We share our family's experience as Cabana guests and our thoughts on if its worth it
View of Family Beach from our deck (Cabana 4)
In this post we give you a detailed account of our private paradise, one of the premium Beach Cabanas on Disney's Castaway Cay. Follow along as we share our day and thoughts on this extravagant upgrade. If you're looking for the basics on this enhancement like details on pricing, what's included, and how to score one of the most popular splurges on Disney's private island, check out the related post below.
We arrived on Castaway Cay the second day of our cruise. Usually, it's the last port and grand finale of a Disney Cruise but due to COVID related port concerns and last minute changes to our itinerary we got to enjoy the island at the beginning of our journey.
View Castaway Cay from our balcony (Stateroom: 12008)
The day before we received our Cabana information and admission wristbands to be worn by Cabana area guests. The wristbands allow access to the cabanas and are used for identification at the different locations for snorkel equipment, float, and bike rental.
Cabana information and wristbands
When you first disembark the ship there are cast members waiting with loads of fresh towels. Towels are available for all guests to take and use for the day.
The Disney Fantasy
As Cabana guests we were able to skip the towel pick up area. The friendly cast member saw our wristbands and reminded us there were plenty of towels waiting for us in our cabana. No need to carry anything else!
Two thumbs up for Castaway Cay
Next, we made our way to the island trams that took us to the family beach. On our way to the trams we passed a few of the island's fun landmarks. Here's the island post office. Before the pandemic it was a real functioning post office, but it appeared to be closed at the time of this sailing.
Castaway Cay Post Office
There were also some photo ops along the way. We spotted a few characters out and about but due to social distancing restrictions they were not stopping to do the usual meet and greets with guests.
Castaway Cay Bouys along walk to trams and path to beach
Guests do have the option of skipping the tram and walking all the way to the beach. It's about a 15 minute walk and a fabulous option when there's a long wait or queue for the trams.
Our ship was only at half capacity and there was zero wait so, we opted for a relaxing ride.
Our view of the walking path to the beaches from trams
We disembarked at Pelican Point Tram Stop and followed the signs for "Cabana Check-in"
Cabana Guest Check-In booth
There we received a warm welcome by friendly cast members and given further instructions on where to head next.
Super friendly check-in staff
After check in we were off to pick up our snorkel gear (included with our cabana) near the island's gift shop.
Buy the Seashore Gift Shop
Once we collected everything, we returned to a waiting area near the tram stop to board private transportation to our cabana. It only took a few minutes before a small motorized vehicle (looked like a golf cart) arrived and zipped us off to our Cabana. Our private island ride took us along a back stage path and we ended up directly in front of our cabana without having to go through the main entrance.
Main Entrance to Family Beach Cabanas
There we were met by our cabana host, which was one of the Concierge team members. At the time of booking we requested cabana number four, the one we had on our last visit. We were so impressed with its location (a couple cabanas in from the from the main entrance, but still close to the restrooms and food options) we asked for it again.
Personalized welcome sign in front or our cabana
Cabanas are enclosed on three sides with large doors on the fourth side that open to a deck on the beach. When we entered our cabana, we were greeted with a spacious deck, sweeping views of the island, a changing/privacy corner, a delightfully breezy ceiling fan, and comfy seating.
Main area inside cabana
Along the wall in the main area we found additional counter space, a refrigerator, electrical outlets, storage closet, and towels.
Wall by cabana entrance
Our cabana host introduced us to the help button/service bell we could use to ring for assistance.
Help button for service
Here's a peek of the Cocktail menu. All drinks are available for purchase and get charged to your cabin. A friendly drink attendant (another member of the ship's concierge team) took care of our drink orders, stopping by the cabana and checking on us while we were on the beach.
Island's Cocktail Menu
Inside our fridge we found cool towels, fresh fruit, and non-alcoholic drinks. We also added an optional drinks package of imported and domestic adult beverages.
Refreshments inside our cabana fridge
Snacks are included with our rental. In a basket by the fridge we found a few bags of chips and a couple granola bars. If you wanted a refill, all you had to do was ask.
All cabanas are equipped with a touch screen sound system guests can control. The system offers music from three channels (The Castaway Cay Channel, Sounds of Hawaii, and Senses Spa) guests can choose.
Cabana sound system
In the storage closet we found a personal safe, extra tissues and towels, and what we later learned was a removable canopy that can be used to provide additional shade over the deck. We also learned there aren't any public lockers on the island, so the small safe was definitely a nice perk if you're not into carrying everything around, especially valuables you don't want getting wet.
Looking around on the deck we found Coppertone brand sunscreen products and sand-toys. There were plenty of places to relax. We loved the cushioned loungers, chairs, benches and small tables.
There was also a private hammock situated under swaying palm trees just off of the deck steps. This was easily one of the most well-loved amenities amongst our crew.
From our deck we were steps away from the family beach. We shared a soft white sand path to the beach with the cabana next door.
View of shared path from the beach
Cabana guests enjoy their own little piece of uncrowded paradise behind a roped off area of the beach. The family beach section reserved for cabana guests was lined with chairs and umbrellas right outside the cabanas. While there was plenty to go around, the chairs were unassigned and available for any cabana guest to use. If you want to ensure a spot right outside your cabana you may want to get on the beach early to stake your claim on which chairs you want for the day. Along the beach there were a few spots to pick up floats and life jackets included with your rental.
Cabana guest section of the family beach
Another awesome amenity was the fresh water shower outside of our cabana. We seemed to use it constantly going back and forth to the beach.
Fresh Water Shower
After an amazing morning on the beach it was time for lunch. We were starving and very excited to feast on the included BBQ being served to all guests on the island. We had the option of bringing our lunch back to enjoy in the privacy of our cabana, but our cabana host made us aware of the audacious wildlife (birds) that were very happy to fly away with our food so, we decided to eat at Cookies Too BBQ.
Making our way to lunch
Lunch for cabana guests on the family beach side is served at Cookie's Too BBQ from 11:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. It's a cafeteria-style buffet with food attendants behind the counter dishing out classic BBQ fair to guests in line. They serve whatever you like and as much as you care to enjoy. Our island lunch options included hamburgers, hot dogs, BBQ, ribs, fish, and chicken. There was also a selection of various salads, fresh fruit, and dessert to round out our meal.
Cookie's Too BBQ
At the time of cruising, Disney had suspended self-serve stations to reduce the spread of any virus. On this visit we noticed attendants helping guests with unlimited drinks and soft serve.
Cookie's Too BBQ drinks station
Dining on Castaway Cay is come-as-you-are and done al fresco. Since we weren't taking our lunch back to our cabana, we grabbed a spot at one of the covered picnic tables.
Enjoying the fresh fruit options
The cabanas themselves do not have a private in suite bathroom but there are two public restrooms nearby. The restrooms located between Cookies Too BBQ and the main entrance for the Cabanas are the closest to Canabas 1-8. There's another restroom farther up along the beach outside of Cabana 15 and closer to Cabanas 9-21.
Restrooms near Cookie's Too BBQ
After lunch we made our way back to our cabana for some more rest and relaxation. Our little one still needed mid-day naps so we planned on setting up a quiet place for her to get in a little snooze.
Heading back to our cabana
When we got back we realized we didn't really have a dark quiet place for our three year old to nap. We knew she was too big to rest comfortably in a portable play yard (like a pack 'n play) which is available upon request for use in the cabanas so, we ended up using the help button to ask for assistance. We explained our dilemma to our cabana host and he knew exactly what to do! He started zipping around our cabana closing doors, rearranging furniture, and created a comfy quiet nook for our girl. It was exemplary over-the-top service and it was glorious!
Quiet space for napping toddler
Our little one quickly fell asleep under the gentle breeze of the ceiling fan. Between the light current of warm island air flowing through the cabana's windows and walls and the soothing background music from the sound system, we were all dozing off after lunch.
Catching some island Zzzz
After our nap we spent the rest of our afternoon on the beach before packing up and heading back. When we were ready, we made our cabana host aware and he arranged for our private ride to the trams that took us back to the ship.
View of the walking path back to the ship from trams
Is it worth it?
Absolutely! Even though it's on the pricey side of upgrade and everything we need for the perfect beach getaway is already included with each visit to Castaway Cay, this is an exclusive that's simply too hard to resist if we get the chance to book one. We love the lush amenities, all-inclusive vibe, added privacy, extra space, and over the top service (think iconic Disney customer service, but on steroids). You are definitely paying for more than a reserved spot on the beach, it's an experience! If you're comfortable with the costs and ready to be spoiled, we highly recommend this splurge! Want to learn more about the cabanas? Check out our post: Guide to Castaway Cay Beach Cabanas (2022) where we share details about pricing, what's included, and how to secure this popular enhancement.