Tom Sawyer Island Brochure Map Collection (1956-2016)

The first brochure map produced of Tom Sawyer Island, this three-panel publication from 1956 features a hand-drawn map of the island with Tom and Huck overlooking, as well as brief descriptions of the island’s seven interactive attractions.

Tom Sawyer Island opened on June 16, 1956, at the start of Disneyland’s second summer season. The island stands as the only theme-park attraction ever hand-designed by Walt Disney himself.

After discarding several early concepts, including Mickey Mouse Island and Treasure Island, Walt settled on a Mark-Twain-inspired theme. Walt spoke several times about his admiration of Twain’s work. Furthermore, he’d grown up in Missouri, the setting for Tom Sawyer’s adventures, which meant both the stories and the Disneyland attraction held special places in his heart.

Continually dissatisfied with the designs his team of Imagineers (the likes of Claude Coats, Herb Ryman, Sam McKim, and Vic Greene) produced throughout the development of the island, Walt finally spent a night in his backyard barn workshop sketching out his vision for the attraction. The next morning, he presented it to artist Marvin Davis with the proclamation, “Now, that’s the way it should be.”

The island was built to Walt’s specifications and opened with a grand celebration, starring honorary guests Chris Winkler and Perva Lou Smith, the young Hannibal, Missouri, residents who’d recently been crowned the town’s first official Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher representatives. An order of catfish was flown in specially from Missouri, and an “old-fashioned fish fry” was held back on the mainland at the conclusion of the festivities.

The island, which guests reach by way of “log” rafts, boasts several interactive elements and landscape features from both the Twain stories, as well as original Disney designs. The first major refurbishment took place in 1992 on the southern end of the island to facilitate the park’s new nighttime entertainment offering, Fantasmic!. In 2007, the attraction was re-fitted with a pirate theme (to some opposition), becoming Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island. Incarnations of the original island exist in both Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland.


The second brochure map produced of Tom Sawyer Island, this larger three-panel publication from 1957 now features a more colorful and less “busy” rendering of the island, as well as brief descriptions of the island’s seven interactive attractions (albeit a different seven than the previous year).

Gone from this edition are Tom’s Landing and 3 Falls and Point Lookout, and added are Tom and Huck’s TreehousePontoon Bridge, and Castle Rock Ridge. The remaining attraction descriptions have been revised, as well. The front cover, which now opens left-to-right, reflects a headline change from “Explorer’s Map of Tom Sawyer Island,” to simply “Tom Sawyer Island” (the original headline now appears in the map section). The “Anaheim, California,” addition to the Disneyland logo has been replaced by “U.S.A.,” and a brief section of introductory text has been added. Copyright information can also now be found at bottom left (1957 Walt Disney Productions), as well as on the interior map panels (Walt Disney Productions 1957 A.D.).


The third brochure map produced of Tom Sawyer Island, this smaller (compared to the previous version) three-panel publication from 1959 features the same layout, map, and seven attractions as the 1957 edition.

The differences in text are as follows: the line designating Tom and Huck’s Tree House as “the highest landpoint in Disneyland” has been removed from the attraction description (the honor now belonging to the newly-constructed Matterhorn Mountain; similarly, the “highest point in Disneyland” annotation from the map is gone; and finally, the raft traffic via Indian Village has ceased per the absence of the arrows and annotation on the map, as well as the front-cover mention. Though a later printing, the copyright information, both on the front cover and interior panels, remains identical to the 1957 version—the cause for much confusion among collectors.


The fourth brochure map produced of Tom Sawyer Island, this smaller (compared to the previous version) three-panel publication on white paper (rather than cream) from circa 1965 features the same layout, map, and seven attractions as the 1957 edition.

The differences in text are as follows: the “U.S.A.” has been removed from the front cover’s Disneyland logo; and a different font (especially noticeable on the interior attraction titles) and font color (black) are used throughout. Though a later printing, the copyright information, both on the front cover and interior panels, remains identical to the 1957 version—the cause for much confusion among collectors.


The fifth brochure map produced of Tom Sawyer Island, this three-panel publication from circa 1966 is nearly identical to the previous year’s edition, as it features the same layout, map, and seven attractions.

The only difference in text is the shift of the front-cover copyright information (still 1957 Walt Disney Productions) from bottom-left to bottom-right. At bottom left a printing identification code can be found, which reads, “D-776.” Primarily because of the familiar dating system used by the Globe Ticket Company on vintage Disneyland ticket books, many collectors misidentify this code as designation of a June 1977 printing date. The letter-number combination, however, exists in this form simply as a product identifier, not a dating code, proven by the fact that the Fishing Pier attraction remains listed (the Catfish Cove experience was phased out beginning the following year). Both the code, as well as the errant copyright date, have caused much confusion for collectors over the years. The final difference is the brochure’s folding direction, from right-to-left once more, per the original 1956 guide.


The sixth brochure map produced of Tom Sawyer Island, this three-panel publication from 1967 is nearly identical to the 1966 edition, as it features the same layout, map, and majority of attractions.

The updated printing is reflected in the code at bottom left on the brochure’s front cover, which now includes the addition of R-1 (first revision) to the initial D-776 code. The other substantial difference between the two brochures is the absence of the Fishing Pier from the island’s list of attractions (though the structure remained, the guest interaction component was phased out in 1966-67).


The seventh brochure map produced of Tom Sawyer Island, this three-panel publication from circa 1970 is nearly identical to the 1967 edition, as it features much the same layout, map, and six attractions.

The updated printing is reflected in the code at bottom left on the brochure’s front cover, which now includes the addition of R-2 (second revision) to the initial D-776 code. The only real difference in content between the two brochures is the absence of the Fishing Pier caption from the map’s illustration. (The attraction title and description themselves had been removed in the previous printing.)


The eighth brochure map produced of Tom Sawyer Island, this three-panel publication from circa 1972 is nearly identical to the previous version, as it features much the same layout, map, and six attractions.

The updated printing is reflected in the code at bottom left on the brochure’s front cover, which now includes the addition of R-3 (third revision) to the initial D-776 code. There is also now a registered trademark symbol next to the “Disneyland” headline fronting the brochure. The primary differences in content, however, are located on the interior illustrated map, which include caption additions of two restroom locations (Fort Wilderness and Injun Joe’s Cave) and the removal of the Secret Escape from Fort caption, as well as its mention in the Fort Wilderness attraction description on the brochure’s back panel.


The ninth brochure map produced of Tom Sawyer Island, this three-panel publication, circa the 1980s, is virtually identical to the earlier printing, in terms of content.

The updated printing is reflected in the code at bottom left on the brochure’s front cover, which now includes the addition of R-4 (fourth revision) to the initial D-776 code. Otherwise (besides slight variations in ink tone), this 1980s brochure—the last to be printed before the island’s transformation to Pirates Lair a few decades later—reflects no further changes from the previous version.


The tenth brochure map produced of Tom Sawyer Island reflects the 2007 refurbishment of the attraction, which coincided with the release of the third film in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise (At World’s End).

The pirate-themed overhaul prompted an official name-change to the attraction, featured on the front cover. The new and upgraded show elements and landscaping are pictured and labeled accordingly throughout the map and legend.


These six trading cards, which combine to form a map of Pirates Lair on Tom Sawyer Island, were distributed throughout Disneyland in the summer of 2016. Their release marked the re-opening of the Rivers of America after a year-and-a-half closure and refurbishment brought on by the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge expansion.

On the reverse side, each card depicts a separate Rivers of America attraction, along with its re-opening date, and a fun fact about the attraction. The map itself is a variation (smaller and with slightly rearranged peripheral detailing) of the one found in the 2007 “Explorer’s Map of Pirates Lair on Tom Sawyer Island” brochure map.


 

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