Resident goes into cyberspace to save Disney's Mr. Toad ride
By Deborah Balshem
February 5-11, 1998
Jeff Moskot (right) is pictured with fellow "Toadsters," Todd Nolan
(center) and girlfriend, Carrie, during a recent visit to Mr. Toad's Wild
Ride at Walt Disney World.
On Oct. 22, 1997, Jeff Moskot read that Walt Disney World sources revealed
plans to close the Fantasyland staple "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" in favor of a
trip through the Hundred Acre Woods with Pooh and his friends. The next
day, he sprung into action, creating an Internet site for "friends of the
toad" at <www.savetoad.com>.
"Everybody has a different button that sets them off and this hit mine,"
said Moskot, a 26-year-old University of Miami film student, who maintains
UM's computer system for the Math and Computer Science Department.
Moskot, a resident of West Kendall, considers Mr. Toad, an original Magic
Kingdom ride that has been running since 1971, a rite of passage that
"I remember growing up in Fort Lauderdale, going to Disney World and
riding Mr. Toad, scared but secure, while holding my Dad's arm," said
Moskot. "When I was a kid it was really scary, but a big deal when you
got to go on the ride by yourself."
His uprising made news throughout Florida and on CNN and produced a
"Disney-speak" response about keeping old customers happy while attracting
new ones. Computer whiz Moskot has his schedule jammed with saving the
"As moronic as this behavior seems, there's a lot of work involved," said
Moskot. "Keeping up with it pretty much eats up my weekends."
But his persistence is paying off. His home page has had close to 5,000
hits since late October, with almost 200 hits coming from Disney.com.
Moskot coordinated sympathizers on three protest rally's at the park on
Dec. 7, 1997; Dec. 14, 1997 and Jan. 11, 1998. Decked out in shirts that
read "Ask Me Why Mickey Is Killing Mr. Toad" was enough to draw questions
from many parkgoers, who promptly received postcards addressed to Disney
"We are not alone in our strong feelings. In a recent online poll run by
the Orlando Sentinel, nine out of 10 people said they would miss
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride," said Moskot. "Our intent is not to kill the Winnie
the Pooh project, but merely to suggest that there are other available
places within the park," said Moskot. "Nothing is worth the cost of
removing a child's favorite ride forever."
Team Toad will meet again at Mr. Toad's Wild Ride in the Magic Kingdom on
Sunday, Mar. 1. For information on joining the group, visit the Web
"Don't miss this chance to show your support and maybe even have a good
time," said Moskot.
Moskot created the Web page so Disney fans from around the world could
come and express their belief that Disney is ruining the park by closing
the classic ride in favor of the "next big thing".
"It is up to us to let them know how we feel about this proposed change
before it is too late," said Moskot. "As of right now, Disney
Imagineering is only in the planning stages, so there is still hope."
All content ©1998 The Kendall Gazette. Republished with permission.