For many people, the stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, is the highlight of their cruise! Here are some tips to make the most of your visit on this amazing island.

You are headed ashore, what should you put in your beach bag? You will want to make sure you do not get off the ship without your Key to the World card and adults will need a picture ID. Throw some sunscreen, your phone or a camera, sunglasses, and some water or a reusable water bottle in your beach bag. If you are traveling with kids you might want to bring a few sand toys. Don’t worry if you forget any of these, you can buy all of this on the island.

Outside of the ship, you can pick up some towels for the day. There are more towels by the beach as well. Cast members will have water, beer, and cooler bags available to purchase. You can also pick up a free stroller or wheelchair. Disney provides special beach wheelchairs with larger wheels for the sand.

Hop on the island tram to make your way over to the family beach and other activities. I personally love to walk the path. Along the way you might get lucky and run into some friends like Captain Jack Sparrow, Chip and Dale, or one of the fab 5.

Stop at Marge's Barges & Sea Charters Dock if you have an excursion scheduled. There are some fun excursions that you can book prior to your cruise - parasailing, fishing excursions, and the stingray adventure. Otherwise, keep heading down the path towards the beaches!

The Castaway Cay 5K is a fun way to break a sweat, burn some calories, and enjoy the sights around the island. It is no longer an organized race. The starting point is near the bike depot. Once you have completed the 5k, head over to the bike depot to pick up your medal.

The Family Beach is the largest and main beach. Serenity Bay is reserved for cruisers who are 18 and older. Both beaches are filled with lots of chairs and umbrellas. And because only one ship docks per day there is plenty of space for everyone. Of course, if you want a preferred spot, you will want to head to the beach early. One of my favorite things about Castaway Cay is that the island is barricaded with reefs and netted to keep sharks and the larger fish out. The water is crystal clear and it’s amazing how far out the shallow water goes.

Cabana rentals are a very popular thing on Castaway Cay. There are 20 on the Family Beach and 6 on Serenity Bay. The cabanas include comfy seating, a refrigerator, safe, towels, sunscreen, fruit and snacks, water and soft drinks, snorkel equipment, tubes/rafts, sand toys, bike rental, etc. These reservations fill up incredibly fast so book right away.

There is so much to do on Castaway Cay. Whether you prefer to relax on the beach or take a kayak out on the water, there is something for everyone. Pelican Plunge is a 2400 sq ft water playground island with two slides. You must be able to swim out to the island to enjoy it. But don’t worry, there are plenty of life jackets. Minimum height for the slides is 38” and a life jacket is required for those under 48”.

Head over to either Gills Fins & Boat, Flippers & Floats, or the Windsock Hut to rent things like tubes, rafts, kayaks, water trikes, or snorkel gear. Take your snorkeling gear out to the snorkeling lagoon and search for sunken treasures. You are welcome to bring your own snorkeling gear but will need to grab a vest from the rental stations. I recommend purchasing the Castaway Cay Getaway Package from the excursions. This package includes snorkeling rental for the day, a 1 hour bike rental, and a tube or raft rental for the day.

If you need a break from the beach stop by In Da Shade for some basketball, pool, or a game of checkers. Toddlers can have fun splashing around at Spring-a-Leak splash pad. Rent a bike and explore the island all the way over to the observation tower. There is a wide selection of sizes to choose from. You can also grab a souvenir at one of the two shops. Your kids can enjoy a version of the clubs from the ship on the island. Scuttle’s Cove is for the younger kiddos 3-12 years old. There is also a Teen Hideout for 14-17.

With all this activity, you are bound to work up a big appetite. Lunch is served from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm at Cookie’s, Cookie’s Too, and Serenity Bay BBQ. Choose from a wide selection of BBQ style foods - ribs, burgers, chicken, salads, fruit, and desserts. Outside the food stations you will find water and soda stations, soft serve ice cream, and, in the morning, fruit stands. There are several bars throughout the island. Drinks from these locations will be an additional charge.

When you are ready to head back onboard, drop your towels in one of the collection bins and head back down the path to the ship. Just outside the ship you will find cold towels and infused waters, so refreshing! Have your ID and Key to the World cards out and ready for the cast members.

Castaway Cay really is a tropical paradise. If you want to experience everything Castaway Cay has to offer, talk to your Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist and let them know you would like to book a Disney Cruise Line vacation with an itinerary that stops at Disney’s Castaway Cay.