Banksy has banned spray paint, marker pens, knives and “legal representatives of the Walt Disney Corporation” from the site in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.
Residents had believed the 2.5-acre Tropicana site, a former lido, was being turned into a film shoot in a cover story maintained by the local council.
A sign reading ‘Dismaland’ was erected across the front of the building and stewards wearing pink tabards with “Dismal” on the back began working there.
Visitors enter the theme park, which features work by dozens of artists, through a cardboard security check made by Bill Barminski.
They are greeted with a view of the park and Banksy’s fire-ravaged Cinderella Castle showing “how it feels to be a real princess”.
There are boats full of asylum seekers which can be driven round a pond, two juggernauts performing ballet and a camp training guests how to break into bus billboards.
Banksy described the park as “a festival of art, amusements and entry-level anarchism”, adding: “This is an art show for the 99% who’d rather be at Alton Towers.”
The Bristol-based artist was inspired to create the park after peeking through a gap in the fence at the Tropicana site in January.
“It’s not a swipe at Disney,” he said.
“I banned any imagery of Mickey Mouse from the site. It’s a showcase for the best line-up of artists I could imagine, apart from the two who turned me down.”
Banksy handpicked the artists, who come from across the world including Israel, Palestine, Syria, the US, and the UK.
Much of the work requires audience participation, with visitors able to photograph themselves behind a seaside-style piece with cut-out faces, featuring pirates carrying rifles.
Inside Banksy’s princess castle lies a dead Cinderella spilling out of her crashed carriage, lit up by a group of photographers flashing their cameras and the light of a motorbike.
Asked about the meaning of Dismaland, Banksy replied: “I guess you’d say it’s a theme park whose big theme is theme parks should have bigger themes.”
Dismaland will run twice a day from Saturday until September 27 and involve musical performances from Massive Attack, Pussy Riot, and Kate Tempest.