How Scary Is Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland?

by Jeanne

When I was five years old, I have a distinctive memory of riding Matterhorn Bobsleds, and I had a lot of mixed emotions about it. Nevertheless, I took my own kids on it years later and…the younger daughter (five years old at the time, just like I had been!) had a lot of mixed feelings about it. Recently, the two of us conquered this ride again together so that I can answer the question: how scary is Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland?

Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland

If you want into Disneyland and see a giant (but clearly man-made) mountain, it’s Matterhorn Bobsleds. It’s pretty hard to miss. Here’s a description of the ride from the Disneyland website

“Climb into a 6-person bobsled and brace yourself against howling winds as you ascend 80 feet up into an icy cave. Take in the sweeping views at the summit and prepare for a thrilling, high-speed ride. 

Swoop in and out of shadowy caves and along jagged rocky ledges. Throttle through snowy chutes and around frozen precipices. Fly across bridges and under waterfalls before splashing down into an alpine lake. 

The real peril is not snow or sleet! Stories abound of a growling creature known as the Abominable Snowman—who will do anything and everything to protect his home. 

Do you have what it takes to find out if the legends are true?”

And that should give you a LOT of clues as to whether you will find this ride scary. Let’s look closely at some of this language, shall we?

  • “Brace yourself for howling winds”
  • “Ascend 80 feet up into an icy cave”
  • “Thrilling, high speed ride”
  • “Shadowy caves and jagged rock ledges”
  • “Snowy chutes” and “frozen precipices”
  • “Waterfalls”
  • “Splashing down into an alpine lake”
  • “Growling creature”

Now that we’ve gotten a better idea of what this ride is about, let’s start discussing whether the Matterhorn Bobsleds are scary. 

Is Matterhorn Bobsleds a Roller Coaster?

Yes, Matterhorn Bobsleds is a roller coaster. In fact, it was the first roller coaster at Disneyland! There are two different tracks, too – the Fantasyland side of the mountain and the Tomorrowland side. If the park is slow, though, there may be only a single track running. 

Related post: How to Overcome Fear on Roller Coasters

Here are some quick facts about Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland:

  • Opening date: June 14, 1959
  • Length: 2,037 ft (620.9 m) on Tomorrowland side and 2,134 ft (650.4 m) on Fantasyland side
  • Height: 80 ft (24.4 m)
  • Duration: 2:07 (Tomorrowland), 2:26 (Fantasyland)
  • Inversions: None
  • Drop: None
  • Max speed: 27 mph (43.5 km/h)
  • Ride Height Requirement: 42 in (107 cm)
  • Trains: 20 trains, each with 2 cars. It’s bobsled style, so it’s one rider per row with three rows for a total of 6 riders per train.

Queue Area

The queue is just your basic line area outside of the attraction. Nothing special and nothing scary, unless staring at the mountain psyches you out. 

Loading Area, Seats & Restraints

It’s a basic loading area. You’ll be in a bobsled, so one person per seat for three rows. The restraint is a simple seatbelt. 

Is Matterhorn Bobsleds Scary?

Queue

The queue is not scary. 

Darkness, Sounds, and Inside Mountain

Yeah…I hate being in the dark on rides and this ride has some intense dark areas when you’re inside the mountain. On top of that, the Yeti/Abominable Snowman guarding this mountain is not happy about you being in his home, so he does plenty of growling. My daughter is now 19 and she still hated seeing him and his fur!

Vertical Lift

It’s pretty dark as you climb up into the mountain which is something I did not particularly love as someone who hates the dark. 

Non-Inverting Elements

It’s fun in a lot of ways. You will do a lot of simple, basic roller coaster maneuvers on Matterhorn Bobsleds. 

Mist

There is a little mist from the waterfalls, and I don’t love mist on my face.

Water

The ride does descend into the water, but it doesn’t create a huge splash. Still, it was enough to annoy me because I really, really don’t want that water on my face. 

Drop

There’s a small kind of drop. Nothing major or even worth mentioning. 

Speed

It’s only 27 mph but it does feel a little faster than that. Again, this is a reasonable speed for a roller coaster, even with smaller kids. 

Restraints

The simple seatbelts are standard and shouldn’t feel too restrictive. 

Best Things About Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland

It’s a classic, my friends! If you can handle it, you’ve got to try to ride the first roller coaster at Disneyland! Yes, I totally got scared by the darkness and growling inside of the Matterhorn Bobsleds, but it was worth it to say that I did it! Would I go on it regularly? No. But there are many guests, including kids (my two oldest, for example), who loved it. 

Here are some helpful links for your next trip to Disneyland:

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