The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
The final film of the packaged era released in late 1949 is The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. This is one of the few stories in the Packaged Era to have representation at the Disney parks. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was opened in Disneyland in 1955 as a dark ride similar to Peter Pan’s Flight and Snow White’s Scary Adventures. Its Disney World counterpart existed from 1971 to 1998 but was closed and replaced by The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
Like Fun and Fancy Free both stories in this film deserved their own feature and at one time that was the plan. The animation style in this one is much more muted than before. The colors are somewhat drab and have a feel like The Secret of Nimh as opposed to typical Disney cartoon.
There are characters in this one that seem like they boiled over into some other films. Specifically, the weasels are very similar to those in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Ichabod, Mr. Toad, and Mole all are very distinct characters that could have easily been utilized in the Disney theme parks.
The film itself feels generations ahead of the ones before it in the Disney Animated Canon. The stories which are based off The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and The Wind in the Willows are a bit more sophisticated than most of the fairy tales Disney had done prior. The stories are more complex and the delivery of them assumes a bit more out of the audience’s intelligence than the emotional pulls of the earlier films. I would say that the Mr. Toad side was considerably stronger than the Ichabod side and left alone Mr. Toad could have been the best film so far.
With Sleepy Hollow Disney delved back into some darker themes. This and Pinocchio are far darker than anything else in the Canon at this point.
Overall, this is a piece of DAC that deserves a viewing and some monetization. I would love to see Mr. Toad in the parks with a crazy roller coaster named after him.
Run Time – 68 Minutes
22nd Academy Awards – 0 Nominations – 0 Wins
Disney Animated Canon so far in order of Quality
1. Dumbo 10-23-1941
2. Pinocchio 2-7-1940
3. The Adventure of Ichabod and Mr. Toad 10-5-1949
4. Make Mine Music 4-20-1946
5. Fun and Fancy Free 9-27-1947
6. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 12-21-1937
7. Saludos Amigos 8-24-1942
8. Melody Time 5-27-1948
9. Bambi 8-13-1942
10. Fantasia 11-13-1940
11. The Three Caballeros 12-21-1944