Commentary: The Chapek-era wasn’t the best of times for the Disneyland Resort
If there’s one thing that I find appealing about the Disneyland Resort, it’s their focus on making the parks and shopping districts more family-friendly. At the time of Disneyland’s birth in 1954, Walt Disney wanted to be sure that the parks were appealing to families. After all, Disney World’s target audiences were still largely adults.
The problem, at Disneyland Resort, wasn’t the parks’ appeal to the family audience, it was that the parks offered many of the family attractions that Walt Disney was trying to avoid.
One of those was the Matterhorn Bobsleds, which began on the Matterhorn Mountain in Anaheim. In its early days, the Matterhorn Bobsleds had no air conditioning, and it was extremely hot, as the Matterhorn is only a few hundred feet tall.
Walt Disney saw the Matterhorn Bobsleds as a place where young girls and boys could be introduced to the joy of speed and control. Disney’s goal was to build an attraction, and a place, that would appeal to young families.
Unfortunately, the Disney-style Matterhorn Bobsleds was only one of many attractions that were very popular among both families and children. Disney’s goal at Disneyland became a very simple one: make as many attractions appealing to families and very unappealing to the young ones. That, as it turned out, led to a less-than-successful experience for families with children.
The Disneyland Park was the first theme park to feature the Matterhorn Bobsleds, which debuted on May 20, 1955. That same year, Disney purchased the old Matterhorn Hotel and built a replica of it in the Tomorrowland neighborhood of Disneyland.
The Matterhorn Hotel included a restaurant that was frequented by young ladies who wanted to meet the famous animator, who was known for his love of speed, and his ability to invent and make new inventions.
On the night of the Matterhorn’s opening in 1955, Disneyland opened the Matterhorn Lounge, which sold souvenirs related to the Matterhorn Hotel and the Matterhorn Bobsleds. Today, the Matterhorn Lounge is one of the most popular restaurants in Disneyland park and still runs