While Disney's Castaway Cay in The Bahamas is a wee isle, 3.1 miles long and 2.2 miles wide, it's packed with so much to do, you might have a hard time deciding how to spend your time. There's sunbathing, waterslides, bike trails, open-air massages, two water play areas, parasailing, fishing, a stingray interaction adventure 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.
Don't Forget Your Stateroom Key
You will not be able to disembark or reboard the ship without your stateroom key.
Do Take the Tram
It's a long walk from the ship to the beach but you can hop aboard a handy (and complimentary) shuttle to get around the island.
Don't Bring a Stroller
There are free strollers, wagons and joggers available on site. There are even special wheelchairs made specifically for use on the sand for physically challenged cruisers.
Do Rent an Inner Tube
It provides oodles of fun for children for just a few bucks. Then you can sit back and watch the kids play while you dip your toes in the waves.
Don't Let Go of Your Beer
The plastic beach-friendly bottles may look cool but they tip easily, spilling precious beer all over the sand.
Do Eat on Castaway Cay
There's no sense wasting beach-time eating on the ship when the food is tasty and free on Castaway Cay. There are three places to eat: Cookie's BBQ, Cookie's Too BBQ and a “secret” BBQ near Serenity Bay (the adult-only beach). 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.
Don't Pay for Bottled Water
There are plenty of coolers situated throughout the island where you can get a cup of cold filtered water for free.
Do Work off Your Calories
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. Explore the 1.5 miles of bike trails aboard a beach cruiser — child seats, kids' bikes, and bicycles are available for rental.
Don't Wait to Buy Castaway Cay Souvenirs Back on the Boat
You can only purchase Castaway Cay gear and memorabilia on the island.
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 the family. The point here is to unwind, island-style.
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! Buy a guidebook like The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line or my favorite, PassPorter's Disney Cruise Line and Its Ports of Call. Boost your happiness by booking those excursions and deciding ahead of time how to maximize the fun factor on your cruise.
Do Book Your Disney Cruise Early
Book your Disney Cruise early! Typically, the farther in advance you book your cruise, the better price you will pay. Book your Disney Cruise now!
Have you been to Castaway Cay? What are your thoughts about the island? Let us know in the comments!
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! This story was originally posted in 2012 and was updated with new photos in 2016. This story includes affiliate links. Your clicks and purchases help to keep TravelMamas.com a free resource for readers like you.