Riverboat or Tom Sawyer Island

My mom and I are leaving in 10(!) days for her first trip and my second to WDW. As adults, if we had to pick between Tom Sawyer Island or the Riverboat, which would you pick? If we end up going to TSI, how much time should we allot…again, as adults traveling without kids?

I haven’t done either in years as both are of little interest to me, but if I had to pick one for adults only, I’d go with the Riverboat.

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TSI is a lovely place, great fun to explore even as adults. But the caves can be dark, or appear dark when you enter, and the floors are uneven. And especially the escape tunnel in the middle section. And the barrel bridge and rope bridge aren’t to everyone’s tastes (although there is an alternative path). The water mill is fun but really the only seats are at the dock, other than a few at the Fort. If you are going to explore, allow 30-45 minutes, plus time for the raft rides. So 60 minutes minimum, Personally I would allow 75-90 but then I would be doing every cave, every path, the fort, water mill and up to the top!

The Riverboat is relaxing, you can sit down.

My preference would be TSI, but it depends on how mobile your mother is, and whether you want to rest or explore. I find TSI a welcome respite from the bustle of MK, but so is the Riverboat.

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Thank you! She is very mobile. Lots of yoga and walking and good genetics keep her young. This is the type of information I was looking for.

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There would certainly be lots to do on TSI. Which is why it would be my choice. It can still be a (mental) break from the hustle, but still active.

Whilst the Riverboat is … well, a riverboat trip with a water wheel to look at. It’s a sit down and eat an iice cream whilst looking for gators in the water type of rest.


TSI is definitely more interesting. It’s not an every trip kind of thing, but when I do go over I typically spend the better part of an hour walking the trails, crossing the bridges and exploring the caves. Keep in mind that the is a line for the raft both going to and leaving TSI, so you have to factor that into your timing.

I never “plan” the riverboat; if I happen to be walking by, and it happens to be loading, and I’m not in a rush to get to someplace else, I might ride. It’s relaxing, gives you some nice wide views of FrL and LS, and from the nostalgia aspect it was modeled very closely off of the DL version, which was an “original” attraction when DL opened in '55.


Definitely sounds more our speed. A mental break is more of what we will probably need rather than a sit down break. We’ve got a couple other sit down breaks that will help us rest our feet. I had the default TP amount of time in for TSI, so I think I’ll try to rework a couple things and give ourselves an hour over there.

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Good idea. I think we will “plan” TSI and do the Riverboat if we get ahead or need to take an unexpected sit down break.

TSI is nice for a relaxing break away from the crowds while still having a little fun. But, be advised it can get really hot. Like blazing hot. Air is stagnant and humid. So if you want a respite from heat, TSI isn’t it. If you can hit it during cooler times of day, that is best.

We have never done the Riverboat. Not sure why we would want to. Sounds…boring.

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I am glad this question was asked, because I am deciding between the 2 myself. So the 30 minutes given in standard TP is not a good estimate?

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IMHO, it is boring

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We’re from SC, so the 70-80 degree temps predicted for our trip are light jacket weather :joy: Thanks for the advice, though. If it is extra warm during the midday, we will skip it or save it for a different time if that makes sense.

Most people seem to suggest an hour+

We have gone to TSI several times. Without our daughter, I don’t think I’d spend more than the time it takes to do a walk through. I did see folks enjoying the rocking chairs along the river as we went by on the Liberty Belle though!
We got to go on the boat in January. It has habitually been down for refurb on most of the trips we’ve taken so I was happy to get back on it. I found it super relaxing and it offers unique views that you cannot get from any other vantage point.
Both are fun. Unless you are really pressed for time, do both.

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Thanks! We have 1 1/2 days in MK. I’m hoping we can prioritize TSI and then get to the Riverboat the next day.

Yes. At least an hour. Half of that time will be just getting there and back.

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