New Chinese Theme Park Will Create a Sinking Titanic Attraction

Posted by Rachel S on Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Chinese theme park to build life size Titanic attraction

Yet another theme park in China has been announced – it seems like there’s another projected every week. This latest venture, funded by Seven-Star Energy Investment Group, translates roughly as “Seven International Cultural Tourism Romantic Mediterranean Resort.” Wow, that’s a mouthful – you have to wonder how it’s going to fit on requisite souvenir shirts. The name isn’t the only behemoth related to the park – one of the keystone features will be a life sized replica of the ill-fated Titanic complete with special effects to simulate its sinking.

This has me wondering whether this is in poor taste or if enough time has passed that it’s okay to stage a reenactment as a theme park attraction. There are precedents for park experiences based on disasters – Universal Studios Orlando alone offers two – Disaster! and Twister are based on pretty bad stuff and the second on an actual town that’s frequently ravaged by tornadoes where people have died. But a Titanic experience that simulates the epic disaster seems tasteless.

Actor from Titanic film at theme park press conference

It’s one thing to check out a Titanic themed museum and examine the artifacts in an anthropological type attraction but quite another to put yourself in a scenario to experience what would have been a terrifying ordeal that took the lives of more than 1,500 innocent souls. The park ‘s creators insist the attraction and accompanying museum are devoted to the strength of the human spirit but further discussion indicates the contrary.

Su Shaojun, CEO of Seven-Star described the ride saying, “When the ship hit the iceburg, it will shake, it will tumble. We will let people experience water coming in by using sound and light effects. They will think ‘The water will drown me. I must escape with my life.’” This has me wondering what’s next and where the lines will be drawn. Can we anticipate a holocaust experience? A Twin Towers terrorist ride? Is it ever appropriate for human suffering to be the subject of a theme park attraction?

Denver Post article from 1912 offers different angle on Titanic

Interestingly an article from the Denver Post dated five days after the fateful sinking of the RMS Titanic said that had the vessel been Chinese, women and children on board would likely not have been spared. The article quoted Henry Moy Fot of the Chinese Merchants’ Association of America saying, “It is the duty of sailors when a Chinese vessel goes down to save men first, children next and women last.” (see clipping above of original article and more of the quote)

Seven-Star’s new park will also feature a fabricated beach, Turkish style baths, mountain and water sports and a 6-D cinema. The park will be located in Daying County in China’s Sichuan Province. The ship will be permanently docked on the Qi River. To announce the roll-out of the park and the Titanic attraction, Seven-Star brought in actor Bernard Hill who portrayed Titanic’s Captain Edward Smith in James Cameron’s lavish 1997 film about the disaster. The attraction is slated to open in 2016.

image sources: Xinhuanet.com, Denverpost.com, Yahoo.com

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