Castaway Cay is Disney’s private island in the Caribbean. The only way to get to this little slice of Disney heaven is to sail on a Bahamian or Caribbean sailing with the Disney Cruiseline. These tips for visiting Castaway Cay will help you make the most of your time during your day on the island.
The island is relatively small. Castaway Cay is 2.2 miles wide and 3.1 miles long. The beautiful thing about the island is that only 10% of the island has been developed by Disney.
Make Sure You Bring Your Camera
Do not make the same mistake I made on our first Disney Cruise. I left my camera on the ship so it would be safe and wasn’t ruined by the water and sand. Once we were home I was disappointed I had nothing to commemorate our travels to the island with. When you first get off the ship the lines for photo ops with the characters or picture perfect spots are long. This, however, is when the ship photographers are out to take a picture for you. This last trip since we had brought our camera we were able to get the pictures, with our own camera and no lines. If you want to know about more items you should bring on your cruise read our list!
Book Your Excursion for Castaway Cay Early
Disney has loads of excursion options for Castaway Cay. You can do everything ranging from parasailing, deep-sea fishing, feeding stingrays, inner tube and snorkel gear rentals, and bike rentals. The stingray feeding on Castaway Cay is VERY popular so if you want to do that activity I highly recommend booking it in advance online instead of waiting until you are on the ship.
As you cans see above if the weather is bad or not safe to participate in Disney will cancel the activity or activities for the day. Don’t worry if they do, Disney will handling issuing you a full refund and you won’t have to pay a penny!
Relax on the Beach at Castaway Cay
The beach is probably a big part as to why you cruise in the first place right? There are three main beaches here on the island and they all have different benefits.
The first beach you will stumble across is the Castaway Cay Family Beach. This is the main and largest beach on the island. This is where you will find the bulk of the activities. They have a snorkeling lagoon, boat rentals and more! If you want to find this beach empty it really only happens in the last hour or two before all aboard or when you can first disembark from the ship.
Next up is my favorite, Serenity Bay. This beach is all the way at the other end of the island from where the ship is docked. It is adults only so you must be 18 years or older to enjoy this beach. It is always super quiet and peaceful. We find it has way less hustle and bustle compared to the family beach. If you actually want to do something outside of relaxing and eating, then this is not the beach for you.
Lastly there is a Teen Beach, for none other than teenagers. While we have never gotten to experience this beach for ourselves as we are well past our teenage years it is pretty much like the family beach. It’s main difference is it offers a bunch of athletic activities like volleyball and tether ball.
If you want to take advantage of Castaway Cay’s snorkeling lagoon I highly recommend hitting the water early. My husband went out first thing as soon as we got off the ship and he was surprised by how many fish he encountered. Other people have reported seeing sharks and sea turtles at Castaway before.
Eat the BBQ on the Island
Don’t worry about heading back on the ship for lunch. Disney Cruiseline includes lunch on the island at no additional charge! On Castaway you will have three BBQ buffet locations to choose from. Cookie’s BBQ, Cookie’s Too BBQ and one at Serenity Bay (the adults only part of the island). All locations serve a lunch buffet from 11:30 AM – 2 PM.
Cookie’s serves up your traditional barbecue food.We were surprised to see t
Enjoy Some Island Shopping
Of course, since this is a Disney island there are several shopping opportunities while ashore. It has a lot of the same stuff you will find in the gift shops onboard the ship but anything with the Castaway Cay logo is exclusive to the island. Everything is priced at standard Disney prices and we weren’t able to use any discounts like our Disney Visa.
They also offer that standard staples which you do NOT want to buy here. This includes items like sunscreen, underwater cameras, and beach toys. The killer thing is the prices are around triple what you would pay if you purchased back home.
Don’t Miss Island Activities
Disney has a lot of great free activities like the Castaway Cay 5K which you can sign up for free on the ship and you even get a medal. We did this on our first sailing. It was a fun event but we were a little bummed it took up pretty much our whole morning. Lots of other people said it got you on the island early. For us, we got off the boat well after 9 am and other people were already on the island.
Head all the way down to almost the end of the beaches and find Pelican Plunge. This is a giant water slide off the shore at Castaway Cay. You have to actually swim out to its dock to even go on it! The line for this gets pretty long if you want to avoid the wait, head here first while the lines are still short. If your kids aren’t quite tall enough yet for the plunge, next door is Spring a Leak for little ones. This is a wet play area includes a variety of fountains and sprinklers for toddlers and young children.
Send Some Mail Back Home
Even though you walk right by it when you get of the ship I think a lot of people miss that there is a real Bahamian Post Office on Castaway Cay. The hours of operation unfortunately can be really sporadic. So instead the best path is to purchase a Bahamian stamp at Guest Services while on the ship. Whether the post office is open or not you can always drop it in the drop box outside or even at Guest Services on the ship. This way your post card will be delivered with a Castaway Cay postmark.
Want more Disney cruising tips? Read What’s Not Included on a Disney Cruise and also check out 10 Ways to Save on Your Next Disney Cruise.
I have been visiting the parks annually since my parents first brought me at just a year old. Recently I was able to fulfill my life long dream of being a Florida local and moved from the wintery Northeast to the sunshine and fun of central Florida. Now I am hoping to share my Disney knowledge with you so you can have the best vacation possible!
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