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Magic on Tom Sawyer's Island

The magic of Walt Disney World is in the details, many of which are unadvertised. These little touches are what differentiates the World from other “theme parks”.

One such unadvertised touch of magic is the hunt for paint brushes on Tom Sawyer’s Island in the Magic Kingdom.

Each morning, three to five paint brushes are hidden on Tom Sawyer’s Island by the cast members. Lucky explorers that find one of the paint brushes get a special Fast Pass for the entire family for either Thunder Mountain Railroad or Splash Mountain.

Once my children found about this, it became part of the plan for our trip. We would get to the Magic Kingdom for the rope drop and then make sure that we were on the first raft of the day to Tom Sawyer’s Island in order to have the best chance of finding one of those elusive paint brushes.

This June, we got our chance to participate in this special treasure hunt. We followed our plan to perfection and travelled to the island on the first raft of the day. We agreed to separate in order to cover more ground. We also overheard another family discussing their plans to look for the paint brushes. That meant we definitely had competition, which only added to the excitement.

Once we reached land, we started searching. I headed for the caves and the kids went towards Fort Langhorn.

I was the first person to enter the caves, but I could tell that people were close behind me. I searched quickly, but was not finding anything. With about 10 feet to go, I took a wrong turn into a dead end. I heard the people behind me, pass by and then exclaim “I found a paint brush!” Just my luck, I was so close, but came up empty handed.

It was time to check on the kids to see if they had any better luck. When I caught up with them they had scoured the Fort, but had also come up empty handed. I was starting to think that we were not going to find a paint brush today. As we walked back towards the raft dock, a boy offered my son an “extra” paint brush since his family had already found two. He gladly accepted. This was great, but not quite the same as finding one ourselves.

We settled on a deck with rocking chairs facing towards Splash Mountain, when my kids looked up and discovered a PAINT BRUSH! They found one of their very own. Just when we were about to give up, things improve dramatically.

We quickly went to the dock to show a cast member our find. After taking the raft back across the river, he took us aside a got a special Fast Pass and presented it to my kids. That truly made our day.

The prize in this case didn’t really matter (although avoiding the long line later in the day for Splash Mountain was nice.). It was the thrill of the hunt and the ability to do something new at a place we had visited so many times before.

The magic is in the details.

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