….
Did I say Disneyland? I meant Shijingshan Amusement Park, an amusement park in Beijing that has absolutely nothing to do with Disney. Japanese bloggers seem to have recently discovered the existence of this park and have posted pictures of some of its characters:
Here we have an original Chinese duck character hanging out with one of the Beijing Olympics mascots.
Maybe this child is amazed by the inadequate size of the duck character’s shirt?
Some have claimed that the park is illegally copying Disney’s Minnie Mouse. However, the park’s operators have insisted that the character on the right is not a mouse. It is a cat with very large ears!
After some searching, I managed to find an English language news article that mentions this fine amusment park:
With its slogan “Disneyland is too far,” Beijing’s Shijingshan Amusement Park features a replica of Cinderella’s Castle, with staff dressed like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and other Disney characters.
None of this is authorized by Disney – but that has not stopped the state-owned park from creating its own counterfeit version of the Magic Kingdom in a brazen example of the sort of open and widespread copyright piracy that has Washington fuming.
The United States announced Monday it would file a case at the World Trade Organization over rampant copyright piracy in China, a practice which US companies say deprives them of billions of dollars each year.
But 31-year-old housewife Zhang Li betrays a typical Chinese attitude on the issue while chasing her young son around the park.
“I don’t understand why that is such a big problem. Shouldn’t others be able to use those characters besides [Disney]?” she asks.
No, no, lady. You’ve got it all wrong. They aren’t using Disney characters. It’s a big-eared cat, not a mouse. Come on!
Update: A few pictures from Japanese media coverage of the theme park (thanks, toru!):
A video news report:
The President of the park, who is interviewed in the video, tells them that nothing is copied from Disney and that all the characters are original creations (He also says the line about Mickey rip-off = big-eared cat). However, a little girl they encounter tells them that she sees Disney characters, and even the people inside the character costumes admit that they’re based on Disney’s creations. Whoops!
Update 2: A longer version of the same report
Update 3: A few more clips from the Japanese News about LOL Fake Disneyland in China:
Another program picks up the story:
A report with English subtitles:
Another report from the same channel that aired some of the other reports, this one with more footage of the rides and characters:
The last report makes a big deal out of the fact that the people inside of the character costumes regularly remove their masks. How unprofessional!!