The community members of Anaheim, California couldn’t figure out for the life of them what the giant monstrosity would be. When 7-year-old Steve Dobbs discovered it was Disney Land they were building, the little boy couldn’t hold back the joy. Years later, he built the same one in his own backyard, well, kind of.
“I lived about 2 miles from Disneyland and watched it being built on our bicycles… The older brother of my friend worked at the gate and let us sneak in during the summer when it was it too busy, so for those first few years we played in Disneyland like it was my backyard, ” Steve explained to his grandkids.
The kiddos that had once been mesmerized by Thomas the Tank Engine, no longer felt the same way … and make a point to let Grandpa know. The former engineer buckled down to take on the biggest challenge of his career: building a mini theme park right in the backyard.
Of course, it would take time. Steve started with baby steps, the first being the remodel of the existing train. Recreating one of the family’s favorite movies, the grandpa constructed the same sailing vessels seen in Pirates of the Caribbean. Once he topped the ships with their appropriate cannons, they were finished. On to the next sailor!
Every theme park needs a gift shop, it’s pretty much common knowledge. Steve’s at-home version would be no different. He gathered the old-time games and classic knick-knacks he remembered seeing for sale decades earlier.
Keeping up with the technological age, the loving grandpa installed a stereo inside the cardboard store. He made sure to play a loop of the same tunes heard at Disneyland.
After that, the man hit the wining home run. With the help of a friend and a group of architectural students, he handcrafted an actual roller-coster! Fully functioning and speeding down the tracks, the creation was one-of-a-kind.
Three months later, the stacks of wood and piles of blueprints transformed into a real, theme park ride. Steve couldn’t have been more excited to see it set up.
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The gracious student builders loaded up the truck, ready to help put together the life-size puzzle together. The coaster’s white tracks were the perfect compliment to the yellow house and blue train train. Needless to say, the family was quite impressed.
In honor of Steve’s hard work and dedication, the theme park was named “Dobbsland.” Once the kids were able to ride, each and every one (and some parents) hopped on.
Sunny Lee, a good family friend, had some kind words to say about the entire project.
“…here’s a guy who’s accomplished a lot in his life and he’s still finding the joy in giving that experience to others … you see the joy on his face watching people enjoy it, and that to me is timeless and absolutely precious.”