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  1. #1

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    Matterhorn lift hill used to be open air

    This is a little detail I never knew. The lift hill for Matterhorn used to be open air, so you could see riders going up the lift from the skyway. Oh for a time machine!

    (photo courtesy: Stuff From The Park)


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    Re: Matterhorn lift hill used to be open air

    Definitely. Back in the good ol' days (before they stuck two bobsleds together) it was themed on the outside only. Inside the mountain you could see across to the other tracks. It was mostly open inside there. It was fun for people who liked seeing the coaster and bobsleds zipping around but not as good for folks who want complete theming. And, of course, you could see the skyway and they could see you.

    I miss the openings at the top. You used to be able to see out right after you reached the top of the lift hill and turned right or left. Now it's all closed in so you can be impressed by the two red eyes.

    Oh, and thanks for the picture. That sure brings back memories.

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    Re: Matterhorn lift hill used to be open air

    I rode Matterhorn many many times while the SkyWay was still operational and also rode the SkyWay a bunch during that time. And yes it was wide open. But I don't remember the lift hills being open like that.

    When did they enclose the lift hills?

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    Re: Matterhorn lift hill used to be open air

    The lift hills were definitely open. That was the part which scared the heck out of me when I was a little kid. I liked the rest of the ride though. I was scared enough that I'd go on Alice In Wonderland with my Mom while my brothers and sisters went on the Matterhorn. Chicken!!!

    Frankly, I don't remember when they added the lift hill tunnels. I remember when they stuck two bobsleds together and that we weren't happy about it but I can't remember if they put the lift hills in tunnels at the same time.

    I'd like to put in a good word for the old unthemed interior of the Matterhorn before the theme purists start ragging on it. It was a vertible hive of activity in there. Unthemed, yes. But it was fun seeing all those bobsleds zipping around in there.
    Last edited by Macro; 06-02-2009 at 11:16 PM. Reason: changed "police" to "purists" - should reduce death threats :)

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    Re: Matterhorn lift hill used to be open air

    They use to have single sleds and make a big deal about racing the two sides. I seem to remember the single bobsleds being a bit smoother on the ride too. I like the new theme, but I do miss the awesome views, smoother ride, and thrilling race aspect.
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    Re: Matterhorn lift hill used to be open air

    As I understand it, not only was the lift open, but if on the ride, at the top of the lift, there was a hole in the mountain that allowed you a view of Main Street! Can someone else confirm this? I don't know if any pic exists or not.
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    Re: Matterhorn lift hill used to be open air

    Quote Originally Posted by JesterMn View Post
    As I understand it, not only was the lift open, but if on the ride, at the top of the lift, there was a hole in the mountain that allowed you a view of Main Street! Can someone else confirm this? I don't know if any pic exists or not.
    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DIYtoE00Fg]YouTube - Disneyland 1964 - Matterhorn, Mine Train, Monorail and More![/ame]

    This is 8mm film my dad shot at Disneyland in 1964. It starts with some exterior footage of the Matterhorn taken from near the Hub. At 00:24 you can see a bobsled moving right to left just after it reached the top of the lift hill.

    I like the changes Disney made when they added Harold, but I do miss that brief glimpse of Main Street you got at the top of the lift.
    Last edited by disneytim; 06-03-2009 at 05:55 AM.

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    Re: Matterhorn lift hill used to be open air

    It is easy to forget what the old Matterhorn was like, but that picture brought back many memories. Thanks for posting it!

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    Re: Matterhorn lift hill used to be open air

    Quote Originally Posted by Mojave View Post
    I rode Matterhorn many many times while the SkyWay was still operational and also rode the SkyWay a bunch during that time. And yes it was wide open. But I don't remember the lift hills being open like that.

    When did they enclose the lift hills?
    The enclosure came as part of the 1978 redo that also included the addition of the Abominable Snowman.

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    Re: Matterhorn lift hill used to be open air

    If the Matterhorn were opened today as it was originally can you imagine all the complaints that they didn't theme the inside of the mountain!!!!
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    Re: Matterhorn lift hill used to be open air

    disneytim - that was fantastic. We must be about the same age because that is exactly how I remember my first time at DL with my family. I had almost forgotten the Indians and motorboat ride .... I really loved those. Again, tremendous thanks for posting that movie!!!

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    Re: Matterhorn lift hill used to be open air

    people are always hounding about theming this and theming that... it wasn't until the mid to late 70's and early 80's that the theming started to get more thorough... examples are what they did to the matterhorn with the caves and harold, and the fantasyland refurb to get rid of the ugly circus tents, etc.

    People automatically think that because it was open years ago, or "nostalgic" that it was better themed then the things today... i think we get more thorough details in todays time, and comparable theming to the 50's and 60's with the stucco paradise pier from 01..
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    Re: Matterhorn lift hill used to be open air

    I would just like to say that I feel nostalgic for this Matterhorn and I wasn't even around to see it. I can just imagine how amazing it would be to see all the single bobsleds scooting through that hollow mountain and being able to see Main Street. It would have a lot more energy than today's isolated trip. To be fair to Disney, I would probably complain about the lack of theming if they didn't change it in 1978 though. I'm almost sure it's about the novelty of it, but what a novelty it is!

    The abominable was a deep part of my childhood since I was terrified of the Matterhorn and could hear his growling every time I nervously approached the mountain in the SkyWay. Same thing with Rufus, as a kid I was so scared that he might "wake up" that Bear Country was actually quite scary for me. You don't have to have a big scary thing in front of you to be scared... if there's one thing that EVERY great filmmaker has learned, it's what you DON'T see that scares you!

    Of course nowadays the Matterhorn is quite tame and I ride it without much thought at all. But that abominable still comes back from my childhood and freaks me out even now.

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    Re: Matterhorn lift hill used to be open air

    So could you also look up and see cast members playing basketball?
    .


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    Re: Matterhorn lift hill used to be open air

    Quote Originally Posted by SiRocket View Post
    people are always hounding about theming this and theming that... it wasn't until the mid to late 70's and early 80's that the theming started to get more thorough... examples are what they did to the matterhorn with the caves and harold, and the fantasyland refurb to get rid of the ugly circus tents, etc.

    People automatically think that because it was open years ago, or "nostalgic" that it was better themed then the things today... i think we get more thorough details in todays time, and comparable theming to the 50's and 60's with the stucco paradise pier from 01..
    Actually, no...people know there was a lot of thematic skimping that happened in the early years. The thing is, Disney improved. And that's what they should have kept doing, but they didn't.


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