In mid-March, 2010, my family visited Disneyland. My wife, 22 year old son, 17 year old daughter & I. So as time permits, I’ll be posting reviews on the various attractions. Bear in mind, I can’t really post CURRENT impressions of these attractions in regards to how well they work for little children. But I’ve certainly been to Disneyland a few other times over the decades.
MR. TOAD’S WILD RIDE is a personal little favorite of mine. It’s nestled in the heart of Fantasyland, right next to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party ride and around the corner from Peter Pan’s Flight. As you probably know, there are a number rides in Disneyland, involving sitting in a little car-like contraption and being led through various rooms on a track. The story is sort of briefly retold to you, there may be some flashing lights, some black-light effects, some special effects and lots of sound and music. Frankly, the rides succeed primarily in relation to how pretty they are. Peter Pan is the gold standard, with its use of lighting…but all the rides (PINOCCHIO, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, SNOW WHITE, WINNIE THE POOH & MR. TOAD) have their high points.
MR. TOAD (sadly, The Wind In The Willows is hardly known by kids today) is a gorgeous ride (the setting for the queue is Toad Hall, and the carvings on the wall are beautiful), with just a bit more vim and vigor, than, say SNOW WHITE. It’s a bit louder and in general feels faster paced, because there are more quick turns and near misses. Mr. Toad is a terrible driver and he takes you on a crazy little ride through the English countryside. (Eventually he has SUCH a bad accident that he ends up in what appears to be a courtroom located in hell!!!) I wouldn’t say the ride is scary, exactly…but I can easily see how a very small child might not be happy! (One of my favorite moments is when suddenly, out of the dark, a pair of truck headlights come hurtling towards you, accompanied by a loud blast of the horn, and then crazy crashing noises.)
The ride is, I believe, the briefest of all the rides I mention above. I’d guess just under 2 minutes. The lines for this are medium (Peter Pan is always the longest, followed by Alice. Snow White and Pinocchio are the shortest, often involving a wait of two minutes or less.) On our last visit, we waited about 10-12 minutes…no big deal. Also, in front of the house is a replica of Mr. Toad’s car. It makes a great photo opportunity, so don’t miss it. You get Toad Hall in the background…a great chance for the kids (or the kid in you) to make a goofy pose.
While I wouldn’t put this right at the top of my “must do” list, I personally wouldn’t feel I’d gotten my money’s worth out of Disneyland without a quick visit to my old friend, MR. TOAD.
(One final note: we went in the evening, and I got into line for MR. TOAD. After a couple of minutes, I realized I was actually in the line for the Tea Party!! They are very near each other, and not terribly clearly marked for evening viewing. Hopefully you aren’t as clueless as me…but just in case.)