By JESSICA SATHERLEY
Decaying ruins: The abandoned building in the shape of a castle stands uncompleted in a field in what would have been an amusement park called 'Wonderland',on the outskirts of Beijing
From the outside it looks like the grim skeletal remains of a once magical castle, but in fact this deserted Chinese replica of Disneyland never opened its doors.
What was meant to be ‘the largest amusement park in Asia’, had construction cut short over a decade ago after funding was withdrawn.
And now the ruins of ‘Wonderland’ sit in the middle of a 100-acre corn field, just a 45 minute drive from the centre of Beijing.
Sitting in a corn crop: Local farmers have returned to the land they once owned to start growing corn again after developers deserted the project
Work on the potential tourist haven started in 1998 but was halted due to disagreements over property prices with farmers and the local government.
Now the farmers that used to own the land have returned to grow their crops once again, with the decaying building site filling the skyline.
Photographer David Gray visited the magical kingdom-turned-ghost park and said: ‘Pulling off the express-way and into the car park, I expected to be stopped by the usual confrontational security guards.
A look inside: A view of abandoned buildings that were to be part of the amusement park
‘But there was absolutely no one to be seen. I walked through one of the few entrances not boarded up, and instantly started coughing.
‘In front of me were large empty rooms and discarded furniture, all covered in a thick layer of dust, along with an eerie silence that gave the place a haunted feeling – an emotion not normally associated with a children’s playground.’
Frozen over: A view of a vacant carpark in front of 'Wonderland' which was made before construction halted over a decade ago
Rusting steel: 'All these structures of rusting steel and decaying cement, are another sad example of property development in China', says David Gray
Disney ventures: Despite China abandoning its Wonderland park, the country does have Disneyland resorts in Hong Kong and Shanghai
‘All these structures of rusting steel and decaying cement, are another sad example of property development in China involving wasted money, wasted resources and the uprooting of farmers and their families.
‘It is a reflection of the country’s property market which many analysts say the government must keep tightening steps in place.
‘The worry is a massive increase in inflation and a speculative bubble that might burst, considering that property sales contribute to around 10 per cent of China’s growth’, Gray continued.
Despite China abandoning its Wonderland park, the country does have Disneyland resorts in Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Boarded entrance gates: There was absolutely no one to be seen when the photographer walked through one of the entrance gates that wasn't boarded up
Photographer's steps: Footsteps in fresh snow are seen across a walkway leading to the entrance of the derelict amusement park
What could have been: A sign for Wonderland slowly rusts on the abandoned building