Castaway Cay, which is Disney’s private island, is the best part of a Disney Cruise for child-free couples. This island is perfection in every way and we love it so much that we make sure to visit every year. The weather has always been warm and bright and although our visit in January had water that was far too chilly to get into, every other month has offered warm and refreshing water. Disney has designed their island so that the ship can pull directly up to land thus eliminating the need to tender and the island is never crowded because only Disney Cruise passengers are allowed here and only one ship is docked here at a time. Simply walk off the ship, grab some of the big striped beach towels that are provided, and have some fun!
A tram will get you to the various beaches on the island and there are recorded announcements that will tell you where to get off for the beach you are interested in. You can choose to walk instead of using the tram and along the way are opportunities for fun pictures.
Aside from the beaches, there are gift shops, bike paths, rentals of bikes, snorkel equipment, floats, jet skis, and so on. Use your Key To The World Card to make all purchases except for at the post office which takes cash only. You can purchase post cards and send them to friends and family from the island but it will take over a month for them to arrive at their destination.
At lunch time, a free outdoor BBQ buffet is served, one at the family beach and the other at the adults-only beach. There are hot dogs, burgers, ribs, a salad and fruit bar, cookies and soft serve ice cream along with sodas and water.
This is the entrance to Serenity Bay which is the adults-only beach. To the left of the picture is a bar, restrooms, and an outdoor BBQ buffet that opens for lunch called Cookie’s Too. Going to the right, where the people in the picture are headed, is a stretch of pristine beach with chairs and umbrellas. Arrive early in the morning and you’ll have the entire beach to yourself.
Standing in the water and looking toward the beach, the adult cabanas are just behind the umbrellas near the trees.
This picture was taken at the end of the beach.
Lots of people move the short chairs into the shallow water.
In this picture I am standing in water up to my chest and I can still see my feet clearly!
Occasionally, a Disney character will come strolling down the adult beach and is happy to pose for pictures.
The private cabanas on Castaway Cay are extremely popular and sell out as soon as bookings open. The best way to ensure booking a cabana is to stay up until midnight the night before your booking window opens and reserve a cabana on the Disney Cruise Line website. These are the various booking windows.
If this is your first Disney cruise: booking opens 75 days before your cruise
Silver Castaway member: after 1 cruise – begin booking 90 days before your cruise
Gold Castaway member: after 5 cruises – begin booking 105 days before your cruise
Platinum Castaway member: after 10 cruises – being booking 120 days before your cruise
It costs $549 to rent a cabana on the family beach and $399 to rent a cabana on Serenity Bay for the day. Although the price is high, it is totally worth it because it makes the beach experience so much more enjoyable.
When you arrive at Serenity Bay, there is a little hut with a sign welcoming cabanas guests. Someone will greet you, check you cabana wrist bands and then will drive you to your cabana in a golf cart. This person will be available to assist you all day. Inside your cabana is a button to push whenever you need him and he will come speeding on his golf cart to take you to the restroom, to the buffet, or pick you up at the end of the day to drop you off at the tram back to the ship. Basically, you never have to walk anywhere except into the ocean. Every year, the people we have had assisting us were all so warm and friendly that we always give a $20 tip. Simple hand it to him in cash as you are leaving the cabana at the end of the day.
This is the side view of a cabana. As you can see, the entrance door is on the left side of the picture, there is the indoor living area, an outdoor deck, and steps leading down to the sand on the front half of the cabana. Adjacent to the deck steps are an outdoor shower, hammock, and beach floats all for your private use.
This is the view of Serenity Bay from the cabanas.
Inside your cabin you’ll find a nice variety of complimentary bottled water and sodas. The chilled towels feel heavenly on a sun toasted face.
Also in the fridge is a bowl of fresh fruit. Chips and granola bars are provided along with sunscreen. At the end of the day, put all the unused drinks, snacks, and sunscreen in your bag and bring it back onto the ship with you. Put the drinks in the fridge inside your stateroom to enjoy later and the sunscreen comes in handy because it’s expensive on the ship.
There is plenty of space inside the cabanas and you can move the lounge chairs around wherever you please.
My husband is very pale and burns easily so he likes to push his lounger into the living room so he can be completely covered by shade. He also likes to put the chilled towels on his head.
Inside the cabinet by the entrance door are extra towels and a safe to put your belongings in while you are in the ocean or at the lunch buffet.
COOKIE’S BBQ BUFFET
This buffet is located on the adults only beach of Serenity Bay.I don’t recommend showing up as soon as it opens because a long line forms but if you wait a while, you can walk right up to the food. Everything here is free.
Buns and cheese slices.
Hamburger toppings – lettuce, onions, pickles, and tomatoes. It’s usually not this messy.
Cous cous, cole slaw, German potato salad, Greek salad, tomato salad.
Hamburgers, vegetable burgers, grilled chicken, ribs, rib eye steak.
Dessert- soft serve ice cream, upside down cake, chocolate chip cookies, banana bread.