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10 Fun Facts About the Matterhorn Bobsleds in Disneyland

Updated on March 13, 2012

One of my favorite rides at Anaheim's Disneyland theme park is the Matterhorn Bobsleds- a two track roller coaster that weaves through an artificial re-creation of the Matterhorn. Aside from being a huge fan of roller coasters, I love anything associated with the Alps... and think that the Matterhorn Bobsled's uniforms are Disneyland's cutest uniforms by FAR.

My latest visit to Disneyland inspired me to do a bit of background research on this iconic ride. As it happens, the Matterhorn Bobsleds has quite the interesting backstory! Here are my ten favorite Matterhorn facts. Here's hoping we both find ourselves whizzing down this roller coaster someday soon!

About the Actual Matterhorn

The Matterhorn is an actual mountain in the Alps that lies on the border between Italy and Switzerland. It first became really famous in 1865 when a team of men led by Edward Whymper made it to the summit... and then experienced disaster (and the death of four men in the party) upon descent. Walt Disney visited this area and was inspired by what he saw- hence the Disneyland reproduction... though there’s more to it than that.

The Origins of the Matterhorn Bobsleds

Before the Matterhorn existed, there was, in its place, was a pile of dirt, which resulted from the excavation of the moat of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. They decided to call this area Holiday Hill and embellished it with benches and paths to make it a sort of picnic area (though it actually became more of a lover’s lane, which the Disney folk didn’t exactly approve it). Originally, Disney wanted to turn the hill into build a toboggan ride on this hill using real snow, but that idea was quickly shot down. They decided, instead, to build a toboggan-themed roller coaster ride on the site.

Innovative Design

The Matterhorn (which made its debut in June of 1959) is the world’s first tubular steel roller coaster. It has two tracks- one referred to as the Fantasyland Track and the other referred to as the Tomorrowland track.

A Crafty Illusion!

The Matterhorn utilized forced perspective to seem larger than it actually is. Trees situated at its base are smaller than trees located higher up, which makes them seem farther away.

Evocative Developments

The mountain was originally hollow inside; the tunnels were added in the 1970s and add more realism to the ride.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Buckle up. Seriously. The two tracks feeding into the base of the mountain
Buckle up. Seriously.
Buckle up. Seriously.
The two tracks feeding into the base of the mountain
The two tracks feeding into the base of the mountain

Death on the Matterhorn Bobsleds

Two people have died on the Matterhorn. The first casualty was in 1964; the second took place 20 years later. Both are said to be a result of not buckling up, so... make sure you listen to Jack Wagner, the voice of Disneyland, and “remain seated with for seat belts fastened, keeping your arms, feet, and legs inside the bobsled.”

The Abominable Snowman... or SnowMEN!

There are actually three of these on the ride (in addition to a pair of scary red eyes that appear in the lift). They were also added to the ride later for a more theatrical effect.

The Skyway Goes Bye Bye

Before the Matterhorn existed, a ride called the Skyway used to go through the area, and the mountain was constructed, in part, to conceal one of its large supports. The Skyway continued to travel through the mountain until it was closed in 1994.

What about you?

Have you ridden Disneyland's Matterhorn Bobsleds before?

See results

Highly Useful Splash Down Pools

On the ride, you’ll splash through a couple of pools. In addition to be exciting, these pools also help to act as brakes, and cool down the cars’ braking fins.

The Matterhorn... Basketball Court?

A basketball half court used to exist beneath the mountain as a recreational brake area for climbers who make an appearance on the side of the mountain. It was taken down in 2001, but there is still a cast member break room inside the mountain.


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    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      This is interesting, Simone. Real fascinating to know the history of that ride. Voted up!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Not at all, Daisy! It's quite fun.

    • profile image

      daisy 5 years ago

      is it scary??!?

    • leros003 profile image

      leros003 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      This ride is amazing! I work over at WDW, the closest thing we have to the Matterhorn is Space Mountain,but Expedition Everest is supposed to be similar ish :)

    • howardyoung profile image

      Howard Young 5 years ago from California

      The Skyway cables still come out of the side of the Mt. Maybe they'll bring the ride back sometime in the future.

      The backboard and hoop are still there based on footage recorded during the 2012 reconstruction.

    • Heather Says profile image

      Heather Rode 5 years ago from Buckeye, Arizona

      I love the matterhorn! We're leaving for Disney tomorrow and sadly the bobsleds are closed until summertime. The new cars look pretty neat, although I'll miss the old ones. Lots of great info! Great video too! ;)

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 5 years ago from Peru, South America

      I'm also a rollercoaster lover and rode the Matterhorn bobsled for the first time about 20 years ago. This is a fun hub and I love your video and the footage of the ride! Voted up and awesome!

    • Nare Anthony profile image

      Nare Gevorgyan 5 years ago

      Wow, I love the video so much! :)

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Simone,

      I have actually gotten to see the actual Matterhorn in Switzerland...not the one in Disneyland. However, after riding the scary roller coaster ride in Disney World...I think that I have taken my last roller coaster ride! No more sweaty palms and palpitating heart...that I am actually PAYING for!...on my account! :)

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi simone, loved your video as always!

      I would love to try this ride - Disneyland here I come, maybe one day, I hope.....

      Voting up/awesome

    • Bigpayno profile image

      Bigpayno 5 years ago from Indianapolis, Indiana

      We went to Disneyland last year and unfortunately, I didn't get to ride the Matterhorn because I was coming off of back surgery. I'm sure we'll go back sometime though.

    • leahlefler profile image

      Leah Lefler 5 years ago from Western New York

      I absolutely love that ride - I can't wait to visit family in California again to take our boys on the Matterhorn. They're redesigning the bobsleds - they'll have a different seating arrangement (if I remember correctly, there will be 3 people per sled, with individual seats for each person).

      I miss the skyway - I always looked forward to riding it as a kid. I miss the People Mover and the short-lived Rocket Rods, too! I wonder if they're ever going to put something back on that track again?

    • Outbound Dan profile image

      Dan Human 5 years ago from Niagara Falls, NY

      I must say that snowmen of the Abominable version are scarier than those of the Frosty variety. It would be cool to show up for the ride clad in mountaineering garb, crampons, ice axe and all. Disney probably has some sort of regulations about that though - metal detectors are the bane of my existence. Anyway, cool hub with awesome facts.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 5 years ago from California Gold Country

      I rode it a few times. I always liked the skyway, too, and was disappointed when they took that down. Thanks for the memories.

    • profile image

      Poetic Fool 5 years ago

      Simone, one of my co-workers has been a part-time ride operator on the Matterhorn for 20 years. After work he changes into his lederhosen costume before heading to Disneyland. He has told some pretty wild stories over the years! There are so many little known facts about Disneyland you can only learn from someone who has worked there. Thanks for sharing this fun and interesting hub!

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 5 years ago from Escondido, CA

      :) that was fun. :) An 'E' ticket ride for sure! Very entertaining, informational, and offering an nostalgic ride experience. A '72 high school grad (oops) we had what was called grad night at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. The park stayed open from mid-evening until morning and we got the run of the park with our dates and friends. There is an unbelievable story about that night and the Matterhorn ride (mummmms the word) :)

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I remember the Matterhorn. I loved this ride. Had to stop and think how long ago it was .... ah ... 1973. Always enjoy your video hubs and this one was great!