Disneyland has often been described as “The Happiest Place on Earth.” Notorious artist Banksy’s new “bemusement park” in the UK is the complete opposite.
If you’re not a big fan of the Disney theme parks you’re not alone. Many people can’t stand the long lines, high admission prices and all the crass merchandising. All of these are among the reasons why Banksy, the elusive street artist, opened his own parody theme park. You won’t find roller coasters or anything even remotely “fun” at Dismaland The artist and his crew took over the grounds of a dilapidated swimming pool complex in the seaside town of Weston-super-Mare, England, and turned it into a twisted version of the original Disneyland in Anaheim, California.
A fairy tale castle sits at the center of the park but it’s anything but charming. The castle’s exterior is crumbling and its moat has seen better days. Inside visitors will find a shocking sculpture of a dead Cinderella inside her crashed carriage surrounded by statues of gawking paparazzi photographers. Getting to it also requires going through a grim security checkpoint at the front gate. Additional “attractions” at Dismaland include a strange sculpture of two semi trucks and a statue of Shamu from Sea World leaping out of a toilet bowl and into a tiny kiddie pool. Visitors can also ride a rather unpleasant carousel featuring mannequins dressed as butchers. There’s also a morbid mini golf course on the grounds.
“It’s a theme park whose big theme is: theme parks should have bigger themes,” Banksy wrote. Dismaland’s staff members also do their best to keep the mood on the grounds as depressing as possible. They welcome visitors with monotone greetings and never smile.
At least tickets are a lot cheaper than the ones at Disneyland. Getting into Dismaland will only set you back about $4.65…if you can get your hands on one. Despite the downright creepy theme, the project has proven incredibly popular and tickets have appeared on auction sites like StubHub and eBay for over $1,000. Dismaland will be open through the end of September but, if you’re thinking about giving it a shot, be warned. If you couldn’t tell, it’s not for kids or the faint of heart. As Banksy’s press release notes, “It’s a family theme park unsuitable for small children.”