Dismaland is closing its doors even though fans of the anti-Disneyland theme park had hoped that Dismaland would be extended or be moved to a different location. However, disappointed fans might find solace in the fact that Britain’s most talked about theme park is staying true to its mission – to deal with themes that are not an escape from reality, but face reality.
As Dismaland wrote on its official website on September 27, “The park closes today at 10pm, permanently.” The simple but impressive sentence is accompanied by just one picture of the anti-Disneyland theme park and the following words: “Coming soon… Dismaland Calais. All the timber and fixtures from Dismaland are being sent to the ‘jungle’ refugee camp near Calais to build shelters. No online tickets will be available.”
While Dismaland’s closing is a disappointment for tourists who had hoped to visit the “bemusement” park and to see Cinderella’s run down princess castle or a killer whale leaping from a toilet, it might be a comfort to learn that all of the structures are being sent to help real-life refugees in need.
Despite all rumors as to why Dismaland is closing, the simple reason is that street artist Banksy’s Dismaland exhibition in the seaside resort town of Weston-super-Mare in Somerset, England, ends just as it was scheduled to do – after five weeks.
In an interview, Banksy (who funded the construction of the exhibition himself and who had invited 60 other artists to join him) stated in regard to Dismaland’s closing: “I can’t extend the run because of technical calculations. We have tall structures which have been built and certified for one weather period. It gets windy there and we’re not insured for one minute past the last day of September.”
Dismaland closing is giving Banksy time to reflect about his “subversive, darkly comic and cocking a snook at authority” type of theme park. Because of Britain’s parody law, Disney had no problem with the “family theme park unsuitable for children.” However, Banksy himself says in his interview that he felt that he pushed it too far.
“The first day I wandered round with the public I have to admit there was no-one more disappointed than me. I think the whole concept might be flawed. By repackaging an art show as an amusement park everybody’s expectations are raised substantially. … I suddenly realised the whole premise was wrong, I’d pushed it too far and it had gone from being a pretty good art show to a very sub-standard amusement park.”
Art show or mislabeled theme park, the children in Calais’ refugee camp will care very little. They, along with thousands of other refugees, will be grateful for the shelter they have been given due to Dismaland’s closing.