With the cost of flights, gas, and tickets-- a trip to Disneyland can really add up! That being said, you can save some green and visit Disneyland without making the trip out to California by simply driving 2 hours east over to Hamtramck, MI.

A yard folk-art project by Dmytro Szylak, the "Hamtramck Disneyland" is so famous it even has it's own Wikipedia page! Spanning 1,945 square feet, the art installation occupies a 30-foot backyard and sits atop two garages in a small residential neighborhood on Michigan's east side.

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Who Is Dmytro Szylak?

The art installation was built by Ukranian immigrant Dmytro Szylak who upon retiring from a nearly 30-year career at General Motors, decided he needed a hobby. Construction of Szylak's Disneyland began in 1992 at the property he owned at 12087 Klinger Street in Hamtramck.

If Szylak was looking for a hobby, he sure found a great way to occupy his time! Dmytro continued to work on his art installation for nearly 30 years and kept making updates and modifying the installation up until his death in 2015 at 92 years of age!

Who Owns Disneyland Now?

After his passing, the future of the Hamtramck Disneyland was in limbo. The community which had grown to love and appreciate Mr. Szylak's eccentricities was determined to protect and preserve the art and in 2016 the Hatch Art group took over ownership and bought the estate, which included the art installation, two garages, and a house located on the property, for $100,000.

Hatch Art has continued to maintain the site with the intention of honoring, "Dmytro Szylak’s work by keeping the future of the installation as lively as he did in the past." There are now 4 apartments located within the home which are rented out to off-set the cost of maintenance, with one apartment designated for a local Hatch artist-in-residence.

Szylak's Legacy

Hamtramck Disneyland is the subject of two documentaries and in 2006 photographer Bruce Weber did a photoshoot with model Kate Moss at the site for Women's Wear magazine. Says Hatch Art, "thousands of visitors from all over the world have made Hamtramck Disneyland one of their stops.' This art installation is a must-see destination whenever you are visiting nearby Detroit.

How amazing is it that we have this iconic piece of Americana in practically our own backyard? When visiting Hamtramk Disneyland the art piece is viewable from the alleyway between Sobieski and Klinger north of Commor and south of Carpenter.

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