Many guests attending the recent 2011 D23 Expo were disappointed to find the popular Matterhorn Bobsleds roller coaster at Disneyland closed for the weekend, but Disney has a good reason for this temporary shutdown. Today the new ride vehicles were spotted on the track featuring changes to the classic seating arrangements that have been present at this attraction for decades.
The new vehicles not only feature an updated paint job and design, but also individual seats and seat backs. Guests riding in these vehicles are no longer required to sit two to a seat, with one straddling the other. Likewise, seat belts are being replaced with lap bars. Take a look (and click to enlarge):
(Thanks to Tiffany for the photos!)
In the second photo above, you can see one of the “old” style vehicles next to one of the new ones. Note the differences in the seating.
The update to these new Matterhorn Bobsleds vehicles is similar to what happened at Walt Disney World’s Space Mountain many years ago, when that attraction switched to lap bars and individual seats. It should offer a more comfortable (though less intimate) ride than the classic vehicles. The Matterhorn Bobsleds is scheduled to reopen on September 2.
UPDATE (8/30/11): The Matterhorn Bobsleds reopened a couple days early today, still running the old ride vehicles. It seems the vehicles spotted above were another part of a long series of tests. It’s now said that the attraction may once again close in January, remaining closed for several months while the new cars are installed.