Hi There Everyone!
Here's the answer to the puzzling question. When planning Disneyland, Walt Disney and his fellow imagineers visited many different amusement park venues around the world so that they could be inspired, see what could be improved, and see what could be avoided.
One of the parks they visited was California's own Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Where their 'Haunted Castle' is today was a darkride entitled 'Dante's Inferno', which was just that, a darkride through hell based on 'The Divine Comedy'! Would you believe that you rode through hell in your very own motorcar? Well, we all know that Walt's film 'The Wind In The Willows' doesn't so much as mention hell at all. The imagineers enjoyed the dark ride so much that they decided to incorporate it in some way into Disneyland. They did so by making it the finale of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.
The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk would also inspire the Autopia (it's Autorama attraction was trackless as well), and it's Cave Train Adventures would also inspire the Fantasyland Dark Rides.
Source: Dipper a Day | Monterey Bay PropertiesDantes Inferno (1932-1933) was the first dark ride at the Boardwalk. Billed as "A Trip Through Hades," it featured six motor-driven cars that took riders through a dark cavern. Developed by Ed "Doc" Reicher, the ride would actually gross more on weekdays than the Giant Dipper roller coaster!