The first animal that comes to mind when thinking about this ride is not a toad. Instead, the image of a nice, fluffy sheep fixates itself in my mind.
For some odd reason, my father decided it would be funny to bah like a sheep throughout the entirety of the ride. As time went on it became a tradition: bah-ing while riding Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.
Eventually this matured (our immaturity matured that is) into bah-ing on just about ever indoor ride at Disney. The Peter Pan ride, the Snow White ride, Haunted Mansion…think of a slower indoor ride at Disney and we have bah-ed while riding it.
As far as the ride itself goes, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was as advertised: wild. I always loved the jerky motions and quick accelerations and braking during the ride.
Besides that, it was risqué. I didn’t realize it at the time but there were some pretty mature themes throughout the ride. As a child I just liked that there were a bunch of colors and objects to look at as you flew around the inside of a building almost running into everything in your path.
Going on it now I’d compare it to riding in the car with a drunk driver while high on psychedelic mushrooms. Almost running into doors, walls, etc. and having them open up so you can pass through just in the nick of time always got me going (having my dad play up the excitement helped too). You get hit by a train (my favorite part), run into some questionable characters, go to Hell and back (literally) and see a mural of Rapunzel that, shall we say, looks a little different from the most recent reincarnation of the character by Disney.
None of this is in chronological order of course seeing as I haven’t been on the ride in a good 15 years. I just remember a lot happened and I was always amped after going on the ride. While some of the imagery and themes in the ride were deemed mature and dark, I never thought of them that way. Maybe I was too young to actually think about what I was seeing and what they meant: I just rode it because it was fun.
I never connected the end of the ride with Hell. I just thought it was another part of the attraction. The little demons with their pitchforks, looking extra fierce and evil. Ominous may be a good word to describe the end of the ride. Sadness is a good word to describe the way I felt going to the Magic Kingdom to find Mr. Toad gone and Pooh and friends in his place.
Sure, the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is a good ride but it can’t compare to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Apparently, it is consistently voted number one on which-ride-would-you-bring-back-at-Disney polls.
The only desire I have to go to Disney Land is so I can ride this again. I know it’s a little different ride but I really miss it: Bah-ing at Pooh and Tigger just doesn’t do it for me.