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A fond look back at "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride"

A fond look back at "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride"

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Does anyone else out there miss WDW's version of "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride?"

Photo by Jeff Lange

Oh. I know. It was just a dark ride that (Let's be honest here, folks) was based on one of Walt Disney Studio's lesser animated features, "The Adventures of Ichabod & Mr. Toad."

And the Disney World version of "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" wasn't even an original. By that I mean: This Fantasyland Classic was actually just a clone of the Disneyland original. Its chief innovation was -- instead having just one track -- WDW's "Toad" had two tracks. Which (in theory) doubled its hourly ride capacity.

But me? I loooved "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride." I'd try & visit this dark ride whenever I got to the Magic Kingdom. If time allowed, I'd even get in trips on both sides of the track. Just so I could savor the not-so-subtle differences that popped up on each side of this Fantasyland attraction.

Okay. I know. "Mr. Toad's Dark Ride" was just a dark ride. Where only a handful of the characters from this 1949 film were sculpted in three dimensions ...

Photos by Jeff Lange

... While the rest of the cast was rendered in two dimensions ...

Photo by Jeff Lange

... as painted pieces of plywood.

But where else on Disney property could you sit in a car as it went careening through a gypsy camp ...

Photo by Jeff Lange

... See something bawdy on the wall as you roared through Winky's tavern ...

Photo by Jeff Lange

... and end your journey by narrowing escaping a stay in Hell?

Photo by Jeff Lange

Oh, I know. "Mr. Toad" wasn't very state-of-the-art and/or even cutting edge. This Fantasyland Classic wasn't interactive. It didn't have any Audio Animatronics or make use of Enhanced Motion Vehicles.

But you know what else this WDW attraction didn't have? It didn't have any fart jokes. It didn't blast someone's chili dog breath right in your face. It was just old-fashioned, innocent fun. The very thing that seems to be in short supply at the Disney theme parks these days.

Which is why -- when "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" closed in September of 1998 to make way for "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh" ride ...

Photo by Jeff Lange

... -- it really left a hole. To a lot of us "Toad" fans, WDW's Magic Kingdom has always felt a little less magical ever since J. Thaddeus rode off into the sunset.

Oh, I know. "Mr. Toad" was just a dark ride. And the original version of this attraction is still in operation in Anaheim (In fact, given the enhancements that were made to "Toad" as part of the New Fantasyland project of the early 1980s, I hear that the Disneyland version of "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" is now significantly better than the WDW version used to be).

But that said, I still miss being able to go " ... merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily on our way to nowhere in particular" whenever I vacation in Orlando.

But what about you folks? Do you find yourself missing WDW's version of "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" too?

Photo by Jeff Lange

Well, if you DO miss "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride," then you'll probably be interested in picking up a copy of Mr. Lange's latest DVD, "Jeff Lange Remembers ... Fantasyland Classics." Which actually goes on sale today!

For further information on this disc as well as the other DVD titles that Jeff has created, we suggest that you follow this link.

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  • Disneyworld version a "clone" of the Disneyland original? Disneyland Post 1983 version "better" than the Disneyworld version? You are sorely mistaken and under researched.

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