Review: Is a Cabana Worth Booking on Disney’s Castaway Cay?

Disney Cruise Line’s private island Castaway Cay is a little slice of heaven located in the Bahamas. Most Caribbean and Bahamian voyages on Disney Cruise Line pay a visit to Castaway Cay, which has become a favorite destination for Disney fans.

There’s a ton of activities on Castaway Cay, ranging from snorkeling and meeting stingrays, to relaxing on the beach or taking a bike ride. Castaway Cay has cabanas on both the family and adult beaches for guests to rent for the day. The cabanas are extremely popular, but are they worth the time and money?

Below we’ll highlight our experience and discuss whether we think a cabana makes sense for most guests.

Overview of Castaway Cay.

Booking a Cabana on Castaway Cay

First and foremost, booking a cabana on Castaway Cay isn’t easy. They are in high demand and there aren’t that many cabanas on the island. There are 21 cabanas on the family beach (including the Family Grand Cabana) and an additional handful at Serenity Bay.

Booking is prioritized by Castaway Club level and whether a guest is staying in a concierge stateroom. Concierge guests have the first shot to book a cabana on Castaway Cay, followed by Pearl guests, Platinum guests, Gold guests, Silver guests, and finally guests without a Castaway Club status.

The cabanas are typically booked solid by concierge guests, though availability occasionally slips down to other guests on less crowded voyages. Rarely, one or two cabanas may make it down as far as Gold level, but it’s extremely uncommon.

Entrance to Family Cabanas Area at Castaway Cay.
Entrance to the Family Beach Cabanas.

Where Are the Castaway Cay Cabanas?

The cabanas are located in two locations on Castaway Cay. The majority are located on the family beach just past Cookies Too BBQ. The second set are located on the adult beach, Serenity Bay.

The family cabanas are positioned in front of a private section of beach, roped off from guests enjoying the family beach and Pelican Plunge. The adults-only cabanas over on Serenity Bay are located just behind the rows of chairs. It’s worth noting the cabanas on Serenity Bay do not have a private section of beach/water.

We believe the location of the cabana can make a big difference in your experience. More on this later.

What Are the Cabanas Like?

Most of the cabanas on Castaway Cay have the same layout and same overall amenities. We stayed in a family cabana (#6 to be precise) and filmed a short tour below.

Each cabana has:

  • Cushioned indoor and outdoor seating
  • A beverage cooler full of water and soft drinks
  • A small basket of snacks (chips, granola bars)
  • Sunscreen (in case you left your bottle on the ship)
  • A ceiling fan
  • Beach toys
  • Access to rafts and tubes

Just outside of each cabana is a sitting area, outdoor shower, and hammock. Yes, booking a cabana is a guaranteed way to secure one of the prized hammocks at Castaway Cay.

Inside Family Cabana #6 at Castaway Cay.
Indoor seating in a Family Beach cabana.

The inside of the cabana is cool and comfortable. There’s a tropical soundtrack playing over the speakers, and plenty of space to lounge for the whole family. Each cabana has a call button that will alert a cast member that you need assistance.

What’s it Like to Stay in a Cabana?

Guests with a cabana reservation must first visit the check-in desk located near the Pelican Point tram stop. From there, you’ll be directed to either the family cabana section, or you’ll take a second tram over to Serenity Bay for the adult beach cabanas.

The cabanas pretty much have the same layout and amenities. There’s plenty of seating, a small beverage cooler full of water and soft drinks, sunscreen, some kids’ sand toys, and access to inner tubes and rafts. In addition, snorkeling equipment rentals and bicycle rentals are included.

The cabanas are a quiet slice of tranquility in a tropical location that’s already known for its amazing setting. For the cabanas on the family beach, the private access to a nice and peaceful section of water is just about perfect.

Having a home base on Castaway Cay complete with drinks, a safe, and a secluded section of beach, makes the experience even more relaxing. Trust us, you won’t want to leave when it’s time to head back to the ship.

Castaway Cay Cabana Sign.

Which Castaway Cay Cabana is the Best?

This is obviously a subjective question. Different guests will value different things, which makes the “which cabana is best?” question a fun one. That said, we think the cabanas on the family beach are in the best location.

The cabanas on Serenity Bay, while nice, don’t feel as private or exclusive compared to those on the Family beach. The beach is shared and the adult cabanas don’t have any special/direct access.

So, which cabana on the Family beach would we recommend?

Beach View of Family Cabana #6 at Castaway Cay.
Beach View of Family Cabana #6 at Castaway Cay.

We do not recommend the highest number cabanas on the family beach if you’re planning to spend time in the water. While these are the furthest from the “hustle and bustle” of Cookies Too BBQ and shopping, they’re also on a section of beach where there isn’t much water.

During our visit, the water in front of every cabana past #12 or so only had shin-deep water. This water can almost completely dry out in front of these cabanas, and force guests to walk down towards the lower-number cabanas for swimming.

We recommend Family Beach Cabanas 4-9 as these provide the best shade, best swimming area, and best proximity to food and restrooms without being too close. These cabanas also offer incredible views of the cruise ship.

Here’s our view of the Disney Fantasy from Cabana #6.

View of the Disney Fantasy from Castaway Cay Cabana #6.

Summarized:

  • The low number cabanas on the Family Beach are the closest to the main guest area (food and shopping).
  • The high number cabanas on the Family Beach are the newest and have the least developed landscape (shade) compared to the low number cabanas.
  • The high number cabanas on the Family Beach (#12ish and above) may have minimal water in front of them depending on tide, time of year, etc.

Family Beach Cabana View.

Is a Castaway Cay Cabana Worth the Price?

Value is always in the eye of the beholder. It costs several hundred dollars for just a handful of sweet, sweet hours. The exact amount of time can vary depending on time ashore and time aboard schedules. The dollars-per-hour breakdown isn’t pretty.

We recommend booking a cabana if:

  • You want an exclusive, private space on Castaway Cay.
  • You’re willing to pay a premium for a significantly less crowded beach and water area. (Family cabanas only)
  • The idea of comfortable indoor and outdoor seating is a must.
  • “Treat Yourself” is your personal motto.

We do not recommend booking a cabana if:

  • You plan to do any other bookable activities at Castaway Cay, such as boat tours, stingray encounters, or other port adventures. Time spent away from a cabana is time and money wasted.
  • You don’t plan to spend the full day on Castaway Cay.

Ultimately, the cabanas are the best if you plan to spend your entire day in them. Financially, they’re the best if you have a larger group or split them with other family members/guests. But, we can vouch that they’re an incredible experience for even smaller groups and couples.

Beach Area for the Family Beach Cabanas.

Would We Book a Cabana at Castaway Cay Again?

Yes. We would absolutely book a cabana again if given the opportunity. Unfortunately, the best chance to book a cabana comes with the added expense of being in concierge, which carries a hefty price.

We’d try to book a family beach cabana again because the private beach and ocean area were two key reasons we loved our experience so much. There were times we were the only ones in the ocean. It was an unforgettable moment.

Let us know about your Castaway Cay cabana experiences in the comments below.

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David
David
David is a Disney travel expert who created Notes from Neverland in 2018 after visiting Disney theme parks countless times. Previously, David spent way too much time writing about sports, and was featured in Sports Illustrated, MSN, Yahoo!, and in many other publications. Learn more or contact us.

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