Castaway Cay is Disney’s private island. It can only be accessed via one of its cruise ships. Is it worth the effort and expense required to get there? What is there to do on Castaway Cay?
What is There to Do on Castaway Cay?
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What is There to Do on Castaway Cay?
1. Explore the Island
Where is Castaway Cay? It is located in the Bahamas, close to the Abaco Islands.
What was Castaway Cay before Disney signed a 99 year lease with the Bahamian government and moved in? The island was used to smuggle drugs. No, really. It was.
At this point, only Disney employees live there. This means there aren’t any locals stalking you upon exiting the ship to purchase things, and you won’t find any of the stereotypical cruise port stores.
While Castaway Cay lacks the culture that you will find on other islands beyond the cruise ports, it offers a clean, peaceful beach day with free food, lots of activities, and bathrooms you don’t have to pay to use.
Spend some time exploring the island to check out all it has to offer. Designated trails are available.
Pro tip: Check out the Castaway Cay map before your visit to familiarize yourself with the area.
2. Visit the Castaway Cay Beach
What is included at Castaway Cay? There is a lot, but the beaches are definitely the highlight of the free stuff.
There are two beaches, one for families, and Castaway Cay Serenity Bay for adults only. Both are vast, with plenty of chairs and umbrellas.
Lifeguards are on duty, Castaway Cay life jackets are readily available, servers stroll the beaches selling cocktails, and there are actual bathrooms with toilets that flush. Wins all around.
Note: You are not allowed to remove anything from the beach, including shells. Would they really take a shell away from a child when he or she boards the ship? Yes, yes they will.
Pro Castaway Cay tip: If you care about chairs and umbrellas near the water, arrive early.
Bonus pro tip for Castaway Cay: Try the Pina CoLAVA cocktail.
Extra bonus pro tip: You don’t need to bring towels with you. They are distributed right outside the ship. You will also receive washcloths upon returning to the ship, so there is no need to bring your own.
Extra bonus pro tip: The island is cashless. Everyone needs their keycard to exit and board the ship. You will use this to pay for drinks and gift shop purchases as well.
Extra bonus pro tip: Check the Castaway Cay weather so you know what to expect. It’s not always hot.
Beach Bag Packing List
Don’t forget to bring the following items:
A. Shore excursion documentation
B. Identification (Key card)
C. Cash for the post office
E. Cell phone and portable cell phone charger
L. Waterproof cell phone case – If necessary.
M. Beach toys – These are also for sale at the gift shops on the island.
O. Magic Bands provided by the cruise line – If you are dropping off at Scuttle’s Cove.
3. Castaway Cay Snorkeling Lagoon
What activities are available at Castaway Cay for an extra charge? There are several, but equipment rentals are the most popular.
There is a lagoon dedicated to snorkeling with two different trails to follow. You can rent equipment from a walk up stand or pre-book the rental as a shore excursion.
Cost: As of the time of this writing, Castaway Cay snorkel rentals start at $36 for one day and $45 for two days when pre-booked as a shore excursion.
Pro tip: Look for Hidden Mickeys.
4. Castaway Cay Float Rentals
What can you do at Castaway Cay? Floating on the ocean seems like a great choice.
You can rent floats and inner tubes to use in the ocean. You can either pre-book them through a shore excursion, or walk up to the stand the same day.
Cost: As of the time of this writing, Castaway Cay rentals start at $13 for one day or $16 for two.
5. Lay in a Hammock
What’s included at Castaway Cay? If you can beat the crowds, the free hammocks located throughout the beach are a great place to hang out and relax.
6. Rent a Boat
You can rent kayaks, paddleboards, paddle boats, aqua trikes, Fun Cats, Hobie Cats, and banana boats.
Cost: Prices vary depending upon what you rent.
7. Ride in a Speedboat
You can book a ride in a speedboat. This needs to be pre-booked as a Castaway Cay port adventure.
Cost: As of the time of this writing, prices start at $85 per guest ages 10 and up and $75 for guests ages five through nine.
Note: Castaway Cay Disney excursions, including this one, fill up fast. If you don’t get one, don’t worry about it. You don’t need a shore excursion to enjoy your day.
8. Ride in a Castaway Cay Glass Bottom Boat
Glass bottom boats offer views of the ocean below. You need to pre-book this experience as a shore excursion.
Cost: As of the time of this writing, the cost starts at $59 per guest ages 10 and up and $39 for kids ages nine and under.
Note: Glass bottom boats can be quite nauseating to those who are prone to motion sickness.
Note: Disney Castaway Cay excursions, including this one, fill up fast. Don’t worry if you don’t get one. You don’t need a shore excursion to enjoy your day.
9. Slide Down Some Water Slides
Castaway Cay Pelican Plunge is a 2,400 square foot floating platform that houses two large water slides. One slide is faster than the other, so you can go down at the same time as your child, land first, and catch he or she at the bottom.
Note: These slides deposit you into the ocean. The ocean has saltwater. It doesn’t feel great going up your child’s nose. Make sure he or she appreciates this prior to sliding.
10. Play at the Splashpad
Spring a Leak is a splashpad located on the island. It is one of the best activities on Castaway Cay for young kids.
11. Visit Characters
If characters are your thing, getting photos with them in their beach gear is one of the best things to do on Castaway Cay. Goofy tends to host a dance party and has been known to go snorkeling.
12. Play a Sport and Get Active
Soccer, volleyball, basketball, shuffleboard, a floating ropes course, and tetherball are all free things to do on Castaway Cay.
13. Visit the Game Pavilion
In Da Shade (Disney isn’t winning any awards for naming this one) offers games like ping pong, foosball, and pool. This area offers some of the best things to do at Castaway Cay if you want to get out of the sun.
14. Disney Castaway Cay 5k Run
You can participate in a 5k on the island. It was more organized pre-COVID. At this point, you just do it on your own time. No registration required.
Pro tip: You can collect a Castaway Cay 5k medal after you complete it at the Bike Rental station.
Note: You can purchase a package that includes a cinch sack, water bottle, and hat. This is an unnecessary purchase that you should only make if it makes you really happy.
15. Ride a Bicycle Around the Island
Bikes are available to rent to ride around the island. You can walk up to rent them or pre-book them as a shore excursion.
Cost: As of the time of this writing, Castaway Cay bike rentals start at $13 for one day and $16 for two days when pre-booked as a shore excursion.
Pro tip: If you want to do multiple things, you can rent bicycles as part of a larger package that includes snorkel equipment and an inner tube. Do the math to figure out what makes sense for you.
16. Castaway Cay Fishing Excursions
You can book fishing excursions. They are not cheap, and you’re not going to keep the fish. Unless fishing is your thing, your time will probably be better spent on the beach.
Cost: As of the time of this writing, the cheapest fishing excursion is $164 per person.
Note: Shore excursions, including this one, fill up fast. Don’t worry about it if you don’t get one. You don’t need a shore excursion to enjoy your day.
17. Interact with Stingrays
There are multiple shore excursions with stingrays at Stingray Hut. You can feed and snorkel with stingrays, snorkel only, or book a larger package that includes other rentals.
Cost: As of the time of this writing, costs start at $36 for guests ages 10 and up and $25 per child ages five through nine.
Note: Excursions on Castaway Cay, including this one, fill up fast. Don’t worry about it if you don’t get one. You don’t need a shore excursion to enjoy your day.
18. Castaway Cay Parasailing
What is there to do at Castaway Cay? If your kids are older and weigh enough, parasailing is a great option. This must be booked ahead of time as a shore excursion.
Cost: As of the time of this writing, prices start at $129 per person.
Note: This excursion is often canceled due to wind.
Note: Guests must be at least eight years old and 90 pounds to participate. You will find lower age and weight limits in lots of other places. Try to do it at a different port if this one doesn’t work out.
Note: Castaway Cay excursions, including this one, fill up fast. Don’t worry about it if you don’t get one. You don’t need a shore excursion to enjoy your day.
19. Visit the Post Office
What is there to do at Disney Castaway Cay? If you want a cheap souvenir, visit the island post office.
It is operated by the Bahamian government and isn’t always open. If you want to mail something from the post office, plan on it taking a long time to arrive.
Cost: Free to visit
Pro tip: Bring stamps onto the island if you want to mail something in case the post office is closed. You can purchase stamps on the ship.
20. Ride the Tram
How do you get around Castaway Cay? You can easily walk, but you can also ride the free tram.
The tram is a mode of transportation from the ship to the island, but it is also a great way to see the area. Take a ride in the afternoon when the kids are tired.
Pro tip: There are free strollers available on the island. You don’t need to bring your own.
21. Get a Castaway Cay Massage
What is there to do on Disney’s private island? If you want to splurge and can go without kids, a massage would be amazing.
Disney Cruise Line spas are expensive, but also worth it. Treatments are offered both on the ships and the island on the day that you visit.
Cost: Varies by the treatment
22. Castaway Cay Lunch
Is food on Castaway Cay free? Yes, it is.
There are two barbecue restaurants on the island, Cookie’s and Cookie’s Too. Both are included in your cruise fare.
The restaurants are quick service with no indoor dining. Seating is located outside under pavilions.
Castaway Cay food options include things like hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, ribs, and salmon. Bold birds on the island will attempt to steal all of it.
Cost: Free (with an extra charge for alcohol)
Pro tip: The Castaway Cay restaurants tend to have limited hours and extremely long lines. Eat at an off time. Alternatively, if you don’t want to deal with the madness, get back on the ship to eat then return to the island.
Bonus pro tip: Ice cream machines and drink stations are set up for self service.
Castaway Cay extra bonus pro tip: The island can accommodate food allergies. Pre-order with your dining room server the night before you visit the island.
23. Ditch Your Kids
The island offers lots of free Castaway Cay kid activities.
Scuttle’s Cove Castaway Cay
Scuttle’s Cove is a Castaway Cay kids club with free childcare for ages three through 12. Your kids can play there while you visit the adult beach or participate in a shore excursion.
There are often organized Castaway Cay activities for this age group. Check the schedule on the Disney Cruise Line app.
The Castaway Cay Hideout is a beach area for teens only.
24. Rent Cabanas at Castaway Cay
What are the costs at Castaway Cay? You can pay extra for a lot of things, but cabanas are by far the most expensive.
You can rent private Castaway Cay cabanas at both the family beach and Serenity Bay. There are only 25 total. The price includes some snacks, activity rentals, sunscreen, and not much else.
These cabanas are extremely popular and nearly impossible upon which to come unless you book your cruise Concierge level (way more money) and get to reserve port excursions, including cabanas, before everyone else.
Since food is already free, it is hard to justify the steep price of these cabanas. If you want to avoid other people, go for it.
Cost: Prices vary by sail date, but a cabana on Castaway Cay will always be several hundred dollars.
25. Which Disney Cruises Go to Castaway Cay?
Most Caribbean and Bahamian cruises with Disney Cruise Line stop at Castaway Cay. Some even visit twice on one cruise. Check the itineraries when you book to find one that interests you.
26. How Long Do You Spend on Castaway Cay?
How long do you stay on Castaway Cay? It varies by the cruise, but you will generally be docked at Castaway Cay for a few hours. Check your cruise itinerary for your exact times.
Final Thoughts – What is There to Do on Castaway Cay?
The island is beautiful, clean, and filled with activities. What is there to do on Castaway Cay that doesn’t cost extra? A lot. Don’t waste your money on an experience you won’t really enjoy when you can easily fill your day elsewhere.
Is Castaway Cay worth it? Absolutely. Take a cruise there with your kids. You will not regret it.