Up Front: SHOW BIZ
IT'S A HUMONGOUS WORLD, AFTER ALL
It's not quite a Chinese Disneyland, but it's the closest thing yet. Hong Kong-based Wo Yau Properties is building the first-ever theme park in China. And it's not messing around. The company plans to build landmarks from around the globe--all to scale--on 232 square miles just north of the southern boomtown
of Guangzhou. Among the sights: Egypt's Sphinx, a French castle, the Acropolis of Athens, Stonehenge, and the Paris Opera House. Representing America: A generic Las Vegas casino--but with no gambling allowed. Gaming is against the law in China. So there will be one-armed bandits, winner takes naught.
The natural landscape will also be molded to reflect natural wonders of the world, including an Amazon jungle, Dutch tulip gardens, and, yes, even Mt. Everest (the only attraction not built to size). You want Hollywood? How about a replica of Devils Tower National Monument, the meeting place in Close Encounters of the Third Kind? The company estimates it will take $60 million and 2,000 to 3,000 workers to build the park, which should be finished in two years. Note: Foreigners will pay $13 to get in, less than half the price charged locals.Joyce Barnathan