June 1959 – present
When the park first opened, the ground that had been hollowed out for the castle moat was piled to the right of the castle. This area was dubbed Holiday Hill/Lookout Mountain, and was a picnic area for guests with benches and walking paths. A few years later, Walt started to envision a snowy toboggan ride for this area, and was upset with the hill’s frequent use as a “lovers lane” for many park guests. Walt Disney Pictures was filming Third Man on the Mountain around this time, and the beautiful Swiss setting gave both Walt and his Imagineers the perfect setting for the toboggans. Just four years after the Opening Day, the Matterhorn Bobsleds made their debut, and have only stopped for brief refurbishments since.
- Single Rider Line – yes
- Fast Pass – yes
- Height Requirement – 42″ (107 cm)
- Duration – 2:10 (Tomorrowland side), 2:20 (Fantasyland side)
Park guests load into toboggans and climb the interior ice caves of Matterhorn Mountain. Just as a chill and the echo of falling ice fall upon riders, the bobsleds take off in a race down the mountain. The sleds weave in and out of the Matterhorn, swerving around waterfalls, icicles, and Harold the Yeti! Finally, the ride down the mountain ends with a splash in the river, and guests offload safely at the base of the Matterhorn.
MY RATING – ★★★★☆
The Matterhorn is a must, especially for first-time visitors. The interior is an interesting combination of eerie and beautiful, and the ferocious yeti (Harold) pops up periodically to scare away visitors. Matterhorn toboggans are fast, turning through the caverns and along the exterior cliffs. And if you visit the Matterhorn after dark, the outside turns offer cool views of the park’s lights.
But riders beware – it can hurt! The track is extremely jerky and you get thrown side to side quite a bit in your car. However, if you lean forward a little bit and brace against sharp turns, you can lessen the banging and spare yourself a few bruises.
There are two different tracks within the Matterhorn. The Tomorrowland track (on the left) is slightly shorter, and is a little bit more of a thrill ride. The Fantasyland track (on the right) is a little longer and a little more scenic. Both sides are pretty much the same, but if you are more interested in the views than the thrills, pick the right side.
If you make use of the single rider line, there is no bad time to ride the Matterhorn. Go up to the loading area, when the line splits for the two different tracks, and ask a cast member if you can go single rider. You will be escorted to the front of the line with a single rider card.
However, if you want to ride as a group, the wait can get lengthy. I recommend visiting either first thing in the morning, or during parades. People tend to stake out spots for the parade and the Matterhorn lines generally go down during this time. If the line still seems outrageous during a parade, wait until dinnertime. As it gets dark, Fantasyland lines start to recede, and the Matterhorn is really cool at night.
The Matterhorn is built on a 1/100 scale to the real Matterhorn Mountain, located in the Swiss Alps.
Disneyland is the only Disney park with the Matterhorn, although Disney World in Orlando has a similar ride: Expedition Everest.
The Matterhorn was the first tubular steel roller coaster in the world.
When Disneyland had its Skyway, a lift that would carry passengers from Tomorrowland to Fantasyland, the path took guests through the inside of Matterhorn Mountain.
From its opening in 1959 until 1972, the Matterhorn was listed as a Tomorrowland attraction. But since 1973, it has been listed as a Fantasyland attraction.
In 2015, the Matterhorn underwent an extensive refurbishment and enhancement. The ride now includes crashed Skyway cars, and Harold the Yeti has become much more aggressive in his pursuit of passing bobsleds.