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Saturday, May 18, 2013

How Disneyland Messed Up The Mighty Matterhorn

During our week's stay at the Disneyland Resort, the refurbishment list had The Matterhorn scheduled to be down for most of our visit for "ride testing". Following the unexpected closure of Space Mountain by Disney and/or the Dept of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), Disney decided to forgo the "ride testing" of the Matterhorn and keep it open. After all, having the Matterhorn, Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Soarin' Over California all down at the same time might be a bitter pill to swallow for guests wanting to get the most out of their dollars.

Oh those horrible sleds - Ouch
But what exactly is "ride testing"? Well, most Disneyland insiders believe that it is an admission of guilt on the part of Disney that their 6 month refurbishment of the Matterhorn in 2012 may have missed its mark and instead of improving the mighty Matterhorn, they actually made the classic attraction worse - and worse not by a little.....Disney missed the mark completely.

Sure the mountain looks great with a spiffy new exterior paint job that accentuates the snow covered peaks once again, but other than a little clean-up and minor repairs, little was changed with the ride's interior. The big problem was with the new sleds. The Matterhorn is and always has been a bumpy ride. The first steel tubed roller coaster built in the U.S. has a lot of years (built in 1959) and mileage under its belt and every pimple sized blemish is sent right back to the rider. The old tandem sleds, cushioned and very amply spaced absorbed the jolts. It's not like that anymore. The Matterhorn is spine crunching hence the decision by Disney to tinker with the sleds and make them less of a literal pain in the rear. The tinkering is done in "ride testing".

At least the paint job is nice
I didn't ride the Matterhorn when we were there a few weeks ago. My sister came off the ride with a pained expression on her face. "That was horrible. My head and neck actually hurt." she rather regretfully said. No more Matterhorn for her. That was all I needed to hear having no desire to get on a ride only to get beaten up by it. Far too old to go asking for pain. 

And what a shame. The Matterhorn is a great ride gone bad for the sake of lawyers. Sure it's safer and up to code but in doing so, all the fun was taken out and replaced by pain and discomfort.

Fix it.

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