Save Mr. Toad's Wild Ride!

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The Toad Ins

Toad fans from around the world have converged upon Walt Disney World to show their support for Mr. Toad and his fine Wild Ride many times now.

These are the second four documented Toad Ins.

(Click here to read about the first four documented Toad Ins.)
(Click here to read about the second four documented Toad Ins.)
(Click here to read about the final "official" Toad In.)
(Click here to read about some Uncommon Toad Ins.)

There are no more "official" Toad Ins scheduled.
If you'd like to tell us about your own personal Uncommon Toad In,
please feel free to contact JT.

April 26, 1998

[Special guest reporter: Kristen]

Well *since* it was a Sunday we decided to have our own Toad-In not knowing for sure if an actual one had be set-up or not. Not long after claiming an obvious spot in front of the ride we were recognized by a vacationing Toad-fan. He seemed a tad bit disappointed at our numbers and we explained this wasn't an "official" Toad-In...that the next large one would be next weekend. He stayed and chatted for a few minutes, got a Save Mr. Toad button and went back to join his family for a ride on the Toad.

Our next visitor was Jay - the CM who greeted us with a "Hey, it's the Toad people." After commenting that we were a small group this weekend we told him that this was just an informal Toad-In...but we would be back in bigger numbers next weekend. It's so cute how those CM's can keep smiling while they are squirming!

After chatting for a bit Eric took a picture of all of us with Jay - who sadly would not don a Save Toad button for it. Being the good protesters we were we hopped in line for ride. While in line a CM who was visiting the parks with friends noticed our Save Toad buttons, promptly bought two and congratulated us on our efforts.

I hope more to see more of you folks so you can join in the fun [at the next Toad In]!
May 3, 1998

The day started off better than usual. We were all on time.

We were, in fact, early, which almost never happens.

Before we left for the park, we checked with The Surprise Guy. Of course, he was both out of town and asleep. Whatever. I wasn't really expecting it to happen today anyway.

(I have since found out that The Guy is big pain in butt to everyone, and in fact there is a whole organization that has been formed to try to prevent others from being screwed by him and to help those who have already been screwed. Well, they need to work on their advertising. Anyway, I will drag The Guy's name thru the muck once I am completely disentangled from him and then he'll be sorry he ever decided to jerk me around...but that is another story.)

Things began to look up as we arrived at the park and they were playing "Merrily on Our Way" at the Main Entrance. Of course, they still play "Whale of a Tale", so that's not really very encouraging. But it's still a good song and it put me in a good mood.

The next item of business was my return of a fine Donald Duck shirt I had purchased before I heard the news of Toad's impending doom. I returned it with no hassle, then spoke to a manager to explain to her that the reason I was returning the perfectly good shirt was because I didn't like Walt Disney World doing things with my money that I didn't approve of, namely closing down Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.

She looked very confused, but was polite. I tried again to emphasize why exactly I was taking my money back, but she really didn't seem to be getting it and everyone I was with just wanted to go see some friggin pirates already, so I figured that was as good as I was gonna get. Oh well. Maybe the message sunk in.

On the way to Pirates, we spoke with a wonderful Disney cast member who noticed our shirts. They told us they'd just seen "another one of us" a little while ago. The CM sympathized with Toad's plight and then went on to vent a little about the closing of the Main Street Cinema to make way for another place to sell the same krap they have everywhere else. A model employee who obviously cares more about the Magic Kingdom than the weasels in ties who run the place.

As we were walking thru Adventureland, we spied another Toad shirt on the person of someone just about to win the Adventureland challenge. It was Kelly's brother in the shirt. (Kelly is the girl who made her Mom take her to the previous Toad In, to show her support for The Ride.)

Anyway, the employee running the contest was giving their family a hard time about some detail or other, and then he started in on us and our shirts. "Why do you want to save The Ride anyway?," he asked. This guy sucked. Totally unDisney and a real snot. We were clearly being oppressed.

I mean, even if you don't agree with us, if you work for Disney, you are supposed to be happy and smile and choke down the bile. Like Dave. ESPECIALLY when we're promoting your product and ESPECIALLY when Disney hasn't even announced that they want to remove it (altho it's clear they do).

Our guest was getting a little perturbed that we had now been in the Magic Kingdom for a good 45 minutes (we also had to stop and play with the rubber monkeys at Bwana Bob's) and still hadn't seen any pirates, so it was time to go. (We later found out the CM relented and gave the Toad adventurers the prize they deserved, a go-to-the-head-of-the-line pass.)

So finally we got in some rides. Pirates, the Mansion...and, well, the new Tiki Room. Yuck.

Anyway, it got to be 4 o'clock and we stunned everyone by being on time (more or less). A few Toadies who were already there greeted us, some with home-made color iron-on Toad shirts which they made from the Motormania design. I have to say, they looked pretty good.

After hanging out a while, we realized something was missing. No Dave, no Dan, no Joe the Replacement Dave. No babysitter. Oh well, I guess now that Toad Ins occur weekly, the managers have gotten fed up with us ruining their Sundays. And we all know Disney just wants to ignore us and hope we go away.

There was no shortage of security lurking around the area, tho. Some Toadies were monitoring their progress on their radios, much to our amusement.

Also at the Toad In was Steve, who was making a documentary about the Save Toad movement for his class. He goes to the Celebration school. I got to hear him do his "Peter Jennings"-like spiel several times as he videoed the protesters and The Ride.

There were a lot more kids at the Toad In this time, as well, some of them there on their own, doing what they could to help save Toad Hall. It's really irksome to see Disney ignoring not only me, but also these kids who were so anxious to help out.

After talking to a lot of curious parkgoers about the Fate of Toad, we decided to go on the Naked Lady side of the ride. We educated more people in line, and they expressed their disgust with Disney as well.

As we entered Toad Hall, there was a group of enthusiastic Toad supporters in the car directly across from ours who cheered at the sight of our shirts. During the ride (in the Town Square) we executed the extremely difficult Car-to-Car Postcard Handoff Maneuver with them. Those postcards glow a pretty impressive shade of green under the black lights, by the way.

After our thoroughly enjoyable trip thru Toad Hall, we met another very supportive Cast Member who sympathized with Our Cause. The CM sometimes works The Toad and was interested in what could be done to help.

Then Steve continued his documentary with some interviews.

By that time we were completely starved, so we headed off for some grub, thanking everyone who had attended and spent their vacation time doing what the Disney suits don't...caring about their Magic Kingdom.

And hanging around the Magic Kingdom in your Toad shirts does have its perks. Several Toad-sympathizing CMs gave us free second go-rounds on attractions whose names we won't mention, so as not to incriminate the coolest CMs in the Magic Kingdom.

Thanks again to everyone who showed up...and I hope to see a lot of you back on the 17th!
May 3 Photos: Distressed cop and Toady and Cyril statue photos courtesy of Michele Poopyon. All other photos courtesy of Jennifer "Mandibles" Mandelion.
May 10, 1998

[Special guest reporter: Julie Williams]

Being the week after an official Toad In, I didn't figure that a lot of people would show up at my unofficial Toad In the following week. I'd put the word out on some newsgroups and via e-mail, but my response had not been huge. I arrived at the Magic Kingdom at about 3:45 on the afternoon of the 10th. I figured that would give me enough time to get from the entrance to Mr. Toad's Wild Ride before anyone else showed up. I was wearing my Save Mr. Toad's Wild Ride T-shirt, and had gotten a few, but not many comments on it all day. When I arrived at Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, I didn't see any Toad supporters hanging about. They'll start showing up in a minute, I thought. After about five minutes, Bill Matson shows up and we have a lovely conversation about Mr. Toad. About five minutes later, Brian Martsof showed up donning his Save Toad shirt as well. We stood outside the ride, talked to a couple of people, then decided to give up on waiting for anyone else. We got in the line for the left side of the ride. When we got to the loading area, we all piled into one car and had the attendant take out picture. Wow. A whole Toad In fitting in one car.

When we were done with the left side, Bill said that he had to leave so he would not be late for his dinner priority seating. So Brian and I said goodbye to him and decided to ride the right side. During both of our waits, numerous people asked about our shirts and we spread the word of Mr. Toad's impending doom. Many people seemed genuinely concerned, and one woman even went so far as to say that one of the main reasons they visited Disney World was to ride Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.

After stepping out to the left, we left the Mr. Toad area and began walking around the Magic Kingdom for a bit. By now it was 5:00, and I needed to be at Epcot at 6:00 so I could catch one of Davy Jones' shows. I figured that I would have enough time to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad before I had to leave. Brian and I walked to Frontierland and rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, but, alas, no one asked about our shirts.

As we arrived back at the front of the Magic Kingdom, the Toad In ended and I left for Epcot. Even though the turnout was low, I think we made our point.
May 10 Photos: All photos courtesy of Julie Williams.
May 17, 1998

It was a risky plan.

We had to make it to Disney at 2pm without spending the night in Orlando. That meant we had to wake up early...the morning after a Saturday night, and drive all the way from South Florida to Orlando. In the morning. And we did not all spend the night in the same place, which meant we not only had to wake up on time, but we had to coordinate.

For normal people, this would probably not be a big deal, but if you knew anything about us, you would realize how foolish of a plan this was. But it was how it had to be, since most of us had plans on Saturday. Plans far away from Orlando.

We are always late to everything and rarely ever amalgamate our feces well enough to all make it to the same place at the the same time. When 5 of us decide to go to a movie, if 3 of us show up, that's pretty good.

Plus, we had to drive home the same night, because some of us have real jobs.

So, as I said, it was risky.

But amazingly, we all made it. In part it had to do with lying to everyone about what time they had to show up. It's always good to lie anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to make any of us ever show up on time. (I recommend 30 minutes for myself.)

A couple of us who arrived at the rendezvous first had some built-in time to spend being amazed that we had made it to the starting point ourselves and then to play the game of deciding how long we'd wait before we completely wrote someone off.

But, we all made it, and after an extended dispute over who was driving, we were off...on time. Once assembled and all in the same car, we were in good shape.

We got there early, in fact, but not a comfortable sort of early. We had just enough time to get engrossed in something and then be late for the actual event, but not enough time to do anything interesting or productive.

So, we went to the Marketplace...wandered around until we found a place to pee, then left. We saw some Legos or something, I think.

Anyway, The Plan was to meet at the McDonald's at the Crossroads. I fully expected at least someone to be at the McDonald's in the Marketplace, even tho we repeatedly stressed the Crossroads, but we all made it there too.

By the way, the reason we didn't announce this part of The Plan to the general public was to prevent Disney security from attending. A large group of same-shirted freaks standing in front of a ride is fairly commonplace in the Magic Kingdom, but we didn't expect Disney would be too happy with us in front of their entrance sign. On teevee.

Anyway, as we were pulling in, we saw Beth the Fox News Chick's car in the lane next to us. I couldn't believe the press actually made it. If you've been following our story at all, you know that the press often claims that they will show up, but they almost never do.

Things were going surprisingly well, but that was soon to be rectified.

So about ten of us get in position (reporter in tow) and hold up our "Save Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" signs in front of the big purple Disney entrance sign. The response was immediate, and really cool.

People honked, hooted, cheered and gave us the thumbs-up sign as they passed. A lot of people just looked terribly confused and there was some dispute over whether one person was gesturing that we were Number One or just expressing his displeasure with us, but overall, the response was overwhelmingly positive. Some people were hanging out of the car window, screaming "SAVE TOAD!" as they drove past and some green-haired chick made a lot of noise too, but unfortunately, I didn't get her number.

At any rate, I and my friend Jennifer were interviewed by Beth and we have to thank her for doing a good job of editing out the stupid things we said in our interviews. As I've said before, I'm not much of a spokesman, I'm just someone who cares more about the Magic Kingdom than Eisner does.

Beth got some great shots of carloads of loons making some noise for Toad, interviewed some confused bystanders and got some shots of us holding the signs (being careful not to film any Disney employees who were there to support us, but not lose their job).

Several Disney security people passed by (some on foot, some in vans), but they didn't seem ready for us and just looked at us like "What the Hell is that?". They never bothered us.

So, things were going pretty well...except...

...well, the "surprise" I've been teasing you guys with for months was supposed to be there. I had ditched the old company (that sucked) and hired a new one, which I had some degree of faith in...but not so much I'd bet on them. surprise. Again. I was bummed.

Never mind that we were on teevee. For the fifth time, I had hired a guy to do something and nothing happened. What kind of country is this where you give someone some money to perform a service and absolutely nothing happens??

I wasn't TOO upset, tho, because I was kinda used to this by now. It only bugged me when I thought about it. But what does it take to run a decent protest in The Land of the Free anyway?

(By the way, I have since seen reports of those religious nuts protesting Gay Day and THEIR friggin' plane made the news! Yeesh.)

Well, we hung around for a while more...Beth left and told us to check out the news that night and we all wished on a star that the President wouldn't get shot or we wouldn't invade Spain or, as the news director at Fox told me, "five people [wouldn't] get killed" so we'd actually be on the news. You can now see that report right here!

We stopped for some splunkies and then headed to the MK for the 4pm Toad In.

We met another surly employee at the monorail station who thought we were stupid for liking Disney's product. Maybe he just had a hangover or something. Disney will probably promote him.

Then we got to the park and some idiot had to wait in line because he forgot his pass. So...when I got to the window to get my new pass, the guy working the window saw my shirt and said something about it. I told him we were going in to protest right now and he agreed that what they were trying to do was a friggin' shame.

Then he said, "Yeah, there was a plane flying around the park a little while ago...said something about saving Mr. Toad..."

I said, "Hey, that was us!" And then I was simultaneously happy and annoyed.

So...the "surprise" finally took place...but not for the teevee cameras!

How cool, yet krappy!

I have since found out more details. The banner-towing airplane we hired circled the Magic Kingdom from 2pm to 3pm. This was not The Plan. The original plan was to spend 20-30 minutes circling our 2pm protest at the entrance (in front of the teevee camera), then the remainder of the time circling the Magic Kingdom, right before the parade everyone would be hanging around, waiting for something to look at. Well, at least we got those people.

To give some more background, this was originally planned for Toad In 4, way back in March. It didn't take place, apparently due to inclement weather, but I later found out it was just due to the incompetence of the original guy I hired. It was then planned again for April 22, the opening day of the Animal Kingdom.

This would have been from all over the world was there. But it didn't happen, because the guy in charge of the banner-towing company is a complete jackass. It also didn't happen again the next day (when the press was still there, using the free passes Disney gave them). By the time of Toad In 5, I was not at all surprised when it didn't happen again. I'd already written that moron off, but I didn't have time to hire a different company, so I figured a tiny chance that he would do the job I paid him to do was at least worth the phone call telling him to do it.

But I didn't waste time telling the press about it. The Orlando Sentinel had already gone out several times to get the picture and they were probably tired of me crying wolf. Hell, I wouldn't believe me either.

I mean, we're already on shaky ground...being nuts who are protesting the demolition of theme park ride. It's not our fault we were dealing with a complete and utter buttmunch, but how's anyone to know that?

So, anyway, where was I?

Oh yes, we were at the gates of the MK and the Cast Member had just told us about the plane. He told his friend in the next window "Hey, you know that Toad banner that flew over the park today? This is the guy." I waved. When I told him the phone number on the banner was Al Weiss', he and his coworker had a good laugh.

The banner said SAVE MR. TOAD'S WILD RIDE 407-828-3464 WWW.SAVETOAD.COM. We never expected many people to write down the phone number in the park and call it, tho. The point was to get a picture of the thing in the paper, maybe get it picked up by the national press and then people would be calling it from all over the place.

It was going to be cool. But it was not to be.

So, anyway, I'm working on a New Plan now.

None of us saw the plane, tho I think I may have found someone who got photos and video of it, so stay tuned for that.

But plenty of guests and employees saw it, so it wasn't a total loss.

The Toad In itself was fairly anticlimactic at that point. There was a Joe the Replacement Dave (has Dave left us for good?) and his sidekick, a woman from security who hardly spoke and didn't smile much. She did have some impressive electronics sticking out of her ear, tho.

So, we did the normal standing around, talking to parkgoers bit, took the group photo and rode the Chickens side of The Ride.

And that was that.

Later in the day, we met people who had heard about us from the Internet and wanted to buy some buttons. Several people mentioned that they'd seen our plane earlier in the day.

At the Haunted Mansion, Bartender Sam unsuccessfully hit on a cute cast member. Mr. Toad is apparently her roommate's favorite ride, so she's OK in our book. Some other Haunted Mansion cast members also dug our shirts. We always get a very good response from employees at the Mansion. It's good to see people who work the cool rides sticking up for the other cool rides. Several of them told us that our postcards are hanging up backstage at the Mansion.

On the way out, we met a Haunted chick who told us there was someone we HAD to meet in Liberty Square. We found him by the Liberty Tree.

It was Ben Franklin. I had a slightly perplexing conversation with him for a moment before I realized this was THE Ben Franklin I was speaking to. I don't know what I was thinking, but I guess I didn't recognize him right away...I thought he was just a regular park employee. Really, when everyone's wearing a costume, it's quite easy to miss the Genuine Article.

Anyway, he praised our "revolutionary spirits" and told us we were good Americans for standing up for what we believe in. Ben was friggin' cool.

Bruce suggested that it's only a revolution if we win, otherwise it's just a revolt, but never mind the semantics.

Later, in Frontierland, we met some, exuberant teenage girls who were just about the most insane individuals I'd ever met. I guess they'd heard about us, cos they went absolutely nuts when they saw our t-shirts. They squealed like crazed animals. They jumped up and down. They hugged everyone. They were out of their gourds.

But, you can't be too overzealous in support of Toad, can you? So we gave them some shirts as a gift, in return for an unrelated gift of cash. Ahem.

We took pictures and they squealed again when they found out they'd be on the web page. They are probably secretly plotting my demise for taking so long to write this all up, but there they are with us in the pictures right there, as promised... Michelle, Dikla, and Sarah. So, after squealing a few more times and telling us that they loved us again, we moved on.


After that, we did Pirates, then went to Epcot in search of "half a chicken". My friend wanted to eat half a chicken, so we took him to The Land, where he ate half a chicken.

We were all pretty spent at this point.

And we still had to drive home.

Somehow, it took us hours and hours to leave, but (after dancing around like monkeys in the parking lot, for no reason) we finally did and we all got to sleep before 5am (more or less).

Well, it's the summer now and my Seasonal Pass is no good for a while (and I sure as Hell am not giving Disney any more of my money to squander at this point), so it'll probably be a while before I make another Toad In. (And even longer before I file another report!)

And you can bet that I'm not taking my summer vacation in Disney this year! I've had enough of that place for a while!
May 17 Photos: Frightened yellow guy photo courtesy of Michele Poopyon. All other photos courtesy of Jennifer "Mandibles" Mandelion.

(Click here to read about the first four documented Toad Ins.)
(Click here to read about the second four documented Toad Ins.)
(Click here to read about the final "official" Toad In.)
(Click here to read about some Uncommon Toad Ins.)

See the Shirt
Save Mr. Toad's Wild Ride!
See the Button
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride!
Electronic Toad Hall
Fame & Fortune
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride!
The Toad Timeline
Team Toad's View
More Toad than Toad
Friends of Toad
The Toad Ins
Miscellaneous Toad
Uncommon Toad Ins
The Final Chapter
See the Postcards
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