Castaway Cay – Disney’s Private Island in the Bahamas

If you have ever taken a Disney cruise then you are aware that one of the highlights of the trip is a stop of Castaway Cay.  Castaway Cay is Disney private island that is located in the Bahamas which is reserved just for cruise guests on Disney’s Bahamian and Caribbean cruises

Formerly known as Gorda Cay, Disney purchased a 99-year land lease in 1997 and constructed the first ever private island where cruise ships can dock directly – eliminating the need for tender boats to shuttle guests to and from the ship.  The island itself consists of about 1,000 acres of mostly undeveloped land but features some of best white sandy beaches and crystal clear water in the Bahamas.

In addition to the beaches and cruise ship pier, the island has a number of food & beverage venues, numerous water sports activities including boat & personal watercraft rentals, island shops, private cabanas and miles of walking and bike trails to explore.

Check out our Photo Gallery for Disney’s Castaway Cay

Frequently Asked Questions – Castaway Cay

Can you stay overnight on Castaway Cay?

At this time Disney Cruise Line guests are not allowed to stay overnight on Castaway Cay and are limited to a single-day visit before having to return to the ship. Only a small number of Cast Members that handle island maintenance remain overnight on the island.

But knowing Disney, if it can be done (depending on governmental and environmental restrictions) we can be sure that prospective plans are already being considered.

Does the Disney cruise ship dock directly on Castaway Cay?

Unlike many other cruise lines, Disney’s cruise ships dock directly on Castaway Cay and guests can walk off the ship directly on the island.  There is no need for a tender boat to shuttle guests to and from the cruise ship.

Are food and beverages available on Castaway Cay?

There are plenty of food and beverages options available on Castaway Cay which include the Castaway Air Bar, Conched Out Bar, Cookie’s BBQ, Cookies Too BBQ, Dig In, Grouper, Gumbo Limbo, Heads Up Bar, Pop’s Props and Boat Repair, Sand Bar and the Serenity Bay BBQ.

What are the best things to do on Castaway Cay?

From personal watercraft rentals to swimming with stingrays, there is so much that can be done at Castaway Cay.  Even with multiple visits to the island, we have not been able to do everything but our two most favorite experiences so far is exploring the island on the bicycle trails (and climbing the Lookout Tower which gives you a view of the entire island) and the snorkeling lagoon seeing all the sunken Disney statues. 

Another great thing to do is to spend some time on Pelican Plunge which is a floating water playground with two water slides.

Is there a shuttle service that takes guests from the ship to the beaches?

Castaway Cay tram service is available from just outside the ship and makes stops at Scuttle’s Cove at the Family Beach followed by a stop near the Pelican Plunge water playground (also part of the Family Beach).  Guests heading to the Serenity Bay adult beach will need to transfer trams at the Pelican Plunge stop.

Are beach towels provided on Castaway Cay?

Towel stations are located just off the ship and are provided free of any additional charges for guests visiting Castaway Cay. We highly recommend you grab at least two towels per person for the visit to Castaway Cay – at some point it may rain and you will need the extra towels.

Souvenir towels are sold at a number of the gift shops throughout the island.

Can I bring my own snorkel gear on to Castaway Cay?

Guests are allowed to bring their own snorkel gear (mask, fins and snorkel) to use in the Snorkel Lagoon but use one of the island’s bright yellow life vests.  Snorkel gear is also rented by Flippers and Floats.

How warm is the water off Castaway Cay?

The water temperature off Castaway Cay is typically quite warm but varies based on the time of the year.  Even during the winter months the temperature never drops much below 75 degrees Fahrenheit while it can exceed 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the warmest summer months.

Things to do on Castaway Cay

There are so many things to see and do on Castaway Cay that you will find one day is just not enough.  Castaway Cay is one of the main reasons that Disney Cruise Line guests keep coming back again and again.

While Sandy Beaches

There are a number of fantastic beaches from the Castaway Family Beaches to the Serenity Bay adults exclusive beach area. There are plenty of lounge chairs with umbrellas for shade to go along with a number of hammocks.  Guests will also find a massive saltwater lagoon for swimming and snorkeling to water play areas like Pelican’s Plunge.   

Pelican’s Plunge is a 2,400 square foot floating water play area which features two multi-story water slides (one fully enclosed and one open) and water bucket drop.  This is a must when visiting Castaway Cay but guests will need to be strong enough to swim out to the floating platform.

The Snorkeling Lagoon is also a great place to explore as guests can find sunken Disney statues in the waters of Castaway Cay.  Guests can also feed, touch & snorkel with Stingrays at Castaway Ray’s Stingray Adventure (premium experience).

Watercraft and Sea Charters 

Feel like a day of deep sea fishing?  However about parasailing or a tour of Castaway Cay on a jet ski?  Although we have not done it (as of yet), the Guided Watercraft Ski Adventure is one of the best experiences on Castaway Cay as a guide takes guests for a 45-minute water tour.

All of these experiences are offered for an additional fee and can be found at Boat Beach or Marge’s Barges & Sea Charters Dock.

Food and Beverage Venues

Don’t worry about finding your favorite tropical drink or something to eat as there are a number of food & beverage venues at Castaway Cay.  And just as onboard the ship, food and non-alcoholic drinks are all included with your cruise package.

  • Castaway Air Bar
  • Conched Out Bar
  • Cookie’s BBQ
  • Cookies Too BBQ
  • Dig In
  • Grouper
  • Gumbo Limbo
  • Heads Up Bar
  • Pop’s Props and Boat Repair
  • Sand Bar
  • Serenity Bay BBQ

Cookie’s BBQ, Cookies Too BBQ and Serenity Bay BBQ service all you can eat BBQ lunches that include chicken, ribs, burgers, fish, salads and flatbreads to go along with plenty of desserts including ice cream.  Lunch is typically served on Castaway Cay starting at 11:30 am.

Fun and Games 

If you are not interested in just sitting on the beach or being out in the water, there are Bike Rentals, Beach Sports, In-Da-Shade Games and a teens only Hideout.  If you are going to explore the island, it’s best to rent a bike as it can be a rather long walk from end to end – but don’t forget to find the Observation Tower for amazing view of Castaway Cay.

Jerry Joyce

Jerry Joyce has been a Florida resident since 1988 and has lived in a variety of places in the South Florida area. Jerry is an avid boater & water sports enthusiast, beach aficionado, a lover of great food, muscle car fan and a theme park annual passholder for many years. Some of his favorite places in Florida include the Florida Keys, Walt Disney World, Cedar Key, the Loxahatchee River, St. Augustine and Ten Thousand islands.

Recent Posts