Man Builds Disney Roller Coaster Replica In Backyard, Complete With Yeti & Hairpin Turns
Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw
Pandemic hobbies are a trend. Some people bake bread. Others binge watch entire seasons of their favourite TV shows, and a few have gotten off the sofa to take up jogging.
But one man gave himself a COVID mega-project: recreating Disneyland's Matterhorn roller coaster in his backyard.
With theme parks closed due to Covid-19, architecture grad student Sean LaRochelle was determined to bring a bit of Disney-inspired magic to his family's California backyard.
Channelling the creative and technical prowess of a Disney 'Imagineer', LaRochelle recruited 30 friends and got to work building the Matterhorn replica.
The roller coaster ended up being 120 metres long, complete with waterfalls, huge rock formations, lighting-speed twists and turns, even an animatronic yeti. The ride takes almost a full minute from start to finish.
Using online resources to figure out how in the world an ordinary human builds a roller coaster, it took him and his team five months to complete the project. LaRochelle said it was a full-time job for him and his brother, Michael, on top of the full-time jobs they already had.
Although he didn't have an estimate for how much it cost to build, he said his government stimulus cheque went to good use – "we ended up spending a little bit more than that."
Walt Disney himself may have said it best, "If you can dream it, you can do it."
Anna Kroupina Journalist
Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.