A day at Castaway Cay may very well be the highlight of your Disney Cruise. I recently had the opportunity for my first visit to the private island. Here are a few tips that may make your day a little bit easier to navigate.
1. Disembark early! This may seem like a no brainer to most, but many people may think that since their ship is the only one there, there is no need to rush. While it is true that the island absorbs the population of the ship well, there are only a certain number of “front row seats” on the beach with an umbrella. If you disembark early, you will have your pick of prime seating. Beyond that, the earlier you disembark, the more time you have to relax! The day goes by way too fast! Enjoy as much time as you are given!
2. Grab a wagon or stroller to haul your baby or toddler, towels, sand toys, and all of those other beach necessities! When you disembark there is a tram stop. You can walk or ride the tram to the beach areas and at the stops you will find wagons, strollers, and beach wheelchairs. There are limited number available (another reason to disembark early, see #1), but they are free to use for the day so if you see one available, grab it!
3. The night before you arrive at Castaway Cay, you will be given a map of the island with your daily Navigator. Take a few minutes to study the map and see how the island is laid out. My initial thought was that we wanted to be on the beach by Pelican Plunge so that the kids could come and go as they pleased. We later discovered that the beach there is extremely crowded with other people thinking the same thing. We ended up on the edge of the Castaway Family beaches, closest to Pelican Plunge but on the other side of the break. We were still close enough to Pelican Plunge that the kids could come and go as they pleased, but we were out of the more crowded area of beach.
4. There are plenty of opportunities for food and beverages on the island. Lunch, snacks, and the soda fountains are included in the price of your cruise fare and adult beverages are available for a charge. Attendants continually walk the beach to take drink orders and will deliver directly to your chair! Be aware that all the bars close about an hour prior to embarkation time. You can eat in the covered pavilions near the restaurants or carry a tray to the beach, just be aware of the birds! They are fearless and aggressive. If you leave an unattended plate, don’t expect to come back to food!
5. As I recommended that you should be one of the first to disembark, be one of the last to board the ship at the end of the day. This is probably the only port where I can promise you won’t be left behind! The Cast Members on the island will make sure that you are packed up and heading back to the ship in plenty of time. Relax! Enjoy a quiet walk back to the ship. Get some last minute beach pictures without other people in the background! My only word of warning is that there is a last tram call. If you miss the last tram you will have to walk back to the ship, but it isn’t too far and if you disembarked early, you probably still have that wagon or stroller. Feel free to keep it all the way back to the ship as you don’t have to return it to the location that you originally picked it up.
I hope these tips make your day at Castaway Cay less confusing and a lot more relaxing! The day flies by way too quickly. When the ship’s whistle blows that it is time to go, I am sure you will catch yourself wondering where the time went and how soon can you find your way back to Disney’s Bahamian Paradise!