Winnie Pooh Poohed
Toad fans to protest Winnie the Pooh at Magic Kingdom
By Mike Schneider
Associated Press Writer
Friday, June 18, 1999
4:03 PM EDT
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) _ When the Winnie the Pooh ride officially
opens at Walt Disney World this weekend, there will be dozens of
protesters on hand objecting to its presence.
The protesters plan to stage a Toad-In Sunday at the Magic Kingdom in
honor of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, the attraction that was shut down last
September to make way for Pooh. Toad supporters wearing T-shirts that say
"Ask me why Mickey is killing Mr. Toad" will gather Sunday at the theme
park's Town Square.
"[Disney] just wants to forget about the whole thing and sweep it under
the carpet," said Jef Moskot, leader of Team Toad, the group that attempted to
save Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. "We want to remind them that there are people upset
with the decision."
Mr. Toad, based on Kenneth Grahame's classic children's book The Wind
in the Willows and the subsequent 1949 Disney movie, followed J.
Thaddeus Toad on a disjointed, cartoonish ride in a stolen motorcar.
Moskot and his cohorts launched a yearlong Internet and mail campaign to
save Mr. Toad. They set up a website (www.savetoad.com), sold T-shirts, wrote
letters to top Disney officials and held weekly Toad-Ins at the ride.
Their pleadings fell on deaf ears.
The Winnie the Pooh ride has been packed during previews and there have
been no lamentations about Mr. Toad's absence, said Joel Guske, associate
brand manager of the Magic Kingdom.
"The attraction is a lot more fun and colorful and it's a lot more relevant
than Mr. Toad," Guske said.
Toad fans do have one thing to console them.
Designers of the Pooh ride left a discreet image of Mr. Toad on the
attraction. And Magic Kingdom workers have christened a break room the J.
Thaddeus Toad Memorial Room.
All content ©1999 The Associated Press.