One of our favorite things to do at Walt Disney World is to visit Tom Sawyer Island. It is a hidden treasure that is absolutely worthy of a visit to explore!
There’s only one way to get to and from Tom Sawyer Island, and that is by riding on a log raft across the Rivers of America in Frontierland. Sometimes you luck out and the raft is nice and empty, but most of the year you get to get up close and personal with your fellow guests! So squeeze in and be friendly.
When you get off the raft at Tom’s Landing, most people head left but I recommend heading right. It’s easy to get turned around on the island (or maybe that’s just me and my complete lack of a sense of direction), but there are maps and signs posted all around the island to help you find your way.
The following is a list of some of the things you should make sure to find during your exploration:
The Barrel Bridge is a ton of fun to scramble over. This is one of several parts of the island that are clearly marked one way with “entrance” and “exit” signs. Don’t make Mickey sad, make sure to follow the signs! And watch out, this one is very bumpy!
There are two mysterious “dark” caves on the island that you can explore. One has spooky sounds and one has a hidden waterfall with glowing gemstones. We like the second one (Old Scratch’s Mystery Mine) the best. Here’s the entrance sign to that cave. Eli recently braved these caves and he was so proud of himself!
Another place for the little ones to practice their bravery is Harper’s Mill. It has a huge waterwheel outside and interesting cogs and gears inside. You’ll hear eerie owl hoots and creaks as you pass through. You can also walk around if your little ones aren’t quite brave enough yet!
Next, take a climb up Crooked Bridge into Potter’s Mill which is the iconic Windmill that is easily visible from Frontierland.
Eli loves to watch the pole (yes I’m sure there’s a technical name for it but I’m going with “the pole”) turn inside the windmill.
We always make a stop at Tom Sawyer Scavage Fort which is a miniature playground for the under 12 set. It has a small fort with a ladder to climb up a tube to crawl through. There is also a pirate ship area where young ones can ring a bell and steer the ship.
From there, head over the suspension bridge (feel free to bounce it a bit if you want to!) towards the Fort.
Fort Langhorn is Eli’s favorite part of Tom Sawyer Island. It is on the tip of the island closest to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. So if you are directionally challenged like me, you can just head towards the sound of happy screaming!
It has lots to explore, including some fun shooting galleries upstairs. If you’re ever riding on Thunder Mountain, watch out because some pint sized sharp shooters might be taking aim at you from this fort!
There are rocking chairs and a checker board downstairs, water fountains, and restrooms as well.
There is an “escape tunnel” that truly is dark and curvy. If your little ones have any issues with the dark, you probably want to let them sit that experience out for a while.
There is a blacksmith shop that quite honestly creeps me out a bit. I think it’s because you only see the backs of the animatronics.
There are also several spots throughout Tom Sawyer Island where you can just sit and relax a while. A small dock right in front of the Fort has a couple of rocking chairs and a great view of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. There are also benches along the paths if you need to take a break.
There are also picnic tables that are a great spot if you happen to bring your own snacks or lunch. At Aunt Polly’s on the other end of the Island (closest to the Haunted Mansion) you can spend some peaceful time overlooking the water in the shade.
Right by this lovely spot there are also some vending machines if all the exploring makes you thirsty!
The Island closes at dusk, so head over early in the day. Several years ago, cast members used to hide a couple of paintbrushes around the Island every morning. The lucky guests who found the paintbrushes could exchange them for bonus fast passes. This tradition was stopped, probably in anticipation of the new FP+ program, but I still keep my eye out just in case!
Tom Sawyer Island is a great place for little ones to burn off some steam by running around and exploring and is also perfect for those guests who want to explore at a slower pace.
I’m linking up again with run.geek.run(disney) and Adventures by Katie for their Mickey Monday linkup. Make sure to stop by their pages to add even more Disney magic to your Monday! And let me know your favorite part of Tom Sawyer Island!