If you’re lucky enough to be going on a Disney Cruise to the Caribbean, then you may be lucky enough to port at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. The day we visited this island was probably our favorite day on the whole cruise. We love nature and exploring and found we had plenty to do, all among the drop dead gorgeous scenery of Castaway Cay. Check out all our best tips for exploring the island.
Disney’s Castaway Cay Private Island
First off, lets get this straight- its pronounced Castaway Key, not Castaway Cay. I’m not sure if that’s pirate talk or what, but that’s how its pronounced. When you get to Castaway Cay, all you’ll really need is a day bag, your ID and Key to the World card. No need to lug around those beach towels, as cruise staff actually provides each guest with a towel or two as you disembark your Disney Cruise ship. If you want to get an early start, why not run the Castaway Cay 5k(for guests 10 and older) or try out yoga on the islands adult only beach, Serenity Bay? Both are a great way to get going and see the island and they’re free! Just be sure to sign up at the spa so they know you’ll be attending.
The Castaway Cay Beaches
After leaving the cruise ship, you will have two options to get to the beaches. You can take the tram or you can walk. The walk will take you about 6-7 minutes, and the tram will actually also take you about that much time if you factor in waiting for the other passengers and the fact that it takes a weird back route to get you to the beaches. Neither is really quicker so its really a matter of preference. We enjoyed taking the walking trail as it is paved and very scenic. There are two family beaches on Castaway Cay, the first beach you’ll come to has a great view of the cruise ship and is also where you’ll find the snorkeling lagoon. The second beach has Pelican Plunge, which is a water slide that goes right into the water, super awesome.
Beyond the family beaches, there’s a beach for those who have rented cabanas. We aren’t that fancy so we couldn’t see that area but from afar it looked gorgeous. And the very last beach on the island is Serenity Beach, the adult only beach. There’s also a “teen hideout” for those who have teens or tweens-just check your Disney Cruise Line navigator for when Vibe or Edge will be meeting there!
If you’re looking to get away from the kiddos and want a more relaxing beach experience, Serenity Bay is place to go for adults. While there’s not much to do, that’s kind of the point. There’s a bar, some lounge chairs, hammocks and open air cabana massages for the ultimate relaxation experience! You can also just sign up for yoga at the senses spa and the following morning voila! you’re on the beach with your fellow travelers.
Serenity Bay Beach Yoga
Things to do on Castaway Cay
There are quite a few excursions available while docked on the island. You can choose to para-sail, jet-ski, go on a banana boat, bike, snorkel, etc. There’s a lot to choose from and it is very easy to book through the Disney Cruise line site leading up to your sail date, or you can choose to book once on board. We chose the biking, snorkeling and float rental package and it was much cheaper(about $18 less per person) than if we booked once on the island. But its an option to wait last minute for those who are unsure of what they want to do. Being lazy and beach bumming is also an option!
We found that there were plenty of beach chairs throughout Castaway Cay so finding a place to lounge was never an issue. I don’t know if there’s ever more than one Disney Cruise ship docked at a time, but our Disney Cruise ship was sailing full on our trip and even then the island never seemed crowded to us.
Biking On Castaway Cay
We aren’t too much the beach bumming types, so we loved the package we booked. Having a bike to explore the island with was perfect, as the bike trail is clearly marked and will take you to Observation Tower where you can see some of the island from above. You can also walk the paved trails throughout the island but we felt the bikes were the perfect way to get around. I definitely recommend exploring Castaway Cay, its just beautiful!
We also enjoyed the snorkeling portion of our day. While this is not the most amazing location for snorkeling as there aren’t any interesting reefs or anything like that, we did enjoy getting to see stingrays and sea turtles on our excursion. There is a snorkeling trail that will take you to see sunken treasures(placed there by Disney) but we actually weren’t told about the trail until after we returned our equipment. You can see things like a sunken ship, submarine and you should be able to find Mickey underwater! If you’re snorkeling and don’t find these things(like us!) just make sure you look for the buoys, that’s where you will find the hidden treasures. Also note that all snorkelers are required to wear yellow life vests as a precaution.
Disney Characters on Castaway Cay
If you are traveling with children, or are a child at heart, there are plenty of meet and greets with your favorite Disney characters. We loved seeing our favorite characters in island wear. Just check out your Disney Cruise Line navigator for times and locations.
You can also send a postcard from Castaway Cay from the post office there as a fun souvenir for yourself or someone else! You will need cash for this as they are one of the only places on the island that do not accept your Key to the World card.
So what’s there to eat on Castaway Cay?! A lot! Just like the Disney Cruise ship, drink stations are available during your day and there are soft serve ice cream stations on Castaway Cay as well. Lunch is served at either Cookies or Cookies Too and they both serve BBQ buffet style lunches from 11:30-2. We found the food was very good, so no need to head back to the cruise ship for lunch. If you’re spending your day Serenity Bay, you won’t need to leave the adults only area as you can get the same kind of food at Serenity Bay BBQ. We went right around 11:30 and found there to be plenty of seating. It started getting busier as it got closer to noon, so I recommend either eating closer to the beginning of end of lunch.
Tip: If you want to make everyone jealous and enjoy a delicious sweet treat, grab two cookies from the buffet and make an ice cream sandwich! So good!
There are also bars located throughout the island if you’re looking for a refreshing drink and they offer both alcoholic and non-alcoholic if you’re traveling with little ones. These are not included in your Disney Cruise, will cost you extra and can be charged to your Key to World card.
Gift Shops at Castaway Cay
She sells Seashells and Everything Else is the main gift shop and located near the front of Castaway Cay. Here you can find Castaway Cay merch as well as sand toys, sunscreen and more. Buy the Seashore is a smaller gift shop and has some of the same products. Know that you can’t grab this merchandise on the cruise ship, so if you want it, grab it while you’re on the island. There is also a small Bahamian store called Trinkets and Treasures. I’m not sure how “authentic” the merchandise is here, but they carry non-Disney related apparel, like sundresses, tops, sandals and sun hats and I believe they only take cash. If you are not planning to disembark on any other Bahamian island while on your Disney Cruise, then this is the place you will want to go if you’re looking for a “Bahamas” souvenir top.
The worst part of Castaway Cay was having to leave. I recommend staying right up until you’re called back to the shop if possible as it is so serene and you’ll get great photos without people. This is one port that you are not at risk for being left on; the cast members do a full sweep of the island before the ship leaves. We really enjoyed our last few minutes on Castaway Cay having the island all to ourselves.
Whether you choose to explore and be active or just get some R&R on Castaway Cay, it is a true paradise island that you won’t want to miss on your Disney Cruise! It was our favorite part of our Disney Cruise and we can’t wait to go back!