Matterhorn Bobsleds

Matterhorn Bobsleds is a pair of interconnected steel roller coasters located in Anaheim, California, at Disneyland. It is based on the Matterhorn, a mountain in the Alps that separates Switzerland and Italy. It is the first roller coaster with a tubular steel track. It uses forced perspective to appear larger and is located on the boundary between Tomorrowland and Fantasyland.

The attraction

The ride is made up of two different tracks that run fairly parallel to one other for the most of the trip until tangling and eventually diverging at the loading areas. They are the Fantasyland and Tomorrowland tracks, named for the mountain sides where their loading lines begin. Originally, the vehicles could seat up to four passengers in a single row. The individual vehicles were united into pairs after the 1978 refurbishment, with lap seating boosting the capacity per train to eight. As part of a six-month ride closure in 2012, the cars were replaced with new vehicles, and it now contains two cars coupled together with three single-file seats per car. A automobile seat belt serves as the safety restraint. Hand grips are still available within the cars, but not on the exterior of the bobsled. The car’s padding is limited, and the winding course contains several hairpin turns, resulting in a bone-shaking experience reminiscent of a toboggan ride.

Each course has a single lift hill. At the start of the ride, bobsleds ascend parallel to each other, ascending through walls with snow-like special effects. The highest point of the trip is at the top of this lift hill, though the mountain continues higher for several more levels. The remainder of the ride is a mostly unpowered journey through the Matterhorn’s numerous caverns and passageways.

The splash-down ponds located at the end of each track serve two functions. The impact into the water not only cools the braking pads located on the underside of the bobsleds, but it also works as a braking mechanism. The fiberglass bodies are waxed on a regular basis due to their continual exposure to water.

A basketball half-court stood for many years inside the structure above the coaster, near the summit of the mountain, where mountain climbers could play between climbs. The court was only accessible to climbers because internal access to the mountain was shut for safety concerns. The court was significantly relocated prior to the 50th anniversary celebration with the installation of the Tinkerbell flight equipment; the hoop and playing surface remain intact. At the base of the mountain, there is a cast member break room. Many cast members and mountain climbers claim that the court still exists today.

Guests hear the now-famous “Remain seated please; Permanecer sentados por favor” safety announcement at the end of the attraction; it is one of many recordings by the old “Voice of Disneyland,” Jack Wagner. In 2005, the recording was altered to say “Please remain seated with your seat belt fastened; Permanecer sentados.” The modified English language is still in Jack Wagner’s voice, as it was taken from the attraction’s breakdown announcement. The Tomorrowland part of the “Remember… Dreams Come True” fireworks extravaganza is also introduced in this tape. The safety statement was featured in the title track of No Doubt’s 1995 album Tragic Kingdom, and Barbie said it in the film Toy Story 2.

Orange County Electrician

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