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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 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 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,, 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.

  1. 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 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,

  2. Frances M. says

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

  3. 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: 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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 Loved all your tips!

  6. 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!

  7. 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!

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Stacey Stezoski says

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

  12. 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!

  13. 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!

  14. 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!

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

    • 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!

  16. 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!

  17. 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: 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!

  18. 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.

  19. 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, 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!

  20. 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! 🙂

  21. 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!

  22. 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!

  23. 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!

  24. 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!

  25. 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!

  26. 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!

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. Michelle Sylvia says

    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!

  30. 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!

  31. James ODaniel says

    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?


    • 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!

  32. 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.

  33. 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

  34. 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!

  35. 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.

  36. 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!

  37. 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!)

  38. 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: Have a wonderful time on your Disney Cruise!

  39. 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!)

  40. 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!

  41. 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!

  42. 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!

  43. 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!

  44. 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! 🙂

  45. 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.

  46. Michele Ross says

    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.

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

  49. 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!

  50. 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!

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