Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride Disneyland
Photo via Disney Parks

A visit to Disneyland Park can be a bit frenzied, especially if you’re along for a ride with Mr. Toad! Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, a 1955 opening day Disneyland attraction, recreates the excitement of J. Thaddeus Toad, Esquire’s journey in his first motorcar. Inspired by the “Wind in the Willows” segment of the 1949 Disney animated film The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, this two-minute car trip will keep you clutching your seatbelt.

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride Disneyland
Photo via Disney Parks

In two-seater automobile ride vehicles, you will zig and zag through Toad Hall and the English countryside, as Mr. Toad embarks on a journey toward “nowhere in particular.” Disney Parks describes it best: “Starting inside Toad Hall, you’ll zoom under the vaulted ceiling of the main parlor, skid past teetering stacks of books in the library, plow through a lit fireplace, accelerate down a weasel-infested hallway, demolish the dining room and hurtle out a window into the countryside. That’s when the motor mayhem really begins — while avoiding a platoon of bumbling policemen you crash through scaffoldings, splatter stacks of pies, smash crates and ignite a fiery explosion. You’re caught and sentenced for your crimes. Crashing through the jail wall, you speed down a dark tunnel. A light appears. Is that a train?!?” Wow! That IS one wild ride!

If you’re a subscriber to Disney Family Movies, they are featuring The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad this month. The film is actually two-in-one. The first segment is “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” an animated short narrated by Bing Crosby that recalls the tale of the Headless Horseman. Part 2, “Wind in the Willows,” voiced by the British actor Basil Rathbone, is an entertaining re-telling of Kenneth Grahame’s 1908 children’s literary classic, The Wind In the Willows, in which Mr. Toad takes a memorable trip with his pals Rat, Mole and Badger. You can see a trailer here. By the way, Disney Family Movies is currently running a “one month free” promotion for new subscribers, so if you’ve been considering it, now would be a good time to sign up!

Today’s Takeaway:
If you’ve experienced Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, you’ll agree with me that this would be a good time to talk to your kids about car safety! Take a look at what happened when my friend’s kids drove at Disneyland recently 😉

kids driving at Disneyland
Heeheehee! (Photo via Carol Beth Scott)

In all seriousness, automobile accidents are a leading cause of death and severe injuries in the United States. Vehicle manufacturers have to meet many government-regulated safety requirements. One of the oldest vehicle safety devices is the harness, or seatbelt, which keeps you securely fastened into your seat. Today, eggsperiment with safety harness systems using the drop-a-taped-egg-and-don’t-let-it-crack trick.

My daughter and I tested the shoebox, paper towel and masking tape version. We folded a paper towel into approximately a 3-inch square pad. We placed it inside a cardboard shoebox and set a fresh, raw egg on top of the pad. We then taped the egg in place using three different methods: 1) one piece of tape horizontally across egg (like a lap seatbelt), 2) one horizontal piece and one diagonal piece of tape (like a shoulder + lap seatbelt), and 3) one horizontal piece and two diagonal pieces of tape (like a child safety seat’s 5-point harness system). For each test, we dropped the shoebox from a height of 3 feet.

Our egg never broke! So either we proved the shoebox-paper towel-masking tape harness is super secure, or we proved absolutely nothing at all.

You may test our method yourself, perhaps experimenting with different kinds of tape or dropping the box from a taller height, or you may create and test your own systems, or you may try one from the following links:

Virginia Tech Physics
University of California Berkley
University of Maryland
Physics forum

SKILL LEVEL: My example was elementary; links are middle grade to college level

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  • Kmberly Searcy

    this used to be my favorite ride when i was little (even though it kind of scared me haha)! i'm so sad it's not at magic kingdom anymore! I'm definitely going to have to make a trip to disneyland just for this ride! :)