It’s as if you hopped off of your flying elephant and walked straight into an apocalyptic wasteland, surrounded by scrubby grass, empty buildings, and the shell of a Magic Kingdom. This is the ghost of a Disney World-style amusement park in China, abandoned partway through construction, and now a hauntingly beautiful scene of decay.
“Wonderland,” which is situated on a 100-acre plot of land 45 minutes outside of Beijing, was intended to be a huge tourist destination. But according to Reuters, construction was halted in 1998 when farmers and local government sparred over property prices. A small “town,’ the skeletal remains of a castle, and the metal framework of a huge pavilion are all that remain, and the site is completely open to explorers.
Reuters photographer David Gray was amazed and amused to see farmers working their fields amid the ruins. “I came across a rather farcical sight of some farmers digging a well next to a castle; a moment I will always savor as a photographer in a place like China where castles are not in huge supply,” wrote Gray in the Reuters’s Photographers Blog. He called Wonderland “another sad example of property development in China involving wasted money, wasted resources and the uprooting of farmers and their families.”
Wonderland is another example of the Internet’s obsession with Urban Exploration — finding abandoned places of the world. There are sites tracking abandoned shopping malls, abandoned theaters, abandoned swimming pools, and of course, abandoned amusement parks. With Wonderland, fans of nightmarish ghosts of theme parks can add a new destination to their list.
Videographer Catherine Hyland also took a trip to Wonderland, and set her haunting images to a spooky horror-movie soundtrack. You can see more photos below.