A trip to Disneyland is hard to beat, but a retired aeronautical engineer figured out a way to give his grandkids something even better. American Steve Dobbs transformed his California backyard into a mini theme park he calls Dobbsland.
The inspiration for this home attraction began three years ago after Dobbs purchased an electric Thomas the Tank Engine train for his grandkids to ride through his yard. When they got bored of it after 10 minutes, he started brainstorming ways to make the toy more exciting. “My younger grandkids are nuts about Disneyland,” he told The Orange Country Register. “I wanted to give them a reason to come over to my house to spend time with me, and Disneyland is tough to compete with.”
Using old Madame Alexander dolls his wife was planning to throw away, Dobbs turned the track into a replica of "It’s a Small World." He added lights, music, and even recreated the ride’s iconic clocktower using a pizza tin.
Since building that first ride in his backyard, Dobbs has added a Finding Nemo (2003) submarine made from trash bins and PVC pipe, a castle with motorized Frozen (2013) dolls, and a Winnie the Pooh ride built inside a playhouse. Dobbsland also features a 100-foot-longversion of Disneyland’s Matterhorn coaster that was built by students at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona as part of their senior research project.
Dobbs says he’s now planning to add a miniature Mad Tea Party (tea cup) ride and a walkway inspired by Disney’s Main Street to the yard. The park is only open to friends and family, but for a peek at what it’s like inside you can watch the video above.