Tom Sawyer Island is a fun way to burn off excess energy while learning at Magic Kingdom. This attraction fits right in with our literature selections educational activity. The obvious activity is to read the books by Mark Twain, who was the master of the Mississippi River era. In all honesty, these books can be a tough read. Some of the slang can be hard to follow. For that reason, we listen to them on audio books usually. I do have my high schooler read one of his books just to be familiar with Twain’s writing style. I find that it’s easier to listen or read them slowly with lots of discussion and narration to be sure everyone knows what’s going on in the story.
What is Tom Sawyer Island in Magic Kingdom?
Tom Sawyer Island is located on the Rivers of America in Magic Kingdom. It is centered around Mark Twain’s Adventures of Tom Sawyer. It’s an interactive playground of sorts designed to let children (and adults) run, play, and explore. You can wander through caves, cross a barrel bridge, and wander through a fort. Bonus that you get to ride a raft to get over there.
Our love affair with this island began after seeing a play at the Orlando Repertory Theater. The children thought it was hilarious that Tom and Huck got lost in the caves. They sat enraptured while Tom and Huck listened to their own funerals. As we left the theater, they began chattering excitedly to each other pretending one was Huck while the other was Tom. A light bulb went off! We could take our picnic lunch to Tom Sawyer Island at Magic Kingdom. Thus, a theater tradition was born. After we see a play at one of Orlando’s fine theaters, we take our picnic lunch to Tom Sawyer Island. I can sit in the rocking chairs by the water watching the Liberty Bell go by while they can run and play through the caves and along the barrel bridge.
From the time you get in line to ride the raft over to the island, you are immersed in that Mississippi River era. The raft is reminiscent of the one that Tom and Huck would have taken. The mill is running complete with animatronic owls in the rafters. The barrels on the bridge are held together with rope moving every which way when you run across them. It is a complete immersion into that time period. The caves are not to be missed running through. Be careful of Dad lurking in the corner waiting to scare you.
It is an amazing experience that the children can access when we read stories about the time period. It makes that period of time in history alive for them . They will never forget the times playing on Tom Sawyer Island thus remembering the stories for the rest of their lives. All without a stuffy classroom! When we pass over the Mississippi River in our travels, everyone can chat about the stories. Memories of learning like these will be treasured forever.
Looking for resources to continue the learning?
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer: Original IllustrationsTom Sawyer & Huckleberry FinnMark Twain Collection: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s CourtTom Sawyer Collection: All Four Books: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer Abroad, Tom Sawyer, Detective. (Best Sellers, Classic Books)The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Graphic Novel (Illustrated Classics)Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: A Signature Performance by Elijah Wood
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