California Man Builds Backyard Disneyland, Called ‘Dobbsland’

TIMEJuly 8, 2016

A California man’s idea to please his grandchildren has erupted into a full-blown backyard park, according to the OC Register

Steve Dobbs, 68, is a retired aerospace engineer from Boeing, but still teaches the subject at Cal Poly Pomona. Three years ago, Dobbs bought an electric Thomas the Tank Engine train for his grandchildren to enjoy in his backyard.

However, they got bored of it quickly.

To keep them interested, Dobbs kept adding things to the backyard, making full use of his engineering skills. At first it was just a cardboard tunnel for the train. Soon, one thing led to another and 3 years later, Dobbs’ backyard is the mini-amusement part named “Dobbsland.”

“My younger grandkids are nuts about Disneyland,” he told the OC 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.”

Today, Dobbsland features a tunnel made out of family Christmas puzzles, a Winnie the Pooh attraction transformed from a former playhouse, spinning frozen dolls, and even a portable CD player with the movie’s soundtrack. “Dobbsland” fits about 50 people comfortably, and has played host to numerous parties for family and friends.

A wish to add a ride for teenagers, ended in the conception of a Matterhorn-type roller coaster being assigned as a senior project to nine Cal Poly Pomona seniors.

Three months later, the completed ride was noted as being able to support riders up to 185 pounds, topping out at 12 mph, and equipped with mechanisms measuring weight and g-force.

Of as today, Dobbsland remains under construction. Dobbs said he still wants to add spinning teacups and recreate a walkway inspired by Disneyland’s Main Street. 

Jim Liao