Every parent knows that when they send their kid off the Grandma and Grandpa’s house, you’re sending them to get spoiled rotten — which is generally still worth the time off. But for retired aerospace engineer Steve Dobbs, extra dessert wasn’t enough for his grandkids. “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. That could’ve led to the saddest place on earth. Instead, Dobbs used his nearly 4 decades of engineering experience to turn it into the happiest place in Fullerton, California: Behold, Dobbsland!
It started mostly by accident 3 years ago, when the former Boeing employee purchased an electric Thomas the Tank Engine train for his backyard. That held his grandkids’ interest for all of 10 minutes. Then he remembered how much the liked the ride “It’s a Small World,” so he built a tunnel out of Christmas puzzles, added a few motors to some vintage dolls, and viola! Every kids dream (and a few weirdo grown-ups).
Dobbs didn’t not stop there. After his small world, he built a clocktower using a 14-inch pizza tin for the face. Then he added Sleeping Beauty’s castle, complete with Frozen dolls that spin on turntables to the movie’s soundtrack. He even made a Winnie The Pooh attraction out of a playhouse with more spinning characters and the poem “Blustery Day” read aloud by Dobbs’ son-in-law. It’s kind of like place Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey found at the end of True Detective — but with more childlike wonder.
The pièce de résistance came when he decided to build a rollercoaster for teenagers (you pronounce it as “youths”). Dobbs, who also teaches aerospace engineering at California State Polytechnic University (his alma matter) enlisted the help of 9 students who designed and built the ride as part of their senior project. On top of college credit, their handy work has also been certified for safety by Dynamic Testing Solutions. Hopefully that earns them a lifetime pass.
Dobbsland can accommodate 50 people comfortably, but there’s currently no room for expansion. But seriously, how much more do his grandkids need? The only thing that would be more appealing would be a house made of candy. But the last old people to do to — they weren’t really fans of kids.
[H/T] The OC Register