California man builds mini Matterhorn roller coaster in his yard
A California man has brought the magic of Disneyland home by building a mini version of the Matterhorn roller coaster in his own backyard.
Sean LaRochelle created a replica of his favorite ride – featuring everything from the alpine scenery to the iconic yeti – outside his home in Napa after theme parks shuttered nationwide due to the pandemic.
LaRochelle said he started building the roller coaster at the end of March and completed it in July.
‘COVID changed everything and you know, you want to bring a little bit of normalcy back into your life and for me growing up, Disney was a huge part of that and so I definitely wanted to bring that to my family,’ he told .
A California man has brought the magic of Disneyland home by building a mini version of the Matterhorn roller coaster in his own backyard (pictured)
Sean LaRochelle created a replica shop of his favorite ride, featuring everything from the alpine scenery to the iconic yeti
He built the ride outside his home in Napa after theme parks shuttered due to the pandemic
‘I never really had the know-how or the time. 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?’ he said.
While LaRochelle’s ongoing architecture studies came in handy, he said his brother was the ‘mechanical genius’ behind the unique lockdown project.
Around 30 of his friends also pitched in to help turn his dream into a reality.
LaRochelle added that Disney rides are ‘special’ so it was an obvious choice to turn to the ‘Happiest Place on Earth’ for inspiration.
‘I always wanted to build a ride and Disney rides are always special to me because they’re themed, they tell a unique story,’ he said.
An aerial view of the ride that LaRochelle started building at the end of March and completed in July
LaRochelle said he had always wanted to build a roller coaster but, before lockdown, would never have had the time
LaRochelle told ABC 7 that Disney rides are ‘special’ so it was an obvious choice to turn to the ‘Happiest Place on Earth’ for inspiration
The iconic Matterhorn ride was built in 1959 in Disneyland in Annaheim, California, and is said to be one of the most eye-catching sights in the park to this day.
The ride is modelled on the Matterhorn mountain in Zermatt, Switzerland, and takes thrill-seekers on bobsled-style carriages down the mountain in pursuit of a yeti.
But the ride has sat empty for eight months as theme parks closed back in March when coronavirus cases surged across the nation.
Disney was able to reopen its Florida parks in July with safety measures in place but had to leave its California sites including Disneyland shuttered as reopening requirements are subject to local and state rules.
The original Matterhorn ride in Disneyland (above) takes thrill-seekers on bobsled-style carriages down the mountain in pursuit of a yeti