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More than 53 years after opening the world’s first tubular steel roller coaster, Disneyland is donating two vehicles from the iconic Matterhorn Bobsled ride at Disneyland to the National Roller Coaster Museum and Archives. First open in 1959, the 1/100th replica of the real Matterhorn in Zermatt, Switzerland, was a dream of Disneyland founder Walt Disney.
“This is the ‘holy grail’ of artifacts for the National Roller Coaster Museum and Archive (NRCMA),” NRCMA Chairman Gary Slade said. “The Matterhorn started the modern era of roller coaster design and launched the themed ride industry.”
Tame by today’s standards, the Matterhorn remains a thrilling ride for young riders and a memory-maker for families. Described as a roller coaster ride to an icy encounter with the Abominable Snowman, the Matterhorn speeds two-car sleds 18 miles-per-hour along its nearly 2,100 foot track.
“We’re delighted to provide these pieces of Disneyland Resort history to the National Roller Coaster Museum, an organization that celebrates our industry,” said George A. Kalogridis, president of the Disneyland Resort. “The Matterhorn Bobsleds vehicles and California Screamin’ signage represent two of our most beloved attractions, from the first tubular steel-tracked roller coaster in the world to one of the longest and most thrilling.”
The Matterhorn Bobsleds was a marvel of engineering when it opened at Disneyland. The 14- story “mountain” was built like a skyscraper with multiple floors and cooling units. In addition to the bobsled cars, Disney graciously donated signage from the California Screamin’ roller coaster from Disney’s California Adventure. California Screamin’ is the second longest steel roller coaster in North America. It features a musical soundtrack and the only outdoor inversions at any Disney park in the U.S.
The official presentation of the donation was made at the Golden Ticket Awards at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. on Sept. 8, 2012.