Matterhorn Bobsleds reopens at Disneyland with enhanced Yeti effects, mountain climbers, and single (but small) seats

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

matterhorn-2

After six months of downtime for updates, Disneyland recently reopened its iconic Matterhorn Bobsleds attraction. The classic ride looks and sounds better than ever, with updated lighting and sound effects for its famous abominable snowmen and a welcome back to the tradition of mountain climbers scaling its freshly repainted terrain.

But its new ride vehicles have been the hot topic since the attraction closed for refurbishment in January 2012, replacing the decades-old, two-to-a-seat configuration with individual seats. Now that the new cars have debuted, many riders have found them to be a bit too cramped for comfort.

The video below takes you on a full ride on the left and right sides of the Matterhorn Bobsleds, fresh from refurbishment, also offering a closer look at the new ride vehicles and the mountain climbers.


Video: Full ride on both sides of the updated Matterhorn Bobsleds


To the tune of yodelers and plenty of polka, Disneyland makes a big deal about the mountain climbers who are once again ascending and descending the mountain, accompanied by the voice of Disneyland, Bill Rogers, periodically updating guests on their “progress.” The occasional daily event commands the attention of everyone around the mountain.

Matterhorn Bobsleds 2012 update

Matterhorn Bobsleds 2012 update

Matterhorn Bobsleds 2012 update

Distant growls of the Yetis within the icy caverns of the Matterhorn can also be heard throughout the surrounding area, louder than ever, piquing the curiosity of those who have never dared to come face to face with the menacing creature. Colorful lighting and strobe lights compliment these roars while on the ride, all combining to give guests a good startle when rounding a corner toward one of these fearsome beasts.

To do so now requires stepping aboard the updated bobsled vehicles. Similar in appearance and configuration to those in Space Mountain at Walt Disney World in Orlando, the new vehicles no longer require guests to seat in each other’s laps, sharing a seatbelt. Instead, each guest gets their own seat, with signs posted indicating the change.

Matterhorn Bobsleds 2012 update

But many who have ridden since the ride reopened (myself included) have discovered the new seats to be small, not so much in width but more in length, leaving very little leg room. The trains have two cars, each holding 3 passengers. The front seats of each of these cars have no room for riders to stretch their legs, instead requiring knees to remain bent and legs quite upright. Those in the rear two seats of each car will enjoy a bit more leg room, though the foot holes are also tiny, making it difficult to squeeze into and out of.

Matterhorn Bobsleds 2012 update

Matterhorn Bobsleds 2012 update

Moreover, the new vehicles do not provide any additional cushion or shock absorption over the previous ones, so the Matterhorn Bobsleds retains its signature (and not appreciated by all) bumpy ride. As seen in the video above, the ride certainly jerks passengers around, particularly in the back seat, which some thrill seekers will appreciate, while others will leave unsatisfied.

Guests may not have to wait long to try out the new cars though, as the best addition to the Matterhorn Bobsleds is the Single Rider line. Those who don’t mind riding separately from their friends and family a chance to board with little to no waiting, though it will take a bit of searching to find the proper entrance to this new line among the winding queue rows.

Matterhorn Bobsleds 2012 update

With the return of this classic attraction, those brave enough to conquer the new Matterhorn Bobsleds will be rewarded with a ride through Disneyland history, albeit a bumpy one, featuring frequent face-offs with those famous Yetis within. You might not return without a backache, but it’ll be worth it.

More photos from the Matterhorn Bobsleds:

28 Comments

  1. While the seats may be less than comfortable, the mountain and mountain interior look better than ever. I can’t wait to go catch a ride on the new Matterhorn Bobsleds.

    Oh, Ricky, did you ever send me those improved pictures for the interview post. Also, I would love to have you link to the interview on your about page or in a podcast.

  2. Matt

    One quibble: Guests didn’t share a seatbelt in the old bobsleds. If you sat in the lap of someone else, the first person put their seatbelt on and then you put your own seatbelt on too. Now of course, the new bobsled seats are one person, one seatbelt.

    1. Ricky Brigante

      You’re right, my memory of the previous cars failed me there. But the lap seating is definitely gone and the new seat belts are tight.

  3. Carolyn

    It does look good! Funny, all I kept thinking was “ow, ow, ow, ow” – but I know I’ll still ride it. Oddly, while watching the video I caught a ‘memory whiff’ of the smells of the matterhorn (similar to PoC smell) – power of memory, no? :)

  4. Doug

    I’m pretty short – 5′ 7″ – but I find the front seat in the WDW Space Mountain cars to be very cramped. I assume these new Matterhorn cars have a similar feel. Still, I prefer the one seat per person configuration, so I can tolerate the small space for the duration of the ride.

  5. Dan

    The new configuration was just too uncomfortable for me. I had to get out of the bobsled, it was just too painful with my long legs. I was really looking forward to the updates.

  6. Gigi

    What about small children riding along with? Before the height requirement was 36″, if its seperated seating, can my 3yr old child still ride with me????

    1. Diana

      As for Gigi’s question – I believe that the new height requirement is 42″.
      As for the new seating, I didn’t care for it. We had four people in our party and I missed sitting all together in two cars. We were there July 30/31. My niece’s first visit and my take on it is simply “If it ain’t broke why fix it? I understand updating but this three seat deal is not conducive to a foursome! I’m born & raised in So Cal & have been enjoying Disneyland since my own childhood. I love how some things remain the same and others get better but this change in seating was a bummer. Also, any chance of bringing back the People Mover?
      Could be such a cool, retro & relaxing ride. The tracks are still there. Anyone else think it’s a great idea?

  7. Diana

    Oops! I just read my reply to Gigi & realized I said I missed being in two cars with four people. Of course I meant one car. And I didn’t mean to imply we didn’t have fun and that the Matterhorn didn’t look great. We did & it does.
    Seats were cramped though – for us long legged folks.

  8. 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 legs 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.

    1. Laurie

      It was so uncomfortable on my tailbone that I will not ride it again. Could not wait to get off. Bummer because it is pretty cool.

    2. gary

      Do you think that if the seats were raised a bit it might help with the leg room and the awkward ride position? I really like the ride, but when I get off I can barely walk ( not kidding )

  9. BanS

    Totally lame. I have great memories of riding the Matterhorn with my girlfriend as a Jr. High and Highschooler. How are you suppose to cop a feel if there’s no more lap seating?

  10. What a disappointment! I’m 6’1″ and I was so cramped that within 30seconds I knew I would never ride it again. It was a miserable experience. Don’t the engineers realize Americans are getting bigger, not smaller.

  11. marh

    Just got back from DLand. OMH, the new bobsleds are HORRIBLE. Talk about giving your tailbone a beating! It is still rickety, but the original boblseds weren’t as hard on the tail bone as now. My back hurt the whole day after riding this gawd-awful ride. Holy Cow, this ride hurts like crazy now. Never again.

  12. MaxS.

    Personally, I do not understand why most of the bumpy rides at WDW don’t have more padding in the seat areas, especially the sides. On Dinosaur (Dinoland in AKP) is quite bumpy, and doesn’t even have a front bar to hold on to. After seeing your video, I would be very hesitant to ride the new Matterhorn Bobsleds, as I have knee problems; I’d be nervous that my knees would actually be injured in these seats.

  13. Leon

    I wish the matter horn bobsled was in located in Disney World in Orlando, Florida where I am from. Will ever be a possiblity that Disney in Orlando will ever get this attraction?

  14. Steph

    Wow, I’m really glad I’m not the only person who found the Matterhorn Bobsleds seating to be extremely uncomfortable! I sat down in the last seat of the car and immediately felt a sharp, cramp-like tinge of pain — like a pinched nerve? — on my right hip as I tried to find room for my legs in those tiny holes. I’m only 5’6″ with average-length legs, and I’m not old or infirm at 34 years old, but it was so awkward trying to get situated. I was in a LOT of pain and almost considered asking them to let me out before the ride began but I figured it would be more hassle than it was worth. I endured the one ride but the pinched nerve in my hip hurt me for two DAYS afterward. I am gunshy now and doubt I’ll ever get on it again as long as they have these seats, which is sad because I actually liked the ride as a whole.

    1. Rebecca

      I too thought the Matterhorn was way too uncomfortable! I’m short (5’4″) and my legs were cramped! I was seated in the last seat this time around and like previous comments, it’s hard getting in and especially out from that awkward position. Im 38 and felt elderly for a second because I got a leg cramp halfway through the ride! Ha once we got off I said ” my leg hurts” and my cousin said ” my knee!” haha we sure aren’t teenagers anymore! A fun ride but use caution!

  15. I do agree with all of the ideas you have presented in your post.

    They’re very convincing and will definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are very quick
    for starters. May you please lengthen them a bit from subsequent time?
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  16. Jayne

    It sure leaves a lot of people out now, as most people– guys especially– are taller than 5′ 4″ to 5’6″. Also leg length is a problem. My husband is 6’1″ and average leg length with a few extra pounds, but not overweight– and it is simply too cramped for him. I am 5’3″ and it is plenty tight for me.

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  19. Hilary

    Hey guys!!!
    I am a Disneyland Master, and I have just riden all the new attractions here at Disneyland. Matterhorn is better than ever, the best sound effects and best yeti, and Haunted Mansion is also amazing featuring new characters!! Be sure to visit disneyland over the summer, or even in winter. Each season has some new features,parades and fireworks!! If y have anymore questions, visit me at hohohilary@gmail.com,
    Thanks Guys,
    -Unknown (sorry, can’t in post my real name because I am a Disney master)

  20. gary

    The matterhorn bobsleds is a great ride. The seats are absolutely horrible. Judging by all the other comments I’m not alone. I’m 6’3″ and a big guy,but it looks like some people a lot smaller than me are having problems with this ride ( leg cramps, pinched nerves ). I don’t know what exactly can be done to fix this problem, but something clearly needs to change. Maybe raising the seat up off the floor a bit could help. Come on Imagineers,help us out. Matterhorn bobsleds needs help, it’s way too cool of a ride to cause so many people pain.

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