Castaway Cay, oh how I love thee. With three beaches, 30+ cabanas, two main dining areas plus one adults-only dining area, you’ll find lots of places to rest your weary feet on this beautiful island. Most of your fellow guests are on the lookout for spots near bathrooms, food and activities for the kids.
So where is the best spot to set up camp for the day?
In this article
Let’s look at the beaches on Castaway Cay
I have placed 4 stars on this map. The YELLOW and BLACK stars are large stretches of beach.
- Red Star: The best place (for me) to sit on Castaway Cay
- Yellow Star: Family Beach Section 1 (water play ground)
- Black Star: Family Beach Section 2 (Pelican Plunge)
- Navy Blue Star: Serenity Bay (adults only beach)
My Personal Favorite Spot on the Family Beach
I don’t rent cabanas on most cruises, and I don’t always get off the ship the moment guests are cleared to head to the island, but I still usually find a seat in my preferred spot…
But where is it?
To understand, let’s first look at the whole Family Beach from above. In the bottom middle section is where the ships dock. (Arial imagery from mapquest.com)
My favorite spot is right here, nestled in the shade between Pelican Plunge and the snorkeling lagoon, so it’s right between the Yellow and Black stars making it my perfect location!
Why is this my favorite spot?
Just like Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory has his reasons for having a favorite spot, so do I. There are just enough trees to give you shade, but not so many that you can’t enjoy the warmth of the sun. There is activity around you, but it’s not so close that you can’t relax. And finally, there is only a small clustering of chairs in this spot, so you don’t feel overcrowded.
It. Is. Perfect!
And the view of the ship isn’t bad either. Did I mention it’s right next to Head’s Up Bar? No, well, that’s a Dirty Banana in my hand. It is lovely tropical beverage, and it has bananas in it, so it’s healthy. Right?
If you are looking at the beach from the ship, it’s right here.
Families With Younger Kids
The family beach is really broken up into 2 semi-circular areas. If you have younger kids, the Section 1 of the Family Beach is your desitnation. It’s closer to the ship, so if you need to run back onboard, you aren’t very far.
There is a water play ground set into the lagoon that is perfect for active young swimmers.
Families With Older Kids and Teens
If you have older, active kids, go ahead and take a tram to the Pelican Point Tram Stop. Pelican Point is the area of the island where the big water slide – Pelican Plunge – is located. This is where they are going to want to be, so you may as well set up camp there for the day.
There really isn’t a bad seat in the house here. Just like on the family beach, if there is shade to be found, it’s in the area farther from the water.
Serenity Bay is the adults-only beach on Castaway Cay. You could walk to it from the ship, but I don’t recommend it.
Instead, catch a tram which will take you down the airstrip and to the secluded waters of Serenity Bay. There’s a bar, cookout location and a beach with cabanas, lounge chairs and those little beach chairs you can drag to the water’s edge.
Drag the little chair to the water’s edge!
There isn’t much shade here anyway, so you may as well enjoy the water.
I am only going to talk briefly about the cabanas on Castaway Cay. You can find out all about these little slices of paradise here:
What I will say is this: If they are in your budget, and you can actually get one (they are in super high demand), then you can’t go wrong with reserving any of them.
- Family Beach: I like the view and foliage at Cabanas 9-12, but there is no bad cabana here.
- Serenity Bay: Only for guests 18+. Cabana 23 always seems to have availability. Not sure why. Maybe it’s haunted? Really, I have no clue here.
Want that secluded feel?
On an island with thousands of guests, that secluded feeling can be elusive, but not impossible, to attain. These 3 tips may help, but they aren’t for everyone:
- Rent a cabana. Seclusion on this island comes at a cost, and with only 20 available on the Family Beach, they are in super high demand. But, if you are sailing in a Concierge Level stateroom or if you are a Platinum Castaway Club member, you have a better shot at getting one!
- Sail on the Disney Magic or Disney Wonder on an itinerary that stops at Castaway Cay. These ships carry half the number of guests as the Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream. HALF! Half the guests means you have more room to stretch out and enjoy the island.
- Go kid-free. Scuttles Cove is the kids club on the island. You can check your little ones in, and you can enjoy a couple of hours of quiet time at Serenity Bay. The fact that it is only for guests 18 years+, and that it is quite a distance from the ship (ride that tram), means that few guests venture that way. Go for it!
Wrapping it up.
At press time, Disney Cruise Line seems to be looking to add another private island in the Bahamas to the Disney family. With three more ships being added to the fleet, it only makes sense. I can’t wait to see what they select and the story it tells.
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