Castaway Cay is one of the most popular destinations for Disney cruise line passengers. This private island paradise has something for everyone, from beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters to fun activities and delicious food. Here are 27 Castaway Cay tips and tricks to help you make the most of your time here!
1. Castaway Cay is in the Bahamas
Castaway Cay (/*ki*/, or “key”) is a private island in the Bahamas. It is located near Great Abaco Island and was previously known as Gorda Cay.
Disney Cruise Line purchased Castaway Cay in 1997 to use as an exclusive port for Disney Cruise Line ships. It has served as a private island paradise for over 25 years and is a beloved stop on many itineraries.
2. The island is only accessible via Disney Cruise Line
Disney’s Castaway Cay is only accessible to guests of the Disney Cruise Line; you cannot go to Castaway Cay unless you’re cruising with Disney.
Need to book your Disney Cruise? We highly recommend contacting The Vacationeer! Their expert Disney travel planners know Disney Cruise Line and can make booking your cruise a (tropical) breeze! Get your free, no-obligation quote today… their services are provided at no additional cost to you!
3. Only one ship docks at a time
As a Disney Cruise Line exclusive island, Castaway Cay only hosts one ship at a time, which means you have more of that powdery white sand all to yourself.
Guests can easily reach beaches and other activities from the dock. There’s a courtesy tram to get around; you can hop on at the first tram stop (near the ship) and be transported to Scuttle’s Cove, Serenity Bay, or Pelican Point.
4. Castaway Cay has a shipwreck theme
Disney has designed Castaway Cay to resemble a castaway community. There are pirate and shipwreck themes throughout the island.
5. Castaway Cay is smaller than you might think
Castaway Cay has about 140 Disney Cruise Line permanent residents who keep the island up and running daily. To date, only 55 of the island’s 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) have been developed.
- Castaway Cay Tips: Get out early and explore the island. Yes, you are on vacation, but when you are in a place like Castaway Cay, you want to make the most of your 7 or 8-hour day on the island!
6. Disney provides food on the island
During a Disney Cruise vacation, all meals are free and provided for on the ship or on land at Disney’s private island. Dining is a big part of a cruise, and Castaway Cay is no exception! Those visiting Castaway Cay can partake in a beach barbecue buffet at one of three different locations on Castaway Cay: Serenity BBQ, Cookie’s BBQ, and Cookie’s Too BBQ. The choices include ribs, BBQ chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers, couscous tabbouleh, potato salad, and cheese bread.
- Castaway Cay Tips: Eat breakfast before you leave the ship (breakfast is not served on the island)
7. You won’t need cash
As with all Disney cruises, Castaway Cay is all about making things as convenient as possible for the guests. Disney Cruise Line operates the entire island, so nearly everything is already included in the cost of your cruise. But if you make purchases on items like premium beverages, souvenirs, or excursions, you can use your Key to the World Card (room key) to pay, which will link to your stateroom account.
However, you must use cash at the island’s post office.
8. There’s a post office
If you’re lucky enough to be spending a day or two on Castaway Cay, you will undoubtedly visit the island’s Bahamian post office. Here you can send a postcard or letter to your friends and family back home, and each one will feature a special Castaway Cay stamp – a genuinely unique souvenir for those who receive it. But bring cash because your Key to the World card is no good here.
9. There’s a road race
Castaway Cay 5k is a 3.1-mile road race around the island. It’s free and open to everyone aged ten and older. If you’re not a runner, you are more than welcome to walk.
After completing the race, participants receive a “medal,” and merchandise is available for purchase throughout the day.
Contact The Vacationeer for more information or to book your Disney Cruise to Castaway Cay. Their services are oh so helpful and 100% free to you!
10. Family Beach is the main beach
Family Beach is the main beach on Castaway Cay and is the closest one to the ship.
The water is calm, warm, and beautiful. The sand is incredibly soft. In other words, it’s paradise!
Family Beach has plenty of chairs and room to spread out, but you should get there early if you want the best spot.
- Castaway Cay Tips: You can buy sand toys on the island, but we recommend bringing your own to save money. Also, be advised that you will not be permitted to take seashells from the Castaway Cay beaches.
11. Everyone should try snorkeling
Snorkeling Lagoon is the perfect spot for snorkelers of all skill levels. Novices can follow the Discover Trail, and experienced snorkelers can try the Explorer Trail. You’ll encounter sunken ships, fascinating fish, and underwater artifacts. You can even find an underwater hidden Captain Mickey if you look close enough!
Snorkeling is free if you have your own gear. But if you need to rent snorkeling equipment, there is a small fee.
12. Try parasailing if you’re feeling adventurous
Parasailing is another great Castaway Cay activity. Once you have received the necessary safety instruction, you will launch 600 to 800 feet above the water and look down on your massive Disney cruise ship. It is an exhilarating and memorable experience, and the views are spectacular!
As of 2022, parasailing will cost you $129.00 per person (age eight and up) for the hour.
13. Bike rentals are available
Rent a bike and explore Castaway Cay’s meandering paths and tropical grounds. It’s a great way to sightsee and experience the island’s beauty.
As of 2022, bicycle rentals are $13.00 per person (all ages).
- Castaway Cay Tips: Take your bike ride in the morning because the afternoons can get hot, hot, hot!
14. Other things are also available to rent
In addition to snorkel gear and bicycles, guests can rent inner tubes, paddleboards, kayaks, fins, aqua trikes, and other water equipment. Prices vary.
- Castaway Cay Tips: The Guided Watercraft Ski Adventure is the only way to rent jet skis on Castaway Cay. This 1-hour guided excursion costs $183 and is open to guests aged 8 and up.
15. Try the specialty drinks
Disney cruise ships and Castaway Cay provide complimentary sodas and water, but you must pay more for one of the island’s specialty drinks. It’s still worth it. There are refreshing and cooling cocktails available if you are 21+.
Disney sells a tropical drink called “Konk Kooler,” a pina colada made with light and dark rum and coconut cream. The “Pelican Mule” features fresh fruit, pineapple vodka, and ginger beer. It takes the Moscow Mule to a new level.
In addition, Castaway Cay offers non-alcoholic specialty drinks and smoothies such as “Castaway Crush,” which comes in festive sippers that resemble Olaf and Sven from “Frozen.”
- Castaway Cay Tips: You can get free water at the soda stations and throughout the island, so there’s no need to pay extra for bottled water.
16. Bring your camera
Castaway Cay will be one of the highlights of your Disney cruise. You will encounter countless photo and video opportunities as you explore the island with your family.
One of the most Instagram-worthy and Facebook-famous spots to snap a picture is “Mount Rustmore,” four giant metal buoys painted like Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Donald Ducky, and Goofy.
Plenty of other spots around the island allow you to capture a family picture with your Disney Cruise ship in the background. And of course, there are plenty of places to get a a stunning shot of crystal waters, shimmering beach sand, and cotton-like clouds. Be sure to bring your camera and be ready to capture all the magic!
17. Head to Serenity Bay for some adult time
Castaway Cay’s Serenity Bay is a special area for adults over 18. There is something magical about this beach, which is quiet and has water that seems bluer than the actual sky. The Serenity Bay BBQ restaurant and bar is located in this adults-only area.
- Castaway Cay Tips: Disney Cast Members will provide beach towels as you exit the cruise ship, so you won’t need to bring your own.
18. Get an open-air massage
Enjoy a relaxing open-air massage in a private cabana. You can hear the crashing waves and feel the tropical breeze as you experience true body bliss.
We recommend you book your massage as early as possible. Contact The Vacationeer to get started!
19. Rent a cabana
Castaway Cay private cabana rentals tend to book up very quickly (unless you’re a Concierge Guest or Pearl/Platinum Castaway Club Member), but they’re simply gorgeous.
All-day cabana rentals include luxurious chaise lounge chairs, hammock, freshwater shower, fresh fruit, snacks, unlimited bottled water and soda, snorkeling equipment, floats, bike rentals, sand toys, sunscreen, and a dedicated Cabana host.
How much does it cost to rent a Cabana in Castaway Cay?
- Serenity Bay Beach Cabana – $399 (4 guests with a maximum of 10 guests)
- Family Beach Cabana – $599 (6 guests with a maximum of 10 guests)
- Grand Family Beach Cabana – $949 (10 guests with a maximum of 16 guests)
Prices are subject to change. Contact The Vacationeer to find out more about renting a cabana.
20. Take the plunge at Pelican Plunge
Pelican Plunge is a 2,400-square-foot floating platform and water slide park. You must be at least 38″ tall to ride one of the three Pelican Plunge water slides. Those between 38″ and 48″ tall can ride but must wear a life vest.
Admission to Pelican Plunge is free.
21. Bring toddlers to the Spring-a-Leak splash pad
Castaway Cay’s Spring-a-Leak water play area is a joy for toddlers and preschoolers. However, there are a few rules, including no swallowing fountain water, and children under 12 must have adult supervision.
Admission to Spring-a-Leak is free.
- Castaway Cay Tips: There are complimentary strollers, wagons, and wheelchairs on the island, so don’t bring a stroller.
22. Get personal with stingrays
Castaway Ray’s Stingray Adventure is a paid activity that is quite popular (and educational). Here you will learn about stingrays, feed them, and even pet them!. The excursion takes about 90 minutes and is suitable for adults and kids ages five and over.
As of 2022, Castaway Ray’s Stingray Adventure costs $56.00 (ages ten and up) or $45.00 (ages 5 to 9).
- Castaway Cay Tips: Avoid booking excursions for the middle of the day. There will be a break in the flow of the day, and your children will not want to leave the water slides and sandcastles.
23. Escape the sun “In Da Shade”
There’s a section of Castaway Cay called In Da Shade Game Pavillion. It’s a shaded roof structure where you can play ping pong, chess, checkers, shuffleboard, and basketball with your family and other cruise passengers. It’s the best place to be on a hot or rainy day!
They usually have a Free Throw Challenge for cruise-goers around noon. Don’t miss it!
- Castaway Cay Tips: The sun can get pretty intense. Don’t forget your sunblock!
24. Drop off the kids at Scuttle’s Cove
Scuttle’s Cove is a fun kids club that provides a safe environment for your children when your ship comes ashore at Castaway Cay.
Once you drop off the little ones at Scuttle’s Cove, head to the adults-only Serenity Bay to enjoy a delicious specialty drink and tranquil beach experience.
From arts and crafts to supervised play, your kids will have a blast at Scuttle’s Cove while you get to relax and recharge. It’s just another way Disney proves itself to be the best cruise line for children.
25. Looks for Disney character meet & greets
There will be character appearances throughout the day to take pictures with guests. These are excellent opportunities to get character photos, as lines are much shorter than those on the ship.
26. Join the dance party with Mickey, Minnie, & Pluto
Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto get together for a dance party near Cookie’s BBQ. Kids of all ages are welcome to join the fun!
27. Enjoy the live music
You can usually see and hear a live band in the gazebo. Grab a table under an umbrella, relax, and watch the performance.
Final Thoughts on Castaway Cay
Disney cruises are a great way to enjoy time with your family and friends. You get to spend time together on the ship, but you also get to explore different ports of call.
Castaway Cay is an island paradise and one of our favorite stops. There’s something for everyone in this port, from the kids’ water play area to the adults’ beach. We hope our tips help you make the most of your time on Castaway Cay! Thanks for reading, and bon voyage!
Want more Castaway Cay tips? Ready to book your island adventure?
If you have questions about Castaway Cay, or if you’re wondering how much a Disney cruise will cost, it’s time to contact The Vacationeer. They’re the experts on Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line, and Disney Cruises from Florida.
The Vacationeer can provide you with up to $1,000 in FREE onboard credit, Disney’s best available pricing, and expert planning advice and assistance. Contact The Vacationeer today for a free, no-obligation price quote. You won’t regret it!