On our Disney Cruise, we only had one port of call, on our second day we stopped at Disney’s private island – Castaway Cay. Now one of the things that most appealed about this stop is that it was a true opportunity for us to beach it guilt free. No local strip to check out or exotic foods to seek out and sample. Just a clean stretch of white sand, turquoise water, and delicious food without any fear of the unknown. While I adore getting off the beaten track and always seek out local markets and delicacies on our travels, it was kinda refreshing not to have to do any of that, just stop, drop, and play.
Disembarking the Disney Fantasy at Castaway Cay could not be easier, just walk off. No tethers, and really no waiting in line. You can always pop back on board if you’ve forgotten something as well – just be sure to always have your “key to the world” handy. You’ll come across water vendors when you first get off the ship, but water is available at the food area should you prefer to refill your own containers as well. Do remember that there is no coffee or milk available on Castaway Cay. So if you need your caffeine fix or an afternoon bottle before a nap, you’ll have to nip back inside or bring travelers with you. It’s a very short walk to the beach, or you can hop on board the little tram (fun for toddlers).
What I love about everything Disney is that everything is always so accessible, and Castaway Cay is no exception. On a first-come, first-served basis, there are beach-ready strollers, wagons, and wheelchairs (I had never seen these before!) that you can grab as you approach the beach. I saw few families take advantage of these, mostly I think because they weren’t planning on doing much walking around the island (the ship does do a 5k run in the morning if you are so inclined). Beach loungers are plentiful, as are umbrellas, and towels are also provided on the island. The gift shop sells a number of pail and shovel options, but we were too cheap to buy them. Our kids made do with their drinking cups and seemed to make out ok.
The sand is soft, clean, and white. The water is crystal clear, but a little cooler than we are used to. The chill was quite refreshing at first, but it did not take long for us all to get used to the water, and other than our late lunch (more on that later) we really did not leave the water’s edge. For babies and toddlers, the slope to the water is nice and gentle, but do ensure they’re hatted and sunscreened (if they’re old enough) up because that Bahamian sun is strong. You can rent any number of water sport equipment, and the cabanas look lovely (albeit expensive – starting at $500/day), but we simply just lazed in the sand.
Scuttle’s Cove is the Castaway Cay-equivalent of Oceaneer’s Club on board the Fantasy. We didn’t go in, even though my daughter really (really) wanted to go. I insisted on family time at the beach and I’m glad that I did. I suppose it’s a good thing that your kids want to ditch you for the kids’ clubs but I convinced her to hang out with boring old mom and dad and she could go to the Oceaneer’s Club in the afternoon. Deal.
The food on Castaway Cay is a varied buffet – I’m not sure if it’s the same everyday but for us it was hamburgers and hot dogs, as well as a number of different chicken and rib selections (yum) and salads. You could grab any number of soft drinks or water (no coffee or milk though – remember!) and you could order alcoholic beverages to be charged to your stateroom. We thought the food was delicious – it was as good as the food on board the ship, which my clothes will tell you was a little too good 😉 Of course for dessert, there was the self-serve soft-serve ice cream bar. The food on Castaway Cay is included in your fare, just the alcoholic beverages and bottled water are extra.
And because Castaway Cay is a Disney destination, the facilities are baby and toddler friendly, and spotless – in spite of the sandy location. There are change tables in the washrooms, and the showers are located outside each restroom – it took us a while to figure that out.
Of course there are adult-only areas of Castaway Cay that are lovely, I’m sure, but for us this was a glorious family day at the beach, with an easy stroll back to our stateroom for naps.