Preparing for the Disney Dream – Castaway Cay Enhancements
While onboard the November 7th Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Disney Magic, I had the opportunity to get a peek at some of the new developments on Castaway Cay. I know that some folks have expressed concerned about how the new development is affecting the island, so I will address this first.
Disney Cruise Line (DCL) is doing an excellent job of keeping the construction impact to a minimum. As of my sailing, all island facilities were open to guests. As you walk around the island there are many construction fences, but the construction is well contained inside the fences.
The only significant impact to the island is in the area between the Heads Up Bar, located on the far side of the family beach, and the teen beach.
Portions of the lagoon are closed in this area for construction of the new Pelican’s Plunge slide and for the barge/crane for Pelican’s Plunge and the cabanas. The rest of the beaches, paths, and facilities are still wide open, and the island is just as beautiful as ever.
After the Magic docked at Castaway Cay, I noticed that they had begun pier enhancements for the larger ships. It looks like this process was not started too long ago. As far as I could tell, they have not started dredging the channel yet.
DCL has already constructed the new tram stop for the tram running from the pier to the family beach. It has been moved across the path from the old tram stop, about 80 feet closer to the ship. This means that guests no longer have to cross the tram path to get to the tram stop, and it seemed to make the foot traffic flow better. The tram has also been extended from 3 cars to 4 moving the crowds along much faster.
Arriving at the family beach, I spotted the new Castaway Ray’s Stingray Adventure , one of the Castaway Cay shore excursions. It is now located between the boat rental area and Gil’s Snorkel Rentals. The building and stingray lagoon are double in size from the original stingray area by the teen beach.
The family beach area and Cookie’s BBQ remain unchanged. Most of the construction is in the area surrounding the sports beach and the teen beach on the far end of the family beach. The bike rental hut has been moved closer to the Grouper Game Pavilion.
The former site for bike rentals has been leveled and will become the new Spring-a-Leak water playground.
I also noticed that the tram stop from the family beach to the Serenity Bay adult beach is being rebuilt. My guess is that they might be extending the tram route from the ship to this point, helping to move more guests to the far end of the family beach.
Next, I checked out the new Pelican’s Plunge slide. It is in its permanent location and is now being prepped for its opening in summer 2010. There are two large slides, one enclosed and one unenclosed. All of the equipment is on a floating platform that will be stable, but has the ability to rise and fall with the tides. The slides are accessed by a spiral staircase and end up in the lagoon. There is also a water spray area and a large bucket that will fill with water and dump over onto the “castaways” below.
I took a peak at the new beach cabanas and they look very fun. One of the cabanas was very close to completion, but the rest have a ways to go. Once finished, they will be in a prime location right near Pelican’s Plunge.
Behind another construction wall, the buildings for Cookies Too, the new family lunch buffet area are well under way. It is my understanding that the building in the back will be the food service building, the building to the left will be a seating area, and the Grouper Game Pavilion will be converted into a second seating area.
A new shaded structure, In Da Shade Game Pavilion will be located near the Family Beach.
The original Castaway Ray’s building is still on place, no word on the future of this structure.
Serenity Bay, the adult beach, remains unchanged at this time and there is no construction in process. The only additions that have been announced are some of the new Beach Cabanas and also a few additional massage cabanas.
Castaway Cay is looking great and I think Disney Cruise Line has done a great job keeping the effects of construction to a minimum. They placed a letter in my stateroom apologizing for any inconvenience or construction noise, but I did not have any problems. I was there on a Friday, and no construction was going on, so it appears they are trying to get work done on the days when no ships are in port.
The new changes are very exciting, and it looks like when the changes are completed next summer, Castaway Cay will be more magical than ever.
Check out the Disney Cruise Line Press Release on Castaway Cay’s Enhancements.
Mike Dion is a 19 year old sophomore at the University of Florida (UF) and is pursuing a bachelors degree in International Business. Born in Grand Rapids, MI he fell in love with Walt Disney World on his family’s many trips to Orlando. In 2002, he and his family moved to Orlando and have been WDW annual pass-holders ever since. Mike’s favorite ride is Splash Mountain, and his favorite restaurant is Ohana. Mike took his first cruise on the Disney
Wonder in 2006 and has since taken 11 cruises with 7 on Disney Cruise Line. In 2008 Mike visited Disneyland for the first time, returning in 2009 as part of the D23 expo. During the school year Mike performs improv comedy at UF.