Disney has its own private island in the Bahamas, and it is absolute paradise!! It is every family’s beach vacation destination come true. White sand beaches, calm waters, lounge chairs and hammocks, waterslides in to the ocean, all the food you can eat….. the list goes on and on. Oh yeah, and if adults want a bit of an escape from the kids, they’ve got that too! So, how do you get there? It’s very simple – just take a Disney cruise that has Castaway Cay as one of its stops.
We recently visited this majestic island in the Bahamas and I seriously wish I could spend a whole week there! If you were contemplating doing a Disney cruise, the stop at Castaway Cay is a great incentive to take the plunge. It’s a really beautiful location and you’ll only ever get there by cruising with Disney. Here are some of my top reasons why I think Castaway Cay is worth it:
It’s Private – No Other Ships!
Unlike other ports you may stop at along the way, there are no other visitors to this island on your port day. Your ship has the entire island to itself! When you are lounging on the beach, you will only have the view of your beautiful Disney ship in the distance.
The island didn’t feel busy at all when we were there and that’s because there are a limited number of people getting off. At other ports, you could have 3, 4, 5 ships in port and that makes for a lot of people on land all at once. Castaway Cay is private and you get exclusive access!
Food is Included
No need to get back on the ship for a meal because everything they serve on the island (except alcohol) is free of charge! Between the hours of 11 AM and 2 PM, they serve lunch at two locations on the island at Cookie’s BBQ and Cookie’s Too BBQ. One of the locations is near the family beaches and the other is over at Serenity Bay, the adult only beach area.
The food is a barbecue style buffet and we really enjoyed it. They have these huge BBQ ribs that they serve and they are delish! You can also get BBQ chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken burgers, corn on the cob, cole slaw, sauerkraut (which was amazing!), and even dessert. For dessert, they had some fresh fruit and some of the biggest chocolate chip cookies I have ever seen. And just like on the ship, they have unlimited soft serve ice cream that you can help yourself to anytime!
Castaway Cay 5K
If you want to get a bit of exercise in to work off all the food you have been indulging in on the ship, or just take a nice island walk, you can sign up for the Castaway Cay 5K. You’ll need to sign up for that as soon as you embark the ship, and do it right away as it can fill up. When you sign up for this event, it will allow you to be part of the first group of guests that will disembark the ship at Castaway Cay.
This race is meant to be casual, so you don’t have to be an expert runner to participate. If you want to walk the 3.1 miles, then you can totally do that. Every participant will receive a medal at the end of the race, so it is a nice souvenir to bring home from your trip.
Adults Only Beach
Just like on the ship, there is an adults only area on the island where you can escape the kids, it’s called Serenity Bay. It is at the further end of the island, but Disney has a tram that takes you over there. If you are traveling with young children and want to visit Serenity Bay, then you can check them in with the child care specialists at Scuttle’s Cove and then head over there for a bit of adult relaxation.
Characters on The Island
This is a Disney island after all, so there will be character appearances on the beach! They aren’t scheduled, so you just have to keep an eye out, but there is a good chance you’ll run in to Mickey, Goofy, Minnie or any of the gang! A great opportunity to get some island pictures in with your favourite characters.
If your kids are really enjoying the Kid’s Clubs on the ship, then the fun doesn’t have to take a break at Castaway Cay! The island has their own “kid’s club” area called Scuttle’s Cove. You can check your kids in to this area if you would like to take a break over at Serenity Bay, run the Castaway Cay 5K, or just want a break from the kids!
Disney does offer private cabanas that you can rent for use on your Castaway Cay day. These cabanas do come with a steep pricetag (starting at $400), but if you would like some privacy and a touch of luxury, then you might find them worth it. With the cabana, you’ll get access to a private area of the beach just reserved for the cabanas in your area. You’ll also get included the tube floats, snorkel gear and sand toys.
The cabana gives you a covered area with shade and comfortable padded lounge chairs. It really is the way to go if luxury is your mission for your vacation. You’ll need to reserve these as soon as your online check-in window opens as they go fast. They often book up early from the concierge and platinum guests, but if you sail in the off-season you may have better luck at getting one. And always check for cancellations!
If you are feeling some withdrawal from the Aquaduck waterslide onboard the ship, then you can head over to Pelican Plunge to partake in some slides. It is a waterslide area set up in the water just off the beach. You need to swim out to it, and then you slide right in to the ocean. Only strong swimmers should partake and younger swimmers should wear life vests. Also, it’s important to note that you must be 38″ tall to ride the waterslides.
If you would like to explore a bit of the island, or maybe make it over to the Observation Tower, then Disney offers bike rentals on the island. A great way to get moving after some beach lounging!
If you want to add a little adventure to your Castaway Cay day, then they have several excursions that you can book in advance. Some of the options that are available to book in advance are parasailing, fishing adventures, snorkelling, Banana Boat, Stingray adventure, watercraft skiing, kayaking…. there is something for everyone. But if you just want to have a simple beach day, then you can do that too and they have an option where you can rent some inner tubes or snorkel gear for the beach.
Does Castaway Cay sound like a destination you want to visit? I highly recommend it, and of course the rest of the Disney cruise experience that goes along with it is just amazing. Have you already been to Castaway Cay? If so, what was your favourite thing about your visit? Tell us in the comments below!
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Laura is a mom of one adorable girl with a love of all things Disney. She traveled to Disney World with her family in 2010 and was hooked. They have since been a total of over 15 times. With all her knowledge of planning Disney trips, she now wants to share that with others. She loves giving guidance, tips and advice to others planning their magical vacation!