When you think of the Magic Kingdom, the first few things that come to mind are probably Cinderella’s castle, maybe Splash Mountain and possibility a Mickey Shaped ice cream bar. You might think of the parades and the fireworks or even the dozens of Mickey ears you could buy.
Does Tom Sawyer Island come to mind?
Probably not. But it should be!
Tom Sawyer Island is an attraction located in Frontierland in the Magic Kingdom. It is an actual island that is only accessible for guests by a log ‘raft’ boat. The island is full of caves, forts, bridges and trails and is based on Mark Twain’s book ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’. The charming little island provides you with a chance to escape the hustle-and-bustle of the main Magic Kingdom park. You are able to go on a self-guided adventure land that takes you back to a simpler time.
I know, you might be hesitant to leave the excitement of the main part of the Magic Kingdom. I understand why. There are so many rides to go on, shows to watch and Disney foods to eat during your stay at the Magic Kingdom, why would you want to explore Tom Sawyer Island? Trust me, it might just be the little break you need in the middle of your day. Let me tell you the ways in which I love Tom Sawyer Island and see if I can talk you into at least checking it out.
Caves and Abandoned Mines to Explore
There are caves! And abandoned mines! Enough said.
Seriously though, there are caves and abandoned mines on the island that are begging to be explored. You’ll see stalagmites popping up from the floor and glowing jewels light up the darkness as you wind your way through the descending and ascending pathways. The caves and mines are dark and twisty, so they might be best suited for kids five and older or those who don’t mind the dark. This is especially true if your party likes to try to spook other members of their party as they wind their way through the caves. I may or may not be known for doing this…
Old Fort Langhorn Provides Relaxing Fun
Old Fort Langhorn at the back of the island provides guests with an opportunity to explore an old time-y fort. It is equipped with stables, places to sit and play checkers. It provides some of the best views of Big Thunder Mountain this side of the Mississippi! Or at least in Frontierland. Climb up to the second level to get the best views or head out to Pappy’s fishing pier for an even better view. By far, my absolute favorite part of Fort Langhorn is the escape route tunnel. Maybe I’m a kid at heart, but I love to find a secret passage way and find out where it leads. Be sure to find the escape tunnel and see if you can make it out before trouble gets ya’.
Small Playground for Littles
The Magic Kingdom can get insanely crowded, that’s no secret. Although you’re doing a lot of walking, your little ones probably need a place to blow off steam. With all the people, food vendors and possible parade starts, the streets of Frontierland probably aren’t the best place to get that job done. On Tom Sawyer Island there is a small, quaint playground, named Scavage Fort. It’s made from old pieces of material or disgaurded objects to make up an unique play structure. You’ll have to do a little walking to get there, but once there your kiddo can let off some energy.
We’ve touched on this ‘little’ known fact before, but Florida is hot.
Especially during the summer months when the sun is beating straight overhead and no rain clouds are in sight. Tom Sawyer Island to the rescue! Most of the island is covered in large trees which provide ample shelter from the midday sun. The humidity may be the same on and off of the island, but getting under those shaded trees makes a huge difference to the ‘real feel’ temperature. Hey, you feel like your right along the Mississippi River, just like Tom.
Log Raft Ride
For those of you saying that you don’t want to explore the island because you have too many ‘real’ rides to check out: hold up. The only way to get to the island is to ride a raft. A real log raft!! (Okay, it might be powered by something other than man-power, but your kids might not pick up on that!) It can’t be just me who has kids who love to ride all the things at Disney that really aren’t ‘rides’. Favorites include, buses, the monorail, the ferry boats and these rafts definitely made the list! Your kiddos will love the ride over to the island and look forward to riding back as well.
Bathrooms are Available
Heading over to the island on the log raft and your newly trained three-year old has to go potty? Don’t fret, Disney gets it. They have bathrooms for you to use on Tom Sawyer Island. Two of them actually! One is located at the front by the raft loading/unloading dock (usually Tom’s Landing) and the other is in the back inside Fort Longhorn. That way, if you need to go to the bathroom and you’re at the back of the island, you’re covered.
The best part about these bathrooms? They are never too crowded. That in itself is a real Magic Kingdom treat.
Tom Sawyer island is a great place to explore with your family when you are in the Magic Kingdom. Due to it being a less popular attraction, it is never too crowded. There is one disclaimer regarding Tom Sawyer Island: Strollers and wheelchairs must be docked prior to boarding the log raft ride. Due to the terrain they are not feasible for use or allowed on the island. Due to this fact, you might end up spending some time carrying or using a baby carrier for your little-little one. We have used the Ergo Baby Carrier and it has worked out perfectly. Got to love free hands!
Despite the fact that you can’t bring your beloved stroller over, I still think a quick trip over the Tom Sawyer Island is worth it. It will add some relaxation to your day and give you a chance to step back and take in the Magic Kingdom from a different vantage point. Both adults and kids will love Tom Sawyer island, so give it a chance!