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.
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.
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.
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.
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: