Tom Sawyer Island Fun Facts

fun facts

  1. There are Other Hidden Characters here. pict from
  2. The rafts to Tom Sawyer Island make 304 round trips DAILY!!
    REPORTED: Justin 19 JAN 98
  3. While in Harper's Mill on Tom Sawyer Island, look closely at the wooden gears operating. On one of the gears that rotates horizontally, look closely between the cogs. You will see a little blue bird sitting there.
    REPORTED: John Quilhot 10 SEP 97
    There is a blue bird in between the cogs on the horizontal gear in Harper's Mill on Tom Sawyer Island. I believe it might be a reference to the Disney cartoon The Old Mill. It had a scene with a bird getting caught between the cogs of a gear.
    CONFIRMED: Freddy Zanfardino 23 NOV 97
  4. In Harper's Mill on Tom Sawyer Island, you hear the creaks and groans of the mill wheel as you walk through. However, a Cast Member pointed out to me that the noises actually play the song "Down by the Old Mill Stream." I had to walk through it one more time to make sure, and he was right!
    REPORTED: Kyle Madorin 05 NOV 96
  5. There is little to no elevation change in the caves on Tom Sawyer Island. These reasons for this is because of economic and safety concerns. The caves are simply buildings that were built and then covered with mounds of dirt. The hills that are on the island are a result of covering these "buildings". One of the better examples I can give is the hill that the "rock-like" playground is on. When you stand on this hill you are standing on the ceiling of one of the Tom Sawyer caves. Epoxy-crete (the same compound used for rocks in other attractions) was used in combination with concrete to cover the inside walls of these buildings. If you look carefully you notice that there is lighting and ventilation systems in the caves. Some of the vertical rock outcropping are support pilings or pillars. Disney also uses the elevation of the ceiling, and the closeness of the walls to trick the mind into thinking there is an elevation change in the cave. The Escape cave on the island with Fort Sam Clemens actually extends out on the same level with the base of the fort.
    REPORTED: Kenneth Klingensmith 30 DEC 96
    There is definatly an elevation change in some parts of the caves. It is very easy to feel the slant of the floors.
    UPDATE: Justin 19 JAN 98
  6. If you go through the "indian" cave, when you come out the exit, turn arownd and go back in, 10-15 feet back in there on the right you'll notice an air-hole that pokes up through the ground outside (it has steel bars in it), directly to the left of this hole recessed back a bit in a dark area of the cave is a wooden door. Sombody dident lock it and I got to open it and go inside, using my lighter, I found a light switch, nothing more than some kind of pump room (5x5 feet) kinda cool to mention.
    REPORTED: Chad Morin 24 NOV 00
  7. I'm pretty sure this is in the Ambush cave. When you go in a ways you will see a crystal formation in the wall with water flowing under it. If you notice even more carefully, this water appears to be running UPHILL!! This is a very basic and cool mind trick that just uses a slanted room and no point of reference. Also, above the flowing water, there is a tilted lamp, this is pointing down!
    REPORTED: Justin 19 JAN 98
  8. In Fort Sam Clemens, in between the guardhouse and the tower that the escape tunnel is in, there is a large door. Actually, there are two swing out doors that are locked together. You are able to look in between the cracks of the doors. If you look between the doors you will see the plastic deer and moose that are visible from the River Boat. You are also able to see the burning cabin that is also visible from the Riverboat, Liberty Belle. This door is kept locked for guest safety, it is used for access to these particular scenes that are viewed from the Riverboat, Liberty Belle. And, as far as I know, it is the only access on the island to the land behind Fort Sam Clemens. The Fort and man-made walls block the other paths of access.
    REPORTED: Kenneth Klingensmith 29 DEC 96
    I looked through these cracks, and only saw another set of boards beyond it. However, you can see the plastic deer, as well as get a closeup view of the "nature noise" speaker behind one of them plainly through the slats of the second story walkway on this very same wall.
    REPORTED: Gwendel 02 NOV 98
    Fort Sam Clemons has changed it's name to Fort Langhorn, which is Sam Clemons (or Mark Twian's real Middle name). I belive this change may have been made some time in the late 1990's. If any one knows when the name was changed please let us know.
    UPDATE: Thomas McCarthy 17 MAY 00
  9. The animals at the Jungle Cruise might be fake, but the critters that call Tom Sawyer Island home are definitely real. Tom Sawyer Island hosts have encountered rabbits, ducks, squirrels, mice, snakes and even alligators while roaming the island. Garden snakes are the most common, but cottonmouths and other large poisonous snakes occasionally have been seen on the island. Two alligators once even delayed the opening of the attraction when they decided to spend the morning lounging on Tom Sawyer Island's main raft dock.

    Cast Members have to capture the snakes and other critters that might scare guests so that pest control can take them outside the park. (Well-worn Cast Member in-joke: Critters can stay if, any only if, they present you with a valid World Passport. Otherwise, the slimy freeloaders have to leave.)
    REPORTED: Robert Niles 24 JAN 96

  10. When you come out of the escape tunnel in the fort jump over the rocks to your left, and walk back to the fence. One of the pillars is tied with rope and can be moved quite easily. Also sometimes the water level in the river goes down enough to go around (sometimes with wet feet)
    REPORTED: Jon Studley 05 JUL 97
    One of my friends and I went into the escape tunnel in the Fort at Tom Sawyer Island. We climbed the rocks at the exit and moved one of the pillars out. We then slipped in and walked all the way to the burning cabin. I went right up to it and could see it perfectly. The house is not actually burning. I didn't go in it and yell or anything because I am not that adventurous. I didn't want to get kicked off the island. We also saw fake deer on the way to the cabin. At first we thought they were real so we were startled.
    UPDATE: Carlos R. 09 MAR 01
  11. In one of the cave, I'm not sure which, there is a bridge with the sound of dripping water, go over the edge, crouch down and go to your left there is a square hole to your right with water in it, go about 3 paces if you look to your right there is a control room, if you get on your knees, crawl to your left there is a 2 foot hole that goes back about 8 feet and open into a 6x6 enclosure it's actully the inside of the rock walls. spent many a good time partying in there; left a Jim Beam bottle with a candle for any future visits.
    REPORTED: Jon Studley 05 JUL 97
    CONFIRMED: Jason Leverett 13 JUL 97
    I also was in the tunnel where the bridge was and saw the 6x6 area. There was no Jim Bean bottle there but I brought a flashlight and left it there ... gotta little wet but it was cool.
    CONFIRMED: Dion Cini 27 FEB 98
    The tunnel in the cave is very hard to find. You must climb the rail as was told but you also must not get caught. As of October 2, there was wood over the enterance to the tunnel, but it moves very easily. Also, cast members were walking through every now and again to make sure no one was attempting to go down. If you try, BE CAREFUL!!! Also, you will get wet. P.S. the liquor is gone! But it was still a good party place. We fit four.
    CONFIRMED: Allyson 28 OCT 98
    The entrance to the tunnel now has a wire covering. However someone has cut a small hole in it. It takes some nimble wiggling to get through but it can be done. There is also a metal grate covering the crawlspace, but it appears that it can be moved out of the way. I forgot a flashlight, so a trip all the way to the room was out of the question. I'll have to do it next time.
    CONFIRMED: Neil 11 JUL 00
    Been there many times. Its the second cave you come to. You have to jump the rail and climb down, if you crawl through the small fence you can easily fit 10 people in the room (and actually access the inside of the caves.) Lots of fun, just don't get caught.
    CONFIRMED: Jimi 10 OCT 00
  12. Speaking of neat places to party on 'Tom Sawyer's Island', I found one about 20 years ago that might surprise ya. If you walk to the right of the Fort on the second island, where the fence meets the water, there are cement stepping stones in the water that will allow you to walk right around the fence. Once on the other side of the fence, it's a very short walk to the 'Cave of Pirates', that is seen from the 'River Boat'. You can step far enough into the cave that you can't be seen from the 'River Boat'. Inside the cave are: A speaker, a tape machine (the voices of the pirates fighting and very loud), two metal figures of pirates sword fighting and a flood light that shines on them, placing their shadows on the wall. They are about 1 foot tall. Also, the house that the Indians have set afire is simply a shell with gas pipes at the window and doors. It's actually possible to walk right inside and check it out, (if you time it right, no one will even see you).
    REPORTED: Michael E. Campbell 11 SEP 97
    The report about the stepping stones around the fence on Tom Sawyers Island and burning cabin shell are correct. The shell of the cabin is all metal construction and gas pipes with nozzles supply the flame. The flame does not actually touch the cabin, it is actually about six inches in front of the cabin. Many years ago, when I was young, foolish and adventuresome (those were the days!); I climbed around the fence and went to the cabin. I waited for the riverboat to cruise by and then leaned out a window of the burning cabin. Yelling something like "Help me! Indians are attacking!!!", I created a minor stir on the boat. Well it is truly amazing how fast a Disney employee can get to someone doing non-disney approved things. Before the boat was out of sight, I was being escorted off the island. Neatest thing that could happen to a kid!
    CONFIRMED: Ron Thompson 26 NOV 98
  13. Cast Member legend has it that a Tom Sawyer Island Cast Member once singlehandedly took 5 attractions "101" (that's Disney lingo for temporarily shut down). He was driving his raft across the river, missed the dock, and ended up floating toward Fort Sam Clemens. Eventually, he ran the raft aground next to Big Thunder Mountain.

    Now Big Thunder Mountain is surrounded by several IR beams that run along the riverbank. Whenever one of those beams is broken, an alarm sounds in the Big Thunder Mountain tower and the tower operator has the option of shutting the ride down. Sure enough, the operator looked in his monitors, saw a TSI raft loaded with 50-some people grounded just feet from the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad track, and shut the ride down. That's one.

    And of course, Tom Sawyer Island needed to send another raft to tow the first one back to dock. That's two attractions down.

    And with the Tom Sawyer Island rafts taking up that section of river, the riverboat, keelboats and canoes couldn't pass. That's three, four and five attractions down.

    I heard this story in Tom Sawyer Island training and did not see it happen firsthand. I don't know if it is some tale dreamed up to keep rafters in line, but it sure made an impression on me.
    REPORTED: Robert Niles 24 JAN 96

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