Monday, March 26, 2012
The Matterhorn Bobsled is one of the iconic rides at Disneyland. Matterhorn Mountain was built in 1959 and is a scale model of the real Matterhorn Mountain in Switzerland. Walt Disney decided that he wanted the Matterhorn in the middle of his park while in Switzerland filming the movie “Last Man on the Mountain”.
At first it was just a mountain in the middle of the park and had the added benefit of hiding the 3rd pole of the Sky Way Ride. While designing the mountain, Walt came with up with the bright idea of putting a bobsled ride in the mountain.
Because of the space limit inside the mountain the Imagineers questioned Walt’s wisdom at first. The standard coaster design of the 1950s and earlier could not make sharp turns. Walt told his people to figure out how to make it work and they came up with the idea of tubular steel tracks.
Over the years the bobsleds have been changed to make it safer. The Matterhorn is shut down and has been since mid January for a major refurbishment and to change to new ride bobsleds. Sadly the ride will be shut down until sometime in June.
Here is a look at the new bobsleds as show in diagrams from the BlueSky Cellar at DCA. As you can see no longer can two people sit in one seat and cuddle as they ride. (DARN) In the old bobsleds the seatbelt could be unlocked at any time during the ride. The new bobsleds seatbelt will no longer work on the honor system and will stay locked until the ride comes to a stop at the end.
I’m glad that they are doing the major refurbishment of the old girl. It was time to paint the outside and clean up the effects and show elements inside. Still I’m sad to see the old bobsleds go where you could cuddle up as you rode. Gone are the days when a parent could hold a child riding the ride for the first time to make them less afraid. Still if it makes it safer it is a way to go.
If you are planning a visit to the park before mid June be aware the Matterhorn will not be running. If you are planning a visit after look forward to the changes and let me know what you think of the differences.