This Man Spent Quarantine Recreating Disneyland's Matterhorn Roller Coaster in His Backyard — and It's Incredible
California’s Disneyland has been closed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But that hasn’t stopped one man from riding the Matterhorn roller coaster. From his backyard.
Sean LaRochelle from Napa, California decided to use his lockdown time pursuing an unique interest. He recreated Disneyland’s two-story Matterhorn roller coaster in his family’s backyard. LaRochelle began construction of the coaster in March and finished it in July.
"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?” LaRochelle told local ABC News. "I always wanted to build a ride and Disney rides are always special to me because they're themed, they tell a unique story.
The backyard Matterhorn is complete with Swiss flags, waterfalls and a one-person car that sends riders whirling around the coaster track. There’s even an animatronic yeti and an original soundtrack, according to the Napa Valley Register.
The construction was a family affair. It was built in the backyard of Sean’s parents, Jacques and Diane LaRochelle, and with the help of his siblings, Michael, Mark and Nicole. Engineering skills run in the family and they all worked full-time to help construct the 20-foot attraction. About 30 friends came to the backyard attraction to assist in the construction, while socially distancing.
LaRochelle, who is currently studying architecture in graduate school, estimates it cost about $15,000 to build his backyard coaster.
California’s Disneyland is the only Disney theme park that has remained closed since the start of the pandemic in March. Last month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom sent a team to out-of-state theme parks to research the possibility of reopening Disneyland. Although Disneyland Paris had reopened in the summer for visitors, it shut back down last month after a second wave of coronavirus spread across Europe.