If you’re looking to visit Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, then look no further. Here you will find out all about what you can do when visiting this glorious destination.
Truth be told, I’m quite a fan of the Bahamas – it is the perfect place to let your hair down and relax with pristine waters, gorgeous climate and lovely people.
For this reason, many cruise lines have developed private destinations in the Bahamas over the years. For me, this is great as it gives you a day to relax either at the start or end of your cruise.
Disney perfected this concept a few years ago, with 3- or 4-night cruises sailing from Florida – so why not spend a week around Disney World and then spend a few days in the Bahamas relaxing. It’s a perfect combination.
Welcome to Castaway Cay
Castaway Cay is an island located 160 miles east of Miami. It’s about 1000 acres in size, but currently only 55 is developed as the DIsney destination. The real-life story goes that pirates used to visit and use the island, including the runway which was once a haven for smuggling.
As you would expect from Disney, there is a whole backstory around Castaway Cay. The story goes:
Three explorers set sail to the scattered islands of the Bahamas in search of fame and fortune. They brought along their families and a diverse crew. Through mild mishap and extreme good fortune, they located the objects of their desire–sunken treasures and the secret of youth. Though castaway on this island, they had no desire to leave due to the breathtaking beauty of this tropical paradise. Visitors to this island can still see the original structures built by the explorers and take part in many of the same pleasures our castaways enjoyed years ago. Disney Cruise Line welcomes you to the island paradise of your dreams, Castaway Cay.
The island features a number of beach areas, including Scuttle’s Cove and Pelican Point. These are the family focussed areas with activities throughout the day and a number of shops. It’s a fairly easy walk along a promenade from the ship dock through to both of these areas. It was actually nice to do this first thing in the morning when getting off the ship. You can also choose to get a tram which travels to and from these points and the ship throughout the day.
There’s also the adult-only Serenity Bay beach area. This is located a little way from the ship and you’ll need to get a separate tram from Pelican Point to the Bay (which goes along the old runway, which to be fair was quite cool). You could walk it but it is quite a journey, and in the Bahamian heat I wouldn’t necessarily advise.
And it wouldn’t be Disney without characters. Throughout the day you will find various Disney characters ready for that selfie. I particularly enjoyed walking back to the ship with Captain Jack Sparrow when we visited.
A fun and unique feature of Castaway Cay is its own post office, with special Bahamian postage and a postmark specific to Disney Cruise Line.
Scuttle’s Cove and Pelican Point
These are the two main family areas found at Castaway Cay, which in addition to the beaches themselves, features lots of shopping, restaurants and goings on throughout the day.
On the beaches there are plenty of sun loungers, chairs and umbrellas and all free of charge to use. If you do find crowds, continue walking along the beach and you’ll find less crowded and more secluded areas (or head to Serenity Bay if your 18+, but more on that shortly!).
The waters at Castaway Cay really are so pristine and honestly out of this world. It’s easy to lose track of time and spend hours here enjoying the Bahamian sun and relaxing. You can also rent float mats and inner tubes for the day.
There are a couple of buffet spots in this area, Cookie’s BBQ and Cookies Too BBQ. Both of these feature plenty of seating and as you’d expect, a lot of BBQ focussed food from burgers, hot dogs, fried chicken sandwiches and ribs. There’s also a self-serve bar to grab a soda, water or coffee.
There are also a number of bars in this area including Conched Out Bar, Heads Up Bar and Sand Bar featuring a variety of drinks, beer, cocktails and frozen drinks. You can also easily get a drink from one of the many waiters. I’m not going to lie, the frozen drinks looked so good.
This is the adults-only area of the island and it really is a little oasis, from well, the oasis. Situated a second short tram ride from the main area, you find yourself travelling along the runway on the island past a number of old planes and other materials. Right at the end of the strip, you find yourself at Serenity Bay. This area is strictly for over 18s.
Serenity Bay is a spot dedicated to relaxation, with plenty of seating and a long beach to stretch out during the day. It really is peaceful.
Again, there is a further backstory for Serenity Bay. Legend has it that the Castaway Air Bar was built by a stranded pilot out of the materials salvaged from his damaged plane. And while you’re at the Castaway Air Var, treat yourself to the Konk Kooler – a drink unique to the island featuring rum, coconut cream, pineapple, passion fruit, and orange juices. I can vouch for how delicious it is.
Then there is the Serenity Bay BBQ. This is not as big as the other main BBQ areas, but it has something about it – it feels very atmospheric as you enjoy some BBQ food, a drink and sit and watch the sea. Again, you can expect BBQ staples including burgers, hot dogs, grilled fish, chicken, steaks and ribs. Bliss.
You can also opt to have a massage right on the beach if you want to (for a fee)
There’s plenty of space to relax on Castaway Cay, but you can also get up to quite a lot when visiting. Let’s take a look.
One of the highlights of Castaway Cay is snorkelling. Next to the family beach you will find 22 acres of underwater discovery. Once you’ve donned your mask, snorkel and fins head off on a treasure hunt and see what awaits under the sea. Disney have provided many sunken treasures in the lagoon including a submarine from the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride at Magic Kingdom, statues of your favourite Disney characters and other rides and easter eggs. I think my favourite had to be Boo’s door from Monster’s Inc.
Castaway Cay 5K
When the ships dock in the morning, Disney offers a 5K run. You can sign up for free on the ship and follow the path in your own time.
This was one of my few regrets on Castaway Cay as it looked like so much fun. You can choose to rent bicycles and follow the various paths around the island. It in fact follows the same route as the 5K.
There are all sorts to choose from on the Island (for a fee). This includes Parasailing, fishing charters, Banana boats and you can also rent other pieces of equipment – including aqua trikes, paddleboards and sea kayaks .
There’s a number of courts including for volleyball and football.
This is a large water-play area in the main family beach area. It features two water slides on a floating platform.
This is a wet play area that features a variety of fountains and sprinklers for toddlers and young kids to have fun in.
Right by the first of the two tram stops you’ll find the main children’s area, which includes supervised activities. You’ll find this is where a lot of the characters will make appearances in the day.
In Da Shade Game Pavillion
There are quite a few activities that are not sun-focussed on Castway Cay. One is this covered area which features basketball hoops, pool tables, and ping pong tables.
Castaway Cay Cabanas
Sometimes when in paradise you want something a little more exclusive, and that’s where the private cabanas come in.
There are 25 private cabanas across Castaway Cay (21 in the main area and four at Serenity Bay). When you book a cabana you get access to a private beach area, cabana concierge, a shower, a hammock, bottled water and soda, fresh fruit, snacks, suntan lotion, snorkel equipment rental, float and inner tube rental and the use of sand toys.
We stayed in one of the cabanas at Serenity Bay on our last visit and I really enjoyed the feel and space you get. If there is a group of you travelling together, it may be worth considering, though they can be quite hard to reserve as they are so popular at times. Serenity Bay cabanas cost $399 for up to 6 guests. You can add up to 4 more guests for a charge of $50 per person.
Castaway Cay really is a slice of Disney paradise and one of the many reasons I would cruise with Disney. It’s fab spot to visit and I would go again and again.
Let us know what you would get up to in this slice of paradise in the comments below and over on social media.
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