Category Archives: Tomorrowland

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.

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

In 1959, Disneyland launched its E-ticket attraction, Submarine Voyage. In the lagoon in Tomorrowland near the Matterhorn, which you can’t miss because it’s a big bunch of water, submarines traveled under the polar ice cap and saw, among other things, fish and mermaids. I remember this being a particularly cool ride.

However, it closed in 1998.

And then we waited. And waited. And waited. And waited.

And after what seemed like forever but was really nine years, Disneyland opened the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage in 2007!


I remember when Nemo first opened (which isn’t much of a feat since it was 5 years ago) and line was loooooooong. It stretched back to Small World and back. Now if you’ve been to Disneyland, you can appreciate how long that is. But if you haven’t–it’s long.

The Nemo queue is a bit uninspiring.

Toward the end it’s just switchbacks, but it’s covered!

Your submarine is a cheerful yellow with blue accents.

How jaunty!

The sub is already at water level, so you cross a removable bridge and climb down one of two sets of spiral stairs to get inside.

This was on the trip with Ingrid and Rachel

I’m always kind of paranoid that I’m going to take a nose dive down those stairs. However, so is everyone else, so we all step carefully and hold onto the rails like our lives, or at least our legs, depend on it.

Ingrid’s sunglasses on her head are really trippy here–it looks like she’s looking up at me when in fact she’s trying not to trip and kill herself.

Inside the sub is a tight squeeze. Two rows of seats line either side of the sub, and each seat flips up, so you walk to the end, flip your seat down, and smile for the camera.


You do have to get cozy with your neighbor.

In true Disney efficiency, each sub entrance feeds directly into its own row.

Oh, maybe I should take this opportunity to point out that the submarine is not idea for people who cannot make it down the stairs or are claustrophobic (or both). Fortunately, you can wait in the regular queue and when you reach the front, tell the cast member you’d like the “alternate experience,” which is a room with a video presentation. All the fun of the submarine without being in the submarine!

Anyway, directly in front of you is your very own porthole.

Barnacles and such lining the wall of the loading dock

The porthole gives the effect of making you think you’re like 3 inches away from the wall and could go screeching across it Titanic-style any second now. However, this is just an illusion. In fact, you are 5 inches away from the wall and probably are not going to scrape it.

After your sub is fully loaded, your narrator comes on and informs you that through the power of Disney magic, you are in Australia. Cool! You avoid scraping the wall and enter the lagoon, soon doing your first of two dives. You know you’re diving because you can see it out of your porthole.

The bubbles all flow up because, you know, you’re diving

You don’t dive very far though. You can still see the surface, and some coral and other things you find under water, and the girl from the  movie with the unfortunate orthodontistry.

Darla, I believe

But then you dive a little deeper and that’s where the Nemo action happens! In reality, you go under a waterfall so guests outside see the submarine disappear, and the sub continues on its journey. But when I was little, I really did think you dove way, way down.

Anyway, soon our Nemo friends start showing up. And this is where it gets really hard to photograph.

It’s Dory! And an in-motion Marlin!

The fish effects are really neat. It’s a projection, so the fish actually swim around in front of you just like the movie. They’re not objects on posts or dangling on strings like the original Submarine Voyage (which was cool in its time, but technology marches on). Also, each submarine is equipped with its own “sonar hydrophone” that allows you to eavesdrop on what the sea life are saying. Even Dory speaking whale!

One thing I should mention–parts of Nemo Submarine Voyage are kind of scary. Toward the beginning, electric eels jump out of holes, for example, and the lights are dimmed inside of the sub. And then if you’ve seen the movie, you probably remember the fish with the lightbulb over its head and then the whole thing lights up and it’s got these huge teeth and everything–that’s there too. As well as Bruce the shark with sharp teeth.

I’m saying this because we took my BFF on this ride and I’m pretty sure her daughter, who was I think 4 at the time, is still severely traumatized. I felt so bad!

Anyway, you get other scenes with characters like Crush

You so totally rock! Duuuuuuuude.

And an expressive Dory

This isn’t good

But there’s good news–Marlin and Dory find Nemo! Hooray!

You then ascend.

There’s those bubbles again!

And pull into the loading dock, having completed your voyage.

I really like Nemo. I don’t think I’d wait a very long time for it, but it’s a fun ride and if you’re okay with being a bit squished and the scary parts don’t bother you or any member of your party, it’s a nice, air-conditioned way to spend a few minutes.



Classic MYWTM: Innoventions Part 2

Yesterday I covered the second floor of Innoventions (why the second floor? Because that’s where you go in now) and so today I’m going to cover the first floor.

But I do want to put in that Kristin, my friend who caused all the trouble at Soarin’ Over California, lambasted me for saying that I had no interest in seeing Asimo the robot, as he is her son’s favorite character after Mickey. And then Kelli, also of Mothers in the Mouseland fame, jumped on the dogpile to chastise me as well. SO, ladies, I will go in and see the Asimo show, okay? OKAY??? HAPPY NOW???


Anyway, as I was saying yesterday, Innoventions is supposed to introduce us to the wonders of the future, but the unfortunate thing is that the future has changed faster than Innoventions and now the only good thing about it is that it’s air-conditioned (and yes, Kristin and Kelli, Asimo the robot). I think this is the only attraction at Disneyland where it actually says on the sign “Strollers Welcomed.” I mean, strollers are generally tolerated just about everywhere, and also allowed on some attractions, but “welcomed” just seems a little desperate.

Wait Time 0 minutes! Strollers welcomed! Everyone welcomed! Just please, please, please come in!

Formerly you entered on the first level and waited until the magic doors opened–oh, did I mention that the building rotates? The building rotates. So you formerly waited for the building to rotate to you and joined a group at the magic door until it opened and you met your tour guide. You walked around with a group, which made a fast escape much more difficult.

Now that you start on the second level, the group tour sections are sad and lonely. Like you used to start your tour here:

The magic doors, now known as the exit

It's just an everyday neighborhood

And you were going to get a tour of the House of the Future, which had all kinds of cool things that we could totally expect to find in the distant future, the year 2000. For some reason, the tour guides wear soccer uniforms, like they’re supposed to be kids in this future family or Disney is all hip and into soccer, or maybe they’re trying to woo the non-Americans who call soccer “football.” I don’t know. Anyway, now that you wander to the first floor on your own, the days of the actual tour are gone and instead you just have tour guides who stand around saying things like, “I’m about to give a tour of the house of the future! Come join me!” and very few people do.

This cast member wasn't getting any takers for his tour of the living room, but he was so friendly and cool nonetheless

The cast members are all really nice too, but I’d consider putting in a transfer or something.

Back in the day, the rotating part had several different segments that your tour group visited. Each had a cast member to explain the segment. The one time I visited Innoventions prior to the entrance/exit switch, I thought the best segment was the music one.

This cast member was actually really awesome

I was the only one there, but she gave her whole spiel with enthusiasm anyway. And I gotta say, kudos to the Innoventions cast members who try really hard and with great attitudes even though the tours aren’t there anymore. You have to respect that, and I do. In all seriousness, I will be the first to praise Disneyland’s cast members. They work so hard and really make the magic–making the experience special enough for me to want to blog about it. Yay cast members! It wouldn’t be such a great park without you.

Anyway, the music section has electronic instruments that have all kinds of cool effects, and in the old tour different people (and by people I mean kids) were invited up to sample the instruments. This cast member actually let Theo play the guitar while he was still in the stroller. Talk about above and beyond!

Strollers were welcomed, so I wasn't about to take him out. If you own a toddler, you understand why.

And then there’s always the teenager who just wants to show off, so he says “can’t you program the drums to be exactly like a regular drum set?” and to her immense credit, the cast member does and gives the teen his 2 minutes of fame or whatever. We were still the only ones standing there–us and his two friends.

I can play the drums!

The other segments used to have a cast member explaining what they were all about, but now none of them do except for the futuristic kitchen.

This is supposed to be a tv studio or something, I guess. No cast member there.

Shiny car. Why is it here? No clue.

Apparently in the living room of the future, you're going to have a flat screen tv. NO WAY!!!

You will also have a television in your dining room. My mind, she is blown.

On the other side of the segments, you can play this awesome game on stage, where you can play either the drums or guitar, or you can sing. It’s like karaoke but there’s lights for instruments. If I were to invent this game for play at home on your Xbox or Wii, I’d call it “Rock Band.”

These three are singing a Queen song.

I mistakenly thought that this trio was a family–a dad with two of his kids. I was wrong. The adult was on his own and the kids had established themselves as permanent features. I mean, they could play the game and all, but they were on their third song by the time I left, and really? You come to Disneyland to play Rock Band? At least they aren’t High School Musical songs anymore, but if this were my child I’d be dragging them onto Autopia or something and ordering them to have a freakin’ good time because Rock Band is significantly cheaper than this annual pass I bought you, so you better make the best of it.

But maybe that’s just me.

Next, I moved to the house of the future. There was a piano (electric, of course), and on top of the piano were these totally cool picture frames that had digital pictures that changed.

C'mon, Disney. Nobody's ever going to make these things for 30 bucks.

There’s also this amazing video game that you don’t even need a controller for. You just move your body.

Wouldn't it be amazing if someone like Sony invented this one day?

I did learn, however, that the house of the future is apparently one of the best places to take a nap.

You fall asleep at Disneyland, you end up on someone's blog. Just sayin'.

The funniest part is, see that screen above the woman’s head? This is what it says:

Going into energy saving mode indeed!

In the future we will also have coffee tables that have books inside them that you can just flick with your fingers to turn the page. It’s like a Nook, except it’s in your coffee table and it’s also part of the future.

For God's sake--use a coaster for that drink!!!

Man, that lady in the picture looks like she could go into energy saving mode at any moment.

I did like the prototype children’s room.

Some kids sleep in a race car bed, others shoot cannons all night.

They did have a detail that everyone should have in their homes–a model railroad!

I'm pretty sure that if I let him, Kevin would drill holes in all of the walls below the ceiling and install a whole-house elevated model railroad

And finally, you wake up from your nap and exit through the former entrance.

Back to the world of today, kind of like the home of the future/today

The weird thing is, you can kill a massive amount of time in Innoventions. We spent a good 45 minutes there and all I was really doing was walking around taking pictures. You could easily spend the whole day in there and not realize it.

But at least you wouldn’t be hot.

Classic MYWTM: Space Mountain

In my absence, I’m bringing back classic posts you may have missed…

Originally posted March 27, 2011

And now we get to my favorite ride in all of Disneyland–Space Mountain! Space Mountain is one of four Mountains at Disneyland, each corresponding to a thrill ride. Space Mountain is an indoor rollercoaster (as is Big Thunder Mountain and Matterhorn Mountain, while Splash Mountain is a log ride). The cool thing about being inside is that it’s dark so you can’t see the tracks.

According to Standard Research Methodology, Space Mountain opened in 1977. One of my earliest memories of Space Mountain was when I was little but finally tall enough to ride it (I was a very small child), I was really chicken, but I wanted to ride it, so my mom kept saying, “are you sure? are you sure?” and I was like “yeah yeah yeah, I’m totally sure.” So we waited for hours (it seemed, it was probably about an hour) and then at the very last second–very last second meaning sitting in the car–I freaked out and started bawling and refused to go on it. My mother had to stay behind with me and she was livid that we had wasted all that time standing in line for me to chicken out. LIVID.

Ah, the joy of Disney magic.

Anyway, somewhere along the way I found the guts to ride it and it quickly became my favorite. This visit I was with my mom’s group for “Mom’s Night Out” (see Mothers in the Mouseland). We were all keen to go on Space Mountain, since it’s a difficult ride to go on with toddlers (difficult = impossible unless you have someone to ride switch with). Well, not all of us. One of us was pregnant, so SM was out for her. Still, this was that last picture of the whole group before we parted ways.

Look familiar? Thanks for reading!

Space Mountain was completely shut down in 2003, and they dug all the way into the ground to rebuild it. I was hoping they’d put in a new track, maybe something with a loop, but they ended up with the exact same track. That’s kind of the only disappointing thing about Space Mountain, once you learn the track. You bank to the right a LOT.

In the 80’s and 90’s, Space Mountain had this moving walkway that went right to the roof of the mountain. It was all futuristic and cool and stuff, but totally useless because it backed up the queue and they always had it turned off. After the re-do, you walk around the side and schlep yourself up to the roof. You can get some cool pictures up there

Oooooo, it's all glowy and stuff!

One baffling thing about the re-do is that it gets unbelievably hot up there on the roof while you’re waiting. You’d think they would take the opportunity to put in misters, or even just cover the whole thing, but no. In July, you bake.

After a thoroughly uninteresting queue in which you zig zag a number of times, you finally reach the actual mountain building. They let you through in groups, presumably so you don’t back up inside.

What ride are we waiting for again? Oh that's right--Space Mountain

Once inside the building, you descend. So yeah, you climb up to the roof to wait, and then descend to board. There’s not really space at the base of the building for a line, so there ya go.

Hi Kelli!

Inside, there are various monitors with loops talking about the ride and how if you’re pregnant or you don’t like high-speed adventures or shooting into space or whatever, this isn’t the ride for you. Which kind of bites because by the time you’ve made it to the building, you’ve already invested a huge amount of time in line. The inside looks a lot like this:


Kristin attempted to entertain us with some ballet and yoga moves.

I almost killed myself trying to imitate her. It was bad.

Again with my awesome photography skills.

Back in the olden days, there were darkened windows in the queue where you could actually look into the ride and see space shuttles go shooting by. There was also a viewing area from the Peoplemover. Both of those things let in a lot of light, so originally Space Mountain wasn’t completely dark.

It is now.

Which is pretty awesome.

In lieu of the windows, they installed the above-mentioned monitors. They try to give you a clue as to what your riding experience will be like, but trust me, it’s nothing like this.

Are they shooting lasers or something?

You finally open onto the space port area and get a nice aerial view before you board.

You're almost there--hang on!

After being seated, you move to the launch tube. This is all futuristic and there are black lights, so when you insist that everyone in your group turn around and smile so you can take a picture, their teeth glow.

It's like a freaky Crest commercial

You approach Mission Control, and then off you go.

We haven't actually started yet. Monica needs to get out more.

In the launch tube, the lights start flashing and spinning until you get to the inside of the coaster where it’s completely dark.

This starts spinning and stuff and it's kind of nauseating, actually

When you get to the actual track, the music goes all “Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!!” and then you get a countdown from 10. At 1, you shoot through the entire track, completely gravity-fed. It’s really awesome. There’s also this cool soundtrack that just kicks it up a notch.

At the end of the ride, you get your picture taken. I always try to think of something clever to do, but tend to fall short. However, this time I attempted to take a picture of my own. This is the part where you get your picture taken:

Flashy streamy lights and stuff

When you get off, you can buy your picture for $14.95 for a 5×7. Or you can go all ghetto and take a picture of your picture, like I did.

You're actually supposed to buy this

So there I am, taking a picture of the part where they take a picture of you. I mistakenly thought that the camera was off to the left a bit, so my camera is pointed off to the left, but I later realized that the camera is directly overhead and it’s just the flash that comes from the left.

This is a picture of me taking a picture of the camera taking a picture of me

That is so postmodern, my head exploded.

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