Explore Days Gone By On Tom Sawyer Island

Sitting across the Rivers of America lies what could be one of the most overlooked attractions in the Magic Kingdom, Tom Sawyer Island. It opened in 1973 and has stood the test of time. To get there, guests must take one of four a jaunty rafts named Tom Sawyer, Becky Thatcher, Injun Joe, or Huck Finn. They run from a dock nestled on the riverbank in Frontierland across to the island where on Tom's Landing the ageless adventure begins.

Frontierland Dock to Tom Sawyer IslandFrontierland Dock to Tom Sawyer Island

This charming low tech escape allows guests the chance to slow down the pace of touring and offers some rugged back-woodsy fun designed and carefully constructed and planted entirely by Disney. Across the island you'll find wonderful sights and sounds left by the Imagineers that spark the imagination and draw you deeper into the story. Through a series of caves and mine passages guests move into the heart of the island. A light casts a shadow " a speaker whispers " was that your traveling companion or are marauders right behind you? The joy of Tom Sawyers Island is that of childhood not a care in the world and all of it to explore.

Take the Raft to Tom's LandingTake the Raft to Tom's Landing

There are paths, and caves and bridges, a fort and trees and hill, it's simplicity reminds us to that the key to wonder is truly inside. You'll also find rickety bridges that bob on barrels as you cross, and quaint "fishin' holes" to sit and watch Big Thunder Mountain Railroad trains race by. Fort Langhorn offers a frontier feeling with its cannons, riffles, blacksmith shop and an escape tunnel. Our friends over at AllEars.net posted a fantastic video montage about the island.

One of my favorite spots on the Island is Harper's Mill, which is generally photographed from across the river more than it is visited. The mill is a tip of the hat to Disney's 1937 animation Silly Symphony success and Academy Award winner "The Old Mill." Inside you'll find a set of "old" gears that creak and grind in what's rumored to be the tune of "Down by The Old Mill Stream." There's an owl in the in the rafters and a little bluebird in her nest that perilously sits within the gears, outside a waterwheel turns. Have you heard the tune?

Harpers MillHarpers Mill

The island is built for exploring and getting lost, but closes at disk for the safety of the guests. If you just want a relaxing view and a place to sit down while the kids explore, Aunt Polly's has plenty of waterside tables to enjoy. Though there was once a cafe here, guests are now limited to bottles of Coca-cola products in vending machines. However if you've brought snacks on your own or grabbed something to go from a Frontierland vending cart it's still a great spot for a snack. It takes about 45 minutes to explore the space and it can be a great break in your day.

Aunt Polly's Offers Beautiful River ViewsAunt Polly's Offers Beautiful River Views

Do you make a stop at Tom Sawyer Island during your Disney Trips? What's your favorite thing about the island? Leave a comment below and tell us what you think of this attraction.

Becca @ Princesses and Pixie Dust wrote on Mon, 08/19/2013 - 13:12:

Becca @ Princesses and Pixie Dust's picture

I've always wanted to go exploring around Tom Sawyer Island, but I never seem to get the chance! I'll be making it a top priority when I go back to WDW in December! :)

Norma wrote on Tue, 08/20/2013 - 00:48:

Norma's picture

I miss the apple pie at Aunt Polly's. It always felt like we knew a secret no one else did when we enjoyed the pie ala mode in the rocking chairs.

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