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An up-close look at some of the figures from WDW's "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride"

An up-close look at some of the figures from WDW's "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride"

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Late last Friday afternoon, I got a call from Brian Ramsey of Mouse Surplus. Who said "You really should come by the store tonight, Jeff."

I tried to politely turn Brian down. Explaining that I'd just spent the day shooting a brand-new DVD and -- to be honest -- I was kind of wiped. Plus President Bush was flying into OIA that night, then motorcading it out to Disney World for a fundraiser at the Contemporary. Which meant that traffic on I-4 was sure to be a nightmare. And ...

Mr. Ramsey interrupted me. "We just got in a shipment of stuff from 'Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.' "

My reply: "I'll be there in 15 minutes."

As I expected, traffic was a nightware on the 4 this past Friday night. But thank goodness that Jim Hill is an old hand at driving around Orlando. Which is why -- even though we did get stuck in some bumper-to-bumper stuff as Bush's motorcade zoomed by on the other side of the highway -- we still made it to Mouse Surplus before that store actually closed for the night.

Brian greeted Jim & I at the front door, then proudly led us back to the warehouse. Where -- scattered around Mouse Surplus's loading dock -- were pieces of my favorite old Fantasyland attraction.

I gotta tell you, folks. It was kind of weird to see the figures that I had ridden by dozens ... Maybe even hundreds of times ... just laying there quietly in pieces. One of the English bobbies who'd tried to get Toad to slow down ...


Photo by Jeff Lange

Or -- better yet -- the ram who'd tried to leap out of the way ...


Photo by Jeff Lange

Now separated from his hay bale.


Photo by Jeff Lange

The cow (who you can sort of see in the righthand corner of this photograph) ...


Photo by Jeff Lange

Now separated from her boyfriend, the bull.


Photo by Jeff Lange

Even one of the weasels from this Fantasyland attraction's famous "Jailbreak" sequence ...


Photo by Jeff Lange

... had managed to make his way to Mouse Surplus.


Photo by Jeff Lange

Of course, the biggest surprise was that Satan himself ...


Photo by Jeff Lange

... was soon about to go up for bid.


Photo by Jeff Lange

And -- yes -- that is Jim Hill standing there right behind Satan. So it would appear that all those WDWMagic & MiceChat readers out there who wished that Jim Hill would just go to hell finally got their wish ...

Anyway ...

Mr. Ramsey was kind enough to let me closely examine these figures before he closed up Mouse Surplus for the night. So that I could then observe their craftsmanship. And you know what I found to be really intriguing? The static figures (I.E. The creatures within the "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" attraction that didn't have to move) were all made out of painted plywood. While the figures that had even limited movement in the ride (I.E. Satan and the bobby) were all made out of painted metal.

Which -- based on several conversations that I've had with veteran Imagineers over the years -- was pretty much standard operating procedure on all these early Disney dark rides. The figures that had to continually move in these attractions were made of metal so that they'd last longer / wouldn't wear out as quickly. Whereas the figures that just stood there were made of wood because ... Well, wood was cheaper.

Also a close examination of the Satan figure backed up a somewhat disgusting story that I'd once heard from a "Toad" cast member. He'd told me that -- for some inexplicable reason -- WDW guests just loved to spit at the devils in the finale sequence of this Fantasyland attraction. Which is why WDW janitors periodically had to go into "Hell" in order to wipe these devilish figures down.

That story just sounded too gross to be true. But -- sure enough -- even though it had been over seven years since WDW's "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" had been shut down, Satan was still speckled with dried spittle. Yuck!

Anywho ... It was nice to get one last chance to visit with these "Toad" figures. Before Brian listed them in Mouse Surplus's eBay store ... And that bobby, that cow, that ram and even Satan himself eventually found new homes with some deep-pocketed Disneyana fans.

Speaking of which ... Mouse Surplus's "Toad" related auctions only run through Friday of this week, folks. And once these Fantasyland figures are gone ... They're gone!

Speaking of blatant promotional plugs, here's one of my own:

If you're a fan of Disney World's old "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride," then you should pick up a copy of "Jeff Lange Remembers ... Fantasyland Classics." For this DVD gives you an up-close look at that classic dark ride.

For further information on this disc as well as the other titles in Jeff Lange's Disney theme park-related series, JHM suggests that you follow this link.


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