Well, here’s a first……..I went to Tom Sawyer Island for the very first time!! Yup, you heard me. Now, I pride myself on being a Disney expert of sorts but when you’re admitting you haven’t DONE something in the Park I feel as though I must explain myself.
I was 25 years old when I first visited a Disney Park. That’s right. My parents weren’t able to take my brother Mark and I when we were younger so as I grew and recognized my early love for all that was Disney, I decided when I had the first opportunity to grab hold of it. I went with friends of the family that were driving down. BIG MISTAKE. Hey, I admit that there are tons of my friends that do this annually, heck, Brad here, our fearless leader, has taken the drive down two separate times , but I for one am a GET THERE NOW kinda gal.
However, back to my riveting story. The family asked if I wanted to join them on a week’s vacation down at Walt Disney World and who could turn THAT offer down? Seriously? WE piled all our belongings into the car and the 4 of us set out for adventure. We were determined to get down to Orlando from sleepy Orillia Ontario Canada in the 28+ hours it was supposed to take us. Driving straight through, only stopping for food and well……you know After arriving tired and cranky and realizing I still had days left with these people I set my sights merely on the fact I was about to head into my DREAM WORLD- my MAGIC FILLED WORLD!!
We tried to see everything. Back then, we decided one day tickets were all we needed AND we didn’t even stay on property. How times have changed for me. Back to my story though. We went to Magic Kingdom first because honestly, why would you start anywhere else? We tried to see and DO everything but as from previous posts I have made, you must realize you cannot. Weather, traffic flow, time of year….these all play extremely important factors on what you can get done in a day. However, there were tons of things that were missed. And from that visit, it literally took a few more years to get another visit in and even then, I was with others and seemed to manage to get to the usual suspects Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion and then a parade and a firework show or two and then we were gone.
However, when I worked for Walt Disney World, I tried to ensure that I was going to SEE and DO everything. Then again, I thought long and hard about a few placed and decided against it. UNTIL NOW!! Yesterday, my step brother and sister-in-law arrived from Canada and we decided to surprise them by heading over to the Wilderness Lodge where they are staying and kidnap them willingly of course to go to MK for the afternoon. After a quick visit to Whispering Canyon to surprise them and our friend Megan, the Area Leader, we went to pick up a camera from their rooms and whisk they off. When we were taking the boat over since it was such a super nice day, we decided we wanted to see if there was any ride or attraction that no one has done up until now. Let me reassure you, my brother is just as, or perhaps crazier than I am for Disney so this was going to be hard.
Or so I thought, TOM SAWYER ISLAND was on BOTH our lists? REALLY? Doesn’t that seem odd to you? I mean my sister-in-law also said she hadn’t ever experienced it and then my brother Bob, with whom I am staying with agreed he had yet to discover it? That’s right……4 Disney adults never been on the Island. So, since my brother and sister-in-law have just opened a Disney Planning business in Windsor Ontario…….Magic Planners.….we decided it was high time we did some research. For the business of course.
We set sail on the river rafting boats to start our adventure. There was several others heading over with us and we discovered that if there are several people tipping to the front of the raft, it WILL take on water. Wet feet and we were on our way. Stopping to see a map of where our journey was about to take us, we set off. The foliage around kept us shielded from the warm sunshine and we discovered lots of cool spots. A game of checkers along the river back on a rocker, a quick visit to the windmill which happened to be the house for the jail….along with a sleeping guard in fact. We continued on to Engine Joe’s caves and seemed to be tucked into the ground and twisted and turned and got smaller as we got going. I am claustrophobic and was worried at times but managed to get out alive.
We jumped over suspension bridges and traveled back in time it seemed. How we had never ever made it over to that Island seems unbelievable to me. Seeing as how Big Thunder Mountain is under rehab right now, we managed to get some pretty incredible shots of the work that is currently being completed. We noticed that there will be some more stone work created, and they seem to really be taking their time which is great news for us Disney fans.
You even get a great glimpse of the Haunted Mansion from across the bucket suspension bridge.
All in all, it was a day filled of firsts. We decided to also head over to the Swiss Family Tree House. We have all been in it, decided once again that it’s a FIRST TIMER thing ONLY!! I prefer sometimes to leave things well enough alone. It is charming for the very first visit, climbing and seeing what it must have been like living in the trees but once for me was enough.
Dropped by the Orange Tree Terrance for an Orange Swirl, take a peak at the new signage and the new merchandise currently available. I grabbed a great shirt and we carried on.
A quick ride on the Haunted Mansion which actually stopped for some time when we were inside our Doom Buggy but luckily for us we were in the graveyard and had something to amuse ourselves with. Took some time before they started it back up but all in all,one of my very favorite rides.
My brother and sister-in-law are about to embark on their first ride on the Fantasy ship this weekend. They brought along their friends Duffy & Shelly Mae for the excursion and will be reporting upon their return.