Monday, March 12, 2012

Ride Review: What is the Matterhorn?

For anyone who has never been to Disneyland, the Matterhorn may be a foreign concept. The actual Matterhorn is one of the largest mountains in the Alps and it sits on the border between Switzerland and Italy. In 1959, Walt Disney and his company released a movie titled Third Man on the Mountain. For any live action Disney fans it features James MacArthur who was also seen in Swiss Family Robinson and Kidnapped as well as Janet Munro who also starred in Darby O’Gill and the Little People and Swiss Family Robinson.

Guests familiar with the Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California, will recognize the term Matterhorn from the Matterhorn Bobsleds ride in Fantasyland. This mountain structure is 147 feet and is exactly 100 times shorter than its European inspiration. There are waterfalls
visible from the ground. At different points during the day, guests are able to see mountain climbers working their way up the side of the mountain. If you keep watch, you might even be able to see Mickey Mouse attempting this climb.

The Matterhorn Bobsleds ride was the first roller coaster at Disneyland and the first tubular steel roller coaster in the world. The ride is about five minutes long and takes you quickly through the mountain past different scenes including that of the snow monster who dwells in the mountain.
The ride has some similar features to the rides that came after it including Big Thunder Mountain and Expedition Everest. The bobsleds are similar in design to the rockets from Space Mountain.

There are two tracks and two different lines for this ride. During the busy season, both lines
will operate separately. When the park is less crowded there is only one side of the ride operating. If the length of the lines is equivalent, pick the side closer to Fantasyland (not Tomorrowland) for a slightly longer and curvier ride.

The Matterhorn has been closed since early January and will remain closed through mid-June for both external and internal renovations. The ride will be getting a new fleet of bobsleds which will include lap bars instead of seatbelts.

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