Home » 6 Things About Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and the Need for Change at Disney Parks

6 Things About Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and the Need for Change at Disney Parks

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was there on Disneyland’s opening day and is one of only a few original attractions still operational today in Anaheim. However, while Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride is a precious mainstay at Disneyland, it was replaced in Orlando’s Magic Kingdom on September 7th, 1998 with The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. It’s sad to say goodbye to a classic, but such a farewell is inevitable if Disney World wants to maintain its connection to current culture.

Read below to learn the history of Walt Disney World’s Mr. Toad attraction and its successor, as well as more about why change is important for the Disney parks.

1. The history of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride

Image © Disney.

The attraction, currently operating in Fantasyland, is based on the Toad segment of Disney’s 1949 feature film The Adventures of Ichabod And Mr. Toad, which itself is based on the classic children’s book The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. You can watch the movie for a modest $2.99 on YouTube, if you’re so inclined. It’s interesting to see one of Disney’s classic but less well-known animated features. 

Corey Burton, best known for his various portrayals of the villainous Captain Hook, voices most of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. It takes you, in multicolored early 20th-century cars, through Toad Hall to the countryside to town square to a silly version of Hell, the only place in the attraction not derived from either the movie or the book. It’s considered a “dark ride” because of how riders are guided through specially lit scenes.

2. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride at Walt Disney World

Image: Disney

Like the attraction in Anaheim, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride debuted in Orlando the same day as Walt Disney World itself. Similar to a lot of alternate versions of Disney park rides, it had a lot of similarities to the Disneyland version but a few key differences. The biggest one was that Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride in Orlando had two different tracks that took participants on two different journeys. Track 1 featured a new shoot-out between the police and a few weasels, while Track 2 passed through Toad’s previously unseen trophy room, as well as providing a first look at a kitchen and a Gypsy camp.

3. The end of the road, er…ride

Image: Disney

Disney park enthusiasts learned that Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was on its last legs at Walt Disney World before it was officially shut down. A news article in the Orlando Sentinel from September 2nd, 1998 reported on the end of the ride and the efforts of the  “Save Mr. Toad” team that was against the shutdown. The supporters, who called themselves “Toad-Ins,”  had a web site, special postcards and T- shirts, organised low-key protests and held a final gathering outside the attraction to say goodbye.

Once the Sentinel made the news official on September 8th after years of rumors, a group of around 100 people gathered at 7:00pm to clap and cheer as the car emptied its last riders. If this makes you nostalgic, you can still experience Walt Disney World’s Mr. Toad attraction in a fashion through a video on YouTube from 1998 documenting the ride in its final year.

4. Winnie the Pooh Takes Over

Mr Toad’s Wild Ride was replaced with another dark ride, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, based on the 1977 Disney movie of the same name experiencing a new wave of interest in the mid-80s. The ride is based on the 1968 featurette Winnie the Pooh and the Blusterous Day. You can watch a fun clip of the short film here. You first arrive near a giant storybook showing Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin, and things only get crazier from there. You enter a forrest, you bounce with Tigger, you magically float up into the sky with a sleepy Pooh for an adventure, and later float down into a room full of fictional friends. It’s a fitting successor to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, from beginning to end.

5. Disney Recognizes the Passing of the Times

Disney wouldn’t be what they are if they didn’t appreciate what has come before. The Imagineers very lovingly created a a painting of Mr. Toad handing off the deed for the location to Pooh character Owl, hanging in Owl’s home on the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh attraction.

6. Takeaway

Image: Disney

Removing treasured rides is, in the end, a necessary evil so that the Disney parks can remain relevant. Disney, while always paying tribute to its important and fascinating history, has to reflect the times to continue to be entertaining to fans of every age, but especially young people who grew up with the new stories that are taking the place of the old ones. Walt Disney World will never forget that Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was one of the first attractions in both Florida and California, but the Imagineers understand that some parts of Disney legacy need to be spotlighted, even if that means the removal of a classic.

Plus, who isn’t excited by what the future holds? Theme Park Tourist recently laid out the major motion pictures which are about to be adapted into the parks. I am dying to visit Pandora at the Animal Kingdom. Avatar in 3D was awesome but I’m extremely eager to experience the world in-person. Star Wars promises an exciting future for Disneyland’s Tomorrowland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, bringing one of the most memorable classics to the parks we love. It’s definitely sad to say goodbye to the rides and stories we love, but it’s equally exciting to say hello to new ones.