10 “Insider” Tips For Visiting Disney’s Castaway Cay


This post may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure policy.

Looking for the ultimate vacation getaway? Look no further than the stunning beaches, lush landscapes and turquoise Bahamian waters of Disney’s own private island, Castaway Cay. This exclusive island is a perk for guests taking a Disney cruise to the Bahamas and the Caribbean. Read on for some of our best “insider” tips to make your visit to this magical Disney island the pinnacle of your next vacation!

1. Know what (and what not) to bring onto the island

DO Bring:

  • Your “Key to the World” Cards– They will remind you many times before you get off the ship that you need your Key to the World Card but still, don’t forget it! Make sure you have every member of your party’s card with you before you even leave your room. This is the most important thing you will need.
  • Wave Phones– Wave phones are provided in your room and you can take them with you onto Castaway Cay! More details on the wave phones below (see Tip #2)
  • Sunscreen–  And apply often! Don’t forget your kids if they are in the kid’s club at Scuttle’s Cove. You may have to go grab them and re-apply if you have them in there for longer than a couple hours. 
  • Something to tell the time– A watch, your phone.. anything where you can check the time throughout the day. You will need to know the time so you know when you can grab lunch, when your excursion starts, and what time to get back to the boat. 
  • A large(ish) water bottle– I usually always keep my re-usable water bottle with me whether I am on vacation or just at home. Yes, they have water and drinks on the island but the cups they provide are pretty small. It’s best to bring something that you can keep on the beach with you without having to go and refill all the time.
  • Sunglasses– The white sand and clear water make for a lot of bright, reflective surfaces. Sunglasses are a must! 
  • A hat– Hats are always helpful just to keep that harsh sun off your face. Hats for the littles are a great idea, too.
  • Waterproof Phone Pouch– No need to bring an expensive, waterproof phone case. You can get a phone pouch for around $5-$10 on Amazon and you will be so happy you have it. It works just as good, if not better than an actual waterproof case. You will most-likely be spending a lot of time in the water and you will want to be taking lots of pictures. Plus if you go snorkeling you are going to want proof that you found the underwater Mickey statue!
  • Goggles (for the kids)– The snorkeling on Castaway Cay is awesome and my kids LOVE it but when we are just chillin’ close to the beach they prefer just regular goggles. They can easily dive down and see all the little fishes swimming around without dealing with a large mask and snorkel. 
  • Comfortable sandals or flip flops– Keep in mind that you might be walking around a bit to get where you want to go. If you don’t want to wait for a tram and want to walk somewhere you are going to want slightly better footwear.

DON’T Bring:

  • Money- Don’t even bother bringing cash or cards onto the island. They don’t even accept them anywhere. Not even in the gift shops. The one (and only) place that accepts cash is the post office. If you decide to buy stamps there or mail a postcard, you will only need a small bill or two. 
  • Life Jackets- They have these all over the island in all different sizes. They will have you covered. If you think you will need life jackets for your kids, grab them early on in the day so you don’t have to go searching for them later. 
  • Strollers (or Wheelchairs)- Both strollers and wheelchairs are provided on Castaway Cay. You can get them at the tram stop and you are free to use them all over the island. They even have wheelchairs that you can use in the sand! 
  • Towels- You are provided towels as you disembark the ship. Don’t worry about bringing them back on, they have laundry bins right there on the island that you can toss them into so you don’t have to lug them back to the ship. 
  • Disney trading pins- Though you can buy exclusive Castaway Cay pins on the island (more about that later), the cast members don’t actually do pin “trading”. Don’t bother bringing your pin collection to the island. They will just be dead weight.

2. Grab your Wave Phones

There is NO WiFi at Castaway Cay, making it the perfect place to unplug and truly escape. But, if you need to reach a member of your party, use the “wave phones” from the ship. You can call and text with them for FREE! Disney provides TWO wave phones per room but if you need more you can go down to guest services on the ship and they can give you more (for a small fee).

3. Escape the crowds

If you want to escape the crowds and get some AMAZING photo ops on Castaway Cay! All you have to do is come early and stay late. The first and last hours on the island are the least crowded (by far). Get off the ship as soon as they allow passengers off. The morning lighting is beautiful for pictures and the water is crystal clear because people aren’t playing in the water yet. Grab a nice, shady spot on the beach, and throw down your stuff to secure it. The spots furthest from the ship fill up first so head that direction.

Possibly even better than getting there early is straying there late. A lot of people head back to the ship around 2-3 because they are done with the sun and sand but that is the best time to be on the island! We spent the last hour of the day at Serenity Bay and pretty much had the place to ourselves. It was incredible! We got some of our very best pictures at this time. See the video below to see how EMPTY is was. We took this video around 3pm.