Help me pick? Tom Sawyer Island or Pirate scavenger hunt game?

Kids are: DS almost 7 and DD 10. I had put Tom Sawyer island into our plan for after BTMRR and before Splash Mtn (FPP for both) but am now weighing whether the pirate game would be better. I had penciled it in as a back up option for DS in case he balls at the splash mountain hill but maybe we should just plan on that being our activity between the coasters instead?

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When my boys were that age, they were not impressed with Tom Sawyer Island. I think they would have liked it in normal life, but running around with hordes of little kids when they were worn out from all the walking WDW requires was not fun for them. They absolutely loved playing Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom. My 10-year-old was obsessed. We didn’t play the Pirates game, but it’s very similar to SotMK, so that’s the one I’d encourage them to choose.

I thought my kids would like SOTMK best but this is our once and done trip I think and I am worried about it sending us on missions to the opposite ends of the park. We have a couple 30-45 min chunks in an otherwise planned two day trip … any way to make SOTMK work for the area you are in vs being sent from Adventureland to Tomorrowland?

The Pirates game is certainly better than SotMK in that respect. It’s nice to know what land you’ll be in for the duration. I think the Pirates game has more of an immediate reward, and is good for a one-day activity.

As for SotMK, it’s played in chapters, and each chapter is only in one land. You don’t know which order the chapters will be given to you, but once you get sent to the first place, then you’ll stay in that land until the end of that chapter. That made it easier to negotiate and plan for the time/effort we were willing to spend on it. It’s been a long time since we did that trip at ages 7 & 10, but I think it took about 20 minutes per chapter.

We did 2 the first day, and another 1 a different day - Main Street, Adventureland and Fantasyland (just the original area around the carousel.) Also, it took a few minutes to get signed up and trained. But once you sign up, you can come back to it whenever you want. Each person in your group can get a new deck of cards once per day. Collecting the cards was the part the boys loved so much. They still have their cards, and they’re 11 & 14 now.

Also, it won’t send you to Tomorrowland. It’s only in Adventureland, Frontierland, the original area of Fantasyland and on Main Street.

Hmm. Maybe it is feasible then.
We could also just park my DH somewhere while the kids played it I guess - he will not be keen on hiking to fantasy land from BTMRR! :slight_smile:

If we are rope dropping, can you get the cards before rope drop? Or do we need to find a time to go back to Main Street tobget them?

I don’t think you can get the cards before rope drop. We used the smaller office near Sleepy Hollow to get the cards. It’s less of a walk than the one on Main Street.

The Pirates game looks really cool too though! I don’t want to discourage you from doing that one. We just haven’t had a chance to try it.

This might help.

The Sleepy Hollow/back of Christmas shop podium no longer hands out the SotMK cards. Only the fire station.

Since it is your first time playing, you’d sign up and each get a set of cards at the Fire station. They usually ask where you’d like to begin, so tell them Frontierland or Adventureland or Liberty Square to keep in the general area.

We (well, my kids) found the card game a distraction and quickly bailed out. My 8-year-old enjoyed Tom Sawyer’s Island far more. However, when we were there, it felt as though Tom Sawyer’s Island isn’t being well maintained. Many of the guns didn’t work, and the escape tunnel was closed. So was the barrel bridge. The place to get food wasn’t open either. It may have just been because we were there during the slow season, but I would think Disney wouldn’t have to invest much to maintain Tom Sawyer’s Island when you compare it to the investments being done elsewhere.

Still, it was enjoyable. The card game, not so much. But I know others who would rather do the card game than ride the rides!

Really appreciate all this feedback! I’d normally be inclined to just let my kids pick what they want but in this situation i think they don’t know the Island or the card game so it’s hard for them to make an informed choice.

If they let you pick your Land to start from though, that sounds a LOT better so that we could play it when we’re in the area that we have extra time slotted.

I guess it depends on what you actually want from this “break”. I haven’t done the Pirates game but have done SOTMK.

There’s still a level of excitement involved, you’re still in the park, and they’re following instructions.

What I like about TSI is that at that age they could roam freely around. My son spent an hour in the fort alone, then we went along the escape tunnel and after all that he wanted to go do the barrel bridge and back to the fort. We were there for over 2 hours. He was 10 and I felt happy to just leave him to it, although I did tell him that the escape tunnel was very dark so he was to find me before going through it. And although there were lots of kids he wasn’t in all the hype and over-stimulation of MK itself.

SOTMK was an activity to do together and we did it on several mornings when we weren’t going on rides etc.

So two very different types of “break” to consider.

Are you going soon? A big part of Tom Sawyer Island was closed last week (and didn’t appear to be close to being finished). My 6 year old enjoyed what was open but it wouldn’t be much to do for anyone much older than that.

I found it took far longer than 20 minutes per “game” or chapter. Mainly because the clues are visual, so you still need to find which portal to go to. We spent ages trying to find one in Main Street, and again in Adventureland one was tricky to find, even with a map showing each location.

I guess it depends too on how much help the kids will accept (not much in DS’s case lol!).

The queues for each portal was often 6 to 8 kids or groups, and some of the adults playing were experienced players who were on very high levels. They were playing several cards at once, until someone asked the CM if they could intervene, which they did thankfully. Made them join the back of the line after each card.

We’re going in April. The main spot I was deliberating on the TSI or pirate adventure (or now maybe SOTMK) was on our 2nd day in the afternoon. We’ll be a little post-lunch and just a bit before leaving the park for the day.

General Plan: lunch, BTMRR FP+, 40 min free time, Splash Mtn FP+, 30 min free time, grab a spot pre-parade in Frontierland, watch parade, leave immediately after parade passes.

I think you need at LEAST an hour for TSI. But as Nickysyme said, it is nice to just let the kids roam the island freely… ALTHOUGH, I will share this…

When we were there several years ago, when our youngest was only a baby, our older kids were roaming around with me in the Fort while my wife was with the baby. This older, foreign lady came up to her and started to faun over the baby. Her husband (presumably) stayed a short distance away. Anyhow, after a few minutes, the woman actually tried to take the baby from my wife’s arms without asking, but acting as if it was just to hold the baby. The husband came closer. My wife’s “spidey-sense” (as she calls it) went up and she clutched the baby tighter. The woman continued to try to get the baby from my wife before my wife said No and pulled away. All this happened while I was up in the fort. By the time we came down, my wife was extremely upset and the couple had left. We immediately went back to the area of the island where the cast members were (where the rafts are) and reported the issue. We had to file a full report. They were extremely concerned. They even offered us something (forget what) for our bad experience, which was nice of them, but unnecessary.

Now, it could really just be that this old woman thought our baby was cute and didn’t know enough, culturally…but my wife swears there was something more going on. As a result, we’re not sure if it is entirely safe to allow your kids to roam freely on the island. The nice thing, however, is that the only way on or off is by the raft, so that serves as a form of protection.

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What a weird and scary story!

For a one and done trip, honestly I’d pass on the games AND Tom Sawyer. Great rewarding activities for multiple trip families and Florida residents, however most one and done trips last about a week and go to the MK twice, three times max for that trip. I would not want to get bogged down doing these diversions on a trip like that.

I found TSI to be a great alternative to going back to the resort to rest. It’s a haven away from all the “hype” of the park, as in the over-excitement or stimulation that can cause melt-downs.

Even on our last trip the “boys”, who were then 17 and 21, wanted to go back over and look around.

And we’re not frequent visitors. I wouldn’t dream of not doing the Treehouse either! :grinning:

The pirate scavenger hunt was really fun for our DS (5 years old). It took us about an hour to complete three pirate treasure maps in the early evening when the ride lines were super long. The pirate adventure was an excellent diversion and we all really enjoyed it. You use your magic band to make fun/unexpected things happen (fire a canon, turn over a canoe to expose the hidden treasure, etc.) and it is contained to Adventureland rather than having to run all over MK.

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