Let's go on a sledding adventure through the caves and icy slopes of the Matterhorn! During this secret history of Matterhorn Bobsleds, we'll learn about the changes this classic Disneyland coaster went through from its first day of operation to present day. So grab some gloves and maybe even a ski mask to get ready for our own snow journey in the Swiss Alps! Remain seated please; Permanecer sentados por favor!
The Secret History of Matterhorn Bobsleds
Did you know that where Matterhorn Bobsleds sits today was actually a large pile of dirt at first? During the construction of Disneyland Park, the dirt that was dug out from around Sleeping Beauty Castle was piled up between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. The "mountain" was nicknamed Holiday Hill! Walt Disney covered the hill with snow, added some toboggans and named it Snow Hill. However, he wanted to do something even greater with the hillI, and the rise of mouse-style roller coasters led to the idea of a toboggan-style roller coaster!
Walt Disney recently visited Switzerland to film the 1959 film "Third Man on the Mountain" and fell in love with the beauty of the Matterhorn mountain. So the design of Matterhorn Bobsleds was inspired by the real Swiss Alps! The Disneyland coaster—which opened June 14, 1959—was the first tubular steel roller coaster to ever exist.
When Matterhorn Bobsleds first debuted, the mountain was actually covered in tons of holes. This was due to the Skyway that traveled through the Matterhorn, carrying guests from Tomorrowland to Fantasyland. Throughout the years, holes were filled in, changing the appearance of Matterhorn. In 1978, the roller coaster went through significant changes, including the addition of Yeti scenes. The bobsleds were replaced by two-car, eight-passenger bobsleds, and the open interior of the mountain changed to tunnels of ice caves.
Does Matterhorn Bobsleds reside in Fantasyland or Tomorrowland, you ask? It's moved back and forth between the two! Well, the roller coaster never actually "moved;" it was part of Tomorrowland when it first opened but was officially declared a Fantasyland ride in 1972.
Matterhorn Bobsleds Fun Facts
- Disneyland's Matterhorn is 147-feet tall, making it exactly 100 times shorter than the real 14,700-foot Matterhorn!
- Matterhorn Bobsleds was the first thrill ride in Disneyland. In fact, it was the first roller coaster built by Arrow Development.
- More than 800 gallons of paint were used to create a realistic look of heavy snowfall on the original Matterhorn!
- What's the yeti's name? Harold.
- Throughout the years, climbers have appeared during the day to scale the mountain, including Mickey Mouse!
- Some other changes made throughout refurbishments of Matterhorn Bobsleds include the addition of more pine trees and glass beads to the mountain's snow to create a glistening look.
- Matterhorn Bobsleds is unique to Disneyland Park; you won't find another Matterhorn at any other Disney park!
- According to Yesterland.com, the attraction paid tribute to the accomplished mountain climber, Frank Wells.
What's your favorite thing about Matterhorn Bobsleds? Let us know in the comments below! Don't forget to check out our Matterhorn Bobsleds wait times and more.