As Disney parks remain in-operational amid the coronavirus pandemic, this man from Colony, Texas, created his own piece of “the happiest place on earth” in the comfort of his own home. Finding your passion is sometimes difficult, but for this man it came for him.
John Daugherty, 48, couldn’t visit the park with his wife and two children, so he built his own replica of Disneyland out of LEGOs while quarantined at home. It took him over 300 hours to build all 25 LEGO sets, and the time and effort was all worth it.
John, who’s had a long-time fascination for LEGOs, began working on the miniature park in 2017 when he first got his Cinderella Castle LEGO set.
“That was when I decided I’d make my own Disneyland,” he told Good Morning America. “All those sets could be put together and make a miniature version of the park.”
His interest in LEGOs began after he bought a set from a local shop.
“My very first Lego set was a gently-used Ferris wheel that I bought from a family-owned store here called Bricks & Minifigs in Plano, Texas,” he said. “I love amusement parks and rides, and the Ferris wheel has always been a favorite.”
Since starting his passion project, John has already built a motorized Disney train station, the iconic castle complete with Mickey and Friends, an homage of Main Street USA landmark, a Ferris wheel, a Marvel land, the Swiss Family Treehouse, a Pirates of the Caribbean themed ship, and more.
These quarantined days allowed him to build the sets since he’s currently working from home as a CPA.
“It’s kind of like my therapy, just a fun thing to do,” John said of his creation. “It’s very zen.” Finding your passion will definitely bring you peace.
John usually stores his LEGO sets in the corner of his bedroom or inside cabinets, but after convincing his wife Bonnie, he was able to set up his work and display it in the family dining room.
“She tolerates my hobby,” John shared of his wife, Bonnie. “Thought if there was a time to bring it all out, it was during a quarantine.”
John and his wife had planned on taking their kids to Disney World during spring break. However, they had to cancel the trip because of the pandemic.
Luckily, John had his Disney LEGO sets with him. Now, they can enjoy a makeshift Disney experience at home!
“This helped me have a little Disney fun without actually being there,” he told Insider.
John has since posted pictures and videos of his creation to YouTube and Facebook so that other Disney and LEGO fans can take a closer look at his mini theme park. It has drawn some attention and brought him unexpected thrills such as messages from mothers whose kids are fellow fans.
“I got a Facebook message from a woman who said, ‘I showed my son your videos and now he went to go create with some of his Legos,’” John said. “She sent me pictures because her son wanted me to see the pictures, and that was really cool.”
Once Disney World resumes normal business operations, the Daugherty family hopes they will be able to reschedule their vacation.
John hopes to add more sets to his collection in the future. He also hopes that Disney and LEGO would continue to collaborate. He’d love to see sets inspired by the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and the Haunted Mansion rides. Aside from that, John plans to have a room in his home dedicated to his hobby.
“As the kids get older and move out, I’d like to set it up permanently in one of the extra bedrooms,” he said of his miniature Disneyland. “But that’s a few years away.”
If you’re a big LEGO and Disney fan like John, you’ll surely enjoy the videos on his YouTube channel. Visit it here to learn more about his LEGO creations. Finding your passion may take a little time, but once you find it you better hold on to it.