Opened: May 20, 1973
Location: The raft to Tom Sawyer Island is located to the right before you arrive at the entrance to Splash or Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
Extra Magic Hours: No
Type: Exhibit and playground
Similar To: Unique
Scary Factor: Zero
What to Expect: Tom Sawyer’s Island is only accessible via a motorized raft that boards near the entrance to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Once on the island, visitors can explore numerous caves, a mine, two bridges, a working water wheel, and Fort Langhorn, a play area geared toward kids. Benches are plentiful and the Island is a terrific spot to take a break while enjoying a treat. Unfortunately, you’ll need to bring that treat with you. Aunt Polly’s, the old ice cream and snack bar, has closed permanently.
When To Go: Visit in the early to late afternoon. Tom Sawyer Island usually opens later and closes earlier than the rest of the Magic Kingdom, so make sure you check the Times Guide for hours. The last raft usually departs two hours before Wishes Fireworks is scheduled or 5pm when Magic Kingdom closes at 7pm.
Expect to Wait: There is no wait once you reach the island, but you’ll have to wait for the raft to take you to and from it. The line shouldn’t be longer than ten or so minutes either way. If it is, try again later.
Length: You may spend as much time as you like. Expect to spend at least 20 minutes if you have kids or plan to enjoy a snack and another 15 minutes to travel back and forth on the raft.
Commentary: Tom Sawyer Island is a fabulous retreat from the Disney World crowds, even though it’s literally right in the middle of the Kingdom. There isn’t a whole lot for adults to do, but kids enjoy playing and there are relaxing spots to sit away from the hustle and bustle.
The Paint Brushes: For many years, Disney placed Tom’s paint brushes in hidden locations around the Island. Guests could seek one out, and when found, could exchange them for FASTPASSes to Big Thunder Mountain or Splash Mountain. As of January 2012, Disney no longer places the paint brushes out for guests to find.