My family and I have taken two Disney cruises: the Disney Wonder and the Disney Magic. One of our favorite stops on its Caribbean itinerary is Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island. We’ve been there twice now, and we are about to return sooner rather than later. I recently received an invitation to attend Disney’s Social Media Mom Celebration, a Disney Land and Sea Adventure! My family and I will not only be spending time at Disney World, but we will also be sailing on the Disney Dream. Because one of my favorite places is Castaway Cay, I’m writing about 9 essential tips for Castaway Cay, Disney’s Private Island!
9 Essential Tips for Castaway Cay: Disney’s Private Island
- The Beach
- Towels, Life Jackets, and Other Beach Items
- Pelican Plunge and Spring-a-Leak
- Lunch is Included
- Kids Activity Center
- Character Meet-n-Greets
- Other Activities
Whether you want to relax by the beach, participate in water sports, or bike around the island, there are plenty of things to do on Castaway Cay for all ages. Our first visit to Castaway Cay occurred when my son was 1 years old. I thought we wouldn’t have much to do on the island, but I was wrong! Whether you are traveling with a younger child, a teen, or an adult, there’s plenty of things to do. Here are 9 essential tips tips for Castaway Cay that will make your visit to Disney’s private island more enjoyable!
The cruise ship docks at the pier, making it very convenient for families. We’ve been on other cruises where we’ve had to take a tender (a small boat) from the cruise ship to the pier and vice versa and this can be a time consuming process. It can be a bit of a walk from the cruise ship to the beach, though, so Disney has complimentary trams available for those who don’t want to overdo it. Not only is the tram a good way to get a layout of the island itself, but it’s also a great way to relax your feet after spending all day in the sun on the island. I know that we appreciated it, especially at the end of the day.
2. The Beach
If I had to pick my favorite at Castaway Cay, the beach would be it. There is a family beach, but there is also an adult only beach (called Serenity Bay). We have only experienced the family beach – my son loves hanging out on the beach, collecting seashells, building sandcastles and swimming in the ocean.
Cabanas are available to reserve in advance, but they are extremely popular, and are usually sold out months in advance. Is a cabana necessary? No. My family and I didn’t have any trouble finding lounge chairs on the beach both times we visited Castaway Cay. And while a cabana would be nice, the price tag not so much.
The beach is a fun place to be – music is playing, and the water is crystal clear. There are also Disney photographers that roam the beach. My guess is that they use photo recognition software (photos are taken of guests’ faces when they first board the ship) so later, when you check the photos, you’ll see the beach photos pop up in your account! It’s very convenient, since you don’t have to show them your Key to the World card.
Restrooms are also located near the beach, which also make it convenient for families.
3. Towels, Life Jackets and Other Beach Items
Unless you have a favorite towel, there’s no need to bring a towel with you from the cruise ship. Towels are available to use while on the island. There are also life jackets available for use on Castaway Cay. However, if your child wants beach toys like a bucket and a little shovel, you’ll want to make sure you bring those items with you. There are beach toys available on the island, but you’ll have to pay for them. Guests can also rent floats and tubes, at an extra charge. You’ll also want to make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen.
4. Pelican Plunge and Spring-a-Leak
Castaway Cay has a separate area called Pelican Plunge, containing two fun waterslides. One of the waterslides is enclosed while the other is an open waterslide. There is a height restriction for safety – children must be at least 38 inches.
Spring-a-Leak, on the other hand, is located nearby and is geared more for younger children. My son, at 5 years old, enjoys swimming in the ocean, but he also enjoys spending time at Spring-a-Leak, which is similar to a splash pad with spouting fountains 🙂
For me, it’s fun to compare the picture above and the picture below! The picture above was taken during our more recent visit, whereas the picture below was taken during our first visit to Castaway Cay.
5. Lunch is Included
A day at Castaway Cay includes a lunch buffet at certain locations on the island, called Cookie’s and Cookie’s Too BBQ. The food is delicious – it includes family favorites like hot dogs, hamburgers, and chocolate chip cookies. Our other favorite? Soft serve ice cream. You’ll definitely want to take advantage of the buffet. Even though the cruise ship is located a few tram stops away, it’s nice that guests don’t have to go back on the cruise ship to eat lunch if they don’t want to. The buffet on Castaway Cay is extremely convenient, especially for families. However, seating can fill up quickly so you’ll want to time lunch to avoid the crowd.
6. The Kids Activity Center
Just like the cruise ship, there’s a kids activity center on Castaway Cay, called Scuttle’s Cove. We haven’t taken advantage of it yet, mostly because we enjoy staying on the beach, but it’s a great option to have especially when traveling with kids. It’s for kids ages 3-12 years old and includes activities like dance parties and beach games.
There’s no need to bring a stroller with you on the island. Families can rent strollers on the island, for free. However, there is a limited quantity – so if you do want to reserve a stroller, you’ll want to make sure you do that early in the day, before the strollers are gone.
8. Character Meet-n-Greets
There are several character meet-n-greets throughout the day on the island. Times and locations are listed beforehand, so you can try to plan them out. We’ve met Captain Jack Sparrow, but usually our timing doesn’t work out. I’m usually a planner, but I don’t really like to stick to a timeline at the beach. However, if your children are interested in the meet-n-greets, then it’s definitely something to keep in mind.
9. Other Activities
As I mentioned above, there are so many other activities available on Castaway Cay, depending on age and interest. My husband, my son, and I are happy just relaxing on the beach and in the ocean. But there are also plenty of things to do for those who are more active. For example, guests can parasail, snorkel, swim with stingrays, and bike around the island. During our first visit to Castaway Cay, we rented bikes and helmets and it was a nice way to see the island as well.