The Story of Disneyland’s Matterhorn Basketball Court

Introduction to the Hidden Gem of Disneyland

Ever wandered around Disneyland, feeling the buzz of excitement, and stumbled upon something unexpected? That’s the Matterhorn Bobsleds for you but with a twist. Not only is it a landmark attraction, but it also harbors a secret – a basketball court nestled high within its peak.

The Matterhorn Bobsleds attraction already stands out, being the world’s first tubular steel roller coaster, Thanks to the forward-thinking spirit of Walt Disney Imagineering. But it’s the whispers of a hidden basketball court that really get Disney fans talking. How did it come to be? Was it a clever use of space or something more?

This storied basketball court is really a mix of creativity and ingenuity. It’s a space where climbers could unwind in the heart of Southern California’s Disneyland Park.

OFT Explore Highlights

  • The Matterhorn basketball court was added as a break room for climbers and Tinkerbell, not due to height restrictions.
  • Despite its small size, the court is a cherished part of Disneyland’s history and continues to be used by climbers and cast members.
  • Visiting the basketball court is restricted, contributing to its status as one of Disneyland’s best-kept secrets.

The History of Matterhorn Bobsleds

Inspiration and Construction

We owe the creation of the Matterhorn Bobsleds to Walt Disney’s personal experiences. His trip to the Swiss Alps sparked the idea; he wanted to recreate the magic he felt there. So, Holiday Hill, a mound of dirt from the construction of Sleeping Beauty Castle, was transformed into the iconic Matterhorn Mountain. When it opened on June 14, 1959, it wasn’t just another roller coaster—it was a trailblazer, the first of its kind with tubular steel tracks, and it boasted a unique feature: multiple bobsleds whizzing around the same track, a sight exclusive to Disneyland in Southern California.

The Climbers and Tinkerbell

Climbers scaling the Matterhorn added a touch of authenticity, while Tinkerbell’s flight during the fireworks became a beloved tradition. But Southern California weather can be unpredictable, and climbers needed a place to take a break. Enter the secret basketball court—a simple half-court, complete with a hoop, tucked away within the mountain. It started as a makeshift break room for climbers to unwind, sheltered from the elements, and became an integral part of the Matterhorn’s lore.

Debunking the Myth

Let’s set the record straight: the Matterhorn basketball court wasn’t a clever ploy to skirt building codes or avoid fines. That’s a tall tale as mythical as the abominable snowman lurking in the bobsled tracks. The truth is that the basketball hoop and backboard were installed in the mountain’s upper reaches as a simple rest area for climbers to unwind between shows. It’s not full-sized—far from it. The court is just a slice of a regulation half-court, a humble space where function follows form.

In the heart of Disneyland, the Matterhorn Bobsleds attraction is an icon, but the secret basketball court inside is the stuff of legend. It’s not there to help the mountain qualify as a sports arena, nor is it a hidden training ground for a Disney basketball league. The hoop’s a bit of whimsy, a nod to the cast members who scale the mountain’s facade. It’s a place of respite, tucked away from the thousands who swarm Main Street, the Haunted Mansion, and Space Mountain daily.

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The court is a modest affair, a sliver of a space where you can shoot hoops in the shadow of a roller coaster. It’s not about drop-dead competition; it’s about having a spot to chill when you’re not donning lederhosen and entertaining the masses. You won’t find the Matterhorn basketball court listed alongside Los Angeles’s famed arenas, but for the climbers and cast members of Disneyland, it’s a slice of home-court advantage.

Exploring the Court

Tucked away within the iconic Matterhorn structure at Disneyland Park, a secret basketball court has been fueling Disney fan whispers for years. It’s perched high above the roller coaster tracks of the Matterhorn bobsleds attraction, nestled in the mountain’s hollow interior—a place most visitors will never see. The court isn’t much: a hoop, a backboard, and some faded floor markings, but it’s a slice of Disney lore as rich as Main Street itself.

The simplicity of the court’s design is part of its charm. There’s no polished hardwood here, no bleachers, no scoreboard. Just a single basketball hoop standing against a backboard that’s seen better days. It’s a modest setup, but it’s a cherished hideaway for the climbers and cast members who’ve shot hoops here. Over the years, it’s been a place to unwind, a slice of normalcy in the midst of the Disney magic.

Cast members have come and gone, and the court has seen its share of action. It’s not just for show; it’s a real, if rudimentary, court where Disneyland’s climbers could take a break from their duties scaling the Matterhorn mountain. It’s a rare spot in the park where the fantasy of Disney yields a touch of everyday reality. And while there’s no official Matterhorn basketball league, the presence of the hoop has provided a unique pastime for those in the know.

This hidden gem speaks to the ingenuity of Walt Disney Imagineering. They crafted a beloved Disney theme park attraction, the Matterhorn bobsled, and within it, a secret spot that pays homage to the mundane—a basketball court. It’s a testament to the creativity and human touch that the Walt Disney Company has always strived for, blending the thrill of a roller coaster with the tranquility of a basketball shot.

The Court in Action

Climbers’ Use and Entertainment

We’ve got a slice of Disney park history that’s as elusive as it is fascinating: the Matterhorn basketball court. For years, climbers scaling the Matterhorn mountain would vanish into its depths, only to emerge later, smiling and refreshed. It was when the Matterhorn’s 2012 refurbishment that the curtain was pulled back, revealing the climbers’ secret haven for hoops. The court, albeit simple, became a symbol of camaraderie among climbers, a place where they could unwind between their ascents and descents.

Special occasions bring this hidden gem into the limelight. Take Disneyland’s 60th anniversary, for instance, where the Matterhorn basketball court played a part in the celebration. Climbers and cast members shared stories of the court, adding a layer of personal history to the festivities. These moments transform the court from a mere break room into a piece of living Disney lore.

Access for Cast Members

But it’s not just climbers who get to shoot some hoops in this secret spot. Cast members, those unsung heroes of the Disney park, also have access to the Matterhorn basketball court. They use it as a staging area for the nightly fireworks shows that light up the skies above the Magic Kingdom. It’s a space that serves both practicality and pleasure, a testament to Walt Disney Imagineering’s knack for blending utility with a touch of magic.

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The Matterhorn basketball court remains one of those quirky, off-the-beaten-path stories that Disney fans love to discover. It’s a testament to the creativity and thoughtfulness that goes into every inch of a Disney theme park, from the towering peaks of the Matterhorn bobsleds attraction to the hidden corners where cast members can enjoy a quick basketball game.

Visitor Information

Visiting the Basketball Court

Let me set the record straight if you’re itching to check out the Matterhorn basketball court: it’s different from your typical tourist spot. This place is more like a backstage pass, mostly off-limits to regular visitors. It’s nestled high inside the Matterhorn Bobsleds attraction, a space originally designed for climbers to take a breather and shoot some hoops. While you might dream of sinking a few baskets where Walt Disney once roamed, access is usually reserved for cast members and not part of the standard Disneyland Park ticket.

Matterhorn Bobsleds Closure and Reopening

Now, let’s talk about the Matterhorn Bobsleds themselves. They’ve been around since 1959, but even mountains need a facelift now and then. Disney had to shut down the ride for refurbishments for a month and a half– think of it as a spa day for a roller coaster.

Bottom Line

The Matterhorn Bobsleds isn’t just another roller coaster; it’s a slice of Disney history that’s been thrilling visitors since the park’s early days. Nestled within this iconic mountain is a secret basketball court, a quirky detail that adds to the charm of the Disney experience. It’s not there to tick off a box for some obscure regulation; it’s a genuine retreat for climbers and cast members, a place to shoot hoops and unwind amidst the magic of Disney. For fans, the existence of the basketball court is a testament to the creativity and thoughtfulness that goes into every corner of the park, making the Disney experience truly rich and layered.

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