Welcome to the ultimate guide to Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas. If you’re lucky enough to be embarking on a Disney cruise to the Bahamas or the Caribbean, you’re in for a treat. Castaway Cay is a stunningly beautiful island that feels like a pristine water park in the middle of the Caribbean.
From the vibrant aqua water to the swaying palm trees and white sandy beaches, Castaway Cay is a natural wonder that will take your breath away. There’s so much to do and see on the island that even after three Disney cruises, you may not have seen it all. In this article, we’ll provide you with everything you need to know about Castaway Cay, including 13 fun activities to enjoy on the island.
10 Things You Should Bring with You
When packing for your Disney’s Castaway Cay Island vacation, there are a few essential items that you should bring with you to ensure that you have a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Here are the top 10 things that you should bring with you:
|Why You Need It
|Protect your eyes from the sun’s glare and harmful UV rays. If you wear prescription glasses, consider getting prescription sunglasses for your vacation.
|A Disney-themed beach bag is a must-have to carry all of your essentials to Castaway Cay.
|Sunscreen + Sun Shirt
|Protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays with reef-safe sunscreen and a comfortable sun shirt. These will also help prevent sunburns and skin damage.
|KTTWC + Photo ID
|To get off the ship, back on the ship, and to buy any drinks or souvenirs, you’ll need your Key to the World Card and a valid photo ID.
|Bring your own snorkel gear to use in the snorkeling lagoon on the family side. If you don’t bring your own gear, you can rent a set for $34.
|Bathing Suit + Cover-up
|Wear your bathing suit and a cover-up off the ship. It’s easier to be ready to swim instead of having to change once you’re on the island.
|Bring comfortable sandals that are suitable for a day at Castaway Cay. Consider bringing hemp Rainbow sandals, which are durable and comfortable.
|Wide Brimmed Beach Hat
|Protect your face and neck from the sun’s strong rays with a floppy hat or a big straw hat.
|GoPro + Waterproof Case
|Capture your snorkeling adventure with an underwater camera. A GoPro with a waterproof case is a great option.
|Stay hydrated by bringing a water bottle with you. It’s important to drink lots of water while on the island, especially in the hot weather. You can refill your water bottle at lunch.
By bringing these essential items with you on your Castaway Cay Island vacation, you’ll be able to have a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Don’t forget to pack these items in your luggage before you set sail!
What Can You Do at Castaway Cay?
When visiting Castaway Cay, you’ll have plenty of fun activities to choose from. Here are some of the top things you can do:
- Relax on the beach or take a dip in the warm waters.
- Visit the family beach for a more kid-friendly environment.
- Play a game of basketball or volleyball on the sports beach.
- Lounge in the hammocks and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
- Let your kids have a blast at Scuttle’s Cove or the Oceaneer Club.
- Cool off at the Spring-a-Leak splash pad.
- Take a stroll on the pier and enjoy the ocean view.
- Play games at the In Da Shade Game Pavilion.
- Have a picnic or party at one of the gazebos.
- Climb to the top of the observation tower for a stunning view.
With so many options available, you’re sure to find something that suits your interests and makes your day at Castaway Cay unforgettable. Remember to plan your day ahead of time and fuel up with a hearty breakfast before disembarking from the ship.
1 – Take Pictures in Front of the Ship + With Characters
One of the must-do activities on a Disney cruise is taking pictures in front of the ship. The Disney photographers take amazing shots that you will cherish for years to come. It is recommended to take these pictures early in the morning to avoid looking tired or disheveled later in the day.
If you are interested in taking pictures with Disney characters, make sure to head to Mount Rustmore early in the morning. Minnie, Mickey, Pluto, and Goofy are only available for pictures during this time. Waiting until later in the day may result in missing these beloved characters.
During the Christmas season (from November to December), a festive Christmas tree, snowmen, and a sleigh are set up outside the ship, providing a perfect backdrop for holiday-themed photos. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to capture the magic of the season.
Make sure to take advantage of these photo opportunities to create lasting memories of your Disney cruise vacation.
2 – Mail a Postcard
While on Castaway Cay, take advantage of the island’s post office to send a unique souvenir to yourself or loved ones. Simply purchase a postcard from the ship’s gift shop and a $.65 stamp from the Guest Services counter. Then, mail it to yourself at the Castaway Cay post office. The post office has a special Castaway Cay stamp, making it a fun and memorable addition to your postcard collection. Don’t forget to include your return address to ensure it arrives safely.
3 – Watercraft Excursions
If you’re looking for an exciting adventure on the water, the Watercraft Ski Adventure – Double excursion is a great option. This one-hour excursion takes you to the other side of the island and gives you the opportunity to ride a jet ski with a partner. The ride can be a little bumpy, but it’s definitely worth it for the thrill.
During the excursion, the guides stop the group a few times to point out big fish and even a huge stingray swimming by. It’s a great way to see a different part of the island and the ocean that you normally wouldn’t see. If you’re interested, you can even capture the experience by recording a jet ski excursion video.
Before you head out on the excursion, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, don’t bring any valuables with you as there is nowhere to lock them up safely. However, there is a large open cubby for you to leave your stuff such as shoes, hat, and backpack. Second, bring a waterproof cell phone case that hangs around your neck if you want to keep your phone, photo ID, and KTTWC on your person. Lastly, make sure to put sunscreen on and drink lots of water before you get on the jet ski because the sun is very intense. You might even consider wearing a long-sleeved sun shirt for extra protection.
Overall, the Watercraft Ski Adventure – Double excursion is a great option for those looking for an exciting adventure on the water. Keep in mind the tips mentioned above and you’re sure to have a great time.
4 – Run the Castaway Cay 5K
If you’re looking for a fun and non-competitive activity to do on Castaway Cay, consider participating in the Castaway Cay 5K. This 3.1 mile race can be run or walked and is open to all guests. You can sign up for the race on embarkation day and everyone who completes it receives a special medal. The Castaway Cay 5K is a great way to explore the island and get some exercise in the process. For more information on the Castaway Cay 5K, visit the link provided.
5 – Snorkeling
If you’re looking for an exciting underwater adventure, snorkeling in the Snorkel Lagoon is a must-do activity. The lagoon is located on the family side of the island and offers a large swimming area with deep waters in some parts. Don’t be surprised to see tropical fish, turtles, barracuda, and starfish while exploring the underwater world. You may even spot sunken treasures, a submarine, and other surprises marked with floating buoys above the water.
It’s mandatory for all swimmers, regardless of age or experience, to wear a life vest while in the lagoon. Lifeguards are also present to ensure your safety. If you don’t have your own snorkeling gear, you can rent a set on the island for $34.
Overall, snorkeling in the Snorkel Lagoon is an exhilarating experience that you won’t want to miss. Just remember to keep your eyes open and stay safe while exploring the underwater wonders of the lagoon.
6 – Pelican Plunge Slides
On the family beach side of Castaway Cay, you’ll find Pelican Plunge, a floating deck with two exciting slides. One slide is an open tube, while the other is a closed tube. Both slides are not just for kids and are guaranteed to provide endless fun.
7 – Eat Lunch at Cookie’s BBQ
If you’re feeling hungry while exploring Castaway Cay, head on over to Cookie’s BBQ for a delicious lunch. With three locations on the island, you’re never too far away from some tasty BBQ fare. The buffet-style service means you can load up your plate with all your favorites.
The menu at Cookie’s BBQ is perfect for those who love classic BBQ food. You’ll find hot dogs, hamburgers, bratwurst, and even veggie burgers made to order. Sides include corn on the cob, couscous salad, potato salad, coleslaw, and gazpacho. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, there’s a fresh fruit bar with mango, watermelon, pineapple, cantaloupe, and honeydew.
If you have any dietary restrictions, don’t worry – Cookie’s BBQ has got you covered. Simply pre-order your meal the night before using the printable pre-order form. You can specify which location you would like your meal to be held at and pick it up whenever you’re ready.
One happy customer who pre-ordered a veggie burger with tofu Greek salad and couscous had a great experience at Cookie’s BBQ. They also enjoyed the fresh fruit bar and were impressed with the variety of options available.
Make sure to stop by the soft serve ice cream machine for a sweet treat to end your meal. Whether you’re a BBQ lover or just looking for a quick bite, Cookie’s BBQ is a great dining option on Castaway Cay.
8 – Book the Mojito Tasting Seminar at Heads Up Bar
If you are a fan of beverage tasting seminars, you must not miss the Mojito Tasting at Heads Up Bar on Castaway Cay. This seminar is held only once on Castaway Cay day, so booking in advance is highly recommended.
The location of the tasting itself is one of the reasons why it is so popular. Heads Up Bar offers a stunning panoramic view of the ocean, making it the perfect spot to enjoy a refreshing drink. The open-air bar is also a great place to catch a cool ocean breeze.
During the seminar, you will be served five different drinks, including four full-size mojitos (coconut, lime, raspberry, and mango) and a caipirinha. The drinks are freshly made and delicious, making the cost of the seminar well worth it.
If you are unable to book the Mojito Tasting, the Castaway Air Bar at Serenity Bay is another great option. The tropical frozen drinks are perfect for sipping while floating in the water.
Overall, the Mojito Tasting Seminar at Heads Up Bar is a must-do for any beverage enthusiast. The location, drinks, and class host make it a fun and enjoyable experience. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to taste some of the best mojitos on the island.
If you’re looking for other great bars on the island, be sure to check out Conched Out and Sand Bar for a variety of alcoholic drinks.
9 – Visit Serenity Bay
If you’re looking for a peaceful oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the family beach, then Serenity Bay is the perfect place for you to unwind. This adult-only beach is a stunning stretch of white sandy beach with plenty of lounge chairs, hammocks, and umbrellas. It’s the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun.
At Serenity Bay, you’ll find a bar that serves up refreshing drinks and adult-only cabanas that provide a private and comfortable place to relax. The water is calm due to the jetty that blocks the waves, making it perfect for swimming or just floating on the water. When the tide is out, you can even walk on the sandbar and look for starfish, which are a common sight in the area.
While it may be tempting to touch or play with the starfish, it’s important to be extremely gentle and respectful of any marine life that you come into contact with. We saw multiple starfish in the water at Serenity Bay, and they are such beautiful and unique creatures that must be treated with care. Unfortunately, we also witnessed a few people manhandling the starfish and throwing them back into the water like they were skipping rocks, which is not acceptable behavior.
Overall, if you’re 18 or older and looking for a peaceful and relaxing beach experience, then Serenity Bay is a must-visit destination on your trip. Don’t miss out on this stunning and serene oasis.
11 – Rent a Raft or Tube
Renting a raft or tube for $13 on the island is a great way to take a break and relax at Serenity Bay. With so much to do on the island, it’s important to remember to slow down and enjoy the day. Floating in the tubes is definitely worth it and can help you recharge for the rest of your day. Take advantage of this opportunity to enjoy the beautiful scenery and take a moment to breathe.
12 – Rent a Bike + Explore the Trails
Renting a bike is a great way to explore the beautiful trails of the island. You can rent a bike for $13 per hour and enjoy the scenic views while working off your lunch. It is important to remember to pack water shoes or sneakers as biking in sandals is not safe. You can bike to the overlook and climb to the top to see a stunning view of the whole island. Take advantage of the bicycle rentals and experience the island in a unique way.
13 – Shop at the Castaway Cay Gift Shops
When visiting Castaway Cay, be sure to stop by the island’s gift shops to purchase unique souvenirs that you won’t find on the ship. Keep in mind that the gift shops are the only places on the island where you can find Castaway Cay merchandise. On your way back from Serenity Bay, take a quick detour to browse through the gift shops and pick up a few items to remember your trip by. Some popular items include Castaway Cay magnets, Olaf Christmas ornaments, and Castaway Cay t-shirts.
14 – BONUS – Rent a Cabana
Renting a cabana on Castaway Cay can be a great way to enjoy a private and comfortable space away from the crowds. Although there are only 25 cabanas on the island, if you are lucky enough to snag one, you can enjoy a range of amenities that will make your day extra special.
The cabanas are located on Serenity Bay and come with a personal attendant who will take care of your needs throughout the day. You will have access to comfortable padded lounge chairs, a hammock, and pool floats, as well as a mini fridge stocked with fresh fruit and water bottles. The cabana also has a safe where you can store your belongings while you enjoy the island.
One of the best things about renting a cabana is the personal service you receive. Your cabana attendant will drive you over to Cookies BBQ for lunch and back to the ship at the end of the day. They work hard to ensure that you have a relaxing and enjoyable experience, so it’s important to remember to bring a cash tip for them.
Overall, renting a cabana on Castaway Cay can be a great way to enjoy a private and comfortable space on the island. If you are unable to book one, don’t worry, there are still plenty of other activities to enjoy on the island. But if you do manage to snag one, you won’t regret it!
11 Tips to Have the Best Day at Castaway Cay
To make the most of your day at Castaway Cay, here are 11 tips to keep in mind:
- Start your day early with a hearty breakfast at Cabanas, as lunch is not served until 11 AM on the island.
- Pack a beach bag or backpack the night before with all the essentials, including your photo ID, KTTWC, a reusable water bottle, sun lotion, lip balm, and any necessary medications.
- Get off the ship as soon as possible to maximize your time on the island. Check your navigator for the All Ashore time.
- Don’t worry about bringing towels, as they will be provided for you as soon as you step off the ship.
- If you want to send a postcard, remember to pack a stamped postcard in your beach bag.
- Stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking plenty of water. The Caribbean sun can be very strong and dehydrating.
- Use reef-safe sunscreen and reapply multiple times throughout the day. Consider wearing a sun shirt and hat for extra protection.
- Take advantage of photo opportunities with the ship and characters as soon as you arrive, as they may not be available later in the day.
- Bring an anti-theft locked backpack to keep your valuables safe while you enjoy the island. There are no lockers available for rent.
- If you plan on renting a bike, wear water shoes or sneakers for safety. Sandals are not recommended.
- If you plan on doing any excursions, make sure to fill out all necessary safety paperwork beforehand.
Remember to have fun and enjoy your day at Castaway Cay! Note that cash is not accepted on the island, so be sure to bring a credit card or use your stateroom key for purchases. Additionally, the navigator app can be a helpful tool for finding your way around the island and keeping track of activities. Don’t forget to treat yourself to an open-air massage or yoga class for ultimate relaxation.