• Tom Sawyer Island

Tom Sawyer Island

Luiz Alberto H.

Created: May 03, 2024

Last Updated: May 07, 2024

Tom Sawyer Island
  • Year: 1973
  • Type: Trail
  • Single rider line: No
  • Minimum Height: None
  • Lots to explore
  • Peaceful
  • Great for kids
  • Very time consuming

Tom Sawyer Island Review

Rumors have it that there's an island right in the heart of Magic Kingdom where you can find peace and loads of fun

Tom Sawyer Island is very, very unique.

Oh no, I’m not saying this because we are talking about a playground in Magic Kingdom. I’m saying this attraction is unique because it’s mostly a mystery to most guests that visit the Happiest Place on Earth. Seriously, a lot of people don’t even know that this place exists. 

“Wait a minute, there is an island in the middle of Magic Kingdom that is actually a huge playground for kids?” Yeah, that is true. Who could have imagined that you could take a boat in the most popular theme park in the world and arrive in a place that is far away from the chaotic side of Mickey Mouse and his friends?

Tom Sawyer Island has been around for over fifty years, yet I reckon about 90% of Disney World visitors have never set foot on it. It's understandable because you have to take a raft driven by a staff member to reach this spot. This might discourage some from trying this attraction and prompt them to do something else instead. Magic Kingdom is bustling with things to do and see, and many believe they'll spend too much time traveling to and from this location.

Magic Kingdom Tom Sawyer Island 3.webp
Walt Disney World©

The Good

So, what exactly is Tom Sawyer Island? It’s in the name, friend! It’s an island, with references to the book The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, written by Mark Twain in 1876. Many might assume this is just another playground for kids, but that's not quite the case. You won't come across slides or many activities tailored for toddlers here, despite the presence of a few rope bridges connecting various areas. Tom Sawyer Island primarily serves as a haven within Magic Kingdom, ideal for the curious-minded, offering ample opportunities for guests to explore and discover a lot of cool stuff.

This looks like a small, abandoned village lost to time, and it’s a great spot to come with kids aged 5-10. You can find an old mill, mysterious caves, mines full of shimmering minerals, bridges and old looking houses that look like something from the Wild West. Some houses even have animatronics of horses and chickens, which is a nice touch. Tom Sawyer Island is a great spot for pictures, and it also gives you a new perspective of Frontierland. Big Thunder mountain Railroad, in fact, is very close to it, and you can see the train cart zipping by not that far away.

One compelling reason to visit Tom Sawyer Island is to get away from the crowds. As the most frequented theme park in the world, Magic Kingdom sees a staggering 17 million guests annually (seriously, I feel like that number is actually per day). However, stepping onto Tom Sawyer Island feels like entering a pocket dimension. In the most popular theme park on the planet, you can feel like you're there by yourself for a little while.

Magic Kingdom Tom Sawyer Island 2.webp

The Bad

It’s easy to see why Tom Sawyer Island is not for everyone: you do spend a lot of time here. It’s a similar feeling to playgrounds like The Boneyard in Animal Kingdom, or even worse. There's plenty to explore and enjoy here, and simply wandering around eats up time. On top of that, you also have to factor in the wait for the raft to transport you to and from the island. Personally, I've never had to wait for a long time, but I've come across comments online from folks who have waited up to 30 minutes for a single boat, which can feel like quite a stretch.

Would I recommend Tom Sawyer Island to a group of adults only? Not really. It’s a fun spot to take pictures, but that’s it. There are other magical places in Magic Kingdom that deserve more of your time. Plus, you can easily find yourself spending a significant chunk of your visit simply wandering around the island and waiting for a raft to ferry you back to Frontierland.

Will Kids enjoy it?

Now, if you have kids in your party, you might forget about the paragraph above. Tom Sawyer Island is a great spot for children aged 5-10. While toddlers and very young kids might prefer strolling around Fantasyland and experiencing the classic attractions of Magic Kingdom, older children who enjoy running, exploring, and discovering new things will likely love this place. 

With its mysterious villages, Tom Sawyer Island can ignite the imaginations of our little adventurers, transforming them into mini Indiana Joneses as they uncover its secrets. They can play hide and seek, uncover treasures inside scary mines and much more. This is a great place to create new memories, and a hidden gem in Magic Kingdom for our little ones.

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