Tom Sawyer Island Brochure Map (1957)

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 Treehouse, Pontoon 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 The “Anaheim, California,” addition to the Disneyland logo has been replaced by “U.S.A.,” and a brief section of introductory text has been added.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.).

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.

VALUE: Considering its age, this map generally fetches a fairly good price. Due to the same basic design and color scheme being used in later reprints, many buyers hoping to purchase an authentic 1957 map, in fact get a much newer version. $30

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