Theme Park Insider > Tom Sawyer Island

The Tom Sawyer's Island Appreciation Page

Fans of the most under-appreciated attraction at Disneyland and Walt Disney World, this page is for you!

Make your presence known. Rate and review Tom Sawyer's Island at Disneyland and Walt Disney World!


Don't Mess with TSI

Learn from what happened to EuroDisney. Park executives there left TSI out of the park, placing Big Thunder Mountain in TSI's rightful place on the Rivers of America. And what happened? EuroDisney opened to more bad press and public humiliation than any other Disney park in history.

Some might call it coincidence. I call it divine retribution. ;-)


Why do I love TSI?

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All aboard to TSI at Walt Disney World
TSI might be the most low-tech attraction in any park, but it remains a truly interactive experience. TSI demands that you participate in order to enjoy the attraction. You have to climb the rocks. You have to explore the caves. You have to imagine. And that's why a great many (sadly uninformed) people can't stand TSI. You can't just sit back here, a la Star Tours, and let the attraction do all the work for you.

As a result, TSI tends to attract a great many thinking, literate families. And as a cast member, you can't ask for anything more (well, okay, a salary like Michael Eisner's, but I'm talking realistically here...).

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Rafting the Rivers at Disneyland (Photo courtesy Scott Leonard)
Driving a TSI raft is, without a doubt, the most pleasurable and satisfying job in the Disney parks. First, you actually must have skill to do this. You aren't just pressing a button - TSI hosts must learn to pilot a tiller-controlled diesel watercraft with no rail or guidance system beyond your two hands. Second, you have time to talk with people - literate people who have read, or at least heard of, Mark Twain. And finally, supervisors avoid TSI like they would a tour group of irate personal injury lawyers. Which means that you can do your job in peace.


TSI Facts and Figures

WDW DL

Rafts

- Huck Finn
- Becky Thatcher
- Injun Joe
- Tom Sawyer

- Becky Thatcher
- Injun Joe
- Tom Sawyer

Raft capacity (Standard Operating Procedure)

55 people

My personal best for raft capacity

92 people (please don't try this one at home, kids!)

Show elements

- Tom's Landing
- Magnetic Mystery Mine
- Windmill
- Injun Joe's Cave
- Playground
- Cardiff Hill
- Grist Mill
- Aunt Polly's
- Barrel Bridge
- Suspension Bridge
- Fort Sam Clemens
- Escape Tunnel

- Tom's Landing
- Tom and Huck's Treehouse
- Castle Rock Ridge
- Merry-Go-Round Rock
- Injun Joe's Cave
- Teetering Rock
- Castle Dungeon (with Injun Joe's Treasure)
- Fort Wilderness
- Harper's Cider Mill
- Suspension Bridge
- Pontoon Bridge
- and, of course, FANTASMIC!

Easiest way to tick off a raft driver

Loudly insist that the rafts run on underwater tracks or rails

Easiest way to spend half an hour drifting around the river, instead of crossing to the other side before the thunderstorm hits

Loudly insist that the rafts run on underwater tracks or rails

Looking across the river to Tom's Landing at Walt Disney World
Looking across the river to Tom's Landing at Disneyland
A view from the Barrel Bridge at Walt Disney World
A view of the Pontoon Bridge at Disneyland (Photo courtesy Scott Leonard)

Additional fun facts are welcomed.


Discover Mark Twain's Classics for Yourself
These are your host's preferred editions:

  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - The book that inspired the Island.
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Next to Melville's Moby Dick, perhaps the greatest work of 19th-century American Literature. And darned funny, to boot.
  • Life on the Mississippi - More classic Twain humor. With annotation and criticism.

  • Real Life Getaways near the Parks...
    If you enjoy the outdoors, and the glimpse of senerity that TSI affords, why not visit two wonderful state parks, each located within an hour or so's drive from Disneyland and Walt Disney World?

  • Malibu Creek State Park - located in the Santa Monica Mountains, northwest of Los Angeles, this park offers some of the state's most visually rewarding hikes.
  • Wekiwa Springs State Park - located in Apopka, north of Orlando, this park is famous for its stunning canoe trails.

  • Your Host...
    Robert Niles
    Was: WDW TSI host and lead, 1988 - 1991
    Now: Senior Producer at the Los Angeles Times

    Your host recommends these other great Disney-related links:

  • Yesterland, a "theme park on the web" featuring discontinued Disneyland attractions.
  • The Hidden Mickeys of Disney
  • Scott Leonard's WWW Disney Phenomenon