Just saying that name immediately brings so many pictures to mind: The fence, assigned to him to be whitewashed due to some transgression on his part, but done by several friends fooled by Tom's cool con job; Tom's puppy love interest, Becky Thatcher and her indomitable father, the Judge; Tom and Becky's narrow escape from Injun Joe who was trying to take Tom out because he witnessed Joe's murder of an innocent Hannibal man; a funeral before its time; an aunt that meant well bedeviled by a boy that she just couldn't control; and Huck Finn, a friend that accepted Tom just the way he was.
Born from the imaginative pen of Mark Twain, the fictional Tom Sawyer, of course, lived in the town of Hannibal, Missouri. Tom lived for fun and frolic, yet had a heart for outcasts and sadsacksno doubt because of their affinity with the orphan himself. He loved the mighty Mississippi River and the paddlewheelers that churned its chocolate brown waters.
All of the fun, romance, and adventure that Tom experienced can be experienced firsthand on the Magic Kingdom's Tom Sawyer Island. It's a fantastic place to explore and play. If you're a kid under the age of 203, I promise you will find something on the island that will tickle your fancy.
On Wednesday, we looked at a number of areas on the island, including the rafts, and Harper's Mill and Aunt Polly's Place, and we left off at the entrance to Fort Langhorn. Today, we continue our tour around the rest of Tom Sawyer Island, beginning with our look at Fort Langhorn.
The fort looks pretty small from Frontierland, but it's really a pretty goodsized recreation.
Fort Langhorn, on Tom Sawyer Island. Photo by Brian Bennett.
The West side of the fort, facing Big Thunder Mountain, bristles with cannon and rife barrels.
A closeup view of Fort Langhorn on Tom Sawyer Island. Photo by Brian Bennett.
In front of the fort, toward the waters edge, is a great place to sit and relax for awhile.
A rocking chair provides a place to sit comfortably during a long day of visiting the Magic Kingdom. Photo by Brian Bennett.
While you're taking a break you can enjoy the view of Big Thunder Mountain and hear the screams of the riders from across the river.
Another view from Tom Sawyer Island is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Photo by Brian Bennett.
If you can wait a few moments, you are bound to see one of the trains race by on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Photo by Brian Bennett.
The fort also has a rear entrance that is just around the corner.
A rear entrance to Fort Langhorn. Photo by Brian Bennett.
And from inside the fort, you can see one of the several watchtowers
The interior of Fort Langhorn is available for park guests. Photo by Brian Bennett.
the blacksmith building
Fort Langhorn includes a blacksmith building. Photo by Brian Bennett.
see a cavalry trooper catching some Zzzs.
A cavalry trooper sleeps in one of the rooms in Fort Langhorn. Photo by Brian Bennett.
But you really have to do some climbing to see the rest of the fort. The watchtowers are equipped with some guns. They only fire blanks, of course, but the kids can enjoy doing some safe plinking just the same.
The mounted rifles in Fort Langhorn provide a way for park guests to have some safe fun. Photo by Brian Bennett.
The view from above isn't bad
The interior of Fort Langhorn, with the blacksmith building on the right. Photo by Brian Bennett.
But the view of Big Thunder from up here is really quite spectacular.
The view from upstairs in Fort Langhorn provides a very good view of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Photo by Brian Bennett.
The mountain's geyser can be seen from up here, too, but you have to twist your neck a little to get a good view.
Keen eyes can also see the geyer that gushes over at Frontierland. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Above the blacksmith building is the fort's cannon. I'm not sure if the cotton is for keeping the ball and powder in place for firing or for the cannoneer's ears. Since the cannon never fire, we'll never know.
The blacksmith building includes canons. Photo by Brian Bennett.
One last feature of the fort is another fun little twist. The escape tunnel, which allows the forts defenders to skedaddle when need be, exits near the rear exit and meanders around to the East side of the fort.
The escape tunnel is a real exit out of Fort Langhorn. Photo by Brian Bennett.
It's pretty dark down here. Good thing there are no rules against flash photography.
The escape tunnel leads out through a meandering, dark tunnel. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Here's a view of the tunnel exit from the fort's battlements.
The tunnel exits out near the edge of the Rivers of America. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Heading back to the main part of the island requires another stroll across the rope bridge. Here's a view of Frontierland from the bridge
Park guests can get a good view of Frontierland while on the rope barrel bridge. Photo by Brian Bennett.
and a view of Liberty Square, with Cinderella's Castle peeking up above, from the same vantage point.
While still on the barrel bridge, guests can look past the suspension bridge, in the distance, to Liberty Square, with a small view of Cinderella's Castla. Photo by Brian Bennett.
On the way back to the raft landing, there are a few additional things to explore: Injun Joe's cave,
Another sign by Tom informs park guests of Injun Joe's cave. Photo by Brian Bennett.
the windmill with its crooked little bridge
The crooked little bridge provides access to the windmill on Tom Sawyer Island. Photo by Brian Bennett.
A full view of the windmill on Tom Sawyer Island. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Old Scratch's Mystery Mine
Tom provides yet another sign, this time about Old Scratch's Mystery Mine. Photo by Brian Bennett.
and the scavenger's fort. This last spot is a fun place for the kids to spend some time. My sons like to split their time between the savenger's fort and Fort Langhorn when they come to the island.
The scavenger's fort provides a fun place for kids to play. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Tom Sawyer's Island is a fun place. It's a mustsee if you have kids under 12 or so, and it's a fantastic way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the Magic Kingdom in the afternoon.
I strongly recommend that you enjoy the island during the busier park hours. Enjoy a leisurely stroll around and see everything there is to see, then stop over at Aunt Pollys for a little refreshment before heading back to do more Etickets.
You won't regret it.
A view of the suspension bridge on Tom Sawyer Island. Photo by Brian Bennett.
(Send an email to Brian Bennett)
One of the original editors at MousePlanet, Brian Bennett has written an encyclopedia's worth of online resources on Walt Disney World. Enduring freezing winters in Michigan with thoughts of trips to Orlando and staying at Disney Vacation Club resorts, Brian had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to move to Orlando with his wife and sons.