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California dad creates mini-Disneyland for daughter's birthday party

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Posted at 3:50 PM, Jul 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-20 16:52:23-04

CARLSBAD, Calif. — Whoever said you couldn't bring Disneyland home has never stepped foot into the Eaton family's house. And it all began after their 8-year-old daughter asked for a Disneyland-themed birthday party.

"It just seemed like a good opportunity when our girls were the age where they would, you know, just ask for something like this and actually appreciate it if we did it,” said Mark Eaton. “I was just thinking, you know, ‘What's the best thing that you could possibly do for a Disneyland party?’ And it seemed like you would have to have like attractions or rides."

So, he gathered a few pallets and started building a teacup ride.

"I thought of the sort of mechanics of how you could make those things move and do it for, you know, an extremely small budget," said Eaton.

And that wasn't enough for Eaton. He went on to build a mini–Star Tours simulation in their garage.

"I was thinking, 'What can you do to be stationary but also move around a lot?'" he said.

With a few two-by-fours covered in cardboard, paint to mimic the StarCraft, and a flat-screen playing the Star Tours ride video from YouTube, it was fantasy brought to life.

Since their backyard already had a Tiki-land feel, it was the perfect place for Adventureland.

"We have an Indiana Jones setup with rope swings, ziplines, and there's a 'Pirates of the Caribbean' area with another rope swing, animals, and a jungle cruise just to make the most of the space," Eaton said.

A few of their friends dressed up as Indiana Jones, Darth Vader, and Princess Leia, to name a few, and before you knew it, the middle of Carlsbad became the happiest place on earth.

Eaton is not an engineer, but he has a background in filmmaking, which he said gave him a boost.

"It kind of comes down to, if you want it or need it bad enough, you have to figure out a way to make it yourself," said Eaton.

As humble as he was about the final production, reactions from guests and neighbors solidified just how impressive it was.

"We led them into the hanger and then the Star Wars music was playing. I think their minds were blown," said Eaton.

Because as Disney would say, they were entering the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy.

This story was originally published by Vanessa Paz at KGTV.

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