A new Banksy pop-up called Dismaland—a dig at Walt Disney Company's global fun factories—is rumored to be in the works at a seaside resort near Bristol. Photos of the site have been spreading across Twitter and Instagram, depicting a warped gas truck, an abrasive wire horse sculpture, and a castle that looks like the Magic Kingdom's deranged younger brother sprouting inside aging the Weston-super-Mare lido, The Tropicana.
The internet seems certain that this is Banksy's work, but the official story is that the park is a film set managed by "Grey Fox Productions." When The Guardian went in for a closer look, they were rebuffed by an almost too stereotypically surly security guard. They write, "No-nonsense security guards asked The Guardian to retreat from the wire fence that separates the work’s entrance to the lido and the beach. Asked why we could not stand on the beach, one security guard replied: 'Because I said so.' A second said pictures could be taken but only from 40' away from the walls."
That said, there are good reasons to believe Banksy's hand is involved. The Dail Mail reports that Holly Cushing, a woman believed to be his manager and who is listed as an Executive Producer on the Banksy documentary, Exit Through The Gift Shop, was spotted chatting to the on-site security guards. Financial records show that Cushing set up a company called Dismaland Ltd. with Banksy's alleged accountant, Simon Durban, earlier this year. There is yet to be any mention about the work on Banksy's website.
Banksy pokes fun at unjust wars, brutal poverty, ridiculous income inequality, but Disney seems to have a special place in the snarky part of his brain, as he's turned the cartoon icon into rat food, and married him with screaming napalm victims, anarchists, and Hitler. Oh, and there was that time he snuck a mannequin dressed like a Guantanamo Bay prisoner into the Thunder Mountain rollercoaster.
Dismaland is rumored to open its doors on Friday, August 21. If it's actually the work of Britain's best-known street artist, we can't wait to see dark his take Disney's eternally peppy army of costumed characters. Check Banksy's website for updates on the elusive artist.