When we woke up on day 3, we had already arrived at Castaway Cay; we were waiting for the authorities to clear the docking. We got up, got dressed and packed our day bag; then we headed up to deck 9 for breakfast at our usual place: the Beach Blanket. While we were up there, we took the opportunity to take some pictures of the island and of the infamous Flying Dutchman from Pirates of the Caribbean. The ship is docked off Castaway Cay and there are some amazing photo opportunities that capture the ship with the cruise liner on the background.
We disembarked and made our way to the first character greeting: Daisy Duck. We meandered down the road towards the beach destination, stopping for any and every photo opportunity that was available. Have I mentioned that I’m a sucker for photos? A bit further up were Minnie Mouse and Goofy, and of course, we got a picture with them. All the characters were decked out in their summer wear.
The island is beautiful and a curious mixture of Caribbean meets Disney. The buildings, such as the post office, are similar to those you will find at the parks, so it makes you wonder whether the buildings were there before or if Disney set it up with props.
The walking from the ship to the beach takes about 10 minutes. However, half-way there is a tram, and L loves any type of train so we opted to ride it to our destination. If he could have stayed on the tram and ridden it back and forth all day, he would have been content. Once at the beginning of the family area, we were greeted with the last few strollers and wagons that were complimentary on a first-come, first-serve basis. We took hold of a wagon, dumped our stuff, towels, and L in it, and proceeded to work our arms as we pushed and pulled the wagon through the sand. Before we got to the sand, though, we were at a mercantile-like shopping area where little stores boasted Castaway Cay, Disney, and Bahamas souvenirs. In front of that store were the restrooms and outdoor showers appropriately titles “Suns” and “Daughters.” Further up the road was an open circle and a small shack where the DJ played music and the characters engaged in some dancing with the guests. I didn’t make it past that point. From the map I could see there was a teen area further down, and, at the end of the island, was the secluded, adults-only beach.
But we didn’t go forward. We took a left, onto the sand, following the path of tourists who had the same agenda: make it to the beach. By now, it was about 10 AM, and it was cloudy with some rain threatening in the far end of the horizon, behind the buildings. We got the complimentary floats – one large rubber tire, the other a flat, blue mattress. The latter one ended being the most useful. We had received complimentary bike rentals and scuba rentals, but unfortunately, a few hours is just not enough time when you have a toddler in tow that needs to nap.
The beach was full of people. You could barely make out the water on the family beach; instead, you saw a sea of multi-colored dots decorating the little blue that was in between them. Towards the left was the ship, docked and probably hosting very few of its passengers. Between the ship and the beach was the Flying Dutchman first, and then the jet-ski and boat rentals. After that was a small shack with the scuba gear. Next to that shack was the beach, which was separated into the snorkeling area and the family beach area. On the far right hand corner, before the teen beach, was a wooden playground for the older kids right in the water. Kids could swing from one side and jump into the water, or they could monkey around until the were tired and them jump in.
We parked our stuff a few rows back and then went into the water. L was in heaven. Before, when we’ve gone to a beach, there have been many waves, so he has been afraid. Here, there were no waves, and he felt as if he were in the pool only the water was different (and tasted different, too, as was apparent by his wrinkling of the nose when he took a swig of salty sea water). We were in the water for a while, got some pictures taken by cast members – the only pictures while we were in the water since I was afraid to get my camera wet! – and rested on the blue, mattress float. L even tried “surfing” on it. We spent the next few hours in and out of the water, playing with sand, and making friends with fellow cruisers. Finally, J went to get some lunch and brought it back, but we both quickly realized that sand + food is not a good equation. By now it was about 1:30 PM and it was past L’s nap, so we wrapped up and moved towards the hammocks where there was some palm tree shade. Although no hammocks were available, J and L were able to lay down on a lounge chair and soon, both father and son had drifted into a beach-induced slumber. I sat next to them reading Madeleine Blais’s Uphill Walkers and avoiding the bird-bombs that were thrown my way. Good luck or not, I’d rather not have to clean up after bird excrement, thank you very much.
At around 3:30 some thunder mixed between the island music, and although L was still sleeping, we decided to pack up. We carefully placed him in the wagon, still asleep, and made our way back to the front. We browsed through the stores, went to the rest rooms, took more pictures and before we knew it were back at the wagon/stroller return place. We took L out, awake but still sleepy and grumpy, and rode the “too-tain” (choo choo tren aka tram) two times before getting in line to board the ship. By the line was Donald Duck posing for pictures, so, you guessed it – we took pictures.
That night was Pirate’s night. We dressed L in his pirate costume from last year and then made our way to the usual: lobby for pictures and that night’s restaurant, Animator’s Palate again. In the lobby was Mickey dressed as a swashbuckling pirate, and the picture of Mickey pirate with L pirate is priceless! At the restaurant, all the servers were dressed as pirates and wenches, and the meal and theme that night revolved around pirates. Even the show was an Argh-inducing show with limbo and dancing in which L and I joined. That night, they brought out a large chocolate cake to celebrate J and L’s upcoming birthdays and my what a tasty cake that was! We shared with our neighboring table since it was much too much for us to eat.
Afterwards we walked around and made our way for the Pirate’s Deck Party where Mickey and the gang had to save the day from Captain Hook and his pirates. It was awesome! Each character had his/her/its own fave dance moves and music he/she/it shared with the crowd and then Mickey came swinging down from one side of the ship to the stage, marking the beginning of a beautiful fireworks display. Yes, fireworks aboard a ship. Apparently, Disney is the only cruise line that is allowed to do so. I thought L would be afraid but no, he was enthralled (although I think part of that was that he was tired!).
Soon after the Disney channel stars joined the Pirate deck party, we called it a night and went back to the room.