CNN WEB SITES:
End of Wild Ride for Disney's
Web posted at: 1:30 p.m. EDT (1730 GMT)
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida (AP) -- Despite hundreds of pleading postcards
and letters mailed to Disney officials, Mr. Toad appears to be roadkill.
A yearlong Internet and mail campaign to persuade Walt Disney World
to keep Mr. Toad's Wild Ride apparently wasn't enough. Or so say Mr. Toad's
champions, who claim the ride will be closed forever September 8 and replaced
with a Winnie the Pooh attraction. While a Disney spokesman would not confirm
or deny any rumors, a company official said an announcement about the ride
was expected this week.
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, based on Kenneth Grahame's classic children's
book "The Wind in the Willows" and the subsequent 1949 Disney
movie, follows J. Thaddeus Toad on a disjointed, cartoonish ride in a stolen
motorcar. The lights go out after the car crashes, sending the passengers
to hell, which is inhabited by giggling red devils and a maniacal Satan
with a pitchfork.
"It's a nice break from the happy, singing flowers, not that those
things don't have a place in Disney," said Jef Moskot, 26, who runs
a Mr. Toad Web site (www.savetoad.com). "He's not the bland Disney
hero with two funny sidekicks. He's nuts. He steals cars, but he's still
the good guy."
Mr. Toad lives on at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.
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