One of the park’s earliest roller coasters and the first of its type, the Matterhorn bobsleds are an iconic part of Disneyland history. The imposing mountain dominates the central landscape of the park using forced perspective to appear larger than life and domineering, it is impossible to miss. But is this aging piece of ride technology still worth riding? Or is this one to skip for better rides? We took a ride to find out for our Matterhorn Bobsleds Review!
- Location – Disneyland Park – Fantasyland
- Type – Steel Toboggan Coaster
- Duration – 2-2:30 Mins
- Height Restriction – 42 In
- Average Queue time – 10mins – 40 Mins
- Genie+ – YES
- Single Rider – YES
- Additional Info – Oldest Tubular Steel Coaster in the world, Quite Rough
What is the Matterhorn Bobsleds?
The Bobsled ride is a great example of the imagination and ingenuity of the original park founders. The Site was originally a waste ground for excavations at other parts of the park and was just a large mound of dirt. Walt didn’t see a mound of dirt he saw a snowcapped mountain with toboggans running down the slopes.
So work was carried out to turn the mountain of earth into Walt’s vision and a top-of-the-range tubular steel coaster was built into the sides of a replica Matterhorn, the infamous swiss mountain.
The Ride has two tracks and the Bobsledds race down the tracks, We say race but the outcome is always the same with the Fantasyland track being a good 100 meters shorter and the Tomorrow land tracking taking nearly 20 seconds longer. We prefer the Tomorrowland Track, but there is not a lot in it.
The Ride cars are replica bobsleds and set 3 people in a single file with two cars adjoined making for six in total. The ride tops out at 27mph and is themed with abdominal snowman animatronics with visual and sound effects to make the experience more authentic. This is a very old ride but has undergone many makeovers in recent years and the mountain looks spectacular complete with real climbers and a sparkling snow cap. The effects are pretty good after the refurbs and make for a fun experience.
The Queue line has been extended and winds around a replica swiss village. It’s a bit dull and forgetful but the looming specter of the mountain and the constant screams from the riders make it a passable experience.
The ride is one of the few that has a single Rider Queue and this works quite well so take advantage of this if you are not fussed about sitting together. It also works well if someone in the group wants to sit out maybe as they have a bad back or just don’t like being jarred about!
The Ride itself starts with the only lift hill as the two cars are lifted up through the dark interior of the mountain. Visual and Sound Effects announce the impending arrival of the abnormal snowman as tensions rise for the drop. Once out of the cave the ride works its way down the mountain passing in and out of the mountainside, with turns dips, and rises along the way. At multiple points, you are confronted with animatronic Yeti that “attacks” the ride.
The ride is not particularly fast or thrilling. This is really old tech and it feels it. The ride is ultra clunky and jarring, at points so violent you are amazed the thing stays on the track. There are really very few redeeming features from a ride perspective, the water splash at the end is a welcome thrill but more welcome is the fact that it ushers in the end of the ride.
We love the concept of the Matterhorn bobsleds. The notion conjures up images of bobsleds gliding effortlessly down glassy ice shoots, but the reality is a violent trundle down an aging track with very little going on but the next impending slam. You can hear on the video my actual moans and groans as the ride bangs and crashes down the slope. To the point, some editing was needed on the sound to remove some unavoidable cursing!
Disneyland is an old park and some of the classic rides have had their day as far as tech goes but there is often something charming about them that transcends this. These older rides are the reason we like so many others love Disneyland. But when the actual ride is just so bad, as is the case with the bobsleds, no amount of theming is going to make up for it. The Snowman effects are pretty cool on the lift hill, just teasing his presence, and the animatronic attack comes from nowhere and is quite surprising, but it’s not enough when the next minute you and the car are nearly flung from the track by a violent stall turn!
We love the Matterhorn it’s an iconic part of the part and is splendid in all its snowcapped glory but the ride is just not up to it. While we love the fact it’s a classic 60-year-old ride, we think a good ride will be a good ride no matter how old, but a bad one doesn’t become good just because you call it classic. We never rode the Bobsleds when they were new…as we were not born. But we think maybe they were pretty bad back then too.
Of course, they are still worth a ride, as long as you have no back/neck/muscular issues but we would not queue much more than 15mins and wouldn’t waste a fast pass on them. If the queue is long, we would look elsewhere.
Have Your Say
We are sure there must be people out there who love the Matterhorn bobsleds. Not everyone is as averse to rough rides as we are. And the ride is aimed at being more fun than thrilling, but for us, fun is not having the proverbial kicked through you. But if we have just spent the last 10mins trashing your favorite ride, be sure to let us have it in the comments! Maybe you have it even more than us, or maybe you have very fond childhood memories of the ride? Whatever you have to say we would love to hear from you in the comments.