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Protesters want to ride with Mr. Toad

 
Published Dec. 6, 1997|Updated Oct. 2, 2005

Some activists protest nuclear generators in space. Others, the mistreatment of Haitian refugees. On Sunday, a Miami man and his friends will invade Walt Disney World in a battle to spare the life of a nearly 100-year-old toad.

For Jeff Moskot, 26, it's a fight to keep Mr. Toad's Wild Ride from being replaced by something from Winnie-the-Pooh.

At noon Sunday, in front of Mr. Toad's ride, Moskot and 25 or so of his friends will don "Save Mr. Toad" T-shirts and hand out postcards that park visitors can mail to top Disney execs.

Disney folks are taking it all in stride and with a smile.

"It's always a challenge to keep the right balance, to retain the magic for our loyal guests and keep the experience new and exciting for our first-time visitors," said Diane Ledder, manager of public affairs.

Although a Pooh attraction is under discussion, no decision has been made, Ledder said.

The current ride snakes through the life of Mr. Toad, a featured creature in Kenneth Grahame's early 1900s novel Wind in the Willows.

In the ride, Mr. Toad "borrows" a car he doesn't know how to drive and crashes his way through town. He hits a truck full of chickens and slams into a jail, releasing weasels. He ends up being hit by a train and winds up in a hellish hereafter populated by red demons. It's the closest thing to a scary ride that little kids have, Moskot protested.

"When they go ripping a classic out, that's just not right," said Moskot, a University of Miami computer expert.

Moskot's battle is online. The Save Mr. Toad Website can be found at: www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Set/7073.