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Mr. Toad's Wild Ride
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride
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The original Mr. Toad marquee is shown above. The picture below is a later version of the entrance that premiered in 1993.
This C Ticket ride was an Opening Day attraction. Like the other Fantasyland dark rides, it had a predecessor at Disneyland. The Walt Disney World version of the ride was quite different, with two separate tracks that had unique show scenes and also a common scene (Town Square) shared by both tracks. Each track had its own train and Hell scenes. If properly dispatched, the cars on the different tracks would appear to be on a collision course with each other at three different points (the loading area, Toad Hall and the one way street) before veering away from each other.
The Loading Area
Guests took on the role of J. Thaddeus Toad, Esq as they drove around in cars named after characters from The Wind in the Willows. Originally the cars were one-row, two seat cars with one steering wheel but in 1993, the cars were revamped to seat four people and contained two rows with two steering wheels in the front row. The early ride vehicles were named Mr. Toad, Moley, Ratty, MacBadger, Winky, Toady, Cyril and Weasel (some of the names were used on multiple cars) but the two-row cars were not named. Both sides of the loading area had the artwork pictured above, in mirror image of each other. The photo above is from the left side "A" track. The music heard in the queue and throughout the ride was "The Merrily Song". It was performed by Mr. Toad and his horse Cyril in the film but sung by anonymous singers in the ride.
(Photo courtesy of Brotherdave.)
Track A: The Left Side
The cars would make a left turn to enter Toad Hall and would proceed to the trophy room, where the mounted elephant head would trumpet. The vehicles would then crash into the kitchen, upsetting a maid with her arms full of dishes. The cars would then pass through a lively Gypsy camp before entering a one-way street with warning signs and then almost hitting cars from track B before joining them as they went through Town Square. The cars on Track A would go to the left and enter Winky's Pub, complete with a buxom bar maid and a picture of a nude woman on the wall. Weasels were then encountered in the Keg Room, before the cars went through a dark tunnel and exited out into a rainy night and entering the train tunnel and then Hell.
Track B: The Right Side
The cars would make a right turn from the loading area and enter Toad Hall, where they would go through the library, encounter cars approaching from Track A, enter a dark tunnel, and end up in a barn yard with cows, a charging bull and a farmer that almost drops a bale of hay on the car. The vehicles crash through the barn doors, disturbing a flock of chickens who are circling in the air. After going down a one-way street with warning signs, cars from the two tracks would almost collide before jointly going through the Town Square, with Track B turning off to the right into a court room with a police officer banging a gavel. Weasels are shown escaping jail, which leads to a shoot out in Shireland with police officers. The cars end up going through a tunnel, colliding with a train and then arrive in Hell, complete with laughing devils before returning to the loading area.
The attraction operated until September 7, 1998. Some of the ride elements, including a few of the devil figures, later turned up for sale online and at a salvage company in Florida. The ride was replaced by The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh on June 5, 1999. Mr. Toad's Wild Ride is still operating at Disneyland, although the ride is different than the Florida version and utilizes only one track.
What's Wrong With This Picture?
The picture above has appeared in several books that were for sale in the park. On first glance it appears to be a nice, colorful picture of what can be encountered on the ride. On closer inspection, the scene shows characters that never appeared in the same ride scenes, such as Gypsies, weasels, a head from the trophy room and the train engineer. Then it becomes apparent that there is a person in dark clothes with reflective stripes in the middle of the picture! It is quite surprising that Disney allowed this picture to appear in print at all, let alone in multiple books.
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride Tributes
Characters from Mr. Toad's Wild Ride can found hidden in the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. In the Blustery Day scene, there is a picture of Toad giving a deed to Owl and also one of Mole with Pooh.
There is also an epitaph to Mr. Toad at the Haunted Mansion, as well as a statue in the Pet Cemetery.
(Photo courtesy of Scott Jensen.)
The scene at the exit of Space Mountain with the robot at the desk has a series of codes on a monitor, one of them is "FL-MTWR" for Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. The book shelves at the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen contain a book called The Wildest Ride by "J.T. Toad".
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See ya real soon!