In celebration of Hello Kitty’s 40th anniversary, a theme park costing £210 million was opened in Anji, China, in early February, 2015. A grand inauguration ceremony was held in November, 2014, in celebration of the construction phase coming to an end, and the park opened its doors on February 4. Despite the hype, the largest Hello Kitty park in Asia is receiving some very negative reviews.
Hello Kitty’s creator company, Sanrio, worked with The Hettema Group, a theme park design company based in California, to build the park.
It isn’t entirely unexpected that a brand new park would have a little trouble getting started, but the experience doesn’t just seem to be a result of a new park trying to find its footing.
To start, tickets are booked on what Ian Louisell on Smart Shanghai called “the worst website ever made.”
“We booked our tickets on the worst website ever made. English is minimal, and you can’t even copy and paste the traffic directions into Google Translate. Not only that, booking a ticket requires a Chinese ID.”
Even when hopeful patrons get their tickets, they may have some trouble getting to the park. A shuttle runs from the Anji County Bus Terminal to the Hello Kitty park, but with no railway, ticket holders must find another way to get to the terminal. Louisell wrote that local buses only left for the terminal every two hours, and took two hours to get there. Another option is taking a cab, which can be expensive. TripAdvisor user Nehow explained just how difficult it is to get there.
“In other words, those travelers who are flying in from other parts of Asia are probably looking at a minimum two-night stay in China due to logistics alone.”
Though Kitty’s park has opened its doors, many visitors were surprised to see that it is still in “soft-opening” mode, which means that many of the rides are still unavailable. The same was true for the restaurants, and buyers complained of bad food and high prices from the few that were open. One comment from a Chinese website explained that the restaurants were “in total chaos.”
Others commented that the park still smelled of paint and still looked like a construction site, and that it took only 10 minutes to explore everything the park had to offer.
Initially, as the Inquisitr reported last year, the Hello Kitty park was designed to accommodate over a million people each year. The park is supposed to be divided into six zones with more than 10 attractions in each one. Each zone features a different Sanrio character.
Hello Kitty’s theme park is off to a rocky start, but is expected to be fully open after Chinese New Year on February 19.
[Photo by Toshiyuki Sumi/YouTube]