What movies were filmed at Disney’s island Castaway Cay?

One of the most popular destinations Disney Cruise Line visits is Disney’s private island Castaway Cay. Located in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay is a tropical paradise that Disney leases from the Bahamian government. The island is famous for its fun activities, peace and tranquility, and immense beauty.

But did you know Disney had a connection to Castaway Cay before their lease started in the late ’90s? Back when the island was known as Gorda Cay, Disney filmed their first movie on its shores. They then may have returned many years later for some swashbuckling fun.

Splash (1984)

Splash theatrical poster.

Splash is the story of a man (Tom Hanks) meeting and eventually falling in love with a woman (Daryl Hannah) who is hiding the fact she’s actually a mermaid. The scene where the two first meet on the beach was filmed along the shores of Gorda Cay, which today is known as Castaway Cay.

Unfortunately, it’s not clear exactly where the scene in Splash was filmed. Castaway Cay has changed a lot since the movie was filmed as Disney transformed many areas of the island for guests. We’ve heard reports that it may have been on the side of Serenity Bay, the adults-only beach, but others have reported it was filmed along the coast that’s only accessible through specific port adventures.

We took a port adventure hike to one of the beaches that’s normally not open to guests. What do you think? Can you picture Tom Hanks meeting Daryl Hannah here?

Castaway Cay beach that's not accessible to guests.

Pirates of the Caribbean (Maybe?)

Switching genres, the Pirates of the Caribbean series reportedly shot a few scenes at Castaway Cay. However, finding specific proof about the scenes and where they were filmed is difficult to track down. Is this just a common Disney misconception?

It’s believed Castaway Cay’s involvement, if any, may have been limited to select sailing scenes near the coast that leaned heavily on CGI. Castaway Cay tour guides have said a scene in which the Black Pearl passed by the coast made it into one of the final cuts, but the island was almost completely unrecognizable.

Regardless, a significant piece of Pirates of the Caribbean movie history is confirmed to have made it to Castaway Cay. The film-used prop of the Flying Dutchman did spend a significant amount of time off the coast of Castaway Cay. Guests could take photos with the ship in the background and take a boat ride around the ship to see all of the prop’s details.

Flying Dutchman at Castaway Cay – Image from Pirates.Fandom

The Flying Dutchman no longer calls Castaway Cay home, but it was a fun tribute to the iconic series for Disney fans to enjoy.

Future Films?

Will Disney return to film a movie at Castaway Cay? It’s always possible, but it seems relatively unlikely at this time. Castaway Cay is a tropical paradise that cruisers love, but it may lack some of the natural scenery (tall hills, sweeping views, etc) filmmakers love that can be found at other islands.

Disney Cruise Line’s regular visits to Castaway Cay could also pose a challenge as some of the most scenic parts of the island are located within guest areas. Disney may not want to disrupt operations at Castaway Cay too much when other islands – emptier islands – may work just as well.

David has been writing about Disney since 2018. He founded Notes from Neverland as an outlet to talk about all things Disney, including Walt Disney World, Disneyland and Disney Cruise Line. Join us for news, reviews and more!

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