10 Historic Facts About Disneyland’s Matterhorn Bobsleds

Steeped in history and the thrill of adventure, the Matterhorn Bobsleds is an iconic landmark within Disneyland. This ride, a testament to innovation and creativity, soars 147 feet into the sky. Its snowy peak is reminiscent of the real-life Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps. Opening on June 14, 1959, the Matterhorn Bobsleds offers guests an exhilarating journey through icy caverns. It speeds down the mountainside, blending storytelling and roller coaster technology to create a unique experience.

The Matterhorn Bobsleds was the world’s first tubular steel continuous-track roller coaster inspired by Walt Disney’s travels to Switzerland. It pioneered a design that has since become a standard in roller coaster construction worldwide. From a charming mountain village at its base, guests board a bobsled and ascend, only to encounter the legendary Abominable Snowman. From there, they embark on a thrilling descent down the mountain.

With its thrilling twists and turns, surprising encounters, and breathtaking design, the Matterhorn Bobsleds represents the spirit of Disneyland. The Matterhorn enhances the place where imagination rules and dreams, both big and small, come true daily.

Here are 10 historical facts about Disneyland’s Matterhorn Bobsleds

First of its Kind

The Matterhorn Bobsleds, which opened on June 14, 1959, was the world’s first tubular steel continuous-track roller coaster. This design has since become standard for roller coasters around the globe.

Inspiration

The ride is based on the Matterhorn, a real mountain in the Alps on the border between Switzerland and Italy. Walt Disney was inspired to include a version of the Matterhorn in Disneyland after visiting Switzerland while filming “Third Man on the Mountain.”

Mountain Construction

The mountain structure, standing 147 feet tall, was built from 2,175 steel girders, 500 tons of concrete, and 2,000 gallons of paint.

Basketball Court

A half-court basketball court inside the Matterhorn at the top level is put in as a place for the mountain climbers to relax. The area is not a full-sized court and is more for amusement than serious games.

First Climbing Event

The first “scaling” of the Matterhorn was done for its grand opening in 1959. Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy participated in the climbing event.

Ride Updates

The ride received major updates in 1978 and 2012. The 1978 update added the Abominable Snowman and the Tinker Bell flight track for use in firework shows, while the 2012 update included new, single-file seating in the bobsleds and updated animatronics.

Mountain Climbers. For many years, Disneyland employed mountain climbers to scale the mountain as part of the park’s entertainment. The climbers were first introduced in 1959 and sporadically appeared on the mountain until 2006.

Skyway Connection

The Matterhorn used to have a hole through it for the Skyway, a gondola lift attraction, which traveled through the mountain from Tomorrowland to Fantasyland. When the Skyway closed in 1994, the holes were partially filled in but are still visible.

Two Separate Tracks

The Matterhorn Bobsleds has two separate tracks, each offering a slightly different ride. Although the two tracks parallel each other and are mostly identical, the Fantasyland track is a bit longer and faster than the Tomorrowland track.

Abominable Snowman

The Abominable Snowman (nicknamed Harold) who makes appearances throughout the ride was only sometimes part of the Matterhorn experience. He was added during the 1978 renovation to give the ride a little more thrill.

Conclusion

The Matterhorn Bobsleds, an iconic attraction in Disneyland, continues to thrill and captivate visitors with its exhilarating journey down a snowy, Alpine mountain, even after more than six decades since its inception. Of course, as the world’s first tubular steel continuous track roller coaster, it serves as a historic testament to the innovation and creativity that Walt Disney brought to his theme parks, forever influencing roller coaster design globally.

Finally, from the intriguing encounter with the legendary Abominable Snowman to the suspenseful twists and turns down the mountainside, the ride offers an unforgettable experience that brilliantly encapsulates Disney’s passion for storytelling and adventure. In essence, the Matterhorn Bobsleds stands as a symbol of Disney’s vision and the enduring magic that Disneyland continues to offer its guests—a testament to the timelessness of immersive and imaginative experiences in the Happiest Place on Earth.

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