NewsPositively San Diego


Carlsbad dad creates mini Disneyland for daughter's birthday

Posted at 6:54 AM, Jul 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-20 15:17:24-04

CARLSBAD, Calif. (KGTV) — Whoever said you couldn't bring Disneyland to San Diego has never stepped foot into the Eaton family's house, and it all began after their 8-year-old asked for a Disneyland-themed birthday party.

"It seemed like a good opportunity when our girls were the age to ask for something like this and appreciate it if we did it," said Mark Eaton. "I was thinking what's the best thing you can do, and it seemed you have to have attractions or rides."

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

"I thought of mechanics to make those things move for a small budget," Mark said.

And that wasn't enough for Mark; 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," Mark 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.

Mark's not an engineer, but he has a background in filmmaking, which he said gave him a boost.

"It comes to if you want it bad you have to make it yourself," said Mark.

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

"For the other kids, especially at the end when we led them into the hanger, I think their minds were blown."

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