by Disney Magic Diva
Do you despise standing in line after line at Walt Disney World Resort? Are you tired of rushing from one fastpass experience to the next? Do you long for a simpler, less hectic time when you could just enjoy the adventure and feel immersed in the story? Do you just want to sloooow downnn? Then keep reading.
It’s possible to do exactly that at Magic Kingdom Park – regardless of the crowd level. How, you ask? Here’s the secret – Tom Sawyer Island.
You may not have even heard of it, but it’s the island in the middle of Frontierland. The one the majestic Liberty Belle riverboat sails around. It’s often overlooked, but it’s a marvelous place to escape the hustle and bustle of the park and just enjoy some quiet, shady, relaxing time.
To get to Tom Sawyer Island, head toward Big Thunder Mountain and look for Tom’s Landing. Here you’ll board a log raft, piloted by a cast member, and sail across the Rivers of America to Tom Sawyer Island. The raft is pretty small, accommodating about a dozen people, and you’ll stand the entire trip (which is only about 60 seconds!).
Once you reach Tom Sawyer Island, you almost immediately feel like you’ve stepped back in time. The commotion of the park is gone. It seems quieter and more serene. And your adventure is just beginning. Welcome to the 1800s.
In this wonderful playground of nature inspired by Mark Twain’s stories of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, you will feel like a child again. You’ll discover secret paths among the trees. There are underground caves to explore and excitement waiting around every corner. You will find suspension bridges to cross and towers to climb. There are shaded porches with rocking chairs and tables with checker sets just waiting for you to sit down and enjoy a game. You’ll even see that famous fence, just waiting to be whitewashed!
And to really enter a bygone era, make your way to Fort Langhorn and wander up and down the narrow staircases of the barracks. Peek through the tiny windows of the fortress walls and aim the (non-functioning!) cannons at any possible intruders. Don’t forget to check on the prisoner in the jail cell!
It’s easy to spend an hour or more on Tom Sawyer Island. You can even take advantage of some of the picnic tables around the island to enjoy a lunch or snack.
Diva Tip: Plan on bringing your own food if you want to eat on Tom Sawyer Island. Aunt Polly’s, a quick service take-out window, is there, but is only open on an extremely limited basis. Most weeks of the year it is closed.
Tom Sawyer Island is also an excellent place to get some wonderful photos of Magic Kingdom! You’ll enjoy fabulous views of Big Thunder Mountain, Haunted Mansion, and Frontierland. You can see the Liberty Belle cruise by and get an entirely new perspective on it. You can even see Cinderella Castle from an entirely different point of view.
Diva Tip: Don’t wait too long in your day to visit Tom Sawyer Island! Rafts across the Rivers of America typically stop sailing well before park close, so be sure to check the Times Guide for hours of operation.
So if the crowds have you feeling defeated, or the kids just can’t tolerate another line, or even if you just want to sit in a rocking chair and do some serious people-watching, set sail on that raft and explore Tom Sawyer Island. It truly is a treasure hiding in plain sight.
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***Disclaimer – We at Tips from the Disney Divas and Devos hope you enjoy reading our articles, and encourage you to share any you feel may be of interest to someone else. We do ask, however, if you choose to share the photographs attached to our articles, you give credit to the photographer. Thank you for your cooperation and sharing our love of Disney!