Inside China’s Unauthorized "World Of Warcraft" Theme Park

This is a thing that exists. Joyland is being hailed as China’s digital Disneyland.

Back in the beginning of 2011, rumbling started on the Internet about China building the world’s first video-game theme park in the Jiangsu province. Within six months, Shanghaiist was on the ground and taking photos shortly after the park celebrated its April 29 grand opening.

Francesca Timbers & James Timbers

With the park’s price tag of 200 million yuan, or about $30 million, park investors weren’t going to let a little thing like “copyright infringement” stand in the way of their 600,000-square-meter cash cow. And despite their “Terrain of Magic” land bearing a striking resemblance to Blizzard MMO behemoth “World of Warcraft,” or perhaps because of it, Joyland has become known as China’s Disneyland, with over 30,000 people in attendance for its one-year anniversary this past May.

Francesca Timbers & James Timbers

Reddit user Francesca Timbers, a British English teacher living in Shangai, recently visited Joyland with camera in tow. BuzzFeed decided to see exactly how closely the park compared with the game.

BuzzFeed reached out to Blizzard Entertainment via email for a statement, but as of this time has not received a response.

6. This could be a Pandaren, Blizzard’s mythical race of martial art pandas.

Francesca Timbers & James Timbers

Or it could be a take on Jack Black’s character from Kung Fu Panda.

7. “World of Warcraft” has centaurs and demons. But not centaur demons.

Francesca Timbers & James Timbers

So far Joyland is in the clear.

8. The two statues guarding the splash-down ride are suspect.

Francesca Timbers & James Timbers

But is this based on Argonath, the Pillars of the Kings from Middle Earth?

9. Or is it the “World of Warcraft” log-in screen?

10. This wolf guarding a dilapidated building is obviously a werewolf.

Francesca Timbers & James Timbers

11. Because this is clearly a take on Gilneas, home of the Worgen.

12. This demonic archer looks kind of familiar.

Francesca Timbers & James Timbers

13. Could he be the “change-it-enough-to-not-get-sued” Satyr?

If we kill him, will he drop Felcloth?

14. OK, now we’re getting into straight up rip-off territory.

Francesca Timbers & James Timbers

15. That building is clearly modeled off the Quel-Danil Lodge in the Hinterlands.

Or any of the other Night Elf lodges scattered about Azeroth.

16. This pretty spiraling tower may seem innocuous.

Francesca Timbers & James Timbers

17. Until you realize it’s the closest humans can get to the floating Falthrien Academy.

The Blood Elves seem to be a particular favorite in Joyland.

18. You will have three stars of happiness on Kael’Thas Silvermoon ride.

Francesca Timbers & James Timbers

19. The lord of the Blood Elves is not amused.

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