Header photo by Katie Penn
Facts at a Glance About Tom Sawyer Island:
|Park: Magic Kingdom. Location: Frontierland Height Requirement: Any height Fastpass: No|
|Quick Notes: Play area reached by a raft ride with trails, narrow caves, tunnels, hills, swinging suspension bridges, stairs, steep inclines, a full-size replica play fort and rugged trails that will not support wheelchair use.|
|Disney Warnings: None|
|Cautions: Guests ride a free floating raft across the river to/from the island. Only the raft and space within about about 20 yards of the island dock are wheelchair accessible. The island includes multiple sets of stairs – some narrow, steep, or winding. There are caves which are dark with narrow spaces, low ceilings, sometimes uneven floors with a sideways tilt. Caves can be damp and musty smelling. Also includes some floating or moving bridges. See description below for further cautions.|
|Length: The ride lasts approximately 18 minutes.|
|Special Needs Info: ECVs are not allowed to ride the raft to the island. You must transfer to a wheelchair. Though wheelchairs are permitted on the raft, the activities on the island are not accessible. You must be ambulatory to experience the island.|
Overview of Tom Sawyer Island
This is a lushly treed play area themed after Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer that’s reached by raft. We hear that parents with hyperactive children love this area, since their children can blow off a lot of steam here. Adults like it as well. Here’s what one of our readers had to say about it:
I the caves on Tom Sawyer Island at WDW! The first time I explored the island, I felt like a kid again and going someplace where I shouldn’t have been, but the excitement of finding something like a cave, just intrigued me no end! That is one place I need to visit again! And I am 57 yrs old and still feel like a kid! —Tim Lewis
For a full tour of the attraction check out this video:
Queue and raft information for Tom Sawyer Island
To get to the island you’ll need to ride on the raft. There isn’t a roped queue line here as in most attractions. At times people will start pushing to get onto the raft as it’s loading. It can get somewhat disorderly.
Guests must stand on the raft since there are no seats. There are wood and rope walls around the raft that go about hip/waist high on an average sized adult.
Wheelchair/ECV information for Tom Sawyer Island
Guests in manual wheelchairs can stay seated during the raft ride. Guests in ECVs can transfer to a manual wheelchair or choose to walk onto the boat. As of this writing, they only have one manual wheelchair available at this location. If it’s taken, they can get another one from somewhere else, but there may be a wait.
Here’s some great information from Sue Mickelson regarding accessibility.
“I had taken an early morning trip alone to Tom Sawyer Island a couple years ago to look at it from an accessibility standpoint… The raft that goes over to the island is wheelchair accessible, but the island is not.
I marked the map with a red X to show where wheelchair access ends – my estimate is you can only get about 100 yards in any direction from the dock. The island has a lot of narrow stairways, narrow passages and unstable bridges.
We did go there several times when my daughter who uses a wheelchair was little. It involved a lot of picking her up in her wheelchair or one of us carrying her while the other lifted the wheelchair over the obstruction. Some areas were narrow and were only accessible because she had a tiny child’s wheelchair. Even then there were times when we needed to turn around or back up and go back the way we came.
So, my recommendation is that it is not wheelchair accessible and not a good choice for anyone who is unstable or has difficulty with stairs.”
“On the next map I marked an orange line for the areas with stairs. Sometimes a whole flight, sometimes only a few.”
Additional details about Tom Sawyer Island
On the island there are trails with dark and narrow caves, tunnels, hills, swinging suspension bridges, stairs, steep inclines, a play fort and rugged trails. Please note that because of the rugged terrain, there’s a heightened risk of falling and being injured on the island.
The raft and the island are not designed for wheelchair users. Although you can get to the island, you’ll be stuck in one area once arriving. Those who can walk but have mobility issues will also find the island challenging. You’ll find benches here and there throughout the island.
There are two docks where guests can be dropped off, though we’ve only seen the Tom’s Landing Dock in use of late. This is the main dock. If both docks are in use, the raft drivers will usually take guests in wheelchairs to Tom’s Landing Dock, but that doesn’t always automatically happen.
If you’re in a wheelchair or you’re mobility challenged, I’d recommend that you request to be taken to Tom’s Landing Dock. This is where most people who can’t walk the island wait for their companions.
There are two bathrooms on the island. The one located at Tom’s Landing is accessible, and the one inside the fort is not. At Tom’s Landing you find benches under a covering.
There’s no food for sale on Tom Sawyer’s Island. There are two soda machines at Aunt Polly’s on back side of island. They should also offer water.
The dark and winding caves and tunnels may induce claustrophobia in some people, and there are some areas that larger people will find to be a tight squeeze. The caves can smell moldy and musty. Parents should be aware that kids can go in one side and exit out the other side. In the frontier fort, there are rifles that kids can “shoot”, and they make a gunshot noise.
It’s a good idea to avoid this attraction if it looks like it might rain, especially if there’s thunder and lightning involved. There’s not much cover on the island. To get off the island you’ll have to wait for an uncovered raft to take you back over the water to the other side. This attraction closes in inclement weather and at dusk.
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