Wenxian Zhang


Although Florida had been promoted as a tropical paradise to people with health concerns since the granting of statehood in 1845, the Sunshine State did not become a top vacation destination for thrill-seeking Americans until Disney World opened its doors in the early 1970s. Disney's appearance spawned several other major theme parks, including Sea World and Universal Studios, and some smaller attractions such as Wet and Wild. Florida Splendid China joined the ranks of Central Florida's regional theme parks in 1993. A high profile project, it represented one of the first and largest joint investment ventures between the United States and the People's Republic of China. The theme park, optimistically conceived yet poorly researched, wellexecuted but improperly managed, never took off in the competitive market of Central Florida. Political controversies and demonstrations plagued the park during its ten-year history, and it finally fell victim to the region's struggling tourism business following the 2001 terrorist attacks.