Friday, July 31, 2009

Tom Sawyer Island: In the beginning...

An excerpt from The Disneyland News, illustrated with early concept art:

Tom Sawyer Island to Have Old West Fort, Secret Cave

Great names from American folk lore and history will be brought alive this summer with the official opening of Tom Sawyer Island in the Rivers of America in Frontierland.

The Island, until now inaccessible to Disneyland’s visitors, will provide a slice of living Americana with the recreation of “Injun Joe’s Cave,” “Fort Wilderness” at the very edge of civilzation and the “Burning Cabin,” a building erected by a hardy settler who took the risk of going alone into unprotected Indian lands to make his homestead.

Also on the Island will be fishing piers for young anglers who wish to try their skill with the River’s well stocked fish supply. Bait and tackle will be available at the piers.

Transportation to the Tom Sawyer Island will be as unique as the Island itself. “Huck Finn Rafts” will ferry passengers from either the Mark Twain dock or the Keel Boat dock. The Keel Boats will also provide transportation as will Indian War Canoes. The canoes, replicas of the waterways transport of the Indian nations, will leave from the new Indian village to be constructed on the opposite bank of the river.

The Island itself is to be a “walk-through” type exhibit. Visitors will climb Lookout Peak or tour Injun Joe’s Cave. Inside the Cave will be tunnels leading to “rooms” hung with dripping stalactites. The floor will show a gaping “Bottomless Pit” through which cold air will blow up from an unknown source.

Polished rock, “Jungle Gym” type climb-throughs will provide children a test of imagination and skill.

The whole of the cave’s interior will be painted and decorated to carry out the story of Injun Joe’s secret hiding place as it was described by Mark Twain in the Huck Finn stories.

Meanwhile—some of you may remember the contest I ran recently to give away a futuristic juicer; Matt from was the winner and sent this way cool photo of Alice with her new acquisition:

Many thanks to Matt for sending me this awesome photo!

Don Ballard over at was kind enough to point out the location of Building #7 at the Disneyland Hotel, featured in my entries earlier this week.

More from the Disney Family Museum; today it’s a peak into Gallery 3: New Horizons: The Emergence of the Walt Disney Studio (1928 to 1940)

The success of Mickey Mouse let Walt Disney expand the newly renamed Walt Disney Studios and improve the quality of Studio animations, so he embarked on a series of ambitious projects, including the “Silly Symphonies,” one-reel shorts that let him experiment with images, music, and story lines.

In the following years, the Studio created the first Technicolor cartoons, introduced a multiplane camera to create the illusion of depth in animated films, and developed distinctive styles of movement and personality in their characters. Also in this period, Walt and Lillian’s family grew to include daughters Diane and Sharon.

The continuing success of Walt’s cartoons led to a revolution in the art and technology of animation. Vintage artifacts, animation art, character merchandise, and family photos chronicle the creative explosion of the 1930s, Walt’s sudden world fame, and Diane and Sharon.

See more Disneyland Tom Sawyer Island photos at my website.


Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Super Detailed post Dave, thanks!

"The Keel Boats will also provide transportation as will Indian War Canoes" did the Keel boats ever take guests to TSI?

Speaking of the Keel Boats, I saw it backstage again yesterday, I got a good long look at her (from behind the fence); Her hull appears to be striped down to the fiberglass and seems to have newer materials applied? Also, her rigging and stuff is all in place and looks good, frankly, she looks like she's getting ready to sail again... I know, I'm crazy, but I was told I was crazy when I predicted the Sleeping Beauty walk-thru was coming back, so just maybe.....

Major Pepperidge said...

I really enjoy these detailed looks at attractions. That first bit of artwork may have appeared in a newspaper insert (in color), I'll have to check when I get a chance.

Love the photo of Alice with the spider-like OJ juicer!

And V.D.T., now you've got my hopes up, darn ya...!

Daveland said...

Tim - Just like Major, I too am hoping that you are correct. Keep me posted!

TokyoMagic! said...

Great TSI artwork....thanks for sharing these, Dave!

Love the Alice photo, Matt! It looks like something out of "War of the Worlds."

outsidetheberm said...

Wow, we've never seen that last photo! It's a little rare to see photos from Walt's Woking Way home in Los Feliz. Hope the museum has many more like that. Thanks for the look.

Katella Gate said...

In a post crowded with tid-bits, I just had to say how PERFECT that photo is of Alice looking up in horror at the invading spider-robot.

Nice camera tilt too: POW!

Nicholas Tucker said...

Funny how some of the concept art turns out exactly like the real attraction.

Mr. Mouse Monthly said...

Amazing concept art for TSI. I love these B&W sketches. Thanks for sharing!