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Five Things to Know About the Swiss Family Treehouse

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Swiss Family Treehouse is unique among attractions at Walt Disney World. It’s a self-guided, climb-through experience of a replica of the Swiss Family Robinson’s “arboreal abode.” To learn more about what may or may not make it worth your while, read on. Or, to clamber over to the nuts and bolts, here’s your shortcut.

1. You’ll have zero wait time.

As one of the attractions at WDW that doesn’t get all the love it deserves, there’s seldom a long line of folks waiting to get in. There’s no real queue for the Swiss Family Treehouse and only one entryway. It’s clearly marked by a sign with its name and the Robinson family crest. As you enter, there’s another sign explaining that you must be ambulatory in order to climb through all of the stairs and raised platforms. Once you go through the turnstile entrance, there’s no way out but to go up and through!

2. We think of it as the “queen of all treehouses.”

One of the things I enjoy about the attraction is the signage. All along your way, signs tell the story of the Robinson’s family life after being shipwrecked aboard the “Swallow.” They explain how, by salvaging items from the wreckage, the family was able to secure enough materials to construct the dwelling and live fairly comfortably on this uncharted island.

Take time to pause and read them as you climb up to the top of the six-story “tree.” (There’s enough room for others to pass you, so you won’t be holding up anyone else.) You may rightly question whether any shipwreck survivors could actually construct the things you’ll see – or salvage things like a pedal organ, dining room set, and a cabinet full of fine china! But you have to tip your hat to the Imagineers who built all this stuff!

Stop to look at the ingenious water wheel pulley system that delivers water to the upper floors. Look up when you pass the “mother’s den” to see the barrel of rum perched on the upper rafters. Each room – there are bedrooms, a study and a kitchen among others – is filled with curios worth pausing to look at.

Best of all, as you continue your climb, the various suspended platforms offer you unique views of the Magic Kingdom. You can see across the park to Space Mountain, Cinderella Castle, TRON Lightcycle/Run, and the Jungle Cruise.

3. The attraction is based on the 1960 Disney classic.

The Swiss Family Treehouse opened with the Magic Kingdom on October 1, 1971. But the first treehouse was in Disneyland, opening in 1962 or two years after the movie “Swiss Family Robinson” was released. As such, it’s one of the attractions that had Walt’s direct input. The Disney Imagineer Bill Martin led the design team for the original treehouse. Worth noting: he had help and input from the designer of the film’s treehouse, Wolfgang Reitherman.

The Disneyland treehouse was remodeled and rebranded as Tarzan’s Treehouse in 1999 to coincide with the release of the Disney animated movie Tarzan. In 2023 it reverted back to the original theming, with the somewhat unwieldly name, “Adventureland Treehouse Inspired by Walt Disney’s Swiss Family Robinson.” Other versions of the attraction also exist at Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disneyland.

4. Some tree facts you wood not believe.

The Swiss Family Treehouse had to be in a tree, right? But this is Walt Disney World, so the tree isn’t real. As such, Florida classified it as a building (which meant it had to abide by all the building codes).

Most sources say it’s 60 feet tall, some 90 feet across at its widest point (a few others say the reverse: 90 feet tall and 60 feet wide). Regardless, it has 116 steps to climb and somewhere around 1400 limbs. The “roots” go 42 feet into the ground to provide the necessary structural support.

Constructed of steel, concrete, and stucco, the whole thing – treehouse included – weighs in at roughly 200 tons. As for the leaves, there are more than 330,000 separate pieces of artificial foliage (but the moss growing on the branches is said to be real). Each leaf is reported to have cost $1 apiece, so the greenery alone cost Disney a third of a million dollars.

But what species of tree is it? It most closely resembles a banyan tree, but Disney has created its own nomenclature, dubbing it the Disneyodendron Eximus – loosely translated to mean an “out of the ordinary Disney tree.” The Disneyland version is Disneyodendron semperflorens grandis, or “large, ever-blooming Disney tree.”

5. The Nuts and Bolts.

The Swiss Family Treehouse is located in Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom. As you enter Adventureland, it’s the first attraction you’ll pass before getting to Jungle Cruise.

There’s no height requirement, so the whole family can enjoy the attraction. However, it is one of the only attractions at WDW that requires guests to be ambulatory. To reach the top of the treehouse, you must be able to climb a total of 116 stairs.

If you’re waiting at the bottom for your group, you’ll find some nice seating in the stroller parking area.

Swiss Family Treehouse is not open for Early Theme Park Entry, but is open for Extended Evening Theme Park Hours. As an outdoor attraction, it will close during times of inclement weather. It does not participate in Genie+, but if you decide to visit, you wouldn’t need it anyway. You can tour Swiss Family Treehouse at any time on most days without waiting to start your climb.

The Bottom Line.

Our survey data tells us that guests rate this as 3.5 stars out of 5. And a lot of folks will tell you to skip it altogether. But to be honest, the Swiss Family Treehouse holds a sentimental place in my heart. (Mostly because I remember watching the movie when it came out and marveling at the ingenuity!) We try to visit every time we’re in the Magic Kingdom. FWIW, our grandkids ages 8-13 enjoy it, too. If you have two days in the MK, it’s worthwhile to set aside 15 minutes or so to take a break, make the climb, and enjoy the views.

Have you made the climb to the top of the Swiss Family Treehouse? What did you think? Let us know in the comments.

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Bob Jacobs

Bob Jacobs lives in Wisconsin where he retired as Editorial Director for a well-known catalog company. He and his wife Cristie have four children, seven grandchildren and a cocker spaniel named Penny the Dog. They’ve visited Walt Disney World regularly since 1992.

One thought on “Five Things to Know About the Swiss Family Treehouse

  • I have very vague memories of the movie, but I LOVE the treehouse and make sure to climb it on every trip. I do have to wonder about the people who just climb up and down, and don’t even look in the rooms!


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