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Dos & Don’ts of Disney’s Castaway Cay

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While Disney’s Castaway Cay in The Bahamas is a tiny island, it’s packed with so much to do that you might have a hard time deciding how to spend your time. This wee isle measures just 3.1 miles long and 2.2 miles wide, but it offers tons of activities like waterslides, bike trails, open-air massages, two water play areas, parasailing, fishing, a stingray interaction experience and more. Caribbean cruisers aboard Disney’s Fantasy and Dream ships typically make one or two stops at this private island. To make the most of your visit, here are some Castaway Cay tips from family travel experts.

Disney's private island, Castaway Cay

Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay (Photo credit: David Roark, Disney)

Don’t forget your stateroom key.

The most important item to bring to Castaway Cay is your stateroom key. You will not be able to disembark or reboard the ship without it. Most other necessities, like sunblock and sand toys, can be purchased on the island.

Do take the tram on Disney's Castaway Cay!

The Castaway Cay tram is convenient for cruisers (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Do take the tram.

It’s a surprisingly long walk from the ship to the beach. Thankfully you can hop aboard a handy and complimentary shuttle to get around the island.

Borrow a stroller or wagon on Castaway Cay

Stroller rentals are free on Castaway Cay (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Don’t bring a stroller.

There are free strollers, wagons and joggers available on the island. There are even special wheelchairs made specifically for use on the sand for physically challenged cruisers.

Family Beach on Castaway Cay

Family Beach on Castaway Cay (Photo credit: Matt Stroshane, Disney)

Do choose the right beach.

There are three beaches on Castaway Cay: Family Beach, Sports Beach and Serenity Bay. If traveling with babies and young children, Keryn Means of Walking On Travels advises sticking to the section of Family Beach closest to the ship. She says this area offers, “a bit of space with a less rambunctious crowd.”

A little further along the shore on Family Beach, you’ll find Pelican Plunge, a waterpark structure floating in the ocean. Cruisers must swim out to the platform to play. Choose from two waterslides here: one dark tunnel slide and a open air slide. Sliders must be at least 38 inches tall and those under 48 inches in height must don a complimentary life vest.

Active cruisers should head to Sports Beach. Sand volleyball and tether ball reign supreme here.

Meanwhile, cruisers aged 18+ can spread out on Serenity Bay. This is the mellow adult-only beach on the island.

Adults can take a yoga class at Serenity Bay on Castaway Cay

Adults can take a yoga class at Serenity Bay (Photo credit: Kent Phillips, Disney)

Don’t miss live entertainment and games.

Family Travel Magazine‘s Jodi Grundig advises seeking out Castaway Cay’s live entertainment and game options. She says, “We love sitting on Family Beach by the island’s Gazebo because we can easily walk over and see things like a character dance party and the Island Vibes DJ performance. There’s also usually a basketball free throw competition and ping pong tournament at In Da Shade Pavilion.” Other fun to be had at this pavilion includes foosball and pool tables as well as giant checkers and chess boards.

Bicycling is just one way to work off your vacation calories on Castaway Cay

Bicycling is just one way to work off your vacation calories on Castaway Cay (Photo credit: Matt Stroshane, Disney)

Do work off your vacation calories.

There’s no reason to feel guilty for indulging in desert during your Disney Cruise if you stay active. There are lots of exercise options on Castaway Cay. Take a yoga class on the beach. Swim or snorkel off your lunch. Play volleyball or tetherball at Sports Beach. Rent a paddleboat, kayak or aquabike from Gil’s Fins and Boats. Play ping-pong, basketball and other games at one of two Game Pavilions. Your family can also explore the 1.5 miles of bike trails aboard a beach cruiser — adult bicycles, child seats and kids’ bikes are available for rental.

Rent or bring snorkeling gear to explore underwater wonders at Castaway Cay

Rent or bring snorkeling gear to explore underwater wonders (Photo credit: Matt Stroshane, Disney)

Do go snorkeling.

Kirsten Maxwell with Kids Are a Trip says snorkeling at Castaway Cay was the highlight of her family’s day on the island. For kids, she recommends bringing “full face snorkeling masks so they don’t have to mess with the separate pieces.” Life vests are provided free-of-charge and are required for snorkelers. If you forget your gear, you can buy or rent masks and fins on the island.

Cruisers must pay for bottled water but other non-alcoholic drinks are available free-of-charge on Castaway Cay

Cruisers must pay for bottled water but other non-alcoholic drinks are available free-of-charge (Photo credit: Matt Stroshane, Disney)

Don’t pay for bottled water.

Why pay for water when you can hydrate for free? There are plenty of coolers situated throughout the island where you can get a complimentary cup of cold filtered water. Non-alcoholic drinks like sodas and fruit juices are also available free-of-charge at bars located throughout the island. Adults aged 21+ can purchase beer, wine and tropical beverages like frozen mojitos, too.

Participating in the Castaway Cay 5K is a great way to explore Disney's private island

Participating in the Castaway Cay 5K is a great way to explore Disney’s private island (Photo credit: Kent Phillips, Disney)

Do pack your running shoes.

Kimberly Tate, author of the Stuffed Suitcase blog recommends participating in the Castaway Cay 5K. She and her family have participated in these 3.1-mile races on the island. They’re open to walkers and runners of all levels. She says, “We all earned medals and still had time to hit the beach for sand play and snorkeling afterwards. This is perfect for families who are looking for more than just beach time.” Keep in mind the run is for ages 10+. All participants receive a souvenir medal made of rubber material.

Every Castaway Cay 5K finisher gets to take home a special participant’s medal as a souvenir

Every 5K finisher gets to take home a special participant’s medal as a souvenir (Photo credit: Disney)

Don’t take cash or credit cards with you onto the island.

Debra Muccio, founder of Finding Debra, says there’s no need to lug your wallet around. “I had heard rumors before our trip that you needed cash or credit cards in order to shop at the few Castaway Cay souvenir stores. This turned out to be not true. Souvenirs were bought using our stateroom key with credit card information on it.”

Be sure to buy Castaway Cay souvenirs on shore - they aren't available on the Disney Cruise Line ships.

Souvenir shops feature Castaway Cay items available for purchase only on the island (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Don’t wait to buy Castaway Cay souvenirs back on the boat.

If you wait to purchase Castaway Cay gear and memorabilia on board the cruise ship, you will be disappointed. You can only purchase Castaway Cay souvenirs on the island.

Fountain play area for kids on Castaway Cay

There are activities for all ages on Castaway Cay, including Spring-A-Leak water play area (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Do make a splash on Castaway Cay.

The Spring-A-Leak splash pad will keep children content for hours. Located near Family Beach, fountains bubbling from the ground incite joy and giggles from toddlers, preschoolers and young grade schoolers.

Do eat on Castaway Cay!

Food is plentiful and free for cruisers on Castaway Cay (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Don’t waste time eating on the ship.

There’s no sense wasting beach-time eating on the ship when the food is tasty and free on the island. Choose from three places to eat: Cookie’s BBQ, Cookie’s Too BBQ and a “secret” BBQ near Serenity Bay. The restaurant at Serenity Bay is solely for grown-ups and offers bonus entrees not available at the other two — like deliciously seasoned grilled steak. If you’d like to eat lunch on Castaway Cay, though, don’t wait till too late. The restaurants typically shut down for the day at 2 pm.

Castaway Ray's Stingray Adventure is a one-hour shore excursion for guests 5 years or older

Castaway Ray’s Stingray Adventure is a one-hour shore excursion for guests 5 years or older (Photo credit: Disney)

Do book a shore excursion or activity.

Excursion options include a jet boat tour, snorkeling, parasailing, kayaking, and jet ski rentals. Monica Young of My Life is a Journey says, “Although most activities do have an additional fee, the experiences can be so memorable, such as feeding stingrays, which is a cool activity for the whole family. For adults, I recommend booking a massage on the beach.”

Rent an inner tube on Castaway Cay

(Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Do rent a float.

Cruisers can rent inflatable inner tubes on Castaway Cay. Water toys like these provide oodles of fun for children or a relaxing way for grown-ups to laze about in the water. Keep in mind that the only floats you can bring to the island are, “Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices (PFDs) and flotation sewn into the bathing suit for safety.” (Basically, life vests, which are available for free on Castaway Cay.) Your fabulous flamingo pool float just may be confiscated by Disney, so it’s better to leave your own pool floats at home.

You just might get a hug from Goofy or other characters on Castaway Cay

You just might get a hug from Goofy or other characters on shore (Photo credit: Kent Phillips, Disney)

Do find out where Disney characters are located on the island.

Photos with your favorite Disney characters make wonderful souvenirs of your time on Disney’s private isle. Margie DQ of DQ Family Travel says, “You can check the Personal Navigator schedule the night before or right when you get off the ship to find out character meet-up times and locations. Some of our cutest family pictures are with a Disney character in island gear with a beach background.”

Get to the island early in the day if you want to be sure to nab a beach chair on Castaway Cay

Regular beach chairs and special beach wheel chairs are available on the island (Photo credit: Kent Phillips, Disney)

Don’t get stuck without a beach chair.

Robin Hutson of Luxe Recess says, “Unless you take the tram early in the morning to the Family Beach you won’t get a spot, as this section fills up first. If you enjoyed a leisurely morning on the ship and disembark after 10:30, get off at the first tram stop near the Snorkeling Lagoon. There will probably still be many beach chairs, loungers, and umbrellas. If you’re lucky, you may even snag a hammock!”

Rent a beach cabana as a special treat on Castaway Cay

Rent a beach cabana as a special treat (Photo credit: Chloe Rice, Disney)

Do book your private cabana in advance.

Cruisers who want to ensure they have space and amenities on shore should rent a private cabana. Be forewarned that they are not cheap! They do come with a slew of amenities, though. Expect snacks, unlimited non-alcoholic beverages, sunblock, sand toys, snorkeling equipment, free float rentals and a one-hour bike rental. Be sure to book your cabana online far in advance. There is a limited supply of cabanas on the island, making them a hot commodity. If you aren’t able to nab one at first, try checking the Disney Cruise Line website regularly for cancellations. You can also try to book a private cabana with Guest Services as soon as you board the ship.

Adult cruisers can relax at Serenity Bay

Adult cruisers can relax at Serenity Bay (Photo credit: Kent Phillips, Disney)

Don’t forget about free childcare on Castaway Cay.

Trips with Tykes Owner Leslie Harvey recommends taking advantage of babysitting services on shore. She says, “Although there is plenty to do as a family together, parents may also want some time to explore the island together or enjoy a tropical drink at the bar sans kids. Scuttle’s Cove takes kids ages 3 to 12 and offers the same high quality supervision, security, and fun that you can find at the Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab on board the ship.”

Take time to relax on Castaway Cay

Take time to relax (Photo credit: Disney)

Do relax on Castaway Cay.

You could get Castaway Cay fever trying to squeeze too many activities into one day. Instead, pick a couple of must-dos that will please everyone in your crew. The point here is to unwind, island-style.

Opportunities for fun for all ages abound on Castaway Cay

Opportunities for fun abound on Castaway Cay (Photo credit: Matt Stroshane, Disney)

Don’t wait to plan your Disney Cruise.

Research shows that travelers may actually enjoy planning their vacation more than the actual trip. So, start planning! You can read more about Disney Cruise Line on CruiseDirect.com. I also suggest buying  The Unofficial Disney Cruise Line 2019 guidebook. It’s packed with helpful tips for making the most of your time at sea and in ports of call.

Meanwhile, for fun scavenger hunts while sailing, check out Hidden Mickey’s at Sea.
Disney Fantasy docked at Castaway Cay, a private island owned by Disney in the Bahamas

Disney Fantasy at Castaway Cay (Photo credit: Disney)

Do book your Disney Cruise early.

Typically, the farther in advance you book your cruise, the better price you will pay. For assistance with booking your Disney Cruise, visit Get Away Today. On top of the best information, you can get bonuses like extra on board credits and Mickey and Minnie plushes when you mention Travel Mamas sent you. Book your Disney Cruise now!

Save these Castaway Cay tips!

Considering a Disney Cruise? Be sure to keep these Castaway Cay dos and don’ts for future reference. Just pin the image below to Pinterest. Go ahead and follow Travel Mamas on Pinterest while you’re at it!

Disney's Castaway Cay Tips

Before your vacation, be sure to take a look at what to pack for a Disney Cruise and read these 12 tips for cruising with kids.

Have you ever been to Castaway Cay? Share your comments and questions below!

A note from the Travel Mama: Thank you to Disney Cruise Line for inviting me to sail on Fantasy in 2012 and Dream in 2011. My family has also paid full-price to sail with Disney.

About Colleen Lanin

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of TravelMamas.com. As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show, NBCNews.com, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

Comments
  1. This sounds like a great break from the ship. Does the ship stop there only once per voyage?

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      All Disney Caribbean cruises include at least one stop at Castaway Cay. Some cruises include two days at this private isle.

      • HI, Will be at Disney Cay in late February,how do you pay for anything you buy or drink there,can you use your bracelet from the ship and have it charged to your room? Thanks

        • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

          Hi Dave – You can charge alcoholic beverages, souvenirs and activities to your room on Castaway Cay. The food is included, so no need to pay for that!

        • There are no bracelets on the ship, .they use key cards.

    • Leaving 6/4 on The Fantasy. Can’t wait to visit Castaway Cay & Serenity Bay. Whoop!

  2. I DO really want to go to Castaway Cay now! Great tips.

  3. Great timing for this article. We will be there next week and I’ve been trying to get info on Castaway all week. This has been the best article I’ve read so far… mainly cause this is the first I have seen the little splash area. My one year old loves those.

  4. Looks like an awesome place to visit! A little piece of paradise.

  5. Renting bikes was definitely our family’s favorite thing to do. It was a little chilly when we were there in December so the water wasn’t too inviting. The weather was perfect, however, for biking and you can ride out to a great overlook tower, and see the whole island while riding on flat and easy paved bike paths. I will definitely do it again next time I’m there.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      I LOVED renting a bike on Castawy Cay too, Megan! I felt like Julia Roberts in the movie, “Eat, Pray, Love” while peddling along the island’s gorgeous bike trails.

  6. This is one great post! You were able to show how fun would it be in the Castaway Cay while sharing tips at the same time.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Thanks so much for your kind words, Emanuele. I’m glad you found the post helpful!

  7. Amanda Murrell says

    We are doing this in February. We have a waterproof camera. I would love to get some great shots from up in the air. But I also want some of us taken from the boat. I’ve seem some great ones with the ship in the background. Is there anyone official taking photos like that for purchase that you know of?

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Amanda – Disney has “official” photographers available all over the boat and even at Castaway Cay. All different kinds of photo packages are available for purchase; I’m sure you will get some great shots. Enjoy your cruise! (So jealous…!)

    • The great thing about DCL is that the cast members will take photos of you and your kids with YOUR camera as well as the professional cameras they use! Other cruise lines won’t do this, they want you to buy all the good photos!

  8. Leela Ross says

    I am so happy that I’m going on the disney cruise! It sounds so fun!

  9. Congrats on this Nice post.

    2 Questions:

    We will be there in first week of December. We have a 5 1/2 & 1 1/2 year old with us. Do you think we need Cabanas? Can we get hire Cabanas outside of Disney Cruise Web Site from private parties?

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi KG – It’s really up to you if you want to have the luxury of the private cabanas. It will not be very warm in December, so I would think you will not need the extra shade the cabanas provide. You can’t hire cabanas from private parties – everything at Castaway Cay is Disney-owned and operated. Have an incredible time on your cruise!

  10. How I wish I’d seen this before our cruise earlier this month! We were at Castaway Cay and it was fabulous. However I didn’ t know the food was inclusive at Cookies’ places. Not that it mattered–we came up from the beach at 3:30 to get lunch and BOTH Cookies were CLOSED!! The bar where they gave us some chips was closing too, with a lock up time of 4:00. They told us that Cookies’ places both closed at 2:00. What’s up with that Disney!?! We didn’t have be back on the ship until 5:30. :*( Booo hooooooo We were so looking forward to relaxing with some BBQ and a cold drink after playing hard all day.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Mary – Good to know that the restaurants close so early on Castaway Cay. I hope you had a great time on Castaway Cay nonetheless!

    • We missed lunch as well because they close down at 2. We asked why they closed early and we were told that the cast members that were working on the island had to get back to the cruise ship & prepare for the evening meals.

      • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

        Jaime – Oh no! Yep, you’ve got to get your grub on early on Castaway Cay. I’ll add that tidbit to my post. Thanks!

  11. Hi we are going this April, we are two adults two children 10 and 13, is it possible to have a great day without spending money on the organized trips, many thanks.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Andy – For sure you can have a fabulous time on Castaway Cay without any organized excursions. Bike rentals, inner-tubes and alcohol cost a little bit extra but you could simply play on the beach, swim in the ocean and go down the waterslides…all for no cost. Food is included too!

  12. Hi – we are going on a Disney cruise next week with a 3 year old and a 1 year old. They can play in the sand all day so we are really looking forward to this stop. Does Disney have shovels and sand toys for the kids? Can we rent them on the island? Should we think about bring our own?

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Becky – What fun! I believe Disney does provide sand toys. I know they did on a beach excursion in Sardinia during our Mediterranean cruise. If not, you could easily pick up a few sand toys from the gift shops on Castaway Cay. If you really want to bring something with you, I like these buckets/shovels from Small World Express because they are small & easy to fit in luggage: http://astore.amazon.com/travmama03-20/detail/B001798SFC

  13. Do they have good snorkeling for all ages at Castaway??

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Melissa – Snorkeling is available for adults and children on Castaway Cay. You can rent gear on shore or buy or bring your own. They even have a sunken ship to attract fishies!

  14. Gaby Cisneros says

    Hi we are going this February, we are two adults two children 9 and 5, is it possible to use the water coaster due to the weather?
    Thanks

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Gaby – I assume you mean the ship’s water coaster? Yes! Where are you headed in February? If it’s the Caribbean, I imagine it will be plenty warm enough to enjoy the water coaster on board the ship. Enjoy!

  15. Oh man, this makes me even more excited! We are going on our first cruise in September. Thanks for sharing this information. It’s very helpful and we can’t wait till it’s our turn.

  16. Kelly Mills says

    Hi,
    We’re going on the Disney cruise to Nassau. I was thinking about the Catamaran trip to go snorkeling and was wondering if it’s better on Castaway Cay (2.5 hours) or Nassau (4 + hours)?
    Thanks!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Kelly – I can’t help you out on that once since I haven’t done either snorkeling tour. You will really need to weigh the pros and cons for each. You may want to ask your question on a cruise chat board, like those on CruiseCritic.com.

    • Diana Creek says

      The snorkeling is so so. They have what they call a rock garden with Mickey and Minnie and other man made objects for corrals and a sunken boat. It is very BUSY and the kids can be loud and stand on the bottome frequently making visibility an issue at times. If you have your own gear stop at the snorkel hut and get your life preserver!! They are required and it is a long walk in the sand to get back to them!

  17. We are going to take a Disney Cruise Line Caribbean cruise for our honeymoon. We only have a tourist US visa, will we be allowed to enter Castaway Cay?

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Angel – Castaway Cay is officially part of The Bahamas. I would check with Disney Cruise Line directly on this question to be safe!

  18. You said something about basketball on the island? Do you know if they have anythjng organized or if it is just for fun?

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Tanner – I don’t think there’s anything organized but if you want to set up a game with fellow cruisers, I suggest going to CruiseCritic.com’s chat rooms. You can find the date of your sailing there and get to know your fellow cruisers before you even leave home. You could try to set up a basketball game on Castaway Cay via the chat room.

  19. We will be on the Wonder this Wednesday! It’s our 1st Disney cruise. Are there plenty of chairs & beach umbrellas on castaway cay? Is there a charge? The grandparents are joining us and this is a must have for them.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Rosie-

      I know you can pay a fee for a luxury cabana with shade and other amenities but I can’t remember if there were complimentary umbrellas available. There were plenty of beach chairs, but still they can get filled up so I suggest arriving early. I have sent your question to my PR contact at Disney Cruise Line and I’ll let you know what she says about the umbrellas! Enjoy your cruise!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Well, that was fast! My Disney Cruise Line PR contact said this about the umbrellas/beach chairs:

      Yes, there are plenty of beach chairs and loungers for all guests on Castaway Cay at no charge. Umbrellas are on a first come basis, no charge and there is a large quantity of those as well, already set up on the beach.

  20. kim magee says

    Im a little concerned about getting the tram to other areas for the day and the tram being overly full if you dont head back early and not being able to get back to the boat on time, cant walk back if its far with small children walking, do the trams getting crowded heading back to the boat near to departure time to the point you might get stuck

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Kim – You shouldn’t have any trouble catching a tram back to the ship. If you are concerned, just give yourself some extra time instead of waiting for the final tram of the day! Enjoy your Disney Cruise!

  21. Do you know if there will be gluten free food available at Castaway Cay?

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Michelle – Disney is excellent about offering dining options for travelers with food sensitivities and allergies. I don’t have specific information about gluten-free dining at Castaway Cay but I know that you can make your gluten free needs known when you register for your cruise. I would take it a step further by talking specifically with your head waiter (you’ll have the same one throughout your cruise) about your needs on your first night. I’m sure Disney can accommodate you!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Michelle – I checked with Disney Cruise Line PR and this was they said:

      Gluten-free dining options are available on Castaway Cay, as well as onboard. We ask families to notify us prior to sailing of any special dietary restrictions and to talk to their dining servers who will instruct them where to obtain gluten-free items on the island.

  22. Christina says

    Does DCL provide swimming vest for kids, especially for those who don’t swim?

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Christina – DCL DOES provide swimming vests for kiddos. My son is sporting one under the “Do rent an innertube” tip. Of course, you still need to be very vigilant about watching young ones in the water. Have a wonderful cruise!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Christina – I checked with Disney Cruise Line PR and this was their response:

      Disney Cruise Line has pool vests available for children onboard our ships and on Castaway Cay. We strongly recommend all children have adult supervision in the pools and water play areas onboard as well as at the beach on Castaway Cay.

  23. Carolina says

    Do they have bikes with training wheels?

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Carolina – That’s a good question! I tried to find the answer online but came up short. I’ve sent an email to the DCL PR peeps. I’ll let you know if there are any bikes with training wheels to rent on Castaway Cay when they get back to me.

      • Colleen,
        Your tips are so helpful. Thank you.
        My children and I will be on the Dream to Castaway very soon. They are chomping at the bit to try out the parasailing. Is it worth the short ride in the sky? Do I have to reserve on line before I leave for the cruise or is it something I can do once we are on the island that day? Currently, I noticed there is a 2:30 flight time (for an hour). If we do that time, will we have enough time to get back on board the ship? Thank you!\
        Austin

        • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

          Hi Austin – I have tried parasailing once, but not on Castaway Cay. It is definitely an experience your family will always remember! You could probably try parasailing elsewhere at a less expensive rate (I did it in Mexico), but it would be fun no matter where you go. You can book most activities on the island OR beforehand but if they get booked up, you’ll be out of luck. I’m sure you’ll have enough time to get back to the ship or they wouldn’t allow that time slot. I doubt you’d be in the air for a whole hour. (I think my flight was about 15 minutes or so, and that was plenty for me.) Have a great time!

        • Hi Austin,
          I just thought I’d add a couple things too about parasailing. I’ve done it twice in Phuket, Thailand and Destin, Florida. If it’s the same as Destin, we went via speedboat with 4 other people we didn’t know. So it takes a little time to get to where they put you in the harness. Also, you wait for the other people to have their turn too. Hence, the hour. On a separate issue, I also wanted to say we booked excursions ahead of time on our Disney Cruise (though not parasailing), and you can cancel up until you board without paying. We didn’t know this, and forgot to cancel a snorkeling excursion we decided we didn’t want to do. They weren’t going to let us cancel it, since we’d set sail already. We ended up getting out of paying for it, due to choppy waves and they canceled all the excursions that day on Castaway Cay. So, I’d say book now (since it doesn’t cost anything until later), make up your mind a day before the cruise, and go from there. Have fun!
          Kelly

          • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

            Kelly – Good point on the parasailing timing and great tip on booking now and deciding right before the cruise!

      • Did you happen to find out if they have bikes with training wheels on Castaway Cay?

        • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

          Cherie and Carolina – I’m so sorry I never posted about the training wheels on Castaway Cay! I looked at my photos of the bicycles available for rent on the island and saw that indeed some of the bikes do come equipped with training wheels.

  24. Does Cookies and Cookies Too serve breakfast or just lunch. We’ve had lunch there and it was delicious but I was wondering if we go directly there in the morning can we get breakfast.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Susan – Breakfast isn’t served on Castaway Cay. I believe lunch is served 11:30 am – 2 pm, but the time might vary depending on your cruise and length of time in port.

  25. Hi, can you please help me with a few questions:

    1. I have my snorkel mask and flippers but no vest, are vests available to use for free or should I expect to rent this at the island?

    2. I’ll be doing the Disney dream cruise which stops at Nassau, my family and I will likely do a day at the Atlantis water park, I’ve been told the pre-pay price of admission via Disney comes with a premium vs. paying at the Atlantis facility, do you have insight into this?

    3. On the same financial topic – with respect to castaway cay activities, can you comment on the pre-pay price vs. the price of activities at the island, is there a price break if you wait to pay for (snorkeling/parasailing/biking) once you get to the island?

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Colt – Let me check with my contact at Disney Cruise Line to see if I can answer these questions for you. I’ll post again when I hear back from them!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Colt – Here’s what the Disney Cruise Line peeps said in response to your questions:

      1. Snorkeling vests are available at Castaway Cay at no additional charge.
      2. Disney Cruise Line offers a number of Port Adventures to Atlantis that include Aquaventure (the water park at Atlantis), including some excursions with additional experiences like snorkeling and interactions with dolphins and sea lions. Additionally, there is a Port Adventure solely for Aquaventure, if guests want to take the entire day to enjoy the water park. All of these Port Adventures include transportation to and from Atlantis as well as lunch. According to the Atlantis website, day passes to Aquaventure can be purchased, but they are not always available. Guests wishing to ensure they can experience Aquaventure can book in advance with Disney Cruise Line, and can then focus on having a relaxing, worry-free vacation.
      3. Port Adventures are not more or less expensive when booked in advance, however, some of the packages are not available once on the island, such as the Castaway Cay Getaway Package. Others have limited availability (noted in the “Important Additional Information” section of the Port Adventure description on disneycruise.com), so guests wishing to participate in those experiences should consider booking in advance.

  26. Kelly Mills says

    And don’t forget to check in online on Disney’s site. Lots of questions can be answered there too.

  27. Me and my soon to be husband are thinking of taking a disney cruise in march or April for our honeymoon. Which ship and month is best out of Florida should we take? And what should we know and do we need passports

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Tammie – Typically Dream and Fantasy (the two newer ships) are the ships that sail out of Florida. Both ships are fabulous and very similar. It really is a matter of which ports you’d like to visit and your preferred cruise length. For most cruises, you will need a passport because you will be stopping at Mexico, Disney’s private island – Castaway Cay (which is actually part of The Bahamas), or other foreign Caribbean islands. Have an incredible honeymoon!

  28. We will be on the Wonder next november! Iam worry about some topics please help!
    How about the weather? Di you think water its going to be to cold for my 3 and 4 years babies?
    What kind lf activities do you recomend for my family, we are mom, dad and 3 childrens under 4, iam worry we are going to be hand full all day!
    And last one, we have an option to be on this castaway, kwest and nassau cruise or do Cozumel, grandcaiman and Jamaica, what would be your insigh would about the better option for my little kids and me?
    Thanks for all your information!!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Loregre – I did a quick search for weather in November on Castaway Cay and the average temps range from a low of 68 F – 83 F high. The water temps will be lower, so I might not plan on doing a lot of swimming in the ocean. If you live somewhere very cold, your family may be more inclined to get in the water, though. Your kids could play with sand toys on the beach or you could rent bicycles with child seats to explore the island on two wheels.

      As far as which cruise is best for your family…it’s really a matter of preference. I’d take a look at the port descriptions/excursions and decide which ones work best for each port and go from there. You really can’t go wrong with any Disney Cruise!

      • Angella Turner says

        Hi Loregre,
        I too have gone on a cruise with young children & they tend to tired very quickly & restless. Any trip to castaway cay is fabulous for the entire family, but I would consider how many days they will be able to handle on a cruise. You may wanna try a 3 or 4 day cruise first that limits some of the stops. Three stops may be too many for younger children & Cozumel may not be a great option for three little ones. This is just my opinion to help keep your vacation stress-free.

  29. My husband and I will be cruising with Disney in February along with one of our sons, his wife and their three kids. I have rented a scooter to use on the cruise. Will I be able to use it on the island or will I need it. I can’t walk for long periods due to problems with my feet.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Donna – I know there are special wheel chairs available on Castaway Cay that even work on the beach. Let me check with my PR rep on this one and I’ll get back to you!

      • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

        Donna – I did a quick check of the Disney Cruise website and found the following information for people with disabilities visiting Castaway Cay. Looks like you can bring your scooter to Castaway Cay and take the tram from there and/or grab one of their cool sand wheelchairs. Have fun on your Disney Cruise!

        * On Disney’s Castaway Cay, provisions for Guests with disabilities include the following:

        * Paved pathways throughout the main promenade, providing access to shops and restaurants

        * Sand wheelchairs, available free of charge and on a first-come, first-served basis

        * A tram equipped to allow Guests in manual and electric wheelchairs to board

        * Accessible restrooms

  30. Thank you so much for this information.

  31. Hi,
    I’m travelling on the dream in dec this year and was wondering…

    1) is it best to leave my 3 month old on the ship whilst we bike around castaway cay, or is there a special seat for her?

    2) does my 3 year old get entertained on the island by the kids club? Is it something we need to pre book him into? Is he there all day or is there provisions for us to bike with him. (He won’t be able to bike himself)

    Thanks!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Gemma – Let me look into these questions for you & I’ll report back!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Gemma –

      Below is how the Disney Cruise Line PR peeps responded to your questions. Since there are child bicycle seats, it sounds like you can bring a baby on a bike ride, but 3 months may be too young for a bicycle seat. I did a little research and babies must be able to sit up on their own unattended to ride in bike seats. Your 3yo does not have to be in the kids club all day – you can check him out or in as you please, assuming there is enough space for him to attend. Please be aware that your 3yo should be fully potty trained to participate in the kids clubs, otherwise the nursery on board the ship would be a better option for him since Disney kids club personnel will not change diapers nor will they remind your child to use the bathroom on a regular basis (I learned this the hard way when my son was nearly 3yo and potty trained, but not so good at going to find a counselor/bathroom on his own – the nursery was a better fit for him).

      1. Guests must be able to ride a bicycle. One-seat adult and one-seat child bicycles provided that will accommodate most guests. Bicycles built for two or tandem bicycles are not available. Children must be able to ride a bicycle and are required to wear helmets. Child bicycle seats, helmets and training wheels are available for no additional cost.
      2. Kids ages 3-12 can enjoy Scuttle’s Cove, a children’s activity area staffed by the ship’s counselors. The day is filled with various programmed activities supervised by Disney counselors from the ship. Scuttle’s Cove now features a new whimsical water play area: a 1,200-square-foot soft wet deck area provides fresh-water fun with an array of pop jets, geysers and bubblers. With organized activities and Monstro’s Point—a giant whale-bone excavation site—kids will be delighted all day long. Scuttle’s Cove is open from 9:00 AM until 3:00 PM.

      • My daughter would love the whale bone excavation…is this available to do as a family- or only with the kids club drop off? Also – is there an age limit if we go as a family?

        Are there are opportunities for stingray feeding for a 3 year old? I know the excursion says 5. My daughter saw this activity on the travel channel and is obsessed!!

        thanks!!

        • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

          Hi Melissa – I am sure your daughter will have a blast on Castaway Cay! I can’t answer your questions so I suggest giving Disney Cruise Line a quick call. They’re always happy to help! (800) 951-3532

  32. Hello!
    My husband blessed my daughter and I with a cruise on the Disney Dream in December 2014. We’re so excited! My question is this, what do you do with your room key card while on Castaway Cay? Since it’s just my daughter and I going, and we’ll be snorkling and on rafts quite a bit of the day, do I need to put the room key card in a waterproof lanyard and keep it on my person all day?
    Thanks so much!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Laura – What a wonderful gift from your hubby! I like to put my room key in a lanyard to wear around my neck when cruising so I don’t forget it when I switch from purse to beach bag or if I want to wander about without a bag. You can purchase one of these from the ship’s gift shop. When swimming, I always just leave the room key wrapped in my beach towel or tucked into a shoe. Have a wonderful cruise!

  33. wandering educators says

    What fantastic tips!

  34. Donna Hill says

    You answered a previous comment as to whether I can use the scooter that I have reserved on Castaway Cay but I was wondering if it is acceptable to use it on board the ship. We will be traveling the Wonder in early Feb. 2015 and I want to be able to enjoy as much as I can. My feet will not allow me to walk for a long distance so that is why I have reserved the scooter. Can it be used on the Cayman Islands since it appears that you are tendered onto the island? Thanks for your help.

  35. Erin Beeson says

    Hi! I read where you said Disney will provide life jackets, but my son prefers to wear his. Is it ok to bring his or do they only allow theirs?

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Erin – I’ve reached out to Disney Cruise Line to find the answer to your question. I will let you know when they get back to me!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Erin – This is what the Disney Cruise Line PR said:

      Guests may bring their child’s own life vest and take it with them ashore to Castaway Cay.

  36. Thank you!

    • Also wondering about the life vests! Can my 5 y.o wear hers on the water slides there, and in the pools on the ship? We leave next Wednesday!

      • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

        Jenn – According to Disney Cruise Line, guests may bring their own life vests to use at Castaway Cay. Have a great cruise!

  37. Jaime Freeman says

    Hey there! I was curious about the post office at Castaway Cay. Do they sell post cards at the post office & is it expensive to mail something?

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Jaime – I am almost positive they sell post cards at the Castaway Cay Post Office and gift shops, but I will check with my DCL PR rep to be sure. Not sure on prices for shipping, either, but I will ask. Here is what I found on the Disney Cruise Line website:

      “The post office on Disney’s Castaway Cay is operated by the Bahamian authorities and may not be open for business each day that our ship visits the island. If the post office is closed, Guests can still mail their letters and post cards by utilizing the drop box outside of the post office or by dropping their letters at Guest Services onboard. Stamps are available for purchase at Guest Services and letters mailed from either location with the correct postage will be delivered with the Castaway Cay postmark. Please allow several weeks for mail from The Bahamas to be delivered.”

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi again Jaime – Here’s the response I received from Disney Cruise Line:

      There are two postcards in every stateroom for guests to mail from the island. Stamps are available for purchase (cash only) at the Castaway Cay post office and at Guest Services onboard. Traditional Bahamian postage stamps costs 55 cents for a standard size postcard. For a larger postcard, the cost is 65 cents.

  38. Thanks so much for your info. We have family group going on double dip in july. Would like to have picture taken if 5grandkids with santa hats in the water. Any chance of photographers available on castaway cay for that?

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Elaine – There are ship photographers available to snap photos on Castaway Cay, but I’m not sure about booking a private session. Let me check and get back to you!

      • Elaine what a great idea! My family doesn’t go until the end of October but what perfect timing for a family Christmas card shot 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Elaine – Here’s Disney Cruise Line’s response to your question:

      Yes, families can schedule private photo sessions. I would suggest calling DCL Guest Services at 800-951-3532 for details regarding how to book a private photo session.

  39. We’re going on a cruise stopping at castaway cay at the end of March- my son is 4 years old. If I read correctly he is too young to rent a floating tube on the family beach? Do you know if that’s true? If so, do you have any experience with the glass bottom boat ride? Is the whole bottom glass or just a small section? I was hoping for something a bit more interactive for us, but we’ll take what we can get. Thanks!!!!!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Mary – According the the Disney Cruise Line website, children should be 5 years old or older to rent an inner tube but I rented one for my son when he was 3 years old. I sat right near him the whole time he played with his inner tube (while wearing a life vest) in the shallow water and he was fine. Perhaps the 5-year-old mention on the DCL website is just a suggestion or they must recommend that age for legal reasons. I have never personally done the glass bottom boat ride but it appears to get mixed reviews on the DisBoards.com. You might want to go research there to make your choice. Enjoy!

  40. Carol Hoover says

    Are The life vests on castaway key available in adult sizes. My 11yo grandson swims but wants the security at pelican plunge. He is 5′ 3″ and 135lbs.

  41. We were lucky to be able to visit Castaway Cay back in 2013. What a great time! We got a Cabana and I would definitely do that again. We were escorted to the Cabana, our concierge took care of getting us food and drink, we were all taken care of. We were able to go out our front door and right to the water. It had rained a little the day we were there and the Cabana was the perfect place to be. We also had my little granddaughter with us and it was the perfect place for her (an us) to take a nap It was cozy and kept us well protected from the rain. We spent most of the day on the island and were one of the last ones off, because we were having so much fun …. What a great great time.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Jim – I’ve never rented a cabana on Castaway Cay. Sounds like a great idea, especially if traveling with babies or young children and/or it’s raining. Thanks for the tip!

  42. Do you have any tips on the 5k? I was hoping to run it with both my kids ages 10 and 12? I hear that the runners have to disembark earlier than everyone else to complete the race. Will we be able to take all our gear for the day with us at that time?

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Jennifer – I don’t know much about the Castaway Cay 5k but I did a little research and found a helpful blog post over on the Run All the Races blog. Check it out: http://runalltheraces.com/tag/castaway-cay-5k/ It doesn’t look like there are any lockers on Castaway Cay (according to a DisBoards.com stream), but if you’ll be just bringing towels and swimsuits that you aren’t overly worried about being stolen, I’m sure you could stow your stuff on the beach somewhere. Otherwise, you might need to go back to the ship to grab your stuff after the race. Hope that helps!

    • This maybe too late but hopefully it helps others. There are people of all ages running/walking this event. Runners do disembark earlier and Disney offers an unlocked communal treasure chest for runners to store belongings they don’t want to run with, but remember it’s unlocked. If you don’t finish the run in a timely manner you can still get your medal, the staff that setup the run also work other activities later that day. There are also water coolers setup throughout the course. I was the only one running from my family so it was easier for me to meet them on the boat after the run than searching for them on the beach.

  43. Castaway Cay is always the highlight of any cruise with Disney for us. We try to get to our spot on the beach as early as we can. The lunch on the island, in some ways, is better than the ones back on the ship! We usually bring our own swim mask and cheap blow up raft and just throw the raft away after we are ready to go back to the ship.

  44. Can anyone tell me if there are 3 wheel bikes available for older adults to rent on Castaway Cay?

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Shirley – I don’t remember seeing any three-wheeled bikes for older adults. I’ve emailed my contact at Disney Cruise Line to see if they can answer your question. You might want to call them directly too: DCL Guest Services at 800-951-3532.

    • Jacqueline says

      None for sure. Only 26″ two wheel bikes for adults. 🙂

  45. We were there in 2007 and at that time they had their own post office. The kids had fun sending their grandparents postcards that were postmarked “Castaway Cay”. We even sent ourselves some to our own home as souvenirs. I’m not sure they still have it – but it was a cute thing to do. We just booked our next DCL trip for June 2016. Can’t wait!!!

  46. Castway Cay is seriously my favorite place to be! I absolutely love it. I look forward to this stop so much on every Disney cruise we go on. It is so peaceful and you have the beautiful blue carribbean waters. If you are traveling without kids, a visit to the adult only beach is an absolute must! It is so peaceful and the water is just crystal clear. Absolutely perfect!! We also went snorkeling while there and it was so much! The fish and reef were beautiful. Castaway Cay is my happy place and the place where I am relaxed the most! LOVE!!!!

  47. Jacqueline says

    Hey,

    There are no tandem bikes on the cay. Only regular cruiser bikes. 🙂

  48. We will be there in February of 2016. As far as the bikes that have children seats…
    My son is about 43″ and 50lbs, he doesn’t know how to ride a bike yet, I was wondering if he would be too big for the kids seat on the back of the adult seat since there are no tandem bikes?

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Rachel – I can’t speak to the requirements of children’s seats on the bikes at Castaway Cay. You might want to call DCL to see if they can help you out: 800-951-3532. Have a great trip!

  49. I agree with your whole list! I have been to Castaway Cay on two different Disney Cruises. It’s my favourite stop! Last time we cruised I ran the Castaway Cay 5K, it was loads of fun and we were on the island by 8:30 am! Enjoy your day, it flies by…

  50. Nikki Vaughan says

    Hi, great tips! Thanks for sharing! We will be going to Castaway Cay for the first time in February. Just hubby and I as we are celebrating our 10 year anniversary. Our anniversary actually is on the 13th and we will be at CC on that day..so excited! My question is since this our first time we do want to explore a bit but mainly stay on the adult beach. We plan on snorkeling there and in the snorkel area for a bit, have lunch, visit shoos, post office, etc. We are thinking of doing a fishing excursion as we both love to fish and thought it would cool to fish in the Bahamas…but I’m worried we will not have enough time to enjoy the island. Any suggestions? Thank you! :).

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Nikki – I suppose it depends on how long the fishing excursion is. Castaway Cay is a small island and easily explored but if you really want to relax and enjoy the isle, you might want to skip fishing because you can fish elsewhere but there is only one private Disney island. It really is about how you want to spend your day!

    • Oh go bottom fishing ! We had an amazing time and it was only a few hours long. Book an early excursion so you can enjoy the remainder of your time relaxing and exploring,

  51. Frances M. says

    How warm is it at Castaway in Feb? How warm/cool will the water be?

  52. December in Bahamas – I’m considering a Christmas cruise to the Bahamas but I’m concerned about water temps. Is it too cold to swim there at this time of the year? I’ve been to the USVI in Feb and water was warm enough to swim in and also in the summer months – I’m used to the temps being like bath water (around 85 F I’d say?).

    Has anyone been in December that can tell me what it’s like there – as well as on the ship. Is it just too cold to swim on t he ship pools / waterslides and /or the cay beaches in December?? If so, I think I’ll go during summer instead – thanks!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Lesli – Here’s a chart of water temperatures in the Bahamas to help you make your decision: http://www.bahamas.com/water-temp-chart. The ship pools are heated when the temps drop below 75 degrees. Hope that helps!

    • Steve Sexauer says

      We were there Jan 16, 2016. I was worried about the water temp. While ocean was cold when we first got in; my kids and I spent a lot of time in the water. In and out of the water at the family area and riding the slides at Pelican Point. My wife on the other hand felt it was too cold but her goal was to relax on the beach and get some sun so everyone was happy. Definitely not bath water temp. Recommend the bike ride regardless of when you go.

  53. Hello, we are doing a 4night cruise in the Bahamas. How much tips/gratuities should I expect to give? Btw your blog was very helpful.

  54. Michelle says

    We just got back from there! We bought some
    cool drink holders beforehand that spike into the sand so your drinks don’t spill. They were a lifesaver. We got them from http://www.drinkspike.com. Loved all your tips!

  55. Leanne LaLonde says

    We are also going on our first DC in April. Was wondering if we did the Extreme Getaway Package (Bike rentals, Snorkel rents, float rentals & Stingray adventure) if we would still have enough time to see the island, relax, have lunch and play at the beach? Or should we just not do the Stingray Adventure? How is the experience? It would be nice to relax but don’t want to miss anything.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Leanne – I think it really depends on what kind of a day you want to have. Do you want to stay active and experience as much of the island as possible? Or do you want to have a more relaxing lazy beach day? You will definitely have time to do the bicycle ride, snorkeling and floats…and the stingray experience looks to take about an hour so you could do that as well for sure. You could also play it more by ear. I didn’t rent my bicycle until I got on the island. You can also easily rent the snorkeling gear and floats once on Castaway Cay, assuming they don’t run out but they seemed to have plenty to go around. Whatever you choose, I’m sure you’ll have a great time! Enjoy!

  56. I was just at Castaway Cay last week. We had a great time! We disembarked early and did the 5K…afterwards, we went back to the ship gathered our kids, gear and had breakfast before heading back to the island. We enjoyed some beach time, parasailing and snorkeling. The snorkeling is better the further you go out (in protected area)…I was cold and turned back early because we were not seeing anything but churned up sand. My boys and husband continued on and said it was really good. Guess I need a wetsuit:) Parasailing was wonderful too…very calm and peaceful up in the sky.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Renae – Sounds like a wonderful day on Castaway Cay! (Well, besides the chilly water!) Thank you for sharing your experience.

    • Renae-this will be our first disney cruise and we’re thinking of doing the 5k too. We thought it was better to take the kids with us & drop at the kid place on Castaway while we run so we didn’t have to go back to the boat afterwards but you feel like it was better to go back to the ship? Any input would be great-Thanks!

  57. We’ve been considering a Disney Cruise. I’ll have to keep you beer tip in mind!

  58. Been there twice. Dirty, polluted and very crowded. It’s a tiny island and becomes uncomfortably crowded with all the passengers on it at once. It’s the only port I’ve ever hated. My Bf got sick (food poison) from the food and had to be wheeled back to the ship. Of all the private islands ive been to on the many cruise vacations I’ve taken, this is absolutely the worst!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Oh my, Nilda! I’m sorry to hear you had such a tough time!

    • I am surprised to hear this. We have been to Castaway Key 10 times and never had a bad experience. The island is beautiful and well cared for. There are plenty of lounges and umbrellas (free, by the way). We usually walk out to Serenity Bay (helps to walk off some of the calories we consume onboard) as soon as we are allowed to disembark, spend a couple of hours there enjoying the water and sun, and eat lunch there. The food is plentiful and tasty. Then depending on our energy levels either walk back to the family beach or ride the tram back. We spend a few more hours there. My hubby loves to do the snorkeling path and visit all the cool artifacts. I spend that time, reading, sunning and cooling off in the water. We stay on the island until about 4PM when we reluctantly head back to the ship to get ready for that evening’s show and dinner.

    • You don’t get sick that quick from food poisoning?! I’ve been to CC over 12 times and it was never dirty or polluted.

    • Momma Joe Jr says

      Are you sure you are talking about the right island? I found the exact opposite to be true of the other ports. Disney’s island was immaculate and there are plenty of secluded spots to get away from the crowds. Also, I am very susceptible to food borne bacteria and this was the only cruise I never got sick on. How odd.

    • Whatchalookin'at says

      The island is neither dirty, polluted nor crowded. Maybe your bf was just sick of you complaining.

  59. Jennifer Duffy says

    We were just there June 22 2016
    You will not have as much time as you think.
    We ate breakfast on the ship, got off immediately afterward. Took tram to Island oceaneers club and left our 2 boys there (5 and 9) for 2 hours while BH and I hoofed it to Pelican plunge to get our area saved for later. Met our group of 8 for lunch at Cookies 1 and then got kids out of club. Walked back to pelican plunge area, rode slide once, swam as a family for maybe an hour and then people were telling us to start heading to the trams. I’m from PA and used to cold pool water, water did take a little getting used to.

  60. Stacey Stezoski says

    Are towels provided for the beach?
    Any info or tips for doing the 5K?

  61. My family will be returning for the 4th time on Disney cruise! my two daughters one 20 and the other 17 three months shy of 18 can we all still go to the adult side of the island or will they give us a hard time?

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Sue – There isn’t anyone checking IDs that I know of, so you should be fine. I think Disney just wants to provide a quiet, mellow place for people to escape little ones. Enjoy!

  62. PhotoDan9999 says

    The Bike Rental is a must!
    I also did the 5K! It’s all flat so it was easy. And knowing if be doing the 5k at the end of the cruise forced me to not “over-eat” all week.
    I recommend doing the beach first and then excursions/bike ride, and then chill out at the beach last.
    Bring a couple freezer ZipLoc bags with you for your phone/camera and other valuables u opt to bring. You can also put fruit or ice in them for the beach. Double ZipLoc them! Get one of those lanyard waterproof zip cases to wear around your neck.
    If you don’t have kids with you, stick to the adult beach as the main beach is a zoo!
    Oh, and we “ended” our day with a Couple’s Massage, which was amazing! (We have kids but had pre-planned Grandma/Grandpa to babysit). BTW…we highly recommend bringing grandparents as you’ll feel lass guilty spending time away from your kids and the grandparents love it! Oh…and they surprised us by picking up the tabs at the end of the cruise!

  63. Can you bring things like plastic gold coins that you can bury in the sand for others to find?

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Ooh…I have no idea. Let me check with my Disney Cruise Line contact & see what they say!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi CAS –

      This is what Disney said, “Guests are welcome to bring their sand toys and there are some available for purchase on the island, but we like to say that it’s better to leave your footprints in the sand and takeaway great memories.”

      Personally, I would think that plastic gold coins left in the sand might be a bad idea for the environment or could pose a choking hazard to young beach goers.

      Hope that helps!

  64. What activities are free on Castaway Cay (water slides) ?
    Have a toddler any good activies for them?
    Thanks

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Liz – Lots of things are free on Castaway Cay! There’s no charge for food (besides alcohol), swimming, waterslides, splash fountains, tram, or stroller rentals. The splash fountains are super fun for toddlers. I also recommend renting (or buying) an inner tube for your little one (for a small fee). You need to watch your kiddo the whole time, of course, but that inner tube provided so much fun for my little guy to play with in the shallow water while I relaxed on the beach. Have fun!

      • I hear the word “free” a lot on many Disney blogs. Nothing is “free” at Disney. Also, it seems that every cruise blog I read talks about how to dump your kids off at the kids’ clubs so you can have “adult” time. Your on a family vacation. Spend time with your kids. And for heavens sake, if you only have to go up or down one deck, take the stairs!!!!

        • Wow. Judgemental much? Every family does vacations their way. No harm, no foul if everyone is enjoying themselves.

        • *you’re* on a family vacation….. If you are going to take the time to spew a comment judging others on how they choose to spend their family vacation, do take the extra 5 seconds to check your grammar.

      • So much great information thank you! If you bring your own inner tube, balls, etc. will they blow them up for you?

        • Colleen Lanin says

          After doing some digging, it looks like the only floatation devices allowed on Castaway Cay are, “Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices (PFDs) and flotation sewn into the bathing suit for safety.” So, you’re better off renting one of their floats or buying a float from one of the stores on Castaway Cay. Since you’re not supposed to bring your own float, I’d say you need to inflate it yourself!

  65. We are going on a Disney cruise in January with our son, daughter-in-law, and grandson who is 5 years old. Is snorkeling and parasailing for 5 year olds permitted. This trip is all about him. He is a very mature 5 year old

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Doris – According to the Disney Cruise Line website kids must be age 8+ to parasail on Castaway Cay, but only age 5+ to go snorkeling. Have a fantastic time!

  66. Trish Ferguson says

    We have a 13 daughter. Are there activities for this age group? What do you recommend?

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Trish – There is an excursion just for teens on Castaway Cay that your daughter might like: https://disneycruise.disney.go.com/port-adventures/castaway-cay-the-wild-side-teen-adventure/ but only if she’ll be 14 by the time you cruise. It includes bicycling, a high-speed boat ride and snorkeling. If she won’t have a birthday before you go, you could always go snorkeling with her and rent bicycles as a family. There were definitely some teens on the waterslides at Pelican Plunge as well. There’s also a teen club right at Castaway Cay, the Teen Hideout, for kids aged 13-18. If your daughter likes playing sports, she might appreciate a visit to Sports Beach for volleyball and tetherball. Or you could rent a fishing boat, a glass-bottom boat or catamaran. If she’s adventurous, encourage her to try out parasailing! Have a fab time!

  67. I just came back from a cruise on the Disney Magic that went to Castaway Cay this past weekend. My family had an amazing time. We hung out by the beach, ate at Cookie’s BBQ and enjoyed the bike ride around the island. It wasn’t too packed or nor was it too hot. We can’t wait to go again.

  68. We are leaving in 7 days to hop aboard the Disney dream, we want to go snorkeling at castaway cay, but we are worried about it being a little chilly. Would you recommend a wetsuit? We have our own wetsuits but if anyone has been in january I’d love some tips!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Brooklyn – According to Weather.com, it looks like temps will reach highs in the mid 70’s over the next 10 days. Personally, I’d pack the wetsuits! Have fun!

  69. EverythingMouse says

    You have given some great tips for Castaway Cay! It is one of the highlights of a Disney cruise. It is a great idea to take the tram as it can be a long walk, particularly in the heat if you have young children.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Thanks for your comment! With a name like EverythingMouse, I’m sure you know all about Disney Cruises! 🙂

  70. Heidi McNaughton says

    hello there travel mama
    we are going to be at Castaway Cay this next week, the Serenity adults only area is appealing to my husband and I however, I wanted to ask where is there good shade but still can enjoy partial sun for sunbathing and view??
    Please advise
    Thank you

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Heidi – There are plenty of umbrellas and beach chairs available if you want shade. I’d plan to get off the boat early-ish in order to be sure to nab one. Alternatively, you could rent a cabana but those are pretty expensive. Enjoy Castaway Cay!

  71. Are you allowed to swim in the water off the adult beach, Serenity Bay? Are there Lifeguards present? We’re renting a Cabana at Serenity Bay, but REALLY want to go snorkeling too! I know about the designated snorkel area at the Family Beach, but we’d really like to AVOID free-range kid areas at all cost!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Katie – Yes, you are more than welcome to swim at the adult beach. I can’t remember if there were lifeguards present, but knowing Disney, there probably were. I understand your desire to snorkel away from the children but keep in mind that you’ll find the most fish near rocks or other features. You may want to do a quick dive at Disney’s sunken boat manmade snorkel area if you don’t see a lot of sea life at Serenity Bay. Enjoy!

  72. Alison Meacham says

    Castaway Cay is the highlight of a Disney Cruise. This is a great collection of tips so that you make the most of your time on the island. If you are lucky you can book one of the “Double Dip” cruises so that you get two visits to Castaway Cay on one cruise

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Alison – Thank you for your comment! A “Double Dip” DCL cruise sounds fantastic!

  73. We are leaving in 2 weeks heading to Castaway Cay. Just curious…I was told that we can bring our own snorkels, & floating devices. I was also told to definitely bring our small child’s life jacket, due to the deep water. Any advice on this?

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Ces – I am sure you can bring your own snorkel and floating devices since they sell them at stores in addition to renting them. Life jackets are provided on Castaway Cay and on the ship. (See the pic of my son floating in the inner-tube sporting a life vest above at the beach by Pelican Plunge.) There was not a huge drop off at any of the beaches, that I remember anyway. Here’s what Disney says on their website:

      Flotation vests are available for children and adults at the Pelican Plunge water-play area on Castaway Cay. However, these vests are for use only at this site and may not be used at the beaches.

      Hope that helps! Enjoy your cruise!

      • Thank you! I called and they said we can bring everything, but the floating device. I watch a video where a man stated that coming off of the slides is very deep (can’t touch the bottom)…so not sure. Thanks again!

  74. We are thinking two days at Castaway (2stops) or one day is enough?

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Maui- That’s really a personal preference. For me, one day at Castaway Cay per trip would be enough. But, if you happen to get one dreary weather day you may be wishing for another day to make up for it. Some people are absolute Castaway Cay fanatics and would tell you to go for two. Up to you!

  75. Also curious if I should bring puddle jumpers or arm band floats for my 5-year-old if we are on the beach?

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Jen – I don’t think your own floatation devices are allowed on Castaway Cay but they have plenty of life vests in all sorts of sizes available at no charge for visitors. Enjoy your Disney Cruise!

  76. I’ve been to Castaway Cay 3 times, and always enjoyed it. Rented kayaks last time, and went quite far out by myself. I realized no one was watching from shore and felt uneasy about this. I know that the family beach is protected from sharks, but I doubt the kayaking area is. Does anyone have any info on this? Planning to go soon.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Carolyn – I don’t have a definitive answer for you but I assume that any time I am in the ocean, there is a chance of coming across wildlife including sharks. That being said, I’d steer clear of any gatherings of seals or sea lions while kayaking since that’s what sharks love to eat.

  77. gisela c wrobel says

    Planning our first ever Disney cruise for February 2018 and hopefully, it will be the first of many.

    Question: will the snorkeling activity be free, as in, there is a designated snorkeling area and we go there on our own, or is this an organized activity? The reason I ask is because on the DCL website, there are listed activities we can avail of at Castaway Cay but are operated by a non Disney party. Some of those include the snorkeling, stingray and dolphin adventures. So when I read about reviews and they talk about “snorkeling” , is this a paid snorkeling activity or there is plenty of sealife to be seen where we dont have to rent a boat?

    Thank you.

  78. Michelle Sylvia says

    Hello,
    Any tips on getting a cabana. We just booked last minute.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Michelle – Cabana availability varies depending on your cruise. Try logging in to your DCL account and booking your cabana in advance. If there isn’t one available, I’d check back daily until your cruise to see if someone cancels. Once on board, check at the Port Adventures desk for any cancellations. Good luck!

  79. At any time is there more than one ship at CC?

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Shelita – I don’t think two ships would dock at Castaway Cay on the same day, but I can’t be sure so I sent an email with your question to my DCL PR representative. I’ll let you know what I find out!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Shelita – Here’s what Disney had to say, “Just one Disney ship at Castaway Cay a time. There is just one dock and we do not tender at Castaway Cay.”

      Enjoy your Disney cruise!

  80. James ODaniel says

    Hi,
    Probably already answered but are towels provided on castaway cay? Do I need cash or do things like Alcohol get charged back to the room like the ship?

    THANK YOU
    JAMES

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi James – You can charge things to your room on Castaway Cay, similar to how you would charge something on the ship. Enjoy!

  81. Are you allowed to walk on and or off the ship with an alcoholic beverage from a bar on the ship or at castaway cay? I read the Disney cruise site and I don’t see any limitations on that.

  82. Barefoot cruising says

    I will be cruising on the fantasy in November with 4 under 4 and we were thinking about renting a cabana. I was wondering if they are too far away to keep an eye on the little ones at the same time? Will it be worth the money if they are playing in the water? It is hard to tell how far they are from the shore. TIA

  83. We are looking to book a cruise with either a one day or two day at Castaway. We are two families with 7-8 year olds. Would two days at Castaway get boring for us? Have never been to Nassau Bahamas, but there are options to stop in Nassau as well if you have any recommendations.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Becky – It really depends on how your family likes to vacation. For a lot of Disney fanatics, their favorite day of the cruise is at Castaway Cay. It’s really a beach day with fun splash fountains, waterslides, sporting fun and bicycles for rent. Personally, if I had never been to Nassau, I would choose that over another day on Castaway Cay because I love exploring new things. One thing is for sure, there’s lots of fun to be had on Castaway Cay!

  84. Hello.. will be sailing this year and wanted to know Are life jackets provided for children at castaway?

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Floatation vests are provided to guests at the Pelican Plunge slides off of Castaway Cay for both adults and kids but you can’t wear them on the beach. You can buy or rent floatation devices like innertubes or arm floaties, or bring your own.

  85. Hi, there, what activities you would recommend for a 1 1/2 yo boy? His brother is almost 8 and litlle fellow thinks that he can do everything that older brother dies. I want this to be fun for everyone, if you will. TIA

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      There is a splash pad area that is definitely fun for your toddler & I bet your 8-year-old would love it too. You can rent bicycles for the whole family and put the baby in a child seat. The family beach is fun for all ages of course, too!

  86. Is this exclusively a port for the cruise ship? No other way to visit Castaway Cay? Thank you!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Debbie – You must be a passenger on a Disney Cruise to visit Castaway Cay. (Worth it!)

  87. Stacy Mederos says

    Hello! Thank you for the advice!!! We will be going on our first cruise next year for the Halloween on the High Seas Bahamian Cruise. Looking to get my hands on the Passporters you mentioned (the 2018 edition), I looked online but only place I can find a PDF file is on their website. Anyway to get my hands on a hard copy?

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Stacy – It looks like they’ve switched to offering just the digital version of PassPorter. The good news is that the online version, according to their website, is always up-to-date! If you want a paper version at a decent price, it looks like you’ll have to go with the 2015 version: https://amzn.to/2KFnGd4 Have a wonderful time on your Disney Cruise!

  88. Elizabeth Higgins says

    Thank you for this detail-filled post, Colleen! We are looking into trying something new next year and eyeing on the Disney Cruise as one of the things to choose from. It looks like we may be heading for the Disney Cruise after reading your post. We are really excited for this trip and could not have been happier to come by your article.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      How exciting, Elizabeth! I hope you have an incredible time on your Disney Cruise! (And I’m sure you will!)

  89. Hey All,

    Going on my first Disney Cruise in January around the Bahamas, (We are from Ireland) we are massive Disney Fans – just returned from Disney World Orlando and will ring in the New Year in Disneyland Paris.

    Our son is recently turned 4, my husband and I are very keen on snorkelling, my excursions are not available to book until next week but I was wondering if anyone knew if it would allow us book the snorkelling for our son, or will the system stop him as he is under 5?

    Also can you book the kids club in advance? Our son is so sociable and loves kids clubs – on a recent trip to Dubai he told us he wasn’t ready to be collected as he was having too much fun!

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Hi Catherine –

      Disney is very strict about age limits on their excursions so you won’t be able to book snorkeling for your child. You could bring along your own snorkeling equipment but beware that the sunken boats are very far from shore so you should probably plan to stick close to shore instead.

      You can sign your son up for the youth club in advance. Go to “My Cruise Reservations” on the Disney Cruise Line website. Look for “View Activities” after you’ve logged in with your reservation number. Then look for “Child Reservation” and go from there. Note: online registration varies depending on whether you’ve cruised with Disney before. Since you are first-timer, that will be 75 days prior to your cruise.

      Enjoy all of your Disney adventures!

  90. Is there anywhere on castaway to fish from shore, or is it allowed?we are going down for the first time next week, and not sure time will allow for an entire excursion, but would like to fish a little. Any advice would be appreciated.

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Hi Mike – It doesn’t look like fishing from the shore is allowed on Castaway Cay. There are, however, a couple of fishing excursions that you might enjoy. Hope you have a great time no matter what you decide to do on the island!

  91. Jeannette Sink says

    All the cabanas are sold out for castaway cat during our port stop in April 2019. Can we be wait listed for cancellations?

    • Colleen Lanin says

      HI Jeannette – I did some research on cruise discussion boards and there appear to be a couple of ways to score a cabana, even if they are sold out for your cruise. One cruiser recommended calling Disney Cruise Line every day leading up to your cruise to nab any cancellations. A few other vacationers suggested visiting or calling Guest Services the minute you board to be placed on a waitlist for a cabana. Good luck!

  92. Hey,There is a splash pad area that is definitely fun for your toddler & I bet your 8-year-old would love it too. You can rent bicycles for the whole family and put the baby in a child seat. The family beach is fun for all ages of course, too!

  93. Omgoodness, what a phenomenal review! This just sealed the deal for us to take our son, especially since he’s been asking. Thinking this will be an ideal 13th birthday present. Thanks so very much! 🙂

  94. Linda Tummolo says

    Wow Colleen, I am truly amazed at your blog here. It is not only informative but beautiful to look at as well as wonderfully written. This is the first one I have read all the way through. Great job my cuzie. Love you.

  95. Michele Ross says

    Hi,
    I am taking the family to Cozumel on our first Disney Cruise. Can you tell me why no one is booking the Cozumel and Jamaica excursions? By the way, I LOVE your website.

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Thank you for the kind words, Michele! Cruisers might be more interested in exploring on their own in some ports or booking excursions directly with local providers. The nice thing about booking through DCL, though, is that if your excursion is delayed for any reason — the ship will wait for you if you book through them. Otherwise, you may miss the all aboard time.

  96. If you reserve floats are they available when you get back from doing the 5k??

    • Colleen Lanin says

      I don’t know if the float rentals are available before the 5K because the races typically start very early in the morning. Once you rent a float, it’s yours for the day. If you leave it sitting on the beach for a very long time, though, it might blow away or be picked up by a Disney cast member, or I suppose by a fellow cruiser. You might want to just wait until the race is over.

  97. Couple of things: leaving cash on ship is a little incorrect. If u buy a postcard or a sand bottle thing and u want a cc postmark, u MUST have cash to buy the stamps. American money works but it’s the one thing u can NOT charge to your room (stamps).
    Be aware post office doesn’t keep any set hours. If it’s open stop right then to buy your stamps if u want to mail something from there (which will take weeks to arrive). Otherwise u buy stamp on the boat and at some other stop at cc they will mail it. Once mine was postmarked 2 weeks later.
    Cabanas: go on your cruises Facebook page and see if anyone wants to share one. 2 adults with a kid (and baby say) can share with same. It’s worth it. And adult only ones for sure. If u have no kids.
    Water in January has been too cold for us on 6 of our 7 trips. Wait, nov Jan feb trips.

  98. I’ve taken the cruise 3 times and plan for another trip next year. My one constant complaint has been the food. It has never been served hot. I want the kids to have experience but our visit on the island will be short.

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Oh no! I’m sorry to hear you haven’t had good meals on Castaway Cay! I can’t recall having any issues with meals on the island. I hope you have a wonderful Disney Cruise experience next year!

  99. We have a cruise booked for Jun 2020. We have a daughter who won’t be 14 until Jul and one who will be 18. Can they do the Teen Wild Side excursion together?

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Hi Cheryl – This one is a question for DCL. Give them a call at 1 (800) 951-3532. Have a wonderful Disney Cruise!

  100. I am looking at cruises with our 4 kids. They will be 3, 5, 7, 8 when we go, Royal Caribbean has an awesome looking splash pad for the kids. I dont see one on the disney island. Am I missing something?

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Hi Meagan – There is a Spring A Leak splash pad for littles on Castaway Cay. It’s listed under “Do make a splash” above. 🙂

    • Isabella says

      Hi Megan! A Disney cruise is just the thing you need! It has kid care and it is loads of fun! Castaway Cay has millions of attractions, its full of fun!
      Like water bikes
      Fun floating tubes
      Snorkeling
      Ice cream. And more!!
      On the boat is an adventure too! Full of fun family games, toys and adventures!

  101. Warren Robertson says

    Just got ack from Castaway Cay and there was excellent cell service for roaming through BTC.

  102. I can’t believe you called the ship a boat?

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Hi Jim – I say the word “ship” 15 times in this story. I say the word “boat” 5 times. As a writer, I try to mix up the words I use in a story to keep readers engaged. I’m sorry if this offends you.

  103. Belinda Unbehagen says

    How much do the cabana rentals and or bike rentals cost and can we reserve in advance?

  104. Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

    Belinda – Here is the current pricing information about bike rentals on Castaway Cay: https://disneycruise.disney.go.com/port-adventures/castaway-cay-bicycle-rental-one-hour-rental/ I am not sure if you can reserve bicycles in advance but they have a TON of bikes to rent on the island, so you would probably be fine to wait. I couldn’t find pricing information about Castaway Cay cabana rentals. I suggest giving DCL a call: (800) 951-3532. Enjoy your cruise!

  105. I just booked a Disney Cruise via Small World Vacations a few days ago, for March 2017. Cabana Rentals are currently $549, but there are only 22. I’m not sure if that number is for the Family Beach and Adult Beach combined, or the Family Beach only, since I was inquiring about the Family Beach. At any rate, my travel agent advised me that she is a Platinum member, and when she went online to reserve one the last time she sailed, there were only 2 cabanas left. And she went online IMMEDIATELY at midnight when rentals opened up! Concierge staterooms get first shot at cabanas, and they are usually gone before the general public ever gets a shot at them. Just a little bit of info that could be helpful for everyone. 🙂

  106. Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

    Wow – good to know, Susan. I’m glad you were able to nab a cabana. Thanks for sharing!

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