Tucker Bohman loves to make people smile. And recently, he had an opportunity to create a lot of smiles — more than 12 million, to be exact.
Bohman, who lives in Stansbury Park, regularly posts photos of his son, Beckham, in Disney costumes under the name “Toy Story Dad.” On Sept. 27, while he and his family were at Mickey’s Halloween Party in Disneyland, Bohman shared a video of his son in costume as Slinky Dog from the Toy Story franchise. The costume includes two parts: a head and tail, with a slinky in between. One-year-old Beckham acted as the front half, while his young cousin Audrey played the tail.
Bohman wrote in the post, “When we decided to go to Mickey’s Halloween Party at @Disneyland as Toy Story characters, I knew immediately that I wanted the babies to be Slinky Dog! It took several months of brainstorming and planning to bring my vision to life. Thanks to all of the family who helped us figure out how to pull it off!”
The video, which was posted on Facebook and Instagram, went viral in a matter of hours. Not long after Bohman uploaded it at 2:06 p.m., it garnered 100,000 views and many Facebook “shares.” However, the Bohman family had no idea how far it would go.
“I have a pretty good following … (and) I’m pretty well-known, at least in the Disney community,” Bohman said. “When I first put it up, it was doing good but not extreme. But it (the views) just kept going up on Instagram … (and) Facebook.”
At 4:33 p.m., Bohman’s post was shared by Memo Aponte Mille, a Mexican voice actor who did the voice of Nemo in the Spanish translation of “Finding Nemo.” The actor commented on the video, “El mejor disfraz de la vida (The best costume of life),” earning 168,000 views, 6,300 “likes” and 1,952 “shares.”
Within an hour, the number of views on Bohman’s original Facebook post had tripled, and the numbers kept increasing. As the video went viral, Bohman began to receive numerous messages from people who wanted to share it.
“I went to bed, woke up, and I had emails and messages up the wazoo from people who wanted to buy the licensing rights to the video,” Bohman said. “The questions kept coming in and I said, ‘it’s fine with me if you share (the video) as long as I can keep the licensing rights.’”
On Facebook, the video has now reached 12 million views, 160,000 shares, and 90,000 comments from people all over the world. It has more than 323,000 views on Instagram.
The response exceeded all of Bohman’s expectations.
“When I set it up, I knew it was going to be my best video,” he said. “But … I didn’t think it’d be that big.”
In addition to getting requests for the video, Bohman received numerous interview requests from national news outlets. Less than a week after the Slinky Dog video, Bohman interviewed with a producer from ABC’s “Good Morning America” television show. The resulting story was published online on Oct. 3. In addition, the online entertainment news source Popsugar has published at least two articles about Beckham’s Disney costume line.
But despite his moments of fame as Toy Story Dad, for Bohman, dressing up his son in costume has never been about views or shares. At its core, he and his wife Rachel have one simple desire: to bring others joy.
In fact, when Bohman first proposed his idea to post photos of their newborn son on social media, Rachel was hesitant.
“I did not want my baby out in the world,” she said. “That’s what made me nervous (at first).”
As a result, Bohman posted infrequently, once a week or less. But after a family trip to Disneyland last December, things changed.
Beckham was only a few months old at the time. The Bohmans had dressed him in a Woody onesie, and people in the park kept stopping them to ask if they could take his picture. Bohman would go into the bathroom to change Beckham’s diaper and when he came out, there would be a crowd of people waiting for him.
“People were just loving it,” Rachel Bohman said. “I thought, ‘OK, he makes people happy.’”
Bohman added, “Seeing how much it made people smile, how it was just a positive thing, my wife and I decided we were going to start pursuing it more than once a week or whenever we felt like it, but try to post every day.”
The magic of Disney has been part of the Bohmans’ lives for as long as they’ve both been alive. Bohman’s favorite movie was “Toy Story.” However, whereas today he goes to Disneyland about every two months, he only remembers going to Disneyland once when he was growing up.
“I went as a little kid for a few hours,” he said. “My wife was more into Disney than I ever was and I guess she converted me.”
The couple met in Tooele High School. Bohman’s parents moved his family to Tooele in 2006, at the beginning of his sophomore year, but it wasn’t until their senior year that the two became friends. Bohman wrote in a recent blog post commemorating their five-year anniversary:
“At the beginning of our senior year, we were both called to be on a committee called Seminary Council. In our church, Seminary is a class high school students can take to learn more about our religion and about the scriptures. So we were both on the Seminary Council where we got to help plan fun activities and events for our fellow Seminary students. On the first day we had a council meeting and I saw this girl walk up and I remember thinking ‘wow, that girl is beautiful.’ That is when my crush on Rach officially began.”
Bohman was shy and had a hard time talking to Rachel at first, but they saw each other often in group settings. Knowing how much Rachel loved Disney, Bohman also set up regular Disney movie nights.
After high school graduation, the two ended up at the same college, Southern Utah University. Moving to a new place forced Bohman out of his comfort zone, which allowed Rachel to get to know him better.
“I already knew he was sweet and kind and a great guy,” Rachel Bohman wrote in the blog post, “but when he started to actually talk around me, I realized he was funny! I got to know him better and better and that’s when I started falling for him.”
The two began dating seriously, then broke up right before Bohman left on a two-year religious mission in Lima, Peru. They wrote one another letters throughout his service, and the year after he returned, they were married in the Salt Lake Temple.
While Bohman was serving in Peru, Rachel started a small collection of Toy Story items. When she became pregnant with Beckham, their gender reveal adapted the movie’s logo to the words “Boy Story.”
That was the beginning of Bohman’s idea to start “Toy Story Dad,” and he doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. Each day this month, he will post a new photo of Beckham as a Disney villain in a series called “Hamm’s Happy Haunts.”
“It’s cool to see that something you created is making people smile all around the world, literally on every continent,” Bohman said.