10 Fun Facts About Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Cay

Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Cay is the area of Disney’s private island in The Bahamas where guests can get together and have a great time. Here are 10 fun facts about this Caribbean paradise.

The “disney cruise line fact sheet” is a fun read that will give you some interesting facts about Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Cay.

10 Fun Facts About Disney Cruise Line's Castaway Cay

Castaway Cay, a private island owned by Disney Cruise Line, is often ranked as the best cruise line private island in the Bahamas. It’s easy to understand why after taking a look at its magnificent beaches and amenities.

We’ll go through Castaway Cay’s colorful history and tell you 10 interesting facts about the island.

disney castaway cay island bahamas

The Disney Dream moored at Castaway Cay (photo courtesy of Disney Cruise Line/David Roark)

Gorda Cay was the original name for Castaway Cay. The term “gorda” means “round” or “fat” in Spanish, and it was chosen because the island was rounder than most of the other long, slender Bahamas islands. It’s south and west of Great Abaco Island, and southeast of Grand Bahama Island.

Pirates are said to have visited the island during their voyages in the 1700s. In the 1950s, treasure seekers unearthed three coins and a 72-pound silver ingot close off the island’s shoals, indicating that this was the case. The valuables seemed to have come from the San Pedro, a Spanish galleon that sank in 1733 while transporting wealth back to Spain’s monarch.

The island’s initial residents arrived in the 1780s, and they were European farmers who were British loyalists fleeing the American Revolution.

Alvin Tucker, a Trinidadian real estate developer and businessman, flew over the island in the 1960s and spotted promise, so he acquired 150 acres. He subsequently constructed a 2,400-foot aircraft runway, which is still in use today (but is now used as a bicycle and tram path). 

Drug traffickers started utilizing the island — and its airfield — again after Tucker bought a portion of the island and acquired the runway. He attempted to enlist the assistance of the police, but it is suspected that they were also involved in the smuggling. Tucker ultimately sold the site to Leisure Club Ltd, a private corporation.

castaway cay air strip disney bahamas

On Castaway Cay, there is an aviation strip.

MORE: 8 Ways to Involve Your Kids in Family Cruise Planning

Gorda Cay had become notorious for its drug business by the 1980s, and landowners were being forced off the island by armed men. Residents said that up to six aircraft a day would land there (they were eventually forced away).

Frank Barber, an American from Florida who had been surreptitiously using the runway to smuggle narcotics into the United States for years, was blamed for this dark period in the island’s history. Leisure Club Ltd., the firm Alvin Tucker sold to, turned out to be Frank Barber’s company. Barber leased out the airfield to other drug traffickers in addition to utilizing it to expand his own drug business. He was apprehended in 1983 and died in prison. 

The Walt Disney Company spotted the island’s potential as a shooting site around the same period, and shot sections of the 1984 film “Splash” there.

The Walt Disney Company bought a 99-year land lease for the island from the Bahamas government in 1996, the same year that Disney Cruise Line was created, and renamed it Castaway Cay. It opened the island to ship calls in 1998 after spending $25 million on renovations.

castaway cay disney fantasy

Castaway Cay: 10 Interesting Facts

1. MYAG is the airport code for the Frank Barber-built airstrip and hangar. 

2. “Castaway Cay” is more than a name to Disney; the business designed the island’s guest amenities to seem like a storm blew through, a ship sank, buildings were patched together with discovered materials, and you (the guests) are now castaways. 

3. The Flying Dutchman ship from “Pirates of the Caribbean” was a fixture at Castaway Cay’s lagoon from 2006 to 2010. It was demolished and moved to another place on the island in 2010.

4. Underwater in the island’s snorkeling area, two submarine ride vehicles from Walt Disney World’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea: Submarine Voyage attraction may be discovered. There are also sculptures of Mickey and Minnie in this neighborhood.

5. Castaway Cay was the first private island owned by a cruise operator to have its own pier. Since then, Royal Caribbean’s Perfect Day at CocoCay has built a pier, and MSC Cruises’ Ocean Cay island has also added one.

6. The island has two water/sewage treatment facilities that convert saltwater to freshwater for use by visitors and employees.

7. There is a post office on the island with unique Bahamian postage and a Disney Cruise Line postmark. (Sending a postcard from here to yourself or a friend is a terrific, low-cost keepsake option!)

castaway cay post office disney cruise line

The Postal Service

8. On the mornings when the cruise ships land at Castaway Cay, Disney hosts a Castaway Cay 5K. On the ship, you may join up for free and run/jog the course at your own leisure. Everyone who completes the race receives a medallion.

(Note: Due to the cruise industry slowdown, the 5K is now conducted on an individual basis with a medal awarded on the honor system.)

9. Around 140 Disney cast workers, including boat captains, drivers, custodians, gardeners, and maintenance people, are the sole residents on Castaway Cay these days.

On days when ships arrive, many crew members come ashore to work on the island, and locals from adjacent islands come to market local handicrafts.

10. Disney Cruise Line provides wedding and vow renewal packages on Castaway Cay via Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings & Honeymoons.

UP NEXT: Disney Fantasy Trip Report: Cruise Preparation

10 fun facts about disney's island castaway cay

Watch This Video-

Castaway Cay is a private island that Disney Cruise Line owns. It has been used as the setting for many of their films and TV shows. The island was also home to the Flying Dutchman, which is now an attraction on the island. Reference: castaway cay flying dutchman.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the real name of Castaway Cay?

A: The real name of the island is Caneel.

How much does Castaway Cay cost?

A: There are no prices on the island.

Do Disney cast members live on Castaway Cay?

A: Unfortunately, the answer to this question is no.

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