Monday, August 24, 2015

Disney Song #67: The Merrily Song

To Listen: Click Here

The Facts:
  • Writer: Frank Churchill
  • Year: 1949
  • Key:  C Major

Heard In: 
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride

Background / Personal Connection:
"Mr Toad's Wild Ride" was one of my favorite Magic Kingdom rides as a kid.  I was familiar with Toad from The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, a movie from 1949 that was really like two shorter movies in one: Ichabod Crane's showdown with the Headless Horseman (based on The Legend of Sleepy Hollow) and Mr. Toad's adventures in the English countryside (based on The Wind and the Willows). Excerpts of the movie were often shown on the Disney Channel cartoon shows that I watched, and in particular I remember being wowed by the chase scene in Toad Hall (which is still pretty impressive upon rewatching).

The Toad ride has been in Disneyland since its opening in 1955 and still exists today.  Its Disney World counterpart was not so fortunate, for in 1998 it was replaced by Winnie the Pooh despite some passionate protests by a Save Toad movement.  The change was not surprising given that for every 100,000 kids that are familiar with Pooh, there's probably 1 kid who knows anything about Toad outside of the ride. Nevertheless, it was a fun ride and one that I miss (as a kid I especially liked the faux steering wheels).

I'm in the middle of reading "It's Kind of a Cute Story," by legendary Imagineer Rolly Crump, and in the book he says that Toad was so popular in Disneyland that when it came time to build Disney World, they wanted to have two separate, identical Toad rides to improve wait times. Rolly thought that was a dumb idea, and he improved upon it with a plan to have two different rides in one -- the left side and the right side.  Depending on which one you went on, you saw different things, and there was one open room in the middle where the tracks converged and you could see the cars from the other side.

As for the song, it was played throughout the ride and was originally heard in the movie.  Another song from the movie which didn't make my countdown but is worth mentioning is "Ichabod Crane" by none other than Bing Crosby.

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