Disneyland hits refresh button on Matterhorn


Matterhorn Bobsleds, one of Disneyland’s oldest and most popular rides, is nearing the end of a much needed renovation.

Closed since January, the ride is scheduled to reopen June 15  — 

More snow has been added to the Matterhorn mountainside. Photo by James Meier

its 53rd anniversary and the same date that Disney is unveiling its new Cars Land at California Adventure.

When I was at Disneyland in February, the mountain was hidden behind scaffolding.

The scaffolding was removed a few weeks ago and one of our senior editors texted me a photo of the mountain in its freshly painted state that includes more snow.

Then Disney released a 2.5-minute video in which one of the Imagineers explains the renovation process, that began with a study of the real Matterhorn mountain in Switzerland.

They came back and repainted it according to how actual snow patterns would occur  —  more snow on the northern side than the southern.  They also added some glass beads to enhance the reflection, making the snow glisten in the sunlight.

Passengers will be seated in new, slightly wider “bobsleds.” Two bobsleds will still be linked together, allowing for a total of six riders.

In keeping with tradition, Disneyland promises the climbers who have traditionally scaled the mountain will return when it reopens next month.

I’m told the the legendary abominable snowman is still there, ready to scare up a few screams from any unsuspecting riders, but sporting a new fur coat. Hey, even an abominable snowman needs a wardrobe makeover every now and then.

When it first opened on June 15, 1959, the Matterhorn Bobsleds was the first tubular steel roller coaster in the world.

Walt created the ride after falling in love with the real  Matterhorn in Switzerland while filming the 1959

Disneyland's Matterhorn Bobsleds ride is scheduled to reopen June 15 following a major makeover that includes new "bobsleds." Photo by James Meier

live-action film, “Third Man on the Mountain.”

I remember when my grandmother would take us to Disneyland, always looking for the snow-capped 147-foot-tall  Matterhorn, which could be seen from Interstate 5  — a sure indication we were just minutes away from The Happiest Place on Earth.

I love this ride. It holds a lot of memories of Disneyland visits with my family, and I can’t wait for it to reopen.