On Dismaland Not Being Dismal At All

Ever since hearing about Dismaland I have been desperate to go, especially as we live less than an hour away. When tickets went on sale last week I spent 40 minutes refreshing the screen and eventually got through so on the way back from Wales on Wednesday we stopped off and headed down to the old Tropicana building on the sea front in Weston Super-Mare or Weston Super-Nightmare as I prefer to call it, no offence to anyone who lives there but I’m not a huge fan of the overcrowded pier and brown sludgy ‘sea’.

Tropicana was an outdoor lido that shut down 15 years ago. It was a dismal and eerie looking place beforehand so I can see why Banksy chose it, it made the perfect setting. Mr C used to go there when he was little so it was really interesting for him to go back in there.

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Initially we were going to try and go without the kids due to the ‘some images unsuitable for young children’ warning but it was down to parents to decide and after reading lots of reviews and looking at the images other people were sharing we decided we would take them and just not take them into the main castle where the upturned princess carriage was situated. This was definitely the right decision as they had a great time and it would have been a shame not to take them. We took it in turns to go in and see the princess carriage as I do feel like that would have been a bit much for Cherry, I just don’t think she would have understood  why there was a princess hanging out of it. The only other bit we averted her eyes to was the Grim Reaper going round on a dodgem, that was also inside a big building so easy to avoid, she might have found it funny but we couldn’t decide so thought it was best not to take the risk!

The main area itself had all kinds of weird and wonderful things to look at as well as a big sand pit full of toys (clearly Banksy has no idea about making things dismal for kids!!) so they loved looking at it all. There was a huge art gallery section which I had no idea was there, I had seen so many photos but they all seemed to be of the same things.

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Then there is another large room with a huge city disaster scene set up with lots of tiny flashing police cars and riot vans. Again I had no idea about this part.

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Then you head out to the main area which as you will see is just packed full of surreal things to look at. There is also a ferris wheel, carousel and various fair games like hook a duck, all with a twist of course. They play the same music through the speakers repeatedly (it’s a classic kind of beach tune but no idea what it’s called!), occasionally there will be an interlude for a weird message. They have a little cinema with deckchairs to sit and watch the weird short films that were playing.

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I love the name of the falafel stall, I’m easily pleased 😉

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I wasn’t actually expecting to find places to eat in there but there was a big pizza place too as well as a few bars dotted around. They have been having events there on Friday nights, both live music and tonight there is a comedy show. We both said how amazing it would be to go to an event there. It also opens in the evening and you can go when the whole place is lit up, it looks amazing at night. If you look on Youtube there are some videos of it.

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These puppets were my favourite part, there is a member of staff on the floor above making them dance to music.

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This lorry structure was a big hit with Tiger, there was also a spinning caravan that you could have a go in for £2. I’m not sure what was in it!

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I absolutely loved it, I love anything that is a bit different and this is so much more our kind of thing than the traditional Disneyland. The only thing that would have made it better was it not being quite so busy but given that it’s only on for a month I was able to embrace the crowds. I’m so glad I managed to get tickets, in fact I’m actually planning to go back again with a couple of friends if we manage to get tickets next week.

The staff were all miserable and unhelpful and I can’t help thinking it would have been a perfect place for me to work as a teenager, I used to serve people with exactly the same attitude only I wasn’t supposed to be doing it! When you leave after walking past all the merchandise available to buy the staff tell you they hoped you had a horrible time. We didn’t though, it was too bizarre to be dismal. I should probably note that for some reason we didn’t stumble upon any of the exhibits that deal with the more serious side of things and I didn’t see the refugee boats so I think they might have been taken down given what has happened recently, although I can’t find anything about it online. We walked past where it was though and didn’t notice it so pretty sure it can’t still be there.

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If you want to find out more then you can read all about it on the Dismaland website, there is an interview with Banksy which is worth a read and if you live anywhere near it then try and get tickets. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and even if you hate it at least you can tell people you’ve been!

 

 


  1. Notmyearoff

    11 September

    Wow it sounds so fascinating and I love all your pictures. It’s all been a bit mysterious wondering what’s in there besides the Disneyland thing. I’d probably wander about the whole thing wondering why Banksy put it there 🙂

    • Jessica Cherry

      13 September

      It was so intriguing and so different to anything else. I really loved it! x

  2. Carie

    11 September

    Well that definitely puts the weird in weird and wonderful doesn’t not! It sounds really cleverly done, I love the cereal boxes and it’s a shame it’s on for such a short time. Lucky you getting to go 🙂

    • Jessica Cherry

      13 September

      It is just so clever, so much work has gone into it and the end result is something different from anything else. I loved it! x

  3. My Two Mums

    11 September

    I would LOVE to go, but not sure we’re going to get over there before it goes. Looks like you had quite the opposite of a dismal time.

    • Jessica Cherry

      13 September

      We really did, we had one of the best times! It’s totally my kind of place so I would have liked to have stayed for longer! x

  4. Donna

    11 September

    I’ve heard this place mentioned but knew nothing about it. I don’t think it’s a place for us but it looks like a great day out, like an anti attraction. It’s all a bit surreal! x

    • Jessica Cherry

      13 September

      Really surreal! It is supposed to be a theme park that’s the opposite of most but it was better in my opinion so the plan didn’t work for me as I didn’t find it remotely dismal! x

  5. LauraCYMFT

    11 September

    It looks like a really interesting place to visit. It’s a great idea. Not sure it would be my cup of tea being a Disneyholic LOL!

  6. Nic @ Rustics

    11 September

    We thought it was amazing too, I wanna go back!! X

  7. happyhomebird

    11 September

    Absolutely love it, really wish I could go. Totally the sort of weird thing I thrive on! 🙂 Great pics.

  8. Kriss MacDonald

    11 September

    I so wish I could visit Dismaland! Amazing how many artists participated with Banksy on putting on this art show with such a twisted difference.

  9. Lulu

    12 September

    I so wish we were local enough to visit it looks amazing! x

  10. Katie @mummydaddyme

    12 September

    I would absolutely love to go but it’s just too far for us. Loved looking at all your photos. X

  11. This is definitely our kind of thing and your pictures are brilliant Jess. It’s impossible not to feel so much from each picture. I LOVE that the staff are miserable and unhelpful – at least they’re meant to be, rather than miserable and unhelpful staff in so many shops these days! Haaahaa. Oh, I so want to go!!! xx

  12. mummyofboygirltwins

    14 September

    Wow what a weird and yet great idea!! It looks awful and yet very interesting! LOVE the photographs in this post. So different. I am so intrigued now! Jess xx

  13. Ruth

    15 September

    Having just come back from visiting DisneyWorld in Orlando, I’d love to have visited this place! You took great photos.

  14. Hardly looks like the place to take children though!??!

    • The kids loved it, they had a play area with loads of toys and it was just so different to most places you go these days. I did mention at the top it was a personal decision so of course some people might not have wanted to take their children but we looked into it and I’m happy with our decision 🙂

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