During this secret history, we're going to be "merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily on our way to nowhere in particular!" Recognize that theme song? It's from the film "The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad!" This story is retold on Disneyland's quirky and classic Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. The dark ride opened with the park in 1955 and has gone through some significant changes since. I personally think it's one of the most bizarre and fun Disney rides, and it doesn't hurt the main character is a toad! So let's hop on through the secret history of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride and all of its motor mania!
The Secret History of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride
Like I stated before, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride first opened at Disneyland's Fantasyland with the park in 1955. However, it looked much different than its current version. The ride actually opened with a tournament tent facade! Studio artists, Ken Anderson and Claude Coats, joined the team to design sets and successfully transfer over the world from "The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad" to the ride! The film featured two different parts - one was the story of Ichabod Crane from Sleepy Hollow and the other was of J. Thaddeus Toad from the book "The Wind in the Willows." The ride was to be based on the "The Wind in the Willow" sequence of the movie.
While the Disneyland ride did change in 1982 and reopened in 1983 featuring new gags, track and facade, the main concept of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride remained the same - guests hopped aboard their very own motorcar and experienced Mr. Toad's "motor mania." Walt Disney World also opened its own version of the popular dark ride at Magic Kingdom Park in 1971. While it remained very similar to Disneyland's, it was a much more upgraded version of the ride and the show building was much larger!
Unfortunately, guests saw Mr. Toad's Wild Ride close its door at Magic Kingdom Park in 1998. While it would have been awesome to experience this ride in Florida, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is a pretty neat one, too! And I get to look forward to seeing Mr. Toad and his wild adventures each time I visit Disneyland.
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride Fun Facts
- The 1982 refurbishment to Disneyland's Mr. Toad's Wild Ride was when Imagineers made the addition of guests' vehicles "crashing" through the fireplace in Toad Hall!
- The Magic Kingdom version of the wild ride featured two complete different tracks, making for different experiences!
- While riding The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, keep an eye out for some references to Mr. Toad's Wild Ride! Look for a picture of Mr. Toad handing the deed to his house to Owl.
- You'll also see a statue of Mr. Toad in the pet cemetery of the Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom Park.
- Plans of the closure of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride at Magic Kingdom Park were leaked in 1997 to Orlando Sentinel! Fans formed groups and tried to save the ride, but obviously, Disney didn't budge.
- When on Storybook Land Canal Boats, look out for Toad Hall!
Have you rode both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom's version of the ride? Let us know which one you liked best in the comments below!