Sorry it's taken so long, but I'm back with day 3 of our Disney cruise!
If you missed the beginning you can click here!
On day 3 we woke up to find ourselves docked at the most beautiful beach ever: Castaway Cay!
Just looking at the picture makes me want to go back right now.
I always thought the water you see in caribbean beach pictures had to be photo-shopped or edited in some way; but I can tell you first hand now that the pictures are real! This is a completely untouched, unfiltered photo looking at Castaway from our balcony. I was mesmerized and couldn't wait to get off the ship!
We ate breakfast upstairs at Cabana's and then went down to deck 1 to get off the ship. I can't remember what time we got off the boat, but I'm thinking it was 8:30am-ish and we had almost every character come off the ship at the same time, so we were able to see quite a few of them before even getting to the beach. Some of them (like Goofy and Minnie, below) went straight to the golf cart and were driven to various points along the walk to Castaway. Some of them stayed in the "gangway" area, or the dock right beside the ship, for pictures and greetings.
Daisy was our first character meeting that day!
Here's a picture of the side of the ship as we were looking up at it; you can see the Aquaduck water slide in this photo.
Next we saw Chip and Dale but they were about to take a break, so I just snapped a quick picture.
Captain Hook and Mr. Smee took their place and we were able to get a photo with them.
Note: This picture is taken in front of the Castaway post office. You can go inside here and mail a postcard to friends and family. This is one of the only places on the entire cruise, though, where you do need cash. The Bahamian stamps are 50 cents each and they only take cash.
There's a short walk to the trams as soon as you get off the boat. You will pass the post office on your way to the trams (if I remember correctly!)
The trams make 3 stops; one at each family beach and then one stop at Serenity Bay, which is the adults only beach. We did not go to Serenity Bay but I wish I had checked it out! Next time. :)
On the tram to the beaches!
We went to the first section of the main family beaches and had no trouble finding chairs and an umbrella; believe me, there were plenty! There are also Cabanas that your family can reserve 75 days before your trip. They are $500 so if you really think it's worth it, go right ahead. Not me.
Mary Ella said the whole time that there was no way she was swimming in the ocean. She's not a big fan of waves. But as soon as we approached the beach, this girl RAN into the crystal clear waters of Castaway Cay and it was like pulling teeth to get her to take a break from swimming. She loved it. There are no waves here because it is almost like a lagoon, with coral reef and rock "boundaries" at the outer edges of the water. It was perfect for kids and so relaxing.
Along with the 2 lounge chairs and umbrellas, there were 2 simple fold-up sun chairs as well in our spot. We did what everyone else seemed to be doing and took our smaller chairs straight down to the water. Emma Kate enjoyed soaking up the rays here.
Over in the distance you can see Pelican Point, which is a teen area with a water slide. Chad and Les walked over to this area and tried out the slides and they said it was fun. They also took a dip in a tub full of chlorine, thinking it was for humans, and then quickly jumped out when a cast member told them it was for cleaning life jackets. I'm glad they don't have 3rd degree skin burns.
You can also see a little dock in the middle of the water to the right in this picture below, and that's an area for any age but you have to swim out to it. There are ropes set up like monkey bars from one platform to the next and a couple of drawbridges.
The kids loved the sand just as much as the ocean. The weather this time of year was perfect.
It was HOT and I'd definitely suggest lots of sunscreen and lots of water!
We actually bought a bucket full of ice and 6 bottled waters here (it was $10) and it ended up being some of the best 'extra' money we ever spent! There were crew members everywhere that were always asking if we needed anything.
These are huge metal boat anchors that they have painted. They call this area "Mount Rustmore." Ha!
Here's a picture of the boat - probably one of the best pictures I took of the entire ship.
This is the stingray area and if you look closely you can see them swimming around (the darker areas). They have an excursion where you can feed the sting rays. We didn't do any excursions this go round because we felt our kids weren't old enough and we really just wanted to enjoy the beach all day.
There are tube and raft rentals, and as you can see they have plenty to spare!
After swimming and playing for a while, the big kids went to Scuttle's Cove, which is the kids club at Castaway. It is SO awesome! There's a playground, a huge splash pad, and the entire area is in the sand underneath the palm trees. They also have big canopies for shade, so you don't have to worry about the kids being exposed to open sun. The kids had the same counselors at Castaway that they had on board the ship, so when we went to check them in, they were greeted by name as usual and the kids felt super comfortable and ran in without even hesitating. They painted sand castles, played tug-o-war, and had a blast in the splash pad. They also ate lunch there.
While the big kids enjoyed Scuttle's Cove, Little Miss relaxed in the shade a bit.
On Castaway day lunch was provided at Cookies BBQ. It was an all-you-can eat spread FULL of anything you could ever want at a barbecue feast: ribs, chicken, pork, breads, corn on the cob, beans, slaw, chips, fruit, plenty of desserts, and fountain drinks. They also had a soft serve bar.
Needless to say we didn't go hungry on our beach day. :)
We had actually reserved nursery hours for EK beginning at noon on this day but since it was a long walk back to the ship we ended up not using them. She stayed on the beach with us and napped in the shade.
Around 2pm I went and picked up the kids at the cove and took them back to the beach, where they swam and played until it was time to go inside.
You can definitely tell that the kids loved this beach.
I loved watching them play and splash and sing and pretend... they were in the best moods.
Makes me wish we had a Castaway close to home.
Here's a panoramic I tried to take with my little camera.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Soon it was time to board the tram and head back to the ship. I took the next few pictures on our way back to the Dream.
We went in around 3:30pm so that the kids could catch a nap before our 5:45 dinner.
I need to make note of this for future cruisers: Castaway was the one day I wished I'd had a stroller to use! I'm pretty sure you can request one from Guest Services because I saw several people onboard the ship with Disney themed umbrella strollers. EK was able to walk around the ship just fine but Castaway has two long stretches of walking (even if you go to the nearest family beach) and our arms were tired from carrying her plus our beach bags and towels! They did have wagons we could have rented but the renting place is almost at the beach (since you can't exactly put a wagon on the tram) so there was really no point in renting one by then. So I'd definitely take a stroller to Castaway if you have a little one that can't make it a long walking distance.
As you arrive at the gangway, a crew member greets you with an ice cold towel. Disney service at its best.
And to top off our amazing day, Stitch was waiting at the end of the gangway. Mary Ella and Sam were pumped to see him but Sam was a little too shy to get in the picture.
When we got back up to our room we looked down and saw a sea turtle swimming on top of the water!
This picture is way zoomed in but the kids loved waving at "Crush."
We gave them a good scrub down in the tub (yes, Disney ships boast actual TUBS in the bathrooms!) and then they went down for naps.
I knew we'd be heading straight to dinner after resting, so I went ahead and put these 2 in their pirate get-up. We had a fun evening ahead and didn't want to be a minute late.
This girl opted to forego the late nap since she'd had one on the beach, and I found her on the balcony having a feast-for-one. She'd ripped open the bag of Milano cookies and was licking her lips.
(There is a piece of clear plexi-glass on the balcony, so don't worry, she could not slip through the rails. We never really worried about the kids being on the balcony.)
Finally it was time to wake up and head out for Pirate Night!
We had 2 pirates and a parrot, and they were all a hit with the other cruisers. Especially Emma Kate.
(We already had our pirate costumes. They were given to Mary Ella for Christmas a couple years ago; I can't find Mary Ella's online anymore but Sam's is actually the Dora Pirate Adventure costume from Amazon. The parrot costume came from Old Navy this year.)
One of the things I loved about the dinner experiences was that our servers were always dressed differently each night. On pirate night they did not disappoint! They all greeted Sam with "Arrrgh, Matey!" as he walked through the doors of the Enchanted Garden restaurant that evening.
The parrot decided she was tired after all and was a bit of a fussy bird at dinner that night.
Once they brought out her mac n cheese and Mickey ketchup, though, she was happy again.
This night was extra special because it was Gage's 3rd birthday! What a fun way to celebrate turning 3.
This dinner menu was all pirate or Jack Sparrow themed and mostly consisted of seafood.
Here is my appetizer - the crab cake.
After dinner we took a quick family picture in the lobby.
We skipped the show that night - it wasn't one of the broadway shows, but some sort of magic show - so we walked around instead. The pirate deck party was super crowded but entertaining.
To give you an idea...
Excuse the poor coloring and lighting in all these photos; the lights kept changing colors and I was too tired to mess with my camera so I just kept it on Auto the entire time this was going on; the deck party involved Mickey and the gang as well as Captain Hook and his band of pirates, who were trying to 'take over the ship.' Of course Mickey prevailed and the ship was saved from disaster.
Sam and his dad had a sword fight on the deck while the show was going on.
After the pirate deck party we went inside to walk around again. We dropped Sam and Mary Ella off at the kids club in their PJ's for Pluto's Pajama Party then just hung out in the lobby. We saw several characters but we'd already had pictures with most of them so we just sat around and people-watched. Emma Kate seemed to make friends wherever she would go.
The pajama party with Pluto was one of my kids' favorite things. They decorated a sweet pillow case with Pluto and played some fun bedtime games.
After the pajama party we went down to the souvenir stores. The kids had $20 to spend and they each picked out a little something.
Emma Kate got a Minnie Mouse but I didn't take a picture.
She was more interested in climbing anyway.
On pirate night they shoot fireworks at sea. This didn't happen until 10:45pm and our big kids were snoozing by then so they didn't see them, but the wild child was still awake and we managed to catch the tail end of the show from the balcony, though our view was somewhat limited.
I wish the fireworks were a little earlier so that we could've stayed awake to watch them from the top deck! It was just too late after such a long day.
Here's a picture of the side of the boat from our balcony - the water still looks so blue.
Castaway was definitely my favorite day of the trip.
And there's lots more to it than what I've written here - bike rides, a lookout tower, excursions, and lots more, so make sure to do your research to get the most out of your trip!
I didn't need anything but the beach, the sun and the water! Best day ever!
See all things Disney here!