Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Magic Kingdom - Tom Sawyer Island

It's Tom Sawyer Island time! When I did my 1974 Tom Sawyer Island post last year, I had not actually been over to the island....I just used some vintage slides and a couple current pics that I had taken from the "mainland." Unfortunately, the island was always something that I would put off for later in the day and then it would end up closing (Closes At Dusk!) before I could get over there. Well on my recent visit to The Magic Kingdom, I made sure I saw it!



Just a warning....at this point in the day, the sky got very gray and ugly, so the lighting in these pictures really isn't the best.



Here we are waiting on the dock for the next raft.



While we waited, the Liberty Belle Steamboat passed us. Notice the single smokestack.



We're almost there. This is the view from the raft, looking back at the dock.



We made it! Let's go explore!



I wonder if they ever gave out maps of the island at WDW like they used to at Disneyland? Tokyo Disneyland still gives out maps of their island!



Tom and Huck welcome us.



This vintage photo is from my 1974 Tom Sawyer Island post.



The sign really hasn't changed much in 37 years.



Here's something that neither Anaheim's or Tokyo's islands have....it's Old Scratch's Mystery Mine. Hey, that trash can is blocking my view! It's like placing a stroller in front of artwork that's hanging on a construction wall!





It was pretty dark in the mine, but my camera flash was lighting the way.



This part of the mine turns into something like a "Mystery Spot" or the former "Haunted Shack" at Knott's Berry Farm. I loved it....except it was a little difficult to walk through it in the dark.



In this "peek-in", we can see water flowing uphill.



It looked better without the bright flash!



Glowing jewels can also be found in this area.



Now this section of the mine had an interesting effect. The crossbeams gradually got lower here, so as you continued forward it appeared that you were growing larger and larger!



This is Potter's Mill. You can enter the structure and view it's inner workings from two levels.



And this is Scavenger's Fort, which is located on the highest point of the island....pretty much in the same location as the treehouse on Disneyland's Tom Sawyer Island. Did WDW's island ever have a treehouse?



The pipe laying on the ground appears to be the smokestack from a steamboat.



I love these birds. They can be found all over The Magic Kingdom, especially in the areas where there is water. I am guessing that they are some type of crane? I saw more of these birds than I did ducks.



In addition to the Mystery Mine, WDW has it's own version of Injun Joe's Cave.







At Walt Disney World, Tom Sawyer Island is actually divided into two separate islands. Guests have to cross this suspension bridge to get over to the second island, but it isn't as high as the suspension bridge at Disneyland....this one is only a few feet above the water.



Fort Langhorn can be found on the other side.



Wow....this brings back memories. (Hey Disney, BRING BACK DISNEYLAND's FORT WILDERNESS!!!)



I took this next photo because I wanted to compare it with the following two pics.



I took this one a couple years ago at Tokyo Disneyland.



And this next one was taken at Disneyland by my dad in 1965. Even though I was standing in a slightly different spot for the WDW photo, you can see what I was trying for. All three photos show the bathroom, the southeast "rifle roost" and part of the water well. The DL and TDL photos were posted previously in my "Then and Now/Here and There" post from a couple years ago.



The Blacksmith is a "peek-in" with some animated figures.



The guy on the right is holding onto a rope and as he raises and lowers his arm, it operates the bellows for the fire. Notice the glowing horseshoe being held by the guy on the left.



These horses can also be found in the Blacksmith's space. The one on the right swishes his tail back and forth.



And next to the horses are these chickens that cluck and move their heads. Nice touches, Disney!



A view of the well from above.....



And a view of the path leading to one of the "rifle roosts."



WDW has not removed their rifles like Disneyland did years ago after a child lost a finger. I did notice that there isn't a loop of metal in front of the trigger, so I guess that would prevent a careless child from getting their finger stuck, and then falling and losing the finger.....gee, what are the chances of that anyway? How many decades did those rifles exist before that happened?



This is the view looking out from one of the rifle roosts.



The fort is also equipped with cannons!



Standing just outside the fort, we can look up and see the tips of the rifles and cannons protruding from the fort.



The Guard House is another "peek-in", but no animation on this one.





The Magic Kingdom's fort still has it's "escape tunnel." Disneyland sealed up their passageway back in the mid-seventies and I've always wondered why.



Once again, very dark....and kind of creepy! Mrs Bates, are you down there?



Now we've exited the escape tunnel which led us down to the banks of the river. We'll take one last look up at this cool little structure and make a wish...."BRING BACK DISNEYLAND'S FORT WILDERNESS!"



As we continue along the east side of the island, we pass the Haunted Mansion.



And the Liberty Belle.....



And the two-level dock for the Liberty Belle.



Looking back we can see the two-level queue and loading dock for the old Keel Boat attraction. Yep, WDW lost their Keel Boats just like Disneyland did. HEY DISNEY,.....oh nevermind!



Hmm, somebody had help whitewashing that fence.



And finally, as we continue around the front of the island, we find Harper's Mill.



Compare the shot above to the one from my older post.



Again, the sign hasn't changed much.



Inside the mill, you can hear the recorded sounds of birds chirping. I took this picture of the gears turning and it wasn't until the flash went off that I could see this bird hiding in the space left by a broken cog.



Well, it was a long post, but I hope everyone enjoyed this visit to Walt Disney World's Tom Sawyer Island!

14 comments:

outsidetheberm said...

Nice post! If only Disneyland could get her island back like this...

Thank you, Chris.

Connie Moreno said...

Great post!!! I suggest you post your interior shot of Disneyland's fort on a Facebook page I created called Bring Back Disneyland's Fort Wilderness!

Major Pepperidge said...

I wish I could visit the WDW Tom Sawyer Island. It appears to be relatively popular these days, contrary to what I have heard. By the way, the lighting is fine, makes everything clear and easy to see. Bright sun is nice, but often things get lost in the dark shadows.

It's interesting how different the Florida island feels. Flatter, for one thing... the Disneyland version is fairly hilly. But I love all the foliage. Tom and Huck need to be hooked on phonics!

The "Mystery Mine", awesome! I would get more joy out of that than many other attractions, as simple as it is. Potters Mill needs to be more rustic in my opinion. Scavenger's Fort, they could have made that much more magnificent! Ha, check out the kid inside the smokestack. The Fort, the "peek ins", so much great stuff! And if you have ever seen the classic animated short "The Old Mill", there is a scene with a nesting bird that looks just like that scene in the mill! Check it out, I'm sure it's on YouTube!

Great post, I am looking forward to more WDW!

TokyoMagic! said...

OTB, I guess we can only hope!

Connie, I saw the "BRING BACK DISNEYLAND's FORT WILDERNESS" page on several people's Facebook profiles, but didn't know you created that page....I'm glad that you did that! I liked it because it was similar to my pleas/cries to Knott's to BRING BACK THE HAUNTED SHACK and KNOTT'S BEAR-Y TALES!!!

Major, Hooked On Fawnics Werked Fer Me!!! I loved the Mystery Mine....especially the part that was like the Haunted Shack at Knott's. I also love the fact that WDW still has their fort....and with animated "peek-ins"! Oh and the fact that they didn't build a massive ugly stage in front of their island! "The Old Mill".....of course! I knew I had seen that "nesting bird" gag before, but I couldn't place where. Thanks for pointing that out. I hope you get to see WDW's island someday!

Anonymous said...

There was never a treehouse at the WDW island. Despite the pix, the island in Florida is pretty hilly...

left out are the barrel bridge and the one sore spot on the island..."Aunt Polly's," yet another shuttered Magic Kingdom counter service snack spot. In front of the windows now, two kind-of appropriately themed coke/water vending machines.

Great post though...thanks!

Dan Alexander said...

I never knew about those animated horses! Great post as usual, TokyoMagic!

TokyoMagic! said...

Anonymous, thanks for the info....I was wondering if they ever had a treehouse on the island. For some reason, I didn't take any pics of the barrel bridge.....I realized that when I got home. As for Aunt Polly's, it looks like it used to be a nice little restaurant at one point, but it did look pretty sad all closed up with just the vending machines sitting there.

Dan, It was the little touches like that that really surprised me because Disneyland's island didn't have anything like that even when it's fort was open to the public. Disneyland's fort did have a static figure of Andrew Jackson in the Regimental Quarters "peek-in" and I have a picture of it that I'll have to post. And at one time there were figures of Buddy Ebsen and Fess Parker on either side of him, but I don't remember them....I've just seen a vintage postcard of the scene.

JG said...

Wow, epic post. Looks like TSI lives somewhere still.

Thank you and happy holidays.

JG

A Snow White Sanctum said...

Terrific post and not too long at all! I visited the island for the first time a couple years ago and loved the Mystery Mine. And the Escape Tunnel at the Fort. The animatronic chickens are great too.

I was aware of the bird nest in "The Old Mill" but I never knew there was one at Harper's Mill. How cool. I dig these little details.

TokyoMagic! said...

JG, Thank you....and the same to you!

SWS, I want one of those A.A. chickens! (I also want the A.A. cat from the Carousel of Progress!) The little bird in the mill was actually very difficult to spot due to the very low lighting and the spinning of the wheel. I didn't see it until my flash went off at the exact moment it was going past me.

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Fabulous post! The Island was closed on my visit in 2008, this is like a virtual tour, thanks so much!

Who whould have thought that WDW has a better TSI than Disneyland, ugh!!!

stu29573 said...

I love TSI and always insist that we go there every time we visit the MK, even when we don't have kids with us! Yes, it is usually fairly busy, but it is broken up enough to where you don't notice it. Also, did you notice that the mill "creaks" the song "Down By the Old Mill Stream?" It's hard to make out at first, but once you hear it you can't help but notice.

TokyoMagic! said...

VDT, Thanks! Sorry to hear the island was closed during your visit. I also hope that you get to see WDW's island someday.

Stu, I didn't notice that! Which mill is it that does that, Harper's Mill or Potter's Mill? I'm trying to remember....I think I heard creaking in Potter's Mill and I think I only heard the sounds of birds chirping in Harper's Mill.

stu29573 said...

Harpers Mill. Its pretty hard to hear at first...