Steps away from the honking traffic jam of humanity crushing into the June grand opening of Cars Land, Disneyland quietly welcomed back one of its icons – the Matterhorn Bobsleds.
The Swiss Alps-themed ride was the park’s first roller coaster in 1959 and has been undergoing much-needed minor repairs and refurbishment during the last six months.
The most notable alteration is completely cosmetic and instantly recognizable – the mountain simply looks better, much brighter and sharper.
Despite global warming, more snow has fallen over the venerable Matterhorn. It pops, and frankly, is a considerable improvement over its former battered and worn appearance.
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Extra snowflakes and frost won’t be the only change visible on the peak’s ridges.
After a lengthy absence from the park, real mountain climbers return to the 147-foot mountain and will begin scaling the slopes that separate Tomorrowland and Fantasyland (just as the attraction’s 14,690-foot European namesake marks the border of Italy and Switzerland).
There are other changes deep inside the mountain though, but you have to jump on a bobsled to know what they are.
If you’ve ever ridden with your children (as I have frequently, and did so again during a pre-opening test run), the new sleds are way better than being smushed accordion-style into each other as the bumpy back-and-forth ride unfolds. Definitely a roomier ride.
But, as before, don’t expect a smooth ride. The individual seats are more comfortable, but you can still feel every click and every clack as you roll down the ride’s roughly 2,100 feet of decades-old steel track.
Another difference is not entirely welcome. The abominable snowmen, while being better groomed and lighted, have grown much louder during their six-month hibernation. They are loud, startlingly so.