What does a Disneyland fan do when they live over 700 miles away from the legendary theme park? Build a Fantasyland basement in their home, of course! That’s exactly what Riverdale, UT, resident Travis Larson did.
This impressive, immersive environment depicts Fantasyland facades of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Snow White’s Scary Adventures, Peter Pan’s Flight, Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, Geppetto’s Workshop and the Village Haus Restaurant. Adjustable night and day lighting and audio ambiance add to the magical experience.
Fantasyland Fueled Plans
Because he wanted something different than the normal living quarters upstairs, Travis Larson considered several theming options before beginning his basement transformation. Ideas included a 1920’s style street, old West and pirate themes. When he discovered old Disneyland photos of Fantasyland closely matched the layout planned, a pixie dust prompted decision of a Fantasyland basement came to life.
Showcasing a fully immersed environment, complete with windows, doors, railing, pathway stones and much more, a small piece of Walt’s original park now has a twin in Riverdale Utah. With incredible attention to detail, railroad locomotive engineer Travis Larson hand crafted his basement creation. The entire 600 square foot Fantasyland basement is estimated to have cost around $5000 to build and has been under construction since 2008. While not all the finishing touches have been completed, Travis says it took about 3-4 years to achieve its present appearance.
In addition to attention to picture perfect detail (with a few scale adjustments to accommodate space limitations), ambient audio and attraction queue music were also installed. Stand near the entrances to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride or Snow White’s Scary Adventures and familiar Fantasyland music greets the ears. Travis even recorded background crowd sounds which now emit from speaker soon to be hidden behind a few plants.
“Audio: Disney excels at telling a story and sometimes it is in less obvious ways. Queue music begins that storytelling while the guest is standing in line. I have the queue music for Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and Snow White’s Scary adventures, the area music for the Village Haus Restaraunt and crowd sounds taken from a video I recorded years ago right near the carousel.” –Larzland (YouTube)
Natural Born Talent
All of the textured walls, faux stone archways, area lamps and attraction entrances were hand fabricated by Travis. In his YouTube video, which also reveals what hides behind the various walls (hint: bedrooms, storage and workshop areas) viewers learn that all of the talents tapped to create this Fantasyland basement are techniques that were easily self-taught.
“I don’t know how I learned to do any of this, it’s just kind of comes naturally. I kind of compare it to someone that can play an instrument or is really good at sports, just naturally this kind of stuff just comes relatively easy to me.” – Travis Larson
Fans of themed environments or aspiring at home imagineers will want to subscribe to Travis’ YouTube channel, “Larzland,” as tutorial videos unveil the construction process and techniques. Additional how-to clips are promised. Additional images of the Fantasyland basement construction process pepper his Facebook page.