Fans Are Hopping Mad as Toad's 27-Year Ride Ends
Thursday, September 3, 1998
ORLANDO, Fla., Sept. 2 -- Walt Disney World has been targeted by Southern
Baptists, animal rights activists and anti-homosexual groups, but the
biggest protests by far have come from fans of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, which
Disney officials said today would soon join the ash heap of history.
The 27-year-old Fantasyland ride will be scrapped next Monday in favor of
one featuring Winnie the Pooh.
"It's just horrible," said Jef Moscot, a 26-year-old computer
systems administrator from Miami who has led the fight to preserve the
ride. "Disney is ruining the park by closing a classic ride in favor
of the next big thing."
Many of the ride's fans, who have picketed the park weekly since the rumor
of Mr. Toad's demise swept their ranks last April, consider the ride a
treasured memory of childhood that they enjoyed revisiting as adults.
"My parents took me on the ride when I was 4 and I can still remember it,"
said Wayne Story, of Melbourne, Fla. "Everything else in the Magic
Kingdom was all happy, smiley, happy. Mr. Toad was a little more
subversive. I still love it."
Riders on the low-tech adventure follow the bowler-hatted amphibian from
the Kenneth Grahame children's novel The Wind in the Willows on a
stolen motorcoach as it crashes into a train. Next stop is Hell, inhabited
by red devils and a pitchfork-bearing Satan.
"I guess Satan has become too politically charged to include on a
children's ride," said Laurie Stacy, 31, who was among the hundreds of
self-described "Toadies" who have revisited in recent days.
On the new Winnie the Pooh ride, which will open next summer, riders climb
aboard honey pots and meander through a blustery day in the
This was not the first time Disney has closed a ride, but park officials
acknowledged no other closing has provoked as much clamor. The "Take
Flight" feature at Tomorrowland, which is closing to make room for a Buzz
Lightyear ride, has not raised a ripple of protest.
All content ©1998 The Washington Post Company.