How a Tampa man turned his home right into a Disney shrine

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Bruce Michaud lives in a quiet, deed-restricted neighborhood. Muscovy geese plod via manicured lawns, previous houses with impartial paint and American flags swinging within the breeze. The outside of his grey home blends in with the remaining.

You’ll by no means suspect the Disney explosion inside.

Michaud opened the door, extending an arm lined in a Tower of Terror tattoo. His different limbs have been encased in additional Disney ink: a House Mountain automotive on the entrance of his left leg, together with Angelina Jolie’s mug as Maleficent on his calf.

Behind him, 4 mannequins decked out in Haunted Mansion uniforms stood sentry within the entrance corridor. The refrain of “It’s a Small World” performed over loudspeakers.

Almost each room is lovingly adorned with its personal Disney theme. That is what occurs while you hold onto a childhood dream lengthy sufficient to bankroll it.

“It took me like 10 years,” mentioned Michaud, 59, with fun.

Michaud grew up on fantasy, spending hours watching the “Fantastic World of Disney” in his Stamford, Connecticut, dwelling. When he was a child, his household drove all the way down to Florida for the grand opening of Disney World.

“I used to be into the design work, into the element work, the little bricks they put in entrance of the Haunted Mansion,” he mentioned. “I believed at the moment, ‘If I ever get my very own home, I’m going to design it like Disney,’” he mentioned.

After Michaud’s father was transferred to North Tampa, their household began taking common journeys to the parks. Later, Michaud obtained jobs working for the Mouse: In a Disney name heart, as a safety guard and driving the buses. He even did some designing and Imagineering. And on the finish of every work day, he watched the evening present at Magic Kingdom.

“Working at Disney was the best factor,” he mentioned.

He was making sufficient to purchase a home in North Tampa, however his first spouse didn’t share his imaginative and prescient for residing Disney.

“The entire home was white and I couldn’t paint a wall,” he mentioned.

They divorced a decade in the past. He obtained on a stepladder and began DIYing the day she moved out.

Michaud doesn’t have a home or automotive fee. He has lived on this 1,600 square-foot dwelling for greater than 30 years. Again then, he paid about $80,000 to construct it (It’s price roughly half 1,000,000 now.) There are three bedrooms, plus an workplace and two loos. Most are full of memorabilia, replicas and costumes.

His second spouse, Barbara, rolled her eyes however let him run wild. She’s a guide and travels loads, which supplies him a whole lot of time alone to hatch his plans.

“It’s sort of just like the odd couple,” he mentioned. “She’s not precisely working round with Mickey Mouse ears on.”

Michaud cooks in a retro kitchen impressed by the Carousel of Progress in Tomorrowland. Blue mild strips and mid-century pendants illuminate previous theme park menus and a signed picture of Walt himself. Teal home equipment, from a juke field to a gum-ball machine, add to the kitsch issue.

Subsequent is the lounge, a hybrid of “The Mummy” and “Indiana Jones” with a splash of different films thrown in. A “Jurassic Park” dinosaur head bursts from the wall whereas a tall Egyptian god statue lurks on the opposite facet of his tv. Within the heart of the room, Michaud proudly shows his coffin-shaped espresso desk. The lid flips open to disclose a purple storage cavity stuffed with coupes and wine bottles. He was impressed by the Haunted Mansion trip.

You’ll be able to exit via a glass sliding door to the “Jungle Cruise”-themed yard, engulfed in palms and a tall trellis of jasmine. Or flip down the “Bates Motel”-inspired hallway, full with bloody gashes within the wall. Michaud was very excited to indicate off the one room the place he confirmed restraint.

“I obtained one thing regular for you!” Michaud mentioned. “A traditional toilet!”

On the opposite facet of the home, the master suite and bathtub are a unique story, impressed by his favourite swashbuckling movie. Johnny Depp’s kohl-smeared Jack Sparrow stare is blown up and plastered instantly going through his mattress. Michaud created a 3D impact with wooden planks surrounding the actor.

“Once I die and somebody will get it, they’re going to should sand all this off,” he mentioned. “I destroyed this home.”

The grasp bathtub is a cultured tackle the franchise. Dangling pendants seem like rum bottles. The mirror is round, framed to seem like a porthole.

A number of the design work he did himself, impressed by theme park trip queues and executed with wallpaper and spackle. He employed Eva Nesbitt at WoodWorks Kitchen & Bathtub Designs in Odessa for the grasp bathtub and his kitchen.

“The very first thing he requested us was, ‘Are you an annual go holder?’” Nesbitt mentioned.

Michaud was laid off when the pandemic shuttered theme parks. The additional time — and the stimulus checks — impressed him to complete his dwelling. Plus individuals wanted money quick, and plenty of fans have been determined to dump their treasures.

“As quickly because the plague occurred, I purchased out each collector within the nation,” he mentioned. “You couldn’t go to Disney, so I figured I’d simply do it right here. My trip for the final two years has been in my home.”

His workplace, a pointy proper flip from his Haunted Mansion-themed entryway, holds a few of his favourite gadgets. Platinum report plaques for the “Vehicles,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” and “The Little Mermaid” soundtracks. Framed footage autographed by Tim Allen and Johnny Depp. A chair from the Haunted Mansion trip, which he sits on whereas he works on the desk. He’s particularly happy with the inexperienced Disneyland turnstile, which dates again to when Walt Disney would have been alive.

“That will be one thing he went via, or no less than would have checked the numbers,” he mentioned.

Among the many free weights and washer in his storage, Michaud shops extra collectables that he plans to promote. Although the economic system remains to be in a wierd spot, he’s began to see massive income on the gadgets he purchased beginning in 2020. His spouse lastly began to return round to his obsession when she noticed him promote $6,000 price of stuff for $37,000. It’s good cash, however he nonetheless drives the trams at Busch Gardens on the weekend for additional money.

Michaud has no plans to provide excursions to the general public. He doesn’t wish to promote the home anytime quickly, despite the fact that he mentioned he obtained affords from Common, Disney and Busch Gardens. For now, he’s greater than content material to remain at dwelling, within the fantasy he’s created.

In spite of everything, he nonetheless has to complete the “Alice in Wonderland” spare room.