Mr. Toad's Wild Ride is a dark ride at Disneyland Park, also formerly located at the Magic Kingdom. Originally planned to be a roller coaster, it became a dark ride attraction because Walt Disney only wanted attractions that were appropriate for all ages. It is one of the few remaining attractions that was operational on the park's opening day in 1955 (although the current version of the ride opened in 1983). The ride's story is based on Disney's adaptation of The Wind in the Willows (1908), one of the two segments of the film The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949). It is currently operating in Fantasyland.
Guests enter a re-creation of Toad Hall, passing by artistic works commemorating characters from The Wind in the Willows. A large mural shows the adventures of Toad and his motorcar, foreshadowing various scenes in the ride. This mural has a hidden reference to Walt Disney and his love for trains in the form of a train named "W.E.D. Rail".Guests hop aboard miniature, early 1900s (decade)-era, multicolored motorcars. The name of one of the characters from the film (Mr. Toad, Toady, Ratty, Moley, MacBadger, Cyril, Winky, or Weasel) is inscribed on each motorcar.
Passengers begin their journey by crashing into a library, where MacBadger is seen teetering atop a ladder with a stack of books. They then crash through the fireplace, where fiberoptic effects simulate the scattering of embers on the floor. Narrowly avoiding a falling suit of armor, the passengers break through a set of doors to find the interior hallway of Toad Hall in disarray, as weasels swing from chandeliers. Guests then enter the dining room, where Moley is eating at a dinner table and gets knocked aside.
Upon leaving Toad Hall, guests travel through the countryside, passing Ratty's house, aggravating policemen and terrifying a farmer and his sheep. Making a right turn, guests head for the docks and get the impression that their car will plunge into the river, but quickly make a sharp turn in a different direction and enter a warehouse full of barrels and crates containing explosives. Guests crash through a brick wall as the warehouse's contents explode. They then head out into the streets of London, narrowly avoid a collision with a delivery truck, and enter Winkie's Pub, where Mr. Winkie the bartender holds two beer mugs. He ducks down, leaving the mugs spinning in the air (this gag is recycled from the 1971 Florida version of the ride).
Passengers then enter the town square, where the cars wreak further havoc on the citizens. A working fountain featuring Toad and Cyril Proudbottom stands in the center of the town. Behind this statue is one of Lady Justice peeking out from under her blindfold. Next, guests enter a jury-less courtroom, where the riders are proclaimed guilty by a judge (based on the film's prosecutor for the Crown). The cars then enter what is presumed to be a dark prison cell before abruptly turning right and landing on railroad tracks. The vehicles bounce along the tracks in the dark before colliding head-on with an oncoming train.
Passengers then arrive at the ride's final scene: a tongue-in-cheek depiction of Hell not inspired by any scene in the movie or book. The entire room is heated, and the scenery features small devils who bounce up and down. Passengers also see a demon who resembles the Judge from the courtroom scene. Near the end of the scene, a towering green dragon emerges and attempts to burn the riders to a crisp. A glowing light is seen in the back of its throat and choking, coughing noises are heard while the motorcar speeds away. Granted a reprieve, the passengers eventually "escape" to the ride's loading and unloading area, where they disembark.
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride was one of the Magic Kingdom's opening day attractions on October 1, 1971. Although it was modeled after the Disneyland attraction, it had some unique characteristics that set it apart from its California counterpart. The most obvious was that the Florida incarnation had two separate boarding areas. The vehicles (in the form of jalopies) in each boarding area were on separate tracks that followed different paths, so riders would get a slightly different ride, depending on where they boarded.
Like its counterpart at Disneyland, it was not a thrill ride, but it was not slow and quiet like most dark rides. It made sudden turns and often the vehicle would move at full speed towards an obstacle, which would move out of the way at the last second. At one point the vehicles on different tracks would head directly towards each other, giving the sense of an oncoming collision. It was a very stylized attraction and resembled a cartoon more than any other Disney ride. It contained highly ornate plywood characters and sets that were very reminiscent of the multiplane camerawork featured in many Disney films.
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride closed on September 7, 1998, and was subsequently replaced with The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Minor tributes to the ride can be found in Disney World, including paintings of Mr. Toad and Moley within the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh attraction and a statue of Toad in a pet cemetery outside of Haunted Mansion. There was much controversy over the attraction's closure, including in parks protests.
The two tracks of the Walt Disney World version of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride did not pass through all of the same show scenes. Thus, each track gave riders an almost completely different set of scenes to pass through.
On the Right Track, guests first passed through the library (similar to the Disneyland version) then broke out of Toad Hall and passed through a barnyard, coming face to face with a sheep, a pig and a couple of cows along the way. After passing through a small tunnel with several warning signs, known as the One Way Street, guests made a turn into a central plaza. Traveling around the turn, the vehicles passed a policeman signaling riders to stop with his whistle. Guests then made a right hand turn into the courtroom and saw the judge (who in this version was actually a policeman holding a gavel). Upon making another right hand turn, the vehicles passed by several policemen and weasel convicts and then entered several weasel-filled jail cells.
After winding through the cells, guests emerged out into Shireland, passing by a shootout between the police and some weasels (using red lights to simulate gunfire). Several of the police barriers then moved aside revealing a railroad crossing, complete with a ringing bell. The gate then moved aside (presumably breaking apart), and the vehicles made a right hand turn onto the tracks. The vehicles traveled along the railroad tracks until getting hit by a train (with guests seeing the headlight of the locomotive). A door then opened, revealing the "Hell" scene. Afterwards, guests went through a door back to the boarding area.
From the boarding area to the plaza, the Left Track passed through three scenes not seen in the Right Track: Toad's trophy room, a kitchen, and a Gypsy camp. After going through the One Way Street and rounding the plaza, instead of entering the courtroom, guests continued on and entered Winky's Tavern. Mr Winky the bartender, who was holding two beer mugs, could then be seen ducking down, leaving the mugs spinning in the air (this gag was recycled for the revamped 1983 California version of the ride). The vehicles then made a right hand turn and guests could see the weasels hiding out in the tavern among the ale barrels. Following this, guests emerged into the night countryside. Passing by Ratty's house (where Ratty only appeared once and Moley was seen on a boat), the vehicles reached a railroad crossing. This gate moved aside, and vehicles made a left hand turn onto the railroad tracks. As on the Right Track, the headlight of the locomotive was visible before the train hit the guests. The "Hell" scene on this track was merely a mirror image of the Right Track's "Hell" sequence.
Despite the fact that Disneyland Paris does not have a Mr. Toad's Wild Ride in operation even though according to Tony Baxter in early plans there was to be a version of the ride closer to the movie with the most notable change being that instead of Hell for the ending Toad would blast off in his flying machine. Instead they have a restaurant named Toad Hall in Fantasyland. This restaurant opened with the park on April 12, 1992. The exterior is based on Disneyland California's 1983 exterior, except the front sign says "Toad Hall" in gold letters. Inside, there are paintings of Toad in many famous paintings, like the Mona Lisa. You can also see "artifacts" from The Wind in the Willows and The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. The restaurant sells British and American food, since the film on which the attraction is based takes place in the United Kingdom. There is both outdoor and indoor seating.
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