Tom Sawyer Island is an attraction in Frontierland at Magic Kingdom. The island sits in the center of the Rivers of America between Frontierland and Liberty Square. It opened at Walt Disney World in 1973, a few years after the park’s grand opening.
In this article, we take a visit to Tom Sawyer’s Island. We’ll discuss how to access the island and what to do when you arrive.
Tom Sawyer Island was inspired by Mark Twain’s (Samuel Langhorn Clemens) novels, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Two other versions of this attraction exist in the Disney Parks.
Disneyland Park in California has the original version, which was designed by Walt Disney. Additionally, another version makes up part of Tokyo Disneyland.
Here are a few quick references for experiencing Tom Sawyer Island.
|Tom Sawyer Island
Exploring, Raft, Fort, Playgrounds
Seats Per Vehicle:
10+ on Raft
Early Theme Park Hours:
Extended Evening Hours:
Taking a break
Kids that need to run off energy.
Nostalgia for Mark Twain fans
You must cross the river to access the island.
Guests must be ambulatory to explore Tom Sawyer Island. However, the rafts that take guests to the island accommodate both wheelchairs and ECVS.
Tom Sawyer Island
Tom Sawyer Island is located on the walkway toward Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. It will be on your right before you reach the mine coaster.
Outside the entrance, a sign is posted with a few specifics. On the day of this visit, the island was open between 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. However, the island closes before dusk, so keep that in mind, depending on what time of the year you visit.
Since Tom Sawyer Island is an actual island, guests must take river rafts to visit and return. It takes approximately two minutes for the next raft.
Typically, two rafts are available, and they cast off simultaneously. Therefore, it should never take long to board the next raft. Of course, now and then, the Liberty Square Riverboat passes. So that might require a few extra minutes wait.
Since it’s such a short journey, guests remain standing after boarding the raft.
Once you dock at Tom’s Landing, you can explore the island at your leisure. You’ll return to the same location when you’re ready to leave. Additionally, restrooms are available at Tom’s Landing.
A sign greets you. It was written in Tom’s best English. (Huck “wuz” not more scared than Tom.)
This delightful island invites you to enjoy a self-guided tour. Some of the activities on Tom Sawyer Island include crossing a suspension bridge, finding a hidden fort, and venturing through caves and tunnels.
Here’s a look at the Tom Sawyer Island map. It shows the layout of the map and a few of the activities. You might want to take a snapshot of it to avoid missing anything important.
I decided to tackle Tom Sawyer Island in a clockwise fashion. So, first, I passed Old Scratch’s Mystery Mine. Then I continued along the path to Potters Mill. This is an actual working mill.
After that, I walked around the mill and crossed Little Crooked Bridge.
Then I decided to enter Injun Joe’s Cave.
I expected the cave to be short and sweet. Instead, a few minutes later, I was beginning to feel a touch of claustrophobia and was worried that it might be one of those mazes you get turned around in before you realize it.
At about that time, I came out on the other side of the island at Poor Ole’ Jim’s Shack facing the Haunted Mansion.
A set of stairs behind me appeared as though they would take me back to where I started without going through the cave again. Needless to say–but I never set foot in Old Scratch’s Mystery Mine.
At the top of the hill, I came across Tom Sawyer’s Scavenger’s Fort. This is a play area for the enjoyment of kids ages 2-12 years old.
It was a pretty slow afternoon on the island.
A few picnic benches sat nearby in the shade for parents to rest while their children played.
At the top of the hill, I could see across the river to Frontierland.
This time, I returned down the hill by taking a wooden staircase inside the mill. Then, I continued to the suspension bridge, known as the Superstition Bridge.
After crossing the bridge, you can visit the most popular attraction on the island, Fort Langhorn, or you can continue on the path that leads to the outskirts of the island.
I decided to stay on the path because I wanted to check out the unique views of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad up ahead.
Then I took a side entrance into the fort.
Fort Langhorn is a fun place for children to play. It has a secret escape tunnel, a blacksmith shop, fake cannons, rifles, and other hidden gems.
After checking out the fort, I made my way back across the bridge.
Then I found myself back on the opposite side of the island near Barrel Bridge, which is Tom and Huck’s way. Of course, if you don’t want to take the barrel bridge, you can always go “the other way.”
For whatever reason, I decided to take the barrel bridge. Who knows when I’ll return to the island? But if and when I do, I’ll probably leave the barrel bridge up to those far younger than me.
I had no idea I was providing such entertainment to a number of guests waiting across the river in the Haunted Mansion queue.
After taking on the barrel bridge, it was time for a break. Unfortunately, Aunt Polly’s Dockside Inn was closed. From my understanding, it’s rarely open. However, a few vending machines were available.
Aunt Polly’s has a lovely sitting area that looks out to Liberty Square. You could easily pick up a snack and bring it to the island to enjoy.
It was also fun to see a unique perspective of the Liberty Belle.
After taking a break, I decided it was time to see the rest of the island on my way back to Tom’s Landing. I passed along a fence that read Huck and Tom “hearts” Becky painted on it. Becky, of course, references Becky Thatcher (Rebecca) from the books.
Then I came across Harper’s Mill. Unfortunately, this mill wasn’t working.
But you could still walk through it and see its structure.
At this point, it was time to return to the hustle and bustle of Magic Kingdom. I took one last photo of the view before I reached Tom’s Landing.
Overall, Tom Sawyer’s Island is a fun place to escape crowds and relax while children play. The island offers a good deal of old-fashioned fun and exploring, so it’s worth a visit if you can make the time in your schedule.
However, guests with limited time will first want to consider their highest priorities in the park. It’s challenging to visit Magic Kingdom and get the majority of attractions accomplished in one day, not including characters, dining, and priority entertainment.
Whatever you decide, I’m sure you’ll enjoy visiting Tom Sawyer Island. And if you can’t make it, add it to your list for next time.
Additionally, you might enjoy these other nearby Magic Kingdom rides:
- Country Bear Jamboree
- Jungle Cruise at Magic Kingdom
- Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade
- Pirates of the Caribbean at Magic Kingdom
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
Are you planning a Walt Disney World vacation? Then, you might enjoy browsing our list of Disney World Resort Reviews. That article contains a list of every resort review we have available on the site.
Additionally, you might enjoy our list of the best off-site resorts near Disney World. While there are many advantages to staying on property, the cost has risen significantly in recent years. So you might consider a few other hotels:
- Waldorf Astoria Orlando Review
- Wyndham Bonnet Creek Review
- Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Review
- Signia by Hilton Bonnet Creek Review
For dining, we keep an updated list of Disney Restaurant Reviews. In addition, there are several great fine dining options in our Disney Signature Restaurant Guide. You might also enjoy a character dining experience during your stay.
In the Comments
Have you ever visited Tom Sawyer Island? Do you enjoy spending time here? What memories do you have of the island?