One of the original rides at Disneyland, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride is a dark ride in Fantasyland with a very cheerful ending.
And by cheerful ending, I mean you go to Hell.
No seriously, I’m not making that up. Hell.
It’s heated, too.
Welcome to Toad Hall
Isn’t that pretty, all lit up like that?
Mr. Toad the character is from Disney’s 1949 animated feature, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. Now I feel a vague sense of certainty that I have, in fact, seen this film, but honestly I can’t remember much about it. But according to the highly-reliable Wikipedia, this film had two segments–one based on Wind in the Willows and the other based on The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
Which seriously, if I try to think of two stories that belong together, those would DEFINITELY be at the top of my list.
Not really at the top of Walt’s list either, since apparently in 1958 the Sleepy Hollow segment was separated and produced as its own film (which I distinctly remember watching on television around Halloween as a kid). That’s the one I remember being quite terrifying. But we’re way off topic now.
Here’s the queue for Mr. Toad. This picture was taken a few months ago so it’s a wee bit more crowded now.
Where is everyone?
In case you were wondering, I generally shoot a number of blog entries worth of pictures at any given visit, and then they sit around in a file waiting to be posted. Or sometimes they get lost and I only find them much later. This would be one of those times.
Anyway, I love the queue for Mr. Toad. Even thought it’s smack in the middle of Fantasyland and not even covered much, it’s so tucked away you really feel like you’re in an English country garden. And you get to know various Mr. Toad characters on your way in.
Like Mr. Toad, for example
I think what I love about Mr. Toad is that his affect is so danged cheery.
Look how friendly I am!
Even once you get inside, you’re treated to his jovial demeanor
Plus, he’s short, which makes him extra-cute
Since the ride building is supposed to be Toad Hall itself, you’re treated to some nice murals and stuff.
Peaceful country scene, fancy light fixture
Your ride vehicle is an old-fashioned motor car.
It’s even got a little steering wheel, which does not, in fact, work.
And you start your journey with a bang by crashing into the library.
Shortly before crashing
At this point the important thing to remember is that in the story, Toad has a motor car and he’s a really reckless driver. As such, so are you. You basically go careening through Toad’s life.
I think of all of the rides at Disneyland, Mr. Toad remains one of the lowest tech rides in the park. It’s been spruced up, but basically you’re in a car on a track and the ride consists of painted plywood boards that you almost run into but either yank into a turn or the board is pulled away (or both) at the last minute. I actually avoided Mr. Toad for a while because when I was younger I remembered practically getting whiplash from the speed with which you avoided objects. Now the ride is easier on the back and neck, but the sense of danger just isn’t there. It’s a bummer, really, because in my memory, you could practically touch things seconds before it was yanked away, and now it doesn’t have that feel anymore.
It does not, however, go slow enough to take good pictures too. Heh.
So the ride is basically like this:
Pedestrian you almost mow down
and so on. Then you swing by the pub and have one for the road.
Tastes great! No, less filling!
Apparently there’s some kind of open container law, or you’re just a really bad driver, because you end up in a courtroom, and things don’t go your way.
GUILTY!!! (of what???)
Now here’s where the ride veers from the actual story–both the film and the book it’s based on. Because for some reason, after you’re pronounced guilty, you are suddenly driving on train tracks and it’s not your lucky day, because you get hit by the train and go to Hell.
Hell is hot and steamy (REALLY uncomfortable on a hot day) and there are dancing demons and such and the judge dude come back and he’s a demon too and basically it’s kind of miserable, as you might expect Hell to be. I have a bunch of pictures like this one:
I AM AN AWESOME PHOTOGRAPHER!!!
And then you get spit back out into Toad Hall and the real world again. The end!
I really like Mr. Toad. For all of its zaniness and simplicity, it’s just a fun ride with a bit of nostalgia and a bit of “whaaa???” and a lot of laughs.