Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, is a highlight for anyone traveling on a Disney Cruise Line Caribbean or Bahamian itinerary. This activity-filled island paradise offers some fantastic amenities for everyone in the family, and is completely private – just for Disney Cruise Line. Most of the staff that you’ll grow to love on the ship disembarks to work at the island for the day, making it a fantastic experience. Whether this is your very first time on Disney’s private island, or you’ve been before, this list of things to do at Disney’s Castaway Cay should help you plan a fabulous stay for the day.
Side note: After ten visits to Castaway Cay, I can say that I’ve only experienced bad weather once. It’s always a possibility, however, so be prepared, just in case. If that does happen, I can assure you that the cast members will do a great job of making sure you still have a great experience. Also, I’ve experienced Castaway Cay on complimentary press trips, at a discount on the Disney Social Media Moms trip, and at full cost on personal trips. All opinions are my own.
What’s On Disney’s Castaway Cay?
Until you visit, it’s difficult to imagine exactly what to expect. Most frequent cruisers claim that it’s the best port of call. Upon disembarking the ship, you’ll find a number of fun activities, including the following:
- Several beautiful beach areas, including the snorkel lagoon, the family beach, and Serenity Bay (the adult-only section). Beaches include hammocks, lounge chairs, and umbrellas. There’s also a small beach area that is only available to guests renting a cabana. There’s plenty of room for everyone, but I always love to disembark early so that I can choose my favorite location.
- Pelican Plunge, which includes two water slides and a bucket dump. This is one of my kids’ favorite spots.
- The Spring-a-Leak water play area
- Scuttle’s Cove, a kids’ club for ages 3-12. Cast members for the club are the same ones from the ship.
- The Teen Hideout for kids aged 13-17
- Character greetings (see the Disney Navigator for a full schedule). My kids love seeing Captain Jack Sparrow on the island.
- Entertainment including a DJ and crab races, run by the cruise staff
- Several shops selling Castaway Cay exclusive merchandise
- A few outdoor bars
- The Sports Beach, featuring sports like volleyball and soccer
On Castaway Cay day, activities and meals on the ship are fairly limited, since the cruise staff heads outside to the island. I definitely recommend getting off the ship for a good part of the day. If you are like me, and chase shade, there are plenty of umbrellas where you can sit in the shade.
What’s Included at Disney’s Castaway Cay?
As soon as you disembark, you’ll find bins of beach towels to use for the day. During my last trip, there were also large vats of bug repellent lotion to use. Beach chairs, hammocks, and umbrellas are free to use but are first-come, first served. It’s pretty easy to find a beach chair and umbrella, but the hammocks are usually taken pretty early, especially if you are on one of the larger ships.
Meals on Castaway Cay, including soda and ice cream, are complimentary at Cookies BBQ, Cookies Too (a little further from the Family Beach), and Serenity Bay BBQ (smaller, but adult only and located near the adult-only beach). While it’s standard BBQ fare, I always find the food to be delicious, and perfect for a beach day. The restaurants are staffed by the dining room teams from the ship.
While you are allowed to walk to all of the beach areas at Castaway Cay, there is also a tram service that can take you from near the ship, all the way to Serenity Bay (although you will have to change trams). I find it easy to walk to the family beach, but take the tram when I go to Serenity Bay. It’s a long walk and it can be hot.
What are the Extras at Disney’s Castaway Cay?
There are definitely some extras that you’ll be able to book/purchase on Castaway Cay, although you can still have lots of fun without spending any money at all. Activities include the following:
- Charter boats for fishing, snorkeling, and parasailing
- Bike rentals (fun for exploring the island)
- Inner tube and snorkeling equipment rentals. You can also bring your own snorkeling equipment.
- Excursions, including the popular Stingray experience. Book these on the ship.
- Private cabanas, which cost extra, but include inner tubes, snorkeling equipment, bike rentals, canned soft drinks, snacks, and sunscreen. Book those right when your booking window opens, because they are extremely popular.
- Alcoholic beverages (purchased either at one of the several bars on the island, or the beach-front servers).
- Specialty non-alcoholic drinks
- Bottled water
If you are thinking of renting snorkels, tubes, and bikes, the Castaway Getaway Package can be a good deal. It includes bike rental for an hour and snorkel/float or tube rental for the day. It’s a port adventure and can be booked online or through the port adventure desk.
Excursions and cabanas can be booked in advance, according to the schedule based upon your Castaway Club level. Cabanas book up very fast and are often only available for platinum Castaway Club members (because of their booking window). If you are interested in participating in the Castaway Cay 5K, you’ll need to book that at the Port Excursions desk on the ship. Lots of people participate in the Castaway Cay 5K. If you choose to do it, you’ll meet up with the group on the ship and then head out first thing. It’s a fun run, so no need to feel any pressure.
When I go to Castaway Cay, I usually spend my time relaxing on the beach. Although there are tons of activities, I usually just love to grab a beach chair and umbrella, and spent time between the chair and the water.
Have you been to Castaway Cay? What was your favorite thing to do?
Other Disney Cruise Line posts:
Everything you need to know about Disney Cruise Line Fish Extenders
Decorating your Disney Cruise Line stateroom door
First-timer tips on the Disney Cruise Line
Tips for your first day on the Disney Cruise Line