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That Magic of Castaway Cay



First things first….it\’s pronounced \”key\” not \”kay,\” so now you can practice as you read this and you won\’t sound like a first time cruiser when you get to visit this remarkable destination.  


Castaway Cay is Disney Cruise Line\’s private island paradise in the Bahamas and is the highlight for many cruisers.  As if the lush sand and warm waters of the Bahamas aren\’t enough, well, Disney has yet again managed to perfect perfection.  





Castaway Cay is the perfect island day for kids, adults or families. Snorkeling, bike riding, water slides, delicious beverages served chair side, the tranquility of the adults-only beach, kids club (on the island!), boat rentals, sting ray petting, barbecue lunch (free!), dance parties, live music and so much more make this a perfect day! Disney\’s Castaway Cay has something for everyone. You can even start off your morning running the Castaway Cay 5K, a free Run Disney event. Registration is required on board.

A day on Castaway Cay.




Usually, you will pull into port around 8:30am. If you are on the starboard side of the ship, you will have a beautiful view of the island (the ship back into the port). If you are on the port side, you will have a view of the business and work that goes into making your island day perfect as all the crew and essentials are unloaded from the ship.  You will be allowed off the ship around 9am. 


If you don’t mind the walk and aren’t overly anxious about claiming your beach chair, skip the tram and walk from the ship. You will have the opportunity to take photos in front of the ship, greet characters and see all that there is to offer. First, you will pass the Post office. Here you can mail postcards home with Castaway Cay’s unique postmark. Be warned–they generally take a month or more to reach home! You will need cash for the post office. You will then pass Marge’s Barges where you can arrange parasailing, boating and fishing excursions! Book these in advance if you can. Make sure you stop to take a photo at Mount Rustmore as you go by!


Next you will find Boat Beach where you can rent water trikes, paddle boards and other watercraft. As you stroll down further, you will reach the first family beach. Now personally, this is where we will stop. Everyone has an opinion on this, but we have found that the majority of guests take the tram to the second family beach. The second beach looks big, but half of it is blocked off for cabana guests so it’s not as big as you’d think.



Back to family beach one. Here you will find Gil’s Fins and Boats where you can rent snorkel gear and water floats. The snorkel lagoon and and water play structure with cargo nets and monkey bars are sure to keep your kids busy! The snorkel lagoon is very large with sunken treasure to hunt for along the way. Lifeguards are posted all along the route and snorkel vests are mandatory and free of charge if you have brought your own snorkel gear. I suggest going early…the water is clearest before a lot of swimmers are out there!

Now, I speak of snorkeling like I do it all the time…I don’t. When my kids were younger, I would go so I could help one of them get back if someone got tired. Since they have gotten older, they have inherited their dad’s talent and love for snorkeling. Generally I am the one that needs to go back early now. So I keep watch from the Heads Up Bar, one of my favorite spots of the island. You can keep an eye on the kids through the binoculars there, enjoy some frozen yumminess and enjoy the spectacular view of the island and the ship.


While we don’t park our stuff at the second family beach any more, it is worth heading over there for some fun at Pelican Plunge. Cruise down the water slides, get soaked with water sprayers and play with the water cannons. This area is deep and swimmers should be strong. Life vests are available for anyone who needs them.


At some point you will likely need to get out of the sun and Castaway Cay still has so much more to do. You can rent bikes and explore the old runway and Observation Tower. Head to In Da Shade Games for some ping pong, giant checkers or Connect Four. Kids can check out the kids club areas–Scuttles Cove (for the younger ones) or the Hideout…a teens-only hangout.



Lunch on the island is fabulous and FREE! After all the gourmet eating on the ship, we love the simple, yet delicious menu of pulled pork, hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, fruit, cookies, salads and sides. Of course, there is soft serve ice cream and soda available at no extra cost! Cookies and Cookies Too are both available for families, and the same dining options are also available out at Serenity Bay, the adults-only beach.


Serenity Bay….yes…it is wonderful. There are plenty of chairs, the Castaway Air Bar to enjoy some cocktails and the Windsock Hut to rent floats. You will also find the massage cabanas where you can book an individual or couples massage. These should be booked as early as possible!

Make sure to bring your Navigator out onto the island with you so you know what is going on all day. There will be live music, crab races, dance parties and more!  You won\’t run out of things to do on this island paradise, and I assure you that you will be planning your next cruise as the ship pulls away from Castaway Cay.




Heather Gordon is a Disney Travel Planner with Wishdrawals Travel and the mom of one awesome boy and a pretty fabulous girl!  Contact her at heather@wishdrawals.com to start planning your family\’s next magical vacation!

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