California Man Builds Working Replica of Disney’s Matterhorn Bobsleds Roller Coaster

Matterhorn Bobsleds (Photo: Disneyland)
Matterhorn Bobsleds (Photo: Disneyland)

We’re all dealing with the self-isolation and forced social distancing of 2020 in our own ways. Some of us are reading more books. Some of us are dedicating ourselves to building intricately detailed LEGO replicas of the world’s great architectural marvels. And some of us—like, say, Sean LaRochelle of Napa, California—are taking things to an entirely different level by building an actual working replica of one of Disneyland’s greatest rides.

The Napa resident began building a two-story working model of Disneyland’s Matterhorn Bobsleds ride in March and completed the project in July with the help of his brother. Officially named Matterhorn: Alpine Escape, LaRochelle’s backyard ride is getting some serious attention from Disney-starved fans and theme park aficionados.

“I always wanted to build a ride and Disney rides are always special to me because they’re themed, they tell a unique story,” LaRochelle told local media outlet ABC7 News. “They talk about all the negatives of COVID, but one of the benefits of COVID is you have all this time and you realize you know, what can I be doing with all this time?”

With Disneyland closed since mid-March and unlikely to open any time soon, it looks like LaRochelle’s DIY theme park project might be the best ride in town at least until 2021!

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Josh Roberts
Josh Roberts is a parent, a traveler, a journalist, a novelist, and the former Senior Executive Editor of Tripadvisor's SmarterTravel, Airfarewatchdog, and FamilyVacationCritic websites. Recognized with multiple awards for excellence in travel journalism from the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) and the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW), Josh has more than two decades of experience helping travelers discover where to go and what to do when they get there. His writing has appeared in The Boston Sunday Globe, USA Today, Business Insider, and the Huffington Post. His travel photography can be seen in Britain and Ireland's Best Wild Places (Penguin UK, January 2008). When Josh isn't traveling or wrangling his two children, he's busy writing novels like The Witches of Willow Cove (Owl Hollow Press, May 2020) and its forthcoming sequel. He co-founded FamilyVacationist in April 2020 with Christine Sarkis. Email him at josh [at] familyvacationist [dot] com.

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