Splendid China in Florida – The Forgotten Miniature Amusement Park

The now derelict Splendid China Amusement Park is located on 3000 Splendid China Boulevard in Kissimmee, Citrus Ridge, Four Corners, Florida. It can also be viewed from Funie Steed Road and Formosa Gardens Boulevard.

Splendid China was opened in 1993 and cost $100,000,000 to build. It was a sister park to Splendid China in Shenzhen, China. Covering 75 acres it was a miniature park with over 60 replicas, with each piece handcrafted to maintain authenticity. The replicas were modeled at a one tenth scale, the replica of the Great Wall used roughly 7 million 1 inch bricks and stretched half a mile. The Leshan Buddha replica was 4 stories tall.

Once the Florida Splendid China opened it featured shows using a rotating cast of 60 acrobats, dancers, and actors from the People’s Republic of china. A couple incidents involving the staff of the park hiding and seeking political asylum in the Untied States from returning to China caused the reduction in employees from overseas.

Greatly criticized and shamed (the Representative Assembly of the 1996 Florida Teaching Professionals-NEA State Conference banned personal and school trips to the park) for being owned by the People’s Republic of China and for the use of minority exhibits. These particular exhibits were the Potola Palace, the Id Gah Mosque, the Tomb of Abakh Hoja, the Mongolian Yurt exhibit, and the Mausoleum of Genghis Khan. Splendid China’s history involves protests against the park for being owned by Chinese Travel Service and believed to be involved in Chinese Communist Propaganda. Though none of this ever came out as true, many were anti this little establishment, that could have had a big future.

Mortal Kombat : Conquest had scenes filmed on the stone stage with the carved Buddha statues at Splendid China during 1998.

By 1999, the Far East Economic Review reported that Splendid China was losing roughly 9 million dollars a year. Finally, the park closed in 2003. It went through the hands of a few owners and in 2009 went up for sale for a price of 30 million dollars.

It was in the news in May of 2013 that Splendid China was to be demolished. Currently the demolition has been going as scheduled though some places still remain to be torn down. You can view these before and afters HERE and they also show that the Potala Palace no longer exists. All this park is being demolished to make way for condominiums. When looking at the surrounding areas it is all being turned into a suburbia.

The former replicas and exhibits of Splendid China Florida were : Buyi Village, Feihong Pagoda, Miao Village, Yellow Crane Tower, Jin Ancestral Temple, Jin Gang Bao Zuo Pagoda, Summer Palace, Shanhaiguan Pass of the Great Wall, Memorial Temple of Zhuge Liang or Temple of Marquis Wu, Nine Dragon Wall, Zhaozhou, Temple of Heaven, 1000 Eyes and 1000 Hands Guanyin Buddha Statue, Bai Dwelling Houses, Water Village, Potala Palace, Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses of Qin Shihuang Mausoleum, Shaolin Temple, The Yungang, Xiang Fei’s Tomb, The Longmen, The Mogao and Mogao Grottoes Cave, Pagoda Forest, Three Ancient Pagodas in Dali, Lijiang River Scenery, Leshan Buddha, Lugouqiao, Sun Yat Sen’s Mausoleum, Panda Playground, Cliffside Tombs, Buddhist Stone Sculptures in Dazu, Temple of Confucius, Id Gah Mosque, Chinese Garden, The Great Wall, The Dwelling House of the Hakkas, Manfeilong Pagoda, Stone Forest, Mongolian Yurt, Jinzhen Octagonal Pavilion, Town God Temple, Ancient Star-Observatory, The Midair Temple, Tengwang Pavilion, Wind and Rain Bridge, Drum Tower of the Dong, Yueyang Pavilion, The Dai Village, Zhenghai Tower, West Lake Scenery, The Imperial Palace, Mausoleum of Genghis Khan, Yingxian Wooden Pagoda, Foshan Ancestral Temple, Jiayuguan Pass of the Great Wall, The White Pagoda in Miaoying Temple, and Big Wild Goose Pagoda.

Where is Splendid China Theme Park located? You can find Splendid China with these coordinates. 28.33516,-81.60881.

Images used under Creative Commons License Attribution Share Alike 2.0 Generic. Images by Pat David [Flickr/patdavid].

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