Friday, January 18, 2013

Watching the Matterhorn Break Down

On my first night in Disneyland, I visited The Matterhorn Bobsleds, using the magic of the single rider line.  (Otherwise, the line was a bit lengthy for me.)  I don't think this attraction had a single rider line the last time I visited, but the bobsleds have been redesigned.  It used to be that there was a long seat, and everyone in one party pretty much sat in each other's laps.  (Thankfully, they just put Mike and I into different seats even though we were together.)
The Matterhorn, in the daytime.  (Taken from the Alice in Wonderland ride)
When I was just about to the front of the line, the ride had a breakdown.  They started taking people back off who had just been loaded on, and announced that it would probably be at least a ten minute wait before it was running again.  I actually didn't mind much, because what I was watching happen was pretty cool.  (In retrospect, I'm kicking myself for not taking some shots of what was going on.)

First, the bobsleds were being brought off the ride, emptied of riders, and rapidly stored down front.  I discovered that the secondary track just behind the primary track (which you can see in the picture below) has a moving section (the part with the railing) which could shuttle the cars between the two tracks.

The cast members were working at a pretty quick clip taking the cars offline, and shoving them (manually) back onto the "storage" track.  I could see one car a little ways up on the mountain, which seemed to be stuck on an upward incline.  I'm not sure exactly what happened, but I know that roller coasters generally have anti-rollback devices to keep a car which can't make it over a hill from rolling back down.  I was slightly disappointed that I wasn't just a few minutes earlier, because I think I would have liked to be stuck in that car myself.  (The people onboard seemed to be having a fine time of it, anyway.)  It looked like they probably had a great view of the park, and there was a least some chance that they might be walked off the ride (like I was once on Splash Mountain), which I think is actually pretty cool. (You might get to see all kinds of awesome stuff that ordinary guests never get to see, even if only for a moment.) Eventually 'though, three people came out and actually physically pushed the car up over the hill and got it started again.  (I gave them a round of applause, although almost nobody else did.)

But eventually, the ride started up, and I got loaded on.  I had a brief struggle trying to figure out how to sit in the new seats, which are still completely flat on the floor of the vehicle, but eventually figure out there was space for my feet up under and to the side of the seat in front.  (You're kind of still sitting in each others' laps, but everyone actually has their own seat.)  I discovered later that I have a much harder time in the front seat, which doesn't really have any nifty "feet slots".  And The Matterhorn is really pretty spectacular at night, since you get a (fast) view from above the park, and can see all sorts of wonderful lit up scenes from It's a Small World, and parts of Fantasyland or Tomorrowland.  It's visually stunning at night, as well as a fun ride.

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