Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride is one of those beloved classic Disney attractions whether you’re 10 years old or 44. Come along as I take a wild ride with Mr. Toad for the first time in 34 years at Disneyland.
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was an opening day attraction at both Disneyland in 1955 and Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World in 1971. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride closed at Walt Disney World in September 1998. Today, Toad fans at Disney World in Florida can find little homages to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride sprinkled around Magic Kingdom and on merch.
But when you visit Disneyland, you get the ultimate Toad experience and get to go on this wacky attraction. On my first visit ever to Disneyland in September 2023, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was at the top of my Must Do List.
Big Hair, Big Glasses, and a Wild Ride with Mr. Toad
My first wild ride was back at Disney World in 1989. I was right on the cusp of the wonderfully opinionated and hopelessly-trying-to-be-cool tween years at 10 years old. You can see just how cool I was in this pic from the Dick Tracy area at the then MGM Studios, now Hollywood Studios.
I don’t remember much about Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. It was dark and wacky and I liked it because my mom was a big Wind in the Willows fan. I distinctly remembered the train scene and thought the ride was really pretty weird! No memories of being scared, but I know that later when we rode the PeopleMover, I was shocked at seeing what Space Mountain looked like with the lights on. Seriously search for an image of it.
Back to Mr. Toad’s, my brother liked the ride so much that we rode it twice so we could try each track, a feature on the Disney World version. My dad’s driving resembled Mr. Toad at times so even he was fine with doing the ride twice.
34 Years and a 4-Hour Plane Ride Later…
Mr. Toad and I finally met again at Disneyland in September of 2023. This ride is one of only a few opening-day attractions remaining at Disneyland. It and the Matterhorn were on the list of must-do. Sadly Space Mountain was closed for a refurb.
Most dark rides move kind of slowly. Peter Pan could almost gently rock you to sleep. A Doom Buggy on Haunted Mansion isn’t going to be taking on Radiator Springs Racers anytime soon. And then, there’s Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. I rode it with a good friend and Disneyland expert Jamie and we were cracking up the entire time.
It moves so quickly. I was trying to take it all in, admiring the detail in the library, anticipating driving full force when the train’s bright lights came barreling toward us. Before I knew it we were tearing into the final scene, the heat in the room being not so welcome on a steamy day. In the blink of an eye, it was over and we screeched into the unloading area breathless and laughing.
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride: Disney World vs Disneyland
Regardless of the coast you visit, it was a wild ride but the Disney World version of Mr. Toad had a very distinct feature: two tracks with two different adventures. As you can see in this image from the book A Portrait of Walt Disney World 50 Years of the Most Magical Place on Earth, there is even a point where cars on the two tracks look like they might collide.
The Disneyland version has just one adventure but has had a few refurbs over the years to include elements of the Disney World version. One of those was a major update in 1983 with the addition of Mr. Winky’s Bar.
Mr. Toad, the Only Mister in Disneyland
With his bowtie, vest, and dapper jacket, Mr. Toad has the look of a gentleman and according to Walt, is the only ‘mister’ in Disneyland. In the book Remembering Walt: Favorite Memories of Walt Disney, a Disneyland Photographer Renie Bardeau shared a story when Walt approached him at Hills Bros. Coffee shop and asked to sit down.
When the waitress asked Walt “Can I help you Mr. Disney?,” Walt replied, “Yes but remember, I’m Walt. There’s only one ‘mister’ in Disneyland and that’s Mr. Toad.”