New Matterhorn Bobsleds vehicles offer lap bars, individual seats at Disneyland

in Disney, Disneyland, Disneyland Resort, Entertainment, Theme Parks


Many guests attending the recent 2011 D23 Expo were disappointed to find the popular Matterhorn Bobsleds roller coaster at Disneyland closed for the weekend, but Disney has a good reason for this temporary shutdown. Today the new ride vehicles were spotted on the track featuring changes to the classic seating arrangements that have been present at this attraction for decades.

The new vehicles not only feature an updated paint job and design, but also individual seats and seat backs. Guests riding in these vehicles are no longer required to sit two to a seat, with one straddling the other. Likewise, seat belts are being replaced with lap bars. Take a look (and click to enlarge):

(Thanks to Tiffany for the photos!)

In the second photo above, you can see one of the “old” style vehicles next to one of the new ones. Note the differences in the seating.

The update to these new Matterhorn Bobsleds vehicles is similar to what happened at Walt Disney World’s Space Mountain many years ago, when that attraction switched to lap bars and individual seats. It should offer a more comfortable (though less intimate) ride than the classic vehicles. The Matterhorn Bobsleds is scheduled to reopen on September 2.

UPDATE (8/30/11): The Matterhorn Bobsleds reopened a couple days early today, still running the old ride vehicles. It seems the vehicles spotted above were another part of a long series of tests. It’s now said that the attraction may once again close in January, remaining closed for several months while the new cars are installed.


  1. Even though they are cool, I will miss the old sleds. This was the first roller coaster for each of my kids (when they were 3 or 4 ish). The very low height restriction is what made that possible, and I felt safe taking them on because I could hold them and cover their eyes for the scary parts 😉 Now my son will probably have to wait…

  2. While I will greatly miss the old sleds (hard core nostalgia), I will certainly be happier to not get off the ride with a horribly stiff neck–I always tense up so that my head doesn’t flop around and smack my boyfriend in the face with the back of my skull. Makes for a rather uncomfortable ride!

  3. Sure hope this doesn’t mean they raise the height restriction. It was so nice to be able to ride Matterhorn with my kids before they were 40″ and tall enough for Space Mountain/Big Thunder.

  4. grunter

    Here’s hoping those individual seats are roomier than the ones for the cars on Space Mountain. I generally skip Space Mountain these days, since to ride all squashed up in those tiny, tiny Space Mountain seats makes me very, very uncomfortable.

  5. I LOVE the new bobsleds! I hope they’ll be up and running after this refurb so we can ride it in October!! :0)

  6. di

    i agree, i have memories of riding with my dad, and i was looking forward to do it with my son…i think hes going to have to wait, again…

  7. These are awesome. We’ll be there in October so we hope to ride these soon too.

  8. A. Hin

    Sure glad I got my 3 y.o. girl to ride Matterhorn on the last day before refurb. She now has bragging rights to being part of the old school Matterhorn sleds.

    1. Joanna

      Why????? The old ones are terrible. The new ones would be better than the old ones.

      1. Anonymous

        No, the new ones suck. If you are taller than 5’7″ and have any kind of width to you, you cannot fit. I rode it once and that is the last time me, my family, and most of my friends will ride it. My legs did not fit at all and my arms had no where to go. I also felt like my head was going to smash into the bar in front of me and that I would either be flung from the ride or be hit by something. I had horrible back pain when I got out. This was a terrible idea.

        1. Karin

          I agree, hate the new Matterhorn, and I’m only 5’5″. Many people have expressed the same sentiment. Big mistake.

          1. Eric

            I like the new sleds. Much more comfortable than the old ones where I used to get a kink in my neck. But I’m glad that some don’t like it; less of a line for me and my family who enjoy the new sleds!

  9. John

    The paint job looks terrific too.

    So the capacity went from 4 riders per car to 3, but seats might actually help capacity, this way 3 strangers can ride in one vehicle whereas before 3 strangers would only mean 2 per car.

    Interesting. I definitely will miss being able to wrap my arms around my special lady, glad I was able to take her on at least once in my life. Good memories.

  10. CJ

    I’m disappointed. I LOVED the old ones.

  11. atlanticjem

    The first time I went on the Matterhorn (in 2008) I was terrified. And I thought ‘you’ve got to be kidding me…this is the 21st century and they still have leather belts you can unbuckle???’ And the girl I was with was no help when she told me how a friend of her’s managed to ride it once without her belt on. Plus, it was extremely awkward climbing into a seat with her. I can remember when I was little going on Star Tours, where the Cast Member always had the lit up board showing which belts weren’t fastened and not being able to unbuckle them till a button was pushed at the end when it was safe. And that was the 80’s! Until I read other people’s comments, I saw no reason for the bobsleds to not be updated. I’m very much for nostalgia, but even that doesn’t help me since I didn’t even know the Matterhorn existed till ’08 when I first went to Disneyland. As much as I appreciate other people’s history with the attraction and love taking their kids on it, I’m very much for the new sleds. I’m terrified of the old ones, and I would be 10 times more terrified to take my kids on them with those worn out old straps held together by a buckle that seems too easy to snap. I was under the impression as a child that all theme park safety restraints were computerized or reinforced mechanically from the outside of the vehicles and prevented people from undoing them mid-ride. I felt safe that way. The Matterhorn may be mild for a roller coaster. But to me it’s always been an equal or higher risk to ride than a major roller coaster because of the safety implications. The main thing I don’t like about the new bobsleds is the fact that they look even less like actual bobsleds than the old ones. The old ones are so far off that I didn’t even realize that was the idea the first time I rode one. The newer ones look nice, but in that respect are far worse.

    1. anon

      too much talk, not enough research. who says that “computerized” restraints don’t malfunction either?? they’re just as risky as wearing a leather seatbelt. those belts are manufactured the same way seatbelts are created for your own damn cars!! the only way that those restraints become “unsafe” is when idiots like your girl friend detaches the buckle willingly and puts herself in a scary situation. that is the ONLY reason the matterhorn is getting new sleds. because of stupid people.. like your girl friend.

  12. Jenny

    I just wish it wouldn’t close for so long! I went twice during the past summer, once in June and another in August and both times, this ride was closed. I was so disappointed. I hope when I go during December, it’ll be open…

  13. Lisa

    I am excited.. Its about time… They hurt my knees.. so I am thrilled..

  14. Justin

    There will not be lap bars I can assure you :) and yes the height requirement will be raised for safety concerns and single rider will be there too. As for extra room on the bobsled, sadly no but if you require extra room due to disability, a handycap bobsled will be available :) I am an imagineer and have permission to give such information. On the brighter side be sure to check out the new and improved Abominal Snowman when it reopens as well as a newly painted Matterhorn to resemble the 1959 version of the attraction. Will the ride be more comfortable? In my opinion, yes :) I hope this answers all your questions

    1. Sandy

      More comfortable – sorry Justin I have to disagree. They are worse. I rode this only once in August becuase of how sore I was afterward. Sorry – I love most of the improvements Disney makes – but they failed on this one in my opinion.

      1. Anonymous

        As I said above

        “No, the new ones suck. If you are taller than 5’7″ and have any kind of width to you, you cannot fit. I rode it once and that is the last time me, my family, and most of my friends will ride it. My legs did not fit at all and my arms had no where to go. I also felt like my head was going to smash into the bar in front of me and that I would either be flung from the ride or be hit by something. I had horrible back pain when I got out. This was a terrible idea.”

        So I am with Sandy on this one.

  15. Justin

    Oh I forgot, there will still be seatbelts but they will be similar to the ones used on star tours and indy

  16. Noreen

    Well here is a review from a recent rider of this new refurbished Matterhorn. The seats are not more comfortable, the capacity per double bobsled is reduced from 8 possible riders to 6 individual seats. And the ride is WORSE. I started the ride reclining, but half way through had to grab the bars and pull myself away from the back of the seat to avoid injury. I then smacked my elbow on a curve, so I tucked my elbows in at my side. Then to add to my injuries, I pulled a muscle going around another curve. I am sorry to say that I will NEVER ride Matterhorn again, unless they refurbish it and there are resounding positive reviews. I had heard before I rode that it would be bumpier, but was not prepared for just how much so.

    1. Sandy

      I have to agree with Noreen. This was one of my family’s favorite rides and now we can’t stand going on it. The old bobsleds had some padding on the bottom and your back but these have none. I was sore after I got off the ride and had trouble getting out.
      My daughter who only weighs 115 pounds said she was sore due to no padding. The location of where the handles are horrible. If you are a short person you have to grab onto the handles that are more behind you for kids because if not you have to reach forward to grab onto the handles that seem to be meant for someone who is at least 6ft tall. Sadly – this is a ride that we no longer will go on unless they fix the sleds.

      1. Anonymous

        You are actually worse off if you are tall. It is impossible to fit. I assure you I had just as many problems. I’m 6’3″ and I was very uncomfortable. I will not be riding again.

  17. Craig

    The new bobsleds are designed so that your feet are level with your derriere. This takes all the weight off your feet and legs and puts all the pressure on the derriere, or more specifically, on your tailbone. Additionally, the new seats have very little padding. Throughout the ride, I found myself pushing my arms and feet against the bobsled so that I could lift and relieve the pressure on the tailbone. It is an extremely awkward and painfully uncomfortable experience. Matterhorn has always been a more rugged ride than Space Mountain. I never minded that in the past, in fact, I enjoyed it. However, and I can’t believe I’m even saying this, I may not ride again unless the bobsleds are improved. I love the Matterhorn and will sadly miss it.

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