Kendall Gazette

Resident goes into cyberspace to save Disney's Mr. Toad ride

By Deborah Balshem

February 5-11, 1998
Front Page

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 <>.

"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 needs protecting.

"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 ride.

"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

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 executives.

"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 site.

"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.