Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Matterhorn, 1959

Like many people, I still love the mighty Matterhorn at Disneyland as it approaches its 60th year. It has an amazing place in history, it looks fantastic from a distance (up close too), and it's still a whole lot of fun to ride. The fact that it was designed with twin tracks seems amazingly forward-thinking - Disneyland geeks can argue over which track is better for months at a time (until the Doritos run out).

One of those same geeks might argue that this first photo is Matterhorn adjacent, and to that I say HA! (as I snap my fingers in front of that geek's nose). The massive mountain looms loomily, like Mount Doom. Dark and forbidding! Look at how tiny the people look in the lower edge of the picture. I'll snap my fingers in front of their noses too - just wait and see!

The Monorail track curves around the mountain, surprisingly close to the ground! I like the beds of bright alpine flowers that line the glacial stream - they didn't need to be there, but they looked good. It's kind of interesting to see the mini-berm with some scraggly trees that would eventually mask off the backs of those buildings.

Next is this more traditional view of the Matterhorn, with a single climber working his way up to the peak. Did the other one fall? I hope not. 


Nanook said...


Well it may be Matterhorn "adjacent" [I always love that term when used in real estate lingo: "Why, Madge... don't you know - it's Beverly Hills adjacent-!" - but it's still an awfully interesting angle from a very early date in the Matterhorn's history.

And as for Hans and Otto, [or Frick and Frack], I'm certain the one missing has merely stopped for a Frozen Juice Bar or Frozen Grape Juice, at the Welch's Grape Juice Bar in Fantasyland. Yum.

Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

As a testament to how much of an eye-weenie the Matterhorn is and how effective that mini-berm and the trees are, I have absolutely no recollection of ever consciously noticing that corner of the Circarama/CircleVision/Buzz Lightyear building while wandering around Disneyland in person.

Stu29573 said...

Fun Fact! The Matterhorn was originally going to be called the "Matteroffacterhorn" until Walt's wife, Lillian said it was too stuffy of a name! Now you know!

JC Shannon said...

The glacial stream with flowers is one of my favorite little touches the Imagineers created. Totally cool. If we had a Bobsled and a Monorail Train in the photo, it would be a perfect postcard. Maybe Hans or Otto is on a bathroom break. Hey, when you got to go, you got to go. Pretty sweet pics today, thanks Major.

Hey Stuart, how about Mindovermatterhorn?

Stefano said...

Since young women were finally allowed to pilot Jungle Cruise boats, have there been any female mountain climbers? Any Gerdas, Friedas, Wilhelminas? The child-bearers could dub it the Materhorn.

Melissa said...

I was sure you were going to say, "Mount Loom."

That's a really exciting angle on the first picture.

Nanook said...

@ JC Shannon-

Brilliant. (And then I suppose, there's the Mark Twain version: If you don't mind, it doesn't Matterhorn...) Hmmmm.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I used to live in an apartment that advertised that it was Sherman Oaks adjacent, as if it somehow made it a better apartment. It didn’t! Perhaps Otto messed up and wore all white that day. He’s there, we just can’t see him.

Chuck, I totally agree, until I saw this angle, I didn’t realize that the backs of those buildings were right there.

Stuart Powley, that Lillian, she knew a good name when she heard it. Or maybe a bad one. Maybe she didn’t like “Dippy Dawg” either, and that’s why it was changed to “Goofy”.

Jonathan, yeah, how many other roller coasters end in a green, flowery meadow with an icy stream? Not many! I am always a little disappointed when we can’t see at least one bobsled, but those things were quick.

Stefano, that is an interesting question, actually! I’ve never heard of any female Matterhorn climbers, but that doesn’t mean that there weren’t any. “Materhorn”, ouch.

Melissa, I would only call it “Mount Loom” if the mountain was made out of yarn.

JC Shannon said...

Bill Murray would say "It just doesn't Matterhorn." And for all us Star Trek fans Antimatterhorn. I'll shut up now.

Anonymous said...

Great pics today Major. This first shot shows a lot of good things:

First, how the track columns get shorter and shorter. I think the beamway does slope down here, then back up again around the corner.

Second, the newly planted berm in front of those buildings. Simple idea, great execution.

I can tell the lone climber is Otto cause he's holding on with just his feet, look no Hans.


TokyoMagic! said...

JG, "Look, no Hans!" HA, HA!

JC, as for bathroom breaks....I was told by someone that has worked on some of the Matterhorn's renovations over the years, that the only bathroom up there in the Matterhorn, is a funnel with a very long hose attached. That hose runs all the way down the inside of the mountain and terminates somewhere outside at ground level. It was supposedly put there for the mountain climbers and the workers that do renovations on the attraction.

TokyoMagic! said...

Hey, when you gotta go, you gotta go!

Melissa said...

And for fans of Gilbert and Sullivan's Ruddigore:

This particularly rapid, unintelligible patter
Isn't generally heard, and if it is it doesn't Matterhorn!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I was always partial to Melissa’s “The Horn that Matters”.

Jonathan, sure, you’ve got antimatter, but what about those pesky tachyons?? Or worse, the tachyons with a negative polarity?????

JG, it’s amazing, I’m quite sure that the Monorail goes so low at that point that a person standing next to the track might be in danger. Perhaps it’s just an illusion. I suppose puns are only to be expected on a Disney blog, but YIKES!

TokyoMagic!, the mere thought of that “bathroom” is so gross. Better that they just pee into a vessel with a screw-on lid. I DON’T WANT TO THINK ABOUT IT!

TokyoMagic!, at least the folks down below didn’t suddenly wonder if it was raining in spite of the clear blue sky.

Melissa, I saw a local production of Ruddigore (though it was spelled “Ruddygore”) and it had Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula, and other well known critters. I wish I could remember it better, except that it was not good. Doing a Google search, I see that it was 18 years ago!!

Stefano said...

Melissa, Major, along with RUDDIGORE there is another Gilbert and Sullivan which anticipates The Haunted Mansion by nearly a century, this is from "My Name is John Wellington Wells", in THE SORCEROR:

He can raise you hosts of ghosts
And that without reflectors,
And creepy things with wings,
And gaunt and grisly spectres...

"Without reflectors", i.e. the Pepper's Ghost effect, maybe the only time that has been mentioned in a song.

Anonymous said...

@Major and Tokyo, I think the hose plumbing story is someone pulling your leg.

Hard to believe that a company that would spend millions on an artificial mountain wouldn't spend an extra few bucks for proper code-required plumbing for the staff. Now, there might not be a toilet up at the level of the fabled basketball court over the Skyway, but there has to be one somewhere behind the scenes. If this rubber hose ever existed, I will bet it was a staff addition and not an official installation. Although, my building code does not have a chapter covering plumbing requirements for artificial mountains, so maybe they are not needed after all.

Although I know a woman architect who said when she attended the Cal Poly Architecture School in the '70's, the Engineering Building did not have a women's restroom and she had to go to another building.

Re: The monorail track height. I spent an idle minute looking at this area on Google Earth. There is now a ground level walkthrough of the whole Park so you can "stand" right outside the fence and study these Alpine Gardens.

The monorail track appears to slope down a little bit and then come back up, but the majority of the elevation change that makes the beamway piers or columns appear short is caused by the steep slope of the soil surface in the garden. The beamway piers are almost all the same height, but the ones closer to the mountain are embanked in the soil and plantings, so they look shorter. The planter surface is much steeper than it appears.

If we could run up the hill and stand by the track, we might be in danger of collision with the train, which is probably why there is now a very tall, heavy iron fence with sharp points replacing the short one in today's blog photo.


Melissa said...

As the Sweathogs would say, up your mountain with a rubber fountain.

TokyoMagic! said...

JG, the person that told me about the funnel and the hose is a pretty reliable source. But yes, it was implied that workers had added it themselves, so they didn't have to go all the way down the mountain to go #1. Who knows, maybe it has also been removed by now.

Major, if you ride the Matterhorn in the future, it might be a good idea to close your mouth right before "splashdown"....just in case!

Anonymous said...

@Tokyo, that makes sense.