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Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island is an artificial island attraction surrounded by the Rivers of America at Disneyland in California, Magic Kingdom in Florida (under the name of Tom Sawyer's Island) and at Tokyo Disneyland in Japan (under the name of Tom Sawyer Island Rafts). It contains caves with references to Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean film trilogy, Mark Twain characters from the 1876 novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and provides interactive, climbing, and scenic opportunities.
The area opened in 1956, one year after the opening of Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California. The attraction has the distinction of being the only one designed by Walt Disney. Sharing a strong affinity for the world Mark Twain created in his novels, Walt found himself unsatisfied with the island’s original design. Days before construction was set to begin, he took the plans home and re-imagined the landscape design, creating the inlets, coves and overall shape that the island is known for today.
Prior to the debut of Fantasmic!in 1992, when the south end of the Island was re-built to facilitate a stage for the nighttime show, Tom Sawyer Island saw very little change. The Island received major upgrades, new show elements, and a complete re-theming in 2007 when it re-opened as Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island. The re-theming eradicated much of the previous Tom Sawyer theme in favor of characters and elements from and inspired by the Pirates of the Caribbean film series.
Tom Sawyer Island opened at the Magic Kingdom Park in 1973. In this park's version has the following descriptions by Disney.
Journey by log raft across the Rivers of America and discover an idyllic place influenced by the works of Mark Twain. Arrive at Tom’s Landing and embark on a self-guided expedition into the heart of early America.
Wander dusty dirt roads lined with sycamore and oak trees and amble across creaky suspension bridges. Navigate narrow passages amid secret mined caves and uncover an age-old fort. Along the way, follow in the pioneering footsteps of the frontier’s early settlers, during an era when Mark Twain and Tom Sawyer reflected an America coming into its own.
You’ll find adventure aplenty around every corner of Tom Sawyer Island. During your tour, be on the lookout for some of these legendary sites:
Harper’s Mill - Behold a giant waterwheel on the outside, and an homage to one of Disney’s earliest animated films, The Old Mill, inside.
Injun Joe’s Cave - Trek through the tight rocky passageways of this forgotten cavern, where strange fossils and jetting stalagmites mingle with a haunted pit.
Fort Langhorn - Explore this early frontier settlement, which includes a blacksmith shop, a watch tower, stables and an escape tunnel.
Potter’s Mill - Cross a crooked bridge to this wooden mill that offers a picturesque view of the Rivers of America and Frontierland.
Tom Sawyer Scavage Fort - March over a small bridge, slide through a tube and enjoy the view from this fort designed for children under 12 years of age.