One creative California grandfather wanted his grandkids to enjoy the fun of a theme park whenever they wanted — so he built one in his backyard.

Steve Dobbs designed the Disneyland-inspired theme park at his home in Fullerton, CA, with a roller coaster, a princess castle and even a concession stand stocked with cotton candy.

“It started off small, but I got carried away. I can’t just have a swing set in my backyard.”
Steve Dobbs

“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,” he said.

A retired aerospace engineer from Boeing, Dobbs grew up near Disneyland and as a child he watched it being built among the orange groves of southern California.

When Disneyland opened, a friend’s older brother worked at the gate and would sneak Dobbs and his friends inside at night.

“For those first few years, we played in Disneyland like it was my backyard,” he said.

For his backyard project, dubbed Dobbsland, he designed a ride based on “It’s a Small World” with animated Madame Alexander dolls, a submarine based on “Finding Nemo” with motorized fish, and a playhouse starring Winnie the Pooh and his storybook friends.

“It started off small, but I got carried away,” Dobbs said. “I can’t just have a swing set in my backyard.”

After retiring, Dobbs taught aerospace engineering at Cal Poly Pomona, his alma mater. His students helped design the 100-foot roller coast that can travel up to 12 mph as a class 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,” his daughter Cori Linder told ABC News.

“To create that experience for people to remember and celebrate, you see the joy on his face watching people enjoy it, and that to me is timeless and absolutely precious.”

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