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If you are taking a Disney Cruise to the Bahamas or Caribbean, chances are you will be stopping at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. This popular destination features pristine beaches and fun activities for the whole family. So if you have a cruise coming up, here is your complete guide to things to do on Castaway Cay, plus tips for having the best beach day!
Where is Castaway Cay?
Castaway Cay is located in the Bahamas. It isnNorth of Nassau and just west of Great Abaco Island (its nearest big island).
Why is Castaway Cay So Popular?
Castaway Cay is often one of guests’ favorite things about their Disney Cruise! There are a lot of reasons for this. It’s a beautiful island with wonderful beaches and clear water, plus there are tons of fun things to do on Castaway Cay.
Another reason its so popular: the fact that it is a private island. This means that only Disney Cruise Line ships will be visiting, and when your ship is there, your ship will be the only guests for the day. This gives the island a built-in version of crowd control. So while you might be waiting in lines or angling for beach space with guests from other cruise lines at other ports, at Castaway Cay you and your fellow cruisers will be the only ones there.
Overview of Castaway Cay
I like to think of Castaway Cay as having two main areas: the family beach area and Serenity Bay (the adults only area). Plus there is also a bike/running path. Let’s break down what you can find in each area!
Castaway Cay Family Beach Area
This is the main section of Castaway Cay and where you will find everything you need! From the ship you can either walk or take a tram to the family beaches. There are two main areas of the family: the area near the Scuttle’s Cove Tram Stop and the area near the Pelican Point Tram Stop. But you can easily walk from one section to the other!
Here’s what you can find in the Family Beach Area!
These beaches are going to be the most popular and they will fill up, especially if you are on one of the bigger ships. Don’t worry, there is still plenty of room though.
This is a floating water slide area that is just off the second part (i.e. the furthest half from the ship) of the family beach. Note that you do have to swim out in the water to get to the waterslides! Castaway Cay does provide free lifejackets for kids.
We LOVE riding bikes on Castaway Cay! The bike rental kiosk is near the Pelican Point Tram Stop on the second half of the family beach.
Snorkel + Beach Equipment Rentals
If you want to snorkel or rent beach equipment like innertubes, there are two rental areas, one on each part of the family beach.
There are two merchandise areas where you can get Castaway Cay merchandise (note, they don’t sell Castaway Cay specific products on the ship, so get it here!). You’ll find She Sells
Sea Shells and Everything Else along with Buy the Seashore.
You’ll also find Bahamian Retail along the walking path between the two sections of the family beach.
Dining + Drinks
There are plenty of dining options near the family beach. (Scroll down a bit for more about Castaway Cay dining!). You can get your lunch at Cookies BBQ or Cookies Too BBQ.
For drinks, head to Summertime Freeze, Conched Out Bar, Heads Up Bar, or Sand Bar.
This is a covered area that offers games like basketball and ping pong.
This splash pad area for younger kids is located near the second part of the family beach.
Beach Sports Area
This an area with sports like beach volleyball located near Spring-A-Leak.
The kid’s club on Castaway Cay! Drop your kids off at this location near the Scuttle’s Cove Tram Stop and go off to enjoy some adults-only fun!
Hideout is the teen club for Castaway Cay. It’s located near the Pelican Point Tram Stop.
Charters and Boating Area
The first section of Castaway Cay you’ll see when you get off the boat, really before you get to the family beach, is a charter dock and a boat beach. This is likely where you’ll go if you have a special experience or excursion booked or if you have rented a boat.
There is a post office when you first get off the ship. You can mail something from here and it will come with a fun stamp and postmark.
You can rent private cabanas for your day at Castaway Cay. These are pretty pricey, but come with your own area of the beach to enjoy, a shaded spot to rest, and other amenities. They are at the very end of the family beach.
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Serenity Bay Area
Serenity Bay is the adults-only beach on Castaway Cay. It is peaceful and quiet, but doesn’t offer as much to do as the Family Beach area.
Serenity Bay Beach
The Serenity Bay beach offers plenty of seating for you to enjoy! I’ll be honest though…I don’t think it’s quite as pretty as the family beach.
If you have a massage booked on Castaway Cay, the massage cabanas are located near Serenity Bay.
There is no snorkeling at Serenity Bay, but you can rent floats at The Windsock Hut.
Serenity Bay offers it’s own version of Cookies BBQ at Serenity Bay BBQ. You will also find Castaway Air Bar for drinks.
You can also rent Cabanas for adults only at Serenity Bay. Again, these are pretty pricey and not very easy to get, especially because there are just a few of them.
Things To Do on Castaway Cay
There are so many ways to enjoy your day on Castaway Cay! Here are the best things to do.
Enjoy the Beach
I mean, obviously first and foremost you should enjoy the beautiful beach! Throughout the beach there are umbrellas with chairs already set up for you to use. Each little seating group usually has one large beach umbrella, two lounge chairs, and two straight-back chairs for your family to enjoy.
Our advice is to decide where you want to be for most of the day, and camp out there. (We mostly chose the section near Pelican Plunge because the kids loved the water slides). And while you will want to keep your valuables with you, we never worried about leaving things near our chairs while we enjoyed the water or went to grab lunch.
Pelican Plunge Water Slides
The Pelican Plunge Water Slides are an extremely popular thing to do on Castaway Cay! You’ll have to swim out the waterslides, and Castaway Cay has free life jackets you can grab for your kids if you need them.
Also, know that the lines to these slides, just like for the slides on a Disney Cruise ship, can get long! To find the shortest lines, try to enjoy them either first thing in the morning or later in the afternoon.
Riding bikes is definitely one of my favorite things to do on Castaway Cay! I know, I know, you’re at the beach, so you might be tempted to skip this. But Castaway Cay has an easy and peaceful bike trail that leads you to a lookout tower where you can see the whole island (plus your ship in the distance!).
You can rent bikes at the kiosk near the Pelican Point Tram Stop for an additional charge. They have bikes for adults and kids, plus bikes with seats for babies and toddlers. Note that all kids will need ride a provided helmet.
Also, you don’t need to stress about bringing water with you. Disney has coolers set up along the path with paper cups and ice water.
Snorkeling is by far one of the best things to do on Castaway Cay! Not only is it amazing to snorkel in such beautiful clear water and see all kinds of animals, Disney has also put treasures under the sea for you to find!
There are statues of Minnie and Mickey, sunken ships, and other Disney themed-items for you see under water. They are all marked above water with white buoys so you can find them.
You can rent snorkel gear at one of the equipment rental stands for a small charge. If you are an avid snorkeler, you can also bring your own. But note you do have a get one of Disney’s bright yellow snorkel vests to wear while snorkeling.
Also note that there is one specific area for snorkeling. It is between the two sections of the family beach.
Get a Massage
If you want to get even more relaxed on Castaway Cay, you can get a massage! You will need to book this is advance when you book your other cruise activities. And it is, of course, an additional charge.
The massage cabanas are located near Serenity Bay. And note that these are also operated by Senses Salon & Spa, which is a third party. (We found this out when we had an issue with our on board massage and were told guest services could not help us and we would have to talk directly to the spa.)
Play in the Splash Pad
If you have toddlers and preschoolers, you will probably want to hit up the Spring A Leak splash pad! This isn’t a huge area, but it does provide some fun water play, gives you a break from the beach if you need a change of scenery, and usually isn’t very crowded.
If you want to some non-beach entertainment, there are a couple places you can play games on Castaway Cay. At In the Shade games, you’ll find a covered area offering games like ping pong, basketball, and billiards.
There is also a beach games area with tetherball, soccer, and volleyball.
Go on an Excursion
Honestly there is so much to do on Castaway Cay without booking an excursion. But if you want a little more adventure, or if you are maybe on a double dip cruise and want to get a different kind of Castaway Cay experience on one of your days, you can book an excursion. Some popular options include a sting ray adventure, kayaking, and boat rentals. (See more below!)
For lunch on Castaway Cay you’ll head to Cookies BBQ, Cookies Too BBQ, or Serenity Bay BBQ. They all have the same menu, and there is a wide variety of food to choose from! The menu can also vary from day to day, so if you are on a double dip cruise you’ll have different lunch options each day.
For lunch you’ll find a variety of fruits, salads, burgers, chicken sandwiches, BBQ ribs, fish, giant cookies, tropical cakes, and so much more! Some of the food is mediocre, but there are also some really delicious options too! (Generally I think the more unique the item is, the better it is.)
And also don’t forget about the nearby soft serve ice cream stands!
While there aren’t as many opportunities to meet characters as there are on your Disney Cruise ship, Castaway Cay does have some unique character opportunities. Be sure to walk from the ship to the beaches at least once while you are visiting Castaway Cay (either on your way to the beach in the morning or on your way back to the ship in the afternoon) and you’ll see some fun characters on your way!
Buy Castaway Cay Merchandise
The Castaway Cay shops are the ONLY place you can get Castaway Cay merchandise. So if you want to get a Castaway Cay t-shirt, you need to get it here.
My recommendation is to try to stop by in the morning. The store can be limited in the sizes they supply, so doing your shopping early in the day will likely give you the most selection.
Don’t pass the stores by thinking you will get what you want on the ship! While Disney Cruise ships of course stock Disney Cruise Line merchandise, they do not sell Castaway Cay merch onboard.
Run a 5K
If you are a runner, you may want to look into running the Castaway Cay 5K. This starts early in the morning, and takes you along the bike path and to Serenity Bay and back.
The best thing: it’s free AND you get a special medal for participating! Just register ahead of time!
Note that is it not open to children under 10.
Usually this is a group race where everyone runs at the same time. Since COVID though, you can run the race on your own at the your own time and still receive a medal.
Let Your Kids Enjoy Kid’s Club
If parents want to enjoy some time sans kids, there is actually a kid’s club on Castaway Cay — Scuttle’s Cove! This is just an extension of the Oceaneer’s Club on board, and they have plenty of fun beach activities for your kiddos to do. You can easily drop them off for a few hours while you get a massage, enjoy the adults-only beach, or have fun snorkeling.
Castaway Cay Excursions
There is so much to do on Castaway Cay, that you really don’t need to book an extra excursion. But if you want to, there are plenty of adventures to choose from. Note that like all excursions, these are an extra cost. Here is just a sampling of some of the popular options. These are subject to change.
This is a popular excursion for families where you can snorkel with a large group of stingrays.
Castaway Cay has several boat tours to choose from. These include a glass bottom boat, a jet boat tour, and a sandbar beach adventure where a boat takes you to enjoy the beach on a sandbar.
If you want to explore more than just what is in the bay at Castaway Cay, you can book a snorkeling excursion. Here you’ll travel out to a snorkeling spot and enjoy an hour to an hour and a half of snorkeling.
Disney offers catch and release fishing excursions from Castaway Cay. These include backcountry fishing, fly fishing, bottom fishing, and more.
If you want even more adventures, there are other excursions you can choose from too, including parasailing, kayaking, and jet skis.
Castaway Cay Dining Guide
There are plenty of dining options spaced throughout Castaway Cay. You definitely don’t need to go back to the boat to eat! Here’s what your find!
Cookies BBQ, Cookies Too BBQ, and Serenity Bay BBQ
Depending on where you are on the island, you’ll head to one of these restaurants for lunch. Lunch is open from 11:30 to 2 daily, and they serve a buffet with a variety of food, including salads, fruit, burgers, chicken, BBQ, fish, sides, and dessert.
You’ll also find soft-serve ice cream near the BBQ restaurants.
Castaway Cay Bars
For frozen drinks, cocktails, and beers, the island has several bar options. Note that all specialty drinks are an additional charge.
You’ll find drinks at:
- Conched Out Bar (on the first part of the family beach)
- Heads Up Bar (on the second part of the family beach)
- Sand Bar (on the second part of the family beach)
- Castaway Air Bar (at Serenity Bay)
You will also find servers able to take your order for drinks on the beach, which is a really nice and luxurious perk!
This Frozen themed drink stand offers smoothies and fun frozen drinks in both regular cups and souvenir cups. These are an additional charge.
What’s Included on Castaway Cay?
Just like on your Disney Cruise, so much of what you do on Castaway Cay is included in the price of your cruise. All of your food at Cookies BBQ plus soft serve ice cream is free. (Well, free in the sense that you already paid for it).
Also included are your beach spots, play areas, and water slides. Scuttle’s Cove is also included.
What’s NOT included on Castaway Cay?
- Bike, snorkel, and beach equipment rentals
- Specialty and alcoholic drinks
- Excursions and boat rentals
- Cabana Rentals
Castaway Cay Packing List
When you get off the ship, you want to make sure you have everything you need with you! You definitely don’t want to leave the fun to have to go back the ship for something you forgot.
Here’s what you’ll need for Castaway Cay:
- Swimsuit and coverup (which you’ll probably just wear when you get off the boat)
- Beach Bag (to keep everything in!)
- Key to the World Card (EVERYONE needs their Key to the World Card to leave and get back on the boat!)
- Photo ID
- A little bit of cash if you want to mail something at the post office
- Refillable water bottles
- Phone (take photos and check the time, but you won’t have WiFi on the island)
- Magic Bands for kids (if they want to go to the kid’s club)
- Goggles (if you or your kids will want them for swimming)
- Sand Toys (if you think your kids will want them)
Note that you really don’t need money! You can charge everything except the post office to your room.
Tips for Your Day on Castaway Cay
Here are some tips for enjoying your day on Disney’s Castaway Cay!
- Try to get an early start if you can. The beaches, especially the family beach, can fill up fast. Getting off the ship early will give you more choice for what beach chairs you want to claim. Plus, the lines for the water slides are usually pretty short in the morning!
- Get towels on the way off the boat! When you exit the boat there will be Cast Members handing out towels for you to use at Castaway Cay. We like to grab enough for each us plus at least one extra in case we need it. There are multiple bins for used towels on the island you can drop your towels in at the end of the day.
- Take the path at least once! Yes, the tram is convenient, but walk from the boat to the beach at least once so you can see the characters. We like to walk in the morning and then take the tram back in the afternoon when we are worn out.
- Buy souvenirs early! If you want Castaway Cay merchandise, buy it early! You will ONLY be able to buy it on Castaway Cay, and availability may be limited. So hit the stores early if you know you want to do some shopping.
- You don’t have to book anything extra! There are tons of fun things to do on Castaway Cay without booking any excursions or special experiences! Although, if you can spend a little extra, I do highly recommend snorkeling and bike riding.
- Stay late! You usually don’t have to be back on the ship until about 4:45, but a lot of families will start heading back much earlier than that. If you are up for it, stay later in the afternoon for a quieter beach.