Category Archives: Fantasyland

The New! And! Improved! Matterhorn! Bobsleds!!!!!!!!!

I finally got a chance to take a spin on the newly refurbished Matterhorn Bobsleds, which closed this past January and opened on June 15th, the same day as Cars Land, and also my birthday. Coincidence? You tell me.

The Matterhorn Bobsleds, taken from the Tomorrowland side


First we’ll do a quick quiz:

Q: Which Disneyland attraction was the world’s first tubular roller coaster? A: The Matterhorn!
Q: Which Disneyland attraction straddles both Tomorrowland and Fantasyland but is officially considered a Fantasyland ride? A: The Matterhorn!
Q: Which Disneyland attraction features two different tracks with a different queue for each track? A: The Matterhorn!
Q: Which Disneyland attraction used to have a big hole where the Skyway traveled through? A: The Matterhorn!
Q: Which Disneyland attraction is exclusive to Disneyland and not found at any other Disney park? A: The Matterhorn!
Q: Which Disneyland attraction used to have a half-court basketball floor inside? A: The Matterhorn!
Q: Which Disneyland attraction is properly named Matterhorn Bobsleds? A: The Matterhorn!
Q: Which Disneyland attraction is a thrill ride completely inside a building running in near-total darkness? A: Space Mountain!

There are three main changes from before the recent refurb: New bobsleds, new height requirement (now 42″), and new paint. The mountain was repainted to better reflect the snow, or more specifically the patchy lack of snow, on the real Matterhorn.

The old bobsleds required you to ride in the lap of the person behind you. This had its advantages and disadvantages. One distinct advantage was that it was the perfect date ride. Not only do you have to snuggle, it’s a thrill ride, which offers the opportunity to do some extra “consoling” when necessary.

On the other hand, it was pretty awkward seating if you were just with friends. And as someone who was always the shortest person in the group, not gonna lie, it got uncomfortable at times. In fact, many people requested their own sled, which seriously decreased the ride capacity (and thus increased the wait for the ride).

The new bobsleds have individual seating and room for six.

But first I’m going to talk about the line. Heh.

The queues start along either side of the mountain and wrap around. Once you reach the loading dock, you get to the adorable little chalet overhang and switchbacks.

It’s all festive and stuff


And here’s something super-cool.

Single rider line!


Two single rider lines, actually. One for each side. This is very convenient if you happen to be a single rider, or you don’t mind splitting up your group and all riding separately.

Here’s your sign in case you forget where you are

Not my best picture


On a side note, when we lived in Hamburg, Germany, they had this thing called the Night of the Museums in which every museum in the city (and there were a large number of them) stayed open all night and you bought a ticket and could go to any of them with buses in between to take you there. It was awesome. One of the ones we went to had a live demonstration of those giant horn things. They’re pretty impressive. And long.

This sign used to tell you how to sit in the bobsled, smaller person in front and so on.

Now, one rider per seat. You’d think that would be obvious.


Here’s a back view of a loaded bobsled

Yes, that woman IS actually on the phone


The seat comfort leaves a lot to be desired.

Not really a fan


As you can see, the restraint is a simple seatbelt.

Foot space is seriously limited. I like to call this picture “Row One Is Not For Tall People”

Poor guy


Seriously, tall people, don’t ride Row One.

The other seats have a little more legroom because there’s an indentation on the sides of the seat in front of you that offers some extra foot space. Here’s a really great picture I took of my own leg, sitting in Row Three.

I truly am the Queen of Quality Photography


The ride is the same. I had hoped they would smooth out the tracks some, but I didn’t find any difference in the Tomorrowland side, and maybe only a slight improvement on the Fantasyland side.

What’s the difference between the two sides? Well, when parallel, the Tomorrowland side is on the inside side of the mountain, which means that all of its turns are steeper and more sudden. It gives the illusion of going faster, although your speed really depends on the amount of weight in your bobsled (like Space Mountain). The Fantasyland side feels smoother, but tamer, and is a tiny bit longer. Honestly I think I like the Tomorrowland side better. You get bounced around more, but I think it’s a more exciting ride.

You start out on the same lift, where you see some snow falling against a blue background, which I guess is supposed to represent outside or something.

Yet another fabulous picture


You also pass some colorful ice crystals. Is this what the inside of the real Matterhorn mountain looks like?

Keep in mind that we are actually moving at this point.


The abominable snowman makes an appearance–twice, actually. And you see his glowing red eyes another time. I’ll be honest, when I was a little kid, the abominable snowman scared the ever-living crap out of me. And when I was riding this time on the Tomorrowland side, I had forgotten where he appears and it startled me again. I’m such a wimp.

Also he’s very hard to photograph, which is probably why he still remains an undocumented legend.

The sights from the ride on the Fantasyland side are very cool.



As you can clearly see in great detail in this picture, I rode this in the middle of the Soundsational parade.



As usual, I got all kinds of strange looks from people wondering why I was holding my camera up and just pressing the shutter button repeatedly in the hope that I’d get at least one usable shot.

Ride photos are hard, people.

Awesomely, Disney donated two old Matterhorn bobsleds to the National Roller Coaster Museum. I didn’t even know there was a National Roller Coaster Museum, but there ya go.

Mad Hatter–Fantasyland

Do you know where the name Mad Hatter came from? Well, Lewis Carroll borrowed it from an old saying, “mad as a hatter.” Mad because mercury was used in hat making and over time, hatters became exposed to increasing amounts until some went kind of insane.

Disney just borrowed the kooky part, not the actual insane part.

I think.

A hat store is properly called a haberdashery. I mention this because I think haberdashery is just a really awesome word that needs to come back into the common lexicon. I may be alone in this feeling. But over in Fantasyland, we have…

The Fantasyland Haberdashery!

Seriously, haberdashery. Just say it out loud. Awesome, huh?

Also awesome are the hats you can get at the Mad Hatter.

Like characters

I’m kind of coveting that Agent P hat. And if you don’t know who Agent P is, you really need to start watching Phineas and Ferb. Seriously, great show. Not just for kids.

The Mad Hatter has awesome details just like everywhere else.

A bunny theme?

There’s also a secret! Can you find it?

No, it’s not the hat writing machines. The Cheshire Cat appears in the mirror if you look closely enough.

And again, no, Lewis Carroll didn’t completely invent the grinning Cheshire Cat–apparently (according to the highly reputable wikipedia) the Cheshire Cat was first mentioned in print in 1792.

(the original Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was published in 1865, in case you were wondering)

(admit it, you know you were)

Appropriately, the Mad Hatter sells a variety of Mad Hatter hats.

I’m actually not a huge fan of these

And as always, the ear hats

Love the ears though!

If the Mad Hatter haberdashery sounds familiar, it’s because there’s another one on Main Street in Town Square. Need a hat? Now you know where to go!

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride

One of the original rides at Disneyland, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride is a dark ride in Fantasyland with a very cheerful ending.

And by cheerful ending, I mean you go to Hell.

No seriously, I’m not making that up. Hell.

It’s heated, too.

Welcome to Toad Hall

Isn’t that pretty, all lit up like that?

Mr. Toad the character is from Disney’s 1949 animated feature, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. Now I feel a vague sense of certainty that I have, in fact, seen this film, but honestly I can’t remember much about it. But according to the highly-reliable Wikipedia, this film had two segments–one based on Wind in the Willows and the other based on The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

Which seriously, if I try to think of two stories that belong together, those would DEFINITELY be at the top of my list.

Not really at the top of Walt’s list either, since apparently in 1958 the Sleepy Hollow segment was separated and produced as its own film (which I distinctly remember watching on television around Halloween as a kid). That’s the one I remember being quite terrifying. But we’re way off topic now.

Here’s the queue for Mr. Toad. This picture was taken a few months ago so it’s a wee bit more crowded now.

Where is everyone?

In case you were wondering, I generally shoot a number of blog entries worth of pictures at any given visit, and then they sit around in a file waiting to be posted. Or sometimes they get lost and I only find them much later. This would be one of those times.

Anyway, I love the queue for Mr. Toad. Even thought it’s smack in the middle of Fantasyland and not even covered much, it’s so tucked away you really feel like you’re in an English country garden. And you get to know various Mr. Toad characters on your way in.

Like Mr. Toad, for example

I think what I love about Mr. Toad is that his affect is so danged cheery.

Look how friendly I am!

Even once you get inside, you’re treated to his jovial demeanor

Plus, he’s short, which makes him extra-cute

Since the ride building is supposed to be Toad Hall itself, you’re treated to some nice murals and stuff.

Peaceful country scene, fancy light fixture

Your ride vehicle is an old-fashioned motor car.

It’s even got a little steering wheel, which does not, in fact, work.

And you start your journey with a bang by crashing into the library.

Shortly before crashing

At this point the important thing to remember is that in the story, Toad has a motor car and he’s a really reckless driver. As such, so are you. You basically go careening through Toad’s life.

I think of all of the rides at Disneyland, Mr. Toad remains one of the lowest tech rides in the park. It’s been spruced up, but basically you’re in a car on a track and the ride consists of painted plywood boards that you almost run into but either yank into a turn or the board is pulled away (or both) at the last minute. I actually avoided Mr. Toad for a while because when I was younger I remembered practically getting whiplash from the speed with which you avoided objects. Now the ride is easier on the back and neck, but the sense of danger just isn’t there. It’s a bummer, really, because in my memory, you could practically touch things seconds before it was yanked away, and now it doesn’t have that feel anymore.

It does not, however, go slow enough to take good pictures too. Heh.

So the ride is basically like this:

Crazy guy

Pedestrian you almost mow down

and so on. Then you swing by the pub and have one for the road.

Tastes great! No, less filling!

Apparently there’s some kind of open container law, or you’re just a really bad driver, because you end up in a courtroom, and things don’t go your way.

GUILTY!!! (of what???)

Now here’s where the ride veers from the actual story–both the film and the book it’s based on. Because for some reason, after you’re pronounced guilty, you are suddenly driving on train tracks and it’s not your lucky day, because you get hit by the train and go to Hell.

Hell is hot and steamy (REALLY uncomfortable on a hot day) and there are dancing demons and such and the judge dude come back and he’s a demon too and basically it’s kind of miserable, as you might expect Hell to be. I have a bunch of pictures like this one:


And then you get spit back out into Toad Hall and the real world again. The end!

I really like Mr. Toad. For all of its zaniness and simplicity, it’s just a fun ride with a bit of nostalgia and a bit of “whaaa???” and a lot of laughs.




Dumbo–Elephants Fly And So Can You!

Dumbo is one of Disneyland’s truly iconic rides. It was my favorite ride as a child and I still love it today.  Dumbo really only has one issue.

The line!!

Dumbo is a great ride, but since it loads to capacity, runs, then loads to capacity, runs again, and so on, those big gaps can create a backup in the line.

It is very satisfying, however, when the line does move, because you get to go forward a whole chunk at a time. It’s like when you’re sitting in traffic and then all of a sudden you can go 2 more car lengths and you’re like “Woo hoo! Progress!” And then you stop and sit there again.

Anyway, Dumbo is one of Theo’s favorite rides, so when we met up with friends at the park, he insisted on going on it first.

This is Phoebe, Theo’s BFF

Dumbo is, of course, flying elephants.


The expression on Dumbo’s face is pure joy, despite the giant metal arm stuck in his side.

Wheeeee!!!! Againnnn!!!!!

Your Dumbo circles around a circus thing above a water thing.

Like this

Inside your Dumbo is a handle. Push it up and your elephant goes up. Push it down and your elephant goes down.

Theo’s favorite part

It was just recently that Theo realized you could actually push it in one direction and hold it there and go higher or lower. Up to this point, he’s just yanked it up and down and you ended up bouncing along feeling a little sick.

Phoebe’s mom and brother were in the Dumbo right in front of us!


As you spin around, photography can be tricky. Especially when you get bumped right as you’re about to snap the shot.


Once your Dumbo starts flying, you actually are higher than you thought you were going to be when you were waiting on the ground. Great pictures to be had here.

You can also take a minute for a self-portrait.

I need to get my bangs trimmed

And other decorations abound, like this topiary Dumbo.

Super cute!

It’s best to hit Dumbo ASAP in the morning or right after the fireworks, but even if you have to wait, give Dumbo a try. He’s a lot of fun@

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