The Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland Park is one of the most iconic and popular rollercoaster rides in the park. Opened in 1959, this was Disneyland’s first tubular steel continuous track rollercoaster and it remains a must-ride attraction for thrill-seekers today. In this review, we’ll go over the ride details, history, design, and best times to ride.
Average Wait Times: Wait times for the Matterhorn Bobsleds can vary throughout the day, with peak times typically occurring during midday and early evening. On average, visitors can expect to wait anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the season and day of the week. Disney’s Genie+ and Lightning Lane may help lower wait times.
Height Requirements: To embark on the Matterhorn Bobsleds adventure, guests must meet a minimum height requirement of 42 inches (106 cm). This ensures a safe and enjoyable experience for riders.
Single Rider: For guests seeking a faster entry, the Matterhorn Bobsleds offer a Single Rider line. This option allows individual riders or those willing to experience the ride separately to expedite their entrance. The Single Rider line can be a strategic choice to minimize wait times if you don’t mind riding separately from your group.
Ride Duration: The Matterhorn Bobsleds offer a thrilling ride experience that lasts approximately 2 minutes.
Rider Switch: Families with young children who do not meet the height requirement can utilize the Rider Switch service. This service enables one adult to wait with the non-riding child while the rest of the party enjoys the attraction. After the first group has completed the ride, the waiting adult and up to two additional guests can use the Rider Switch pass to bypass the regular line.
Disability Access Services (DAS): The Disability Access Service (DAS) is available for individuals whose disabilities prevent them from waiting in a traditional queue. Guests can request DAS at Guest Relations, allowing them to enjoy other areas of the park while awaiting their turn to experience the Matterhorn Bobsleds.
Best Time to Ride: Like many attractions, the best times to ride are often during non-peak hours, such as early in the morning or later in the evening. Tuesdays through Thursdays tend to have lower crowd levels compared to weekends. Utilizing the Genie+ system can help streamline the experience.
The Matterhorn Bobsleds are twin intertwining steel rollercoasters themed around an expedition down the icy slopes of the famous Alpine mountain. The ride consists of two separate tracks – the Fantasyland track and the Tomorrowland track, each offering a slightly different ride experience.
History and Design
The story behind the creation of the Matterhorn Bobsleds is almost as exciting as the ride itself. Walt Disney was inspired to build a replica of the real Matterhorn in Switzerland after visiting the set of the live-action film Third Man on the Mountain in 1959. He sent a postcard back to Imagineering saying simply “Build This”.
At 147 feet high, Disneyland’s Matterhorn peak is exactly 1/100th the height of the real 14,700 ft Matterhorn. Still, when it opened in 1959 it was the tallest structure in the park. The ride’s exterior is made of reinforced steel and concrete, carefully sculpted to mimic the iconic faceted sides of the real mountain. Over 10,000 tons of earth were moved to complete the mountain and its surrounding landscapes.
The innovative tubular steel rollercoaster track design was created by coaster experts Arrow Development and this was the first implementation of the technology. The bobsleds themselves were also specially designed to mimic real bobsleds used on icy tracks. Overall, the ride brilliantly brought the thrills of an Alpine bobsled run to Disneyland guests in a family-friendly way.
The experience begins even before boarding, as you approach the massive and impressively realistic Matterhorn mountain itself. The sights and sounds of a snowy Alpine village surround you as you wind through the queue. The queue features snow-covered rock formations, rustic wooden structures, and the iconic bobsleds parked outside. The attention to detail creates an immersive atmosphere, transporting visitors to a Swiss mountain village.
As riders board their bobsleds, the iconic yodeling melody of “The Matterhorn Yodelers” fills the air. This catchy tune, composed by Buddy Baker, sets the tone for the impending adventure. The combination of alpine-themed visuals and the spirited soundtrack creates a sense of anticipation and excitement. As the ride begins, you climb 80 feet up the mountainside, getting an amazing aerial view of Fantasyland as you pass through the interior of the mountain.
Then you sweep down and around the mountain at speeds up to 27mph, racing through caverns and around cliff faces, spraying simulated snow and howling icy winds as you go. The ride includes sharp turns, sudden drops, and thrilling speeds, but the side-by-side seating in bobsleds makes it less intense than a traditional rollercoaster and suitable for most ages. The Fantasyland track gives an especially smooth and family-friendly ride experience compared to the wilder Tomorrowland track.
Tips for Riding
Here are my top tips for making the most of your ride on the Matterhorn Bobsleds:
- Use the single rider line if traveling solo or in a pair to skip long standby queues.
- Ride both tracks – Fantasyland is tamer while Tomorrowland is faster and rougher.
- Night rides are especially fun when the mountain is all lit up.
- Front seats get the best views, while back seats give the wildest ride.
- Keep hands, feet, and belongings inside the sled at all times.
- Leave loose articles with a non-rider or in a locker – items can fly out of the sleds.
- The ride includes sharp turns and drops – Those prone to headaches or motion sickness should take caution.
The Matterhorn Bobsleds remains one of our favorite rides at Disneyland Park after all these years. It packs an exciting rollercoaster experience into a family-friendly ride suitable for all ages. The theming is top-notch, placing you right in the middle of a snowy Alpine expedition. Racing down and around the iconic peak of the Matterhorn is a truly unique thrill you won’t find anywhere else. This ride is an absolute must-do for your Disneyland bucket list.