5 Things I Hate About Chinese Theme Parks

OK, hate is  strong word, but after a month of digesting the madness that is China and its insane theme park scene, there are just a few things that have really stuck out in my mind that I really cannot get on board with that I noticed at a lot of the Chinese parks. Fear not, it's not all negativity - I'll be following this up shortly with a list of things I love about the Chinese parks. In the meantime, put your reading glasses on because the library is open - here's five things I hate about Chinese theme parks.

Kicking it off with a biggie for me - the animal cruelty. Look, I'm not going to pretend I'm some huge animal rights activist - I'm not a vegetarian but I do only use cruelty free beauty products. That said, I do think there's something that hits home slightly more when it's as blatant as it is in some of the parks we visited. I purposely didn't take photos of the stuff we saw because I found it really upsetting, but it was everything from the infamous live-animals-inside-keychains being sold as souvenirs, actual dead animals in petting zoos and dogs being crammed into cages before/after being used in shows.

It's hard for me to stand back and accept that kind of thing, but at the same time I do feel it'd be hypocritical for me to go in guns blazing about what is/isn't right - especially in a country like China which doesn't currently have any animal rights laws. I think in time it will come and things will change, but in the meantime it didn't make it any less upsetting, so if you're easily affected by things like that it's something to be aware of if you're planning on visiting any time soon.

This was more of a Disney issue than anywhere else believe it or not. I've never experienced such a dangerous lack of crowd control - I genuinely felt unsafe (we've since sent a letter off to Disney describing our experience). What's funny is the Chinese crowds didn't seem to mind themselves - I guess maybe they're used to it? But I definitely am not used to the up close and personal every-man-for-himself jostling - and I live in London! Yh, it's very easy to let it get to you if you're that way incline and I can easily see how that could put somebody in a bad mood for the rest of the day.

Something that completely threw me was the seemingly totally random ride availability. Our day at Happy Valley Shanghai was probably the worst for this - the park is open and yes, fair enough it's an off-peak weekday, but headline rides just being closed with seemingly zero explanation is something that really got to me as we made our way further into our trip.

And then there's the other end of the spectrum - rides covered in fucking twigs and overgrown with grass, sitting in a heap of rust that are ACTUALLY OPERATING! One park we went to, Beijing Shijingshan, was literally a half-bulldozed dumping ground with old broken rides and theming lying around all over the place. You literally have zero clue if a ride is operating until you walk up and see if there's an operator in the booth. One coaster had wet cement out the front, but was still operating and the op laid cardboard on the ground so that I could walk over and get the cred. That in itself is fab, but what I hate is that there's no certainty. Annoying!

Ohhh goddd the faff. I'm an incredibly impatient person at the best of times, let alone when I'm bubbling over with cred anxiety. The Chinese operations do absolutely nothing for my nerves. From parks making you do exercises before you board, to holding you hostage on the platform until every fucker has collected their belongings to triple checking the million restraints the coasters have before some moron decides they don't want to ride anymore, and they release said person and repeat the whole process again. My patience was certainly tried and I was not here for it.

If there's anything the Chinese love, it's absolutely shockingly shit tat. I mean the worst of the worst, mass-produced in a factory plastic shit. And because of that, all the shops are stocked full of it. And as a result, the parks offer little to no actual park merch like we're used to here in Europe and the US. Forget about a branded mug or pin badge - the best you'll likely get is a dusty old dodgy Mickey Mouse rip-off plush. Lame!

Ok I'll admit it, I had more fun writing that than I'd usually care to confess. But hey, it's fun to have a little vent every now and then! I'll balance the cosmos with some good vibes with things I like about Chinese parks sometime soon, but in the meantime I hope you've enjoyed.

Talk later xoxo,


  1. I'm with you on most of your comments. I was at Happy Valley Shanghai in Feburary and none of the headline coasters were running. They said it was too cold (5c). but the small inverted coaster apparently can run in the cold. We were told to wait until after lunch and the rides would open then. By 3pm none were open still. Left very disappointed.

  2. I count myself very lucky with Shanghai Happy Valley, as only Mega-Lite was closed on the day I visited. Every other attraction was open. And at Beijing, every ride was open even though the park was really quiet!

  3. Happy Valley Beijing was wonderful in comparison!