Whenever I’m at Disneyland in California, there are two rides I must do right away – Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and Matterhorn Bobsleds. Once past the turnstiles and down Main Street U.S.A. it’s a flip of a coin to see which one I’m going to make the first ride of the day.
As far as favorites go, while Mr. Toad is classic and perhaps the only ride in the history of theme parks to take you through the fiery depths of Hell, Matterhorn Bobsleds, located between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, is my Disneyland crush.
Designed to resemble the famous Matterhorn mountain in the Alps, the ride opened in June 1959 and was the world’s first steel roller coaster. On the outside, the mountain features snow-capped peaks and waterfalls that fill a pond that you splash into at the end of the ride.
The ride vehicles themselves resemble bobsleds. Two sleds are connected to each other with each holding 3 people. Once your seatbelt is fastened, you’re off on one of two tracks that run next to each other for much of the ride.
The Tomorrowland Track is 2,134 feet long while the Fantasyland Track is 2,037 feet long. The ride lasts a little over two minutes, but riders on the Tomorrowland Track get an additional 19 seconds of ride time. Max ride speed is a whopping 27 mph.
Once out of the station, the bobsleds enter the mountain and travel up a 147-foot lift-hill and are greeted by none other than the Abominable Snowman who lives in the mountain. While not part of the ride when it originally debuted, he was added during a refurbishment in 1978.
When the bobsled is free of the lift-hill, it’s pretty much using its own momentum to careen in and out of the tunnels carved into the mountain. As you go through, old Abominable makes a few more appearances including two giant animatronics of the elusive creature. The ride ends with that splashdown I talked about earlier which serves two purposes. The water cools the bobsleds braking system and acts as a brake to slow down the ride vehicle before it returns to the station.
Now, let’s talk about the ride experience for a moment. Matterhorn is old. Even tho it’s gone under a bunch of refurbishments since its debut, the track itself is still the original. It’s rough. You get tossed around quite a bit and anyone with back or neck problems should probably stay away.
For as rough as it is, it’s fun!
It’s one of those Disneyland classics that never gets old and part of its charm is in its feel.
While Matterhorn Bobsleds was never rolled out to any other Disney park, it’s closest cousin is Space Mountain at Walt Disney World in Orlando. The Magic Kingdom roller coaster is based on Matterhorn’s design but is not a duplicate.
While the wait can sometimes be lengthy, as of April 2017 FastPass and MaxPass is now available.
Check out this 4K HD front row video I took on one of my adventures on the icy slopes of the Matterhorn and let me know if this ride is one of your favorites as well!