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. Once you visit for the first time, you’ll be absolutely in love with the island.
Most of the staff that you’ll grow to love on the cruise 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.
Disclosure: 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. This post contains affiliate links. A purchase/click through one of these links may result in a commission paid to us at no additional cost to you.
What’s On Disney’s Castaway Cay?
Until you visit Castaway Cay, it’s difficult to imagine exactly what to expect when you get there. Most frequent cruisers claim that it’s the best port of call on their itinerary. Upon disembarking the ship, you’ll find a number of fun activities for your day at Castaway Cay, 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 Castaway Cay cabana. There’s plenty of room for everyone, but I always love to disembark early so that I can choose my favorite location and settle in for a nice beach day.
- Pelican Plunge, which includes two water slides and a bucket dump. This is one of my kids’ favorite spots, but it can definitely be cold when the water temperature is lower.
- 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 or the Disney Cruise Line app for a full schedule). My kids love seeing Captain Jack Sparrow on the island.
- A post office
- Entertainment including a DJ and crab races, run by the cruise staff
- Several shops selling Castaway Cay exclusive merchandise (the discount for Castaway Club gold and platinum members doesn’t apply in the Bahamas, however)
- A few outdoor, open air 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, life vests, 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 (the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy).
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. Castaway Cay activities include the following:
- Charter boats for fishing, snorkeling, and parasailing
- Bicycle rentals (fun for a bike ride exploring the island)
- Inner tube and snorkeling gear 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. You’ll want to make sure you use everything that’s included in the package to get full value.
Castaway Cay Excursions
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 and concierge guests (because of their earlier 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.
Other excursions include:
- A stingray adventure
- Glass bottom boat trips
- Jet boat tours
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.
Castaway Cay Weather
Castaway Cay is located in the Bahamas, and so you’ll want to check the weather in the Bahamas before you go. It can definitely vary. I’ve been in January when the temperature was absolutely perfect – in the low 80s and sunny. But during another January trip, the weather was in the high 60s.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions About Disney Castaway Cay
Are there any hotels on Castaway Cay?
Castaway Cay is exclusively for Disney Cruise Line passengers. There are no hotels, homes, or other overnight accommodations on the island for guests.
Do all Disney Cruise Line ships go to Castaway Cay?
The Caribbean and Bahamian Disney Cruise Line ships typically visit Castaway Cay. Other itineraries, including Alaska and Europe do not for obvious reasons.
Do you pay for food at Castaway Cay?
Lunch at Castaway Cay is complimentary, although just like on the ship, you’ll pay for alcohol and other specialty foods/drinks.
Do you go through customs at Castaway Cay?
You’ll have to take photo ID off the ship. While you won’t go through customs, you will have to show your ID and your Key to the World card when you return to the ship.
Do you have to get off the ship at Castaway Cay?
While you aren’t required to get off the ship at Castaway Cay, I highly recommend visiting the island. It’s absolutely beautiful, and there aren’t as many dining options or activities on the ship during Castaway day. You can always return back to the ship whenever you’d like.
If you want to take a cruise on the Disney Cruise Line, be sure to book with Get Away Today. When you mention Family Travel Magazine, you get an extra $25 on board credit! Give their agents a call at 877-510-2929.
Have you been to Castaway Cay? What was your favorite thing to do?
Other Disney Cruise Line posts:
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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