Model trains, Disneyland and Minecraft

In 1996 when I was 13 years old my family moved from a small town in Kansas to a small city in Nebraska. Once we moved there  discovered a department store that had a toy section that included a model train area. Between that and the model of he town on the film Beetlejuice I became interested in model trains.

Recently I learned that Walt Disney’s obsession with model trains is what inspired him to begin development of Disneyland. My own interest in model trains is what helped me develop a fondness for Sim City which in turn blossomed into my current strong interest in Minecraft.

It’s not much of a secret that the way I prefer to play Minecraft is to develop my own model towns. Complete with, you guessed it, trains. Okay Minecraft doesn’t actually include trains as a realistic option. However, it is possible to create a reasonable railroad look-a-like using mine carts, gravel and rails. The biggest downside is how time consuming world building can be in a game that requires a person to lay one square at a time, brick by brick.

Okay, so model train and the town building that goes along with it is also time consuming. However not brick by brick, square by square. The real difference is that in model train layout building you assemble model buildings one complete wall at a time. Now it occurred to me  that in model train layout buildings you don’t really build the interiors, it would be difficult to glue miniature furniture and the like together on that scale.

This was when I realized that building towns in Minecraft didn’t have to be so time consuming if a person only focused on building the exteriors instead of decorating the buildings insides. The main reason this revelation became important to me was how much time I spent going through each building, placing beds building couches, book shelves and entire kitchen appliances. I finally decided if in physical model train building you only build the exteriors and then populate it with dressings like plants and animals.

The other day I was at Target and I picked up a Time magazine devoted to the history and development of Disneyland. During the course of reading the articles I learned Walt Disney himself was even more obsessed with model trains than me. His obsession lead him to building life-size miniature trains and buildings on a full scale in his own backyard. His wife learned that he was never going to be satisfied with building these towns on such a small scale so she pushed him into realizing his dream by developing a full sized theme park. The rest is basically history.

There was a time not that long ago when I had contemplated the idea of buying a piece of land and creating my own miniature town using easily to assemble buildings that I could dress up. This plan of mine is what started my journey into the world of Minecraft in the first place. I set out to create a version of that plan in a way that it would work within the structure of the game. Sadly, not too long ago I ended up losing my game save. All the work I had invested into this idea was lost. At the time I did have everything backed up a cloud save tied to my PS Plus account. I haven’t paid for my PS Plus account since January so I don’t even know if those cloud saves are even safe.

It’s kind of interesting learning about having something in common with one of the most famous men in Hollywood. Nonetheless it’s only been 1 week since I left my apartment behind and I am already experiencing what could be described as “Minecraft withdrawals” I do have the mobile version on my phone, it’s not quite the same. I am not torn between just hooking up my PS4 or seeing if I can purchase a copy of the game on either the Nintendo Switch, or the PC version for my laptop.

I already have the game on the Wii U but that console wasn’t nearly as portable as originally promised. I know the Switch version is supposed to be inferior to the PS4 version but also superior to the Wii U version. The only real reason I am leaning towards that version over the best version, the limitless PC game, is because the Nintendo specific stuff is too tempting. In fact the only reason I even have the Nintendo Wii U version is because of the Nintendo exclusive features. Truth be told it didn’t take very long for me to get bored with that version. Mostly due to the fact the worlds I can create in the PS4 version was vastly larger than those possible on the Wii U. There was also the fact I had already spent so much time building up worlds in the PS4 version. Now, of course, with having lost all of my saves it doesn’t matter as much which version I play considering I will be basically starting from scratch.

I had a lot of things I wanted to say about the Disneyland magazine. I think I might spend some more time digesting all of the information contained within before I dig into it further. At this point in time it’s been longer than I wanted since my last feature article. I figured this was as good a time as any to put something down. I guess they say you never know where inspiration is going to come from. I was thinking about the boring old small towns in the Midwest I used to pass through. At no point in my life would I have ever guessed that setting would have been inspiration for the most famous theme park in the world. If you think about it, you never know where great ideas will come from.

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Stephanie Bri

A transgender writer who also does podcasts and videos. If you like my writing please consider helping me survive. You can support me directly by giving money to my paypal: If you prefer CashApp my handle is @Stephaniebri22. Also feel free to donate to my Patreon. I know it's largely podcast-centric but every little bit helps. Find it by going to, Thank you.

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