Photographer: Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images
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Communist Carnivals: China's 10 Wildest Theme Parks

Walt Disney's $5.5 billion, 963-acre Shanghai Disney Resort might be the most ambitious theme park in mainland China yet, but it is by no means the first. Before the castle doors open to the public on June 16, those looking for thrills in China have their pick of experiences, from the ancient to the absurd. Theme park-goers can travel back to pre-communist China, visit the Empire of Dwarves or experience miniature versions of famous global landmarks.

  1. Minsk World
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    Minsk World

    Minsk World was a military theme park located in Dapeng Bay, Shenzhen. Featuring the former Soviet aircraft carrier Minsk, the park opened in 2000 but was shuttered in early 2016. Minsk has been moved to Jiang Su province, where a new theme park is due to open in 2017.

    Photographer: Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images

  2. Windows of the World
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    Windows of the World

    Located in Shenzhen, this 48-hectare park displays replicas of landmarks from around the world, including a 108-meter high Eiffel Tower, the Egyptian pyramids and the Tower of London.

    Photographer: Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images

  3. Windows of the World
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    Windows of the World

    In one day, visitors can travel throughout Europe, taking in sights such as the Piazza San Marco in Venice (top left), Paris's landmark tower (top right), Moscow's Kremlin (bottom left), finishing up on the slopes.

    Photographers: Aleksandar Plavevski/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images and Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images

  4. Xiongsen Bear & Tiger Mountain Village
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    Xiongsen Bear & Tiger Mountain Village

    Over 200 black bears, 80 tigers, 30 lions and leopards, and a host of other animals reside in this park near Guilin Liangjiang International Airport. The performing bears, however, won't be to everyone's taste.

    Photographer: Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images

  5. Dameisha Seaside Park
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    Dameisha Seaside Park

    Getting away from the crowds might be impossible at this Shenzhen park. Stretched along an 1,800-meter beach, it features a variety of beach games, watersports and over 50 species of subtropical plants.

    Photographer: Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images

  6. Splendid China
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    Splendid China

    Laid out over a map of China, this park features miniaturized versions of some of China's most famous tourist attractions, including the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Three Gorges Dam and Terracotta Army.

    Photographer: Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images

  7. Empire of Dwarves
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    Empire of Dwarves

    This controversial theme park in the southwest province of Yunnan doubles as a community for people with dwarfism, some of whom say they are unable to find employment elsewhere. The park has been accused of exploiting performers by some disabled-rights organizations.

    Photographer: Toby De Silva/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

  8. Hengdian World Studios
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    Hengdian World Studios

    This Zhejiang theme park, located in one of the world's largest film studios, features replicas of Ming and Qing dynasty palaces, as well as the largest indoor Buddha in China.

    Photographer: Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images

  9. Wanda Movie Park
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    Wanda Movie Park

    Claiming to be the world's first indoor movie park, Dalian Wanda's attraction is spread over 100,000 square meters and features six film-related ride attractions and giant cinema screens. The park can accommodate 8,000 visitors.

    Photographer: Chen wen/ Imaginechina via AP Photo

  10. Shijingshan Amusement Park
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    Shijingshan Amusement Park

    With more than a passing resemblance to Disney's theme parks, Beijing's Shijingshan found itself in the media spotlight in 2007 over its use of rather familiar-looking characters. The owners claimed, however, that inspiration for the costumes had come from Grimms' fairy tales.

     

    Photographer: Doug Kanter/Bloomberg