Celebrating 60 years of magic, the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration includes enhancements to the iconic Matterhorn. We visited the park and took an amazing video of the Matterhorn ride. Even if you can’t visit soon you can still experience this revved up attraction!
Disneyland Resort’s New Yeti
After months shrouded behind construction walls, the new and improved Matterhorn ride finally reopened on May 22 at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. The revamp was unveiled in conjunction with the park’s 60th Diamond Anniversary Celebration.
The first is just an ominous glimpse. The ride’s initial uphill climb features a brand new icy wall of video screens where riders hear the Yeti growl and see him peeking out as he lurks near the bobsleds. This new facet provides an element of anticipation never before experienced on the old Matterhorn.
Next comes another new feature to the ride; the bobsleds whiz past the wreckage of an earlier mountain exhibition gone terribly wrong. (Interesting new Disney factoid: the wreckage includes one of the Matterhorn’s old sleds, mangled and wrecked).
Face to Face with the Yeti
Then riders come face to face with the brand new Yeti. Featuring a wide range of body motion and detailed facial movement, the animatronic Yeti reaches toward the sleds as they speed past. This attack-mode effect is far more immersive than the old version, and far more exciting!
The Yeti appears one final time near the end of the ride, again roaring and lunging at the passengers.
The overall vibe of the newer, scarier Matterhorn is a more intense experience, in the spirit of Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida.
The track itself remains unchanged, as do the bobsled cars. But these new enhancements add tremendous excitement to what was already one of Disneyland’s most thrilling rides.
Check out this video, shot by my son on our Panasonic A500. This wearable camera provides an amazing POV shot, and it is waterproof, too, which made that final splash down at the end of the ride worry-free!
Expect a long line if you visit Disneyland Resort during peak times, but it moves fairly quickly. There is no FastPass option for the Matterhorn.
History of Matterhorn
Disneyland’s Matterhorn Bobsleds ride is modeled after the real Matterhorn, a mountain in the Swiss Alps. It is a fast-paced roller coaster composed of two sets of intertwining steel tracks. (The two tracks are almost identical but the left side is a little bit longer and a little bit rougher.) Originally opened in 1959, the Matterhorn was the first “tubular steel continuous track roller coaster” ever constructed.
More Disney trivia for you:
1) The Matterhorn was the first roller coaster in North America to have linked cars.
2) The Matterhorn at Disneyland is 1/100th the size of the actual Matterhorn mountain in the Swiss Alps.
The Abominable Yeti
The Abominable Snowman – or Yeti – was added to the ride in 1978. Legend has it that Walt Disney had always dreamed of adding a Yeti, but his vision did not come to fruition until nearly 20 years after the ride opened.
In 2012, the Matterhorn underwent a major renovation and was closed for several months. This included repainting and restructuring parts of the mountain’s façade. This was also the first time the Matterhorn was completely covered in scaffolding since its initial construction in the 1950s.
The Matterhorn received new bobsled cars at this time – the ones currently still in use – replacing the original car design where two people sat together with the front rider positioned between the back rider’s legs. The new cars feature a modernized one-rider-per-seat design.
Now, with the completion of this latest revamp in 2015, the scare factor on Disneyland’s Matterhorn has been clicked up a few notches. Instead of just riding past the Yeti, this new animatronic, more ferocious and mobile Yeti makes riders feel like they are being chased.
And that takes this ride to a whole other level.