Things You Might Not Know About the Matterhorn at Disneyland Resort

Erin Glover

by , Director, Publicity, Walt Disney Animation Studios

Matterhorn at Disneyland Resort

Winter is here, and some of you may be hearing the swish-swish of skis sliding down a snow-covered mountain – even if only in your head. Here at the Disneyland Resort, we’ve got our own mountain range, of course, which started with the Matterhorn. Here are some things you might not know about this monument to Alpine adventure:

  • A Disneyland icon since 1959, the Matterhorn was part of the first major expansion to take place at Disneyland park since the park’s debut in 1955. The Matterhorn Bobsleds attraction opened on June 14, 1959, along with the Disneyland Monorail and the Submarine Voyage.
  • The Matterhorn Bobsleds was the first roller coaster in the world to employ a tubular steel track and an electronic dispatch system which enabled more than one car at a time to be on the track.
  • The Disneyland Matterhorn was built to 1/100th scale of the original Matterhorn, or 147 feet versus the 14,700 feet of the original.
  • The Matterhorn has been the highest point in Disneyland park since 1959. It is the second-highest point in the Disneyland Resort, behind the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney California Adventure park which stands 183 feet tall.
  • The attraction was inspired by the live-action Disney adventure film, “Third Man on the Mountain,” which starred James MacArthur and Michael Rennie as mountaineers. The movie was filmed in Switzerland, on and around the real Matterhorn.
  • Guests who look quickly while whizzing through the Matterhorn caverns may spot mountaineering supplies and other evidence of the “Wells Expedition.” These scenic details are a tribute to the late Frank Wells, who was president and Chief Operating Officer of The Walt Disney Company from 1984 until his death in 1994. Wells was an experienced mountain climber and skier.


  • From what I’ve heard the Bobsled cars are getting changed out for newer & safer bobsleds.

    The new bobsleds will separate the guests so they sit individually, instead of tandem. Similar to the newer Splash Mountain logs.

    This is particularly disappointing to my wife as one of her favorite parts of Matterhorn is me getting to wrap my arms around her for the ride!

  • It’s going to be down for almost 6 months I believe.

  • And # 11 being that The Matterhoen is one of the coolest attractions (with Walt history) in all of the Disney Theme Parks!!

  • So is there any official word on how long the Matterhorn will be down? Also I read a scary rumor that when the new cars go in that the height requirement to ride will go to 52″… I am pleading for this to NOT be true. I have a son with special needs for whom the Matterhorn is his absolute favorite thing on earth. He lives for it & if suddenly he cannot go on it because of a height requirement he will be devastated. 🙁

  • Another unknown fact!
    Disney once had the concept to build a Switzerland pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase, which would have featured it’s own Matterhorn ride themed after the Swiss Alps!

  • There’s also a single basketball hoop in the mountain that the climbers use on breaks.

  • Well, the only things that are changing are the installation of state-of-the-art bobsleds. As far as I know, everything else is staying the same. Just a new coat of paint, upgraded sound system, and various other refurbishments.

  • Fred – Refurbishment in January?! My 3yo will be devastated! We’re new APers and my 3yo just started riding it. He is obsessed! When not at the park he watches videos on youtube about it. 🙂 Thanks for the heads up!

  • That Frank Wells reference is awesome, and I love the fact that the Matterhorn was the world’s first tubular steel rollar coaster

    Just so everyone knows, the Matterhorn bobsleds are scheduled to go down for refurbishment starting on January 9 2012.

  • I Absolutely LOVE the Matterhorn! It’s a 1950’s roller coaster, but it is one of the funnest attractions in the park! Never change it! It is perfect how it is!

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