Dan Schmidt may very well be the Disney dad we wish we all had had. Dan has over a decade of design experience, working as a designer for Ripley entertainment and formerly working as as design director for Great Wolf Resorts, and he’s clearly put his talents to good use for his family. When the family moved into a new home in Madison, WI with a large garage he decided to convert into a ride for his kids. Initially he wanted to build a roller coaster based on backyard roller coasters he’d seen online.
According to Dan:
I originally started making a circle track. But time was running out and I only had time to build about 3/4 of the track before Halloween. Since I built it in 4 ft. sections (it’s modular – like a giant wooden Thomas the Train set) I was able to flip pieces around to create any shape, so I made a curvy shape for the vehicle to wind down.
Starting in 2014 he began building his indoor coaster, and was inspired by the Haunted Mansion attractions at Disneyland and Walt Disneyland. When he was unable to make the classic Doom Buggy shape out of plywood he decided to model the buggies after the ones at the Mystic Manor at Disneyland Hong Kong.
Of course the ride would need some tests before expansion continued.
Everything was made by hand except for a few portraits that were souvenirs from Disney. There was even a ghost that pops up from behind a headstone that he rigged up using a Shop Vac!
Dan and his kids got everything decorated and ready in time for Halloween.
And he even opened it up for trick or treaters to ride!
Here’s a video of them running the ride in 2016:
And here’s the ride in 2017:
It’s unclear if he continued running the ride in 2018, but Dan’s kids are incredibly lucky to have a dad who would build something like this for them.