Inside Disney’s Bahamas Castaway Island open to cruise passengers only
Sure, Disney is known for its fabulous theme parks and movies – but few know about their exclusive private island reserved for a particular guest.
While Disney is known for its theme parks, many may not realize they even have their own private island.
Castaway Cay, located in the Bahamas, is private in the sense that only cruise passengers can visit it – and I was lucky enough to be one of them.
The island is included on most Disney cruise voyages, with the five-person fleet including ships such as the Disney Dream and soon the new Disney Wish.
The 5km-long destination is meant to look like an abandoned island, complete with fake plane wreckage and metal slat restaurants, The sun reports.
Most of the 1,000 acres (404 hectares) are still undeveloped, with visitors only having access to 55 acres (22 hectares) of built-up land.
As soon as I entered the island, I was greeted by famous Disney characters, waving to Goofy as I walked past.
It’s got it all covered – there’s the island’s post office so you can post a postcard with the stamp of Castaway Cay, plus snorkel, tub and float rentals.
Scuttle’s Cove is perfect for kids, with a huge water play area, while Pelican Plunge has a double waterslide so you can race someone through the water.
At In-Da-ShadePavilion, games include basketball, pool, and ping pong, although there are also beach sports like tetherball, volleyball, and soccer.
You won’t go hungry either, there’s Gumbo Limbo or Cookie’s BBA, while smoothies and frozen drinks can be found at one of the four bars.
However, three things stood out for me – here are my three favorite things about the exclusive island.
Adults only section
There are three main beaches on the island – Family Beach, Sports Beach and the adult-only Serenity Beach, which I immediately headed for.
With the ship being full of families, this not only meant that I managed to avoid the kids trying to sunbathe, but that the beach was much quieter.
Even during the busiest part of the day, I managed to float on the water with hardly anyone around me, as well as having a lounge chair away from everyone – something almost unheard of on most public beaches.
Cheap bike rentals
My favorite activity on the island was to rent a bike, which can be rented by the hour, to enjoy a 5km cycle around the island through tree-lined paths.
There is even an airplane “airstrip” which was huge and empty, so have fun hopping up and down with friends.
I went to the other end of the island, and found a quiet spot in the shade overlooking the beaches, which remained relatively secluded all day.
I was also very surprised to barely meet anyone on my bike ride.
If you don’t feel like biking, there’s also the island tram, which takes you from the entrance, to the middle beaches and to the adult-only end – also great fun.
The private cabins
But if you want to do the island in style, skip the lounge chairs on the beaches and opt for a private cabana.
Although they may be steep at A$697, they can be used by up to six people and have towels, seats, hammocks, snacks and cold drinks, plus a button to press to any assistance.
This meant I had to dip my toe in the water without having to pack all my food and sunscreen.
If it got too hot, I retreated inside for a cold soda and some fruit, as well as reapplying my sunscreen without getting sandy.
I can’t pretend I didn’t take a midday nap in the hammock, before grabbing a free inflatable to take back to the sea.
Best of all, they’re tucked towards the end of the beach so no one walks past to disturb.
So even if you don’t think Disney Island is your cup of tea, you might want to reconsider if you want a quiet slice of paradise without the crowds, but with all the luxuries that Disney has to offer. .
If you want to try it for yourself, Disney recently launched its new Disney Wish cruise ship, with three overnight crossings from Florida, including the island of the Bahamas.
Disney was the first to launch its own private island just for cruise passengers, although others like Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and Virgin have since followed suit.
And Disney is even planning a second private island – costing $400 million, Lighthouse Point is expected to open within the next few years.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and has been republished with permission