When Disneyland’s Tomorrowland underwent an epic expansion in 1959, three new blockbuster attractions were added to the park. These included the Disneyland Monorail, Submarine Voyage, and the Matterhorn Bobsleds. Disneyland’s “second opening” for Tomorrowland occurred with great fanfare, and ushered in a remarkable era of park expansion that would last over a decade.
One of these attractions – the Matterhorn – was built on a knob of land called Holiday Hill, which was initiated as a pile of soil excavated for the installation of a moat around Sleeping Beauty Castle. Holiday Hill was an underused patch of real estate, though it was essential for one key function – It was the location of a primary support post for Disneyland’s Skyway attraction.
Was there any way Matterhorn Mountain could share the same space with a support post for the Skyway? Absolutely! Walt’s Imagineers – led by Disney Legend Bob Gurr – designed and constructed the 147-foot high mountain to incorporate supports for the Skyway. In fact, once completed, the Skyway gondolas actually ran THROUGH Matterhorn Mountain.
Walt was always particularly amused by the result of his Imagineers’ ingenuity. When asked why there were holes in the Matterhorn, Walt would smile and reply, “Because it is a Swiss mountain.”
Disneyland’s Skyway closed for good in 1994. After the attraction’s closure the holes serving as the passage through the mountain were closed, and the Matterhorn now looks a little more, well, mountain-like.
Whatever mountain may stand in your way, believe in yourself. You’ll find a way to get over, around, or THROUGH it!
I was inspired to share this tidbit – and many other legendary stories from Disneyland – by my friend and amazing author Jeff Barnes – Dr. Disneyland.
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