I’ve just had the chance to visit Disney Castaway Cay for the first time since the resumption of sailing, and I thought I’d share with you some of the new safety measures that have come to the island. While the cruise that I’m currently on was gifted by DCL, as always, we here at DCLFan will be open and honest about our experiences.
The changes begin first thing in the morning. Guests who are wanting to go ashore on Castaway Cay are asked to join a virtual queue via the DCL Navigator app. Remember when the Navigator app was simply something that was fun but ancillary? Those days are no more; it’s imperative that you have the app downloaded because you’ll need to use it throughout each day of your cruise. Dining room menus, movie and stage show times, and literally everything else can now only be accessed via the app. I may have more to say in the days ahead about the app. Back to Castaway.
A push notification will be sent to your phone when it’s your turn to leave the ship. Thankfully, with the lower guest numbers currently being seen on the ships, the virtual queue wait times seem to be rather short. I wanted to leave the ship late morning, and received my notification that it was my turn instantaneously.
Guests must wear facial coverings while indoors both on the ship, as they disembark, and while in indoor locations on the island. This includes indoor merchandise locations, restrooms, and while on the trams to both the family beach area and Serenity Bay.
While outdoors, just as at Walt Disney World, masks may be removed. Physical distancing measures are also adhered to onboard and on Castaway Cay.
Distancing markers are found at the tram stops, as well as at cashier stands.
As guests approach Cookies BBQ, they are directed by a crew member as to which buffet line to join, and as guests choose which food items they’d like, the plate is handed down the line from one crew member to the next until you reach the end of the line when it is placed on a tray for you. Utensils wrapped in a cloth napkin are then placed on your tray. Guests must wear facial coverings while in the buffet line.
As you might expect, the self-service drink stations and soft-serve ice cream machines both on the island and onboard are now manned by crew members.
For purchases at bars and merchandise locations, guests are asked their stateroom number without the handling of a Key to the World card. Points of contact have been greatly reduced, and guests are sent a receipt and chance to apply additional gratuity in their cruise folio via the Navigator app.
Lounge chairs on the beach have been placed 6 feet apart to encourage physical distancing between parties not traveling together, and guests are asked not to move them.
Characters make appearances via their cool new rides (how cute is Minnie and Mickey’s woody-inspired vehicle?!), and areas are set up for “Appear and Wave” moments. One thing you’ll find these days, however, is that which character is greeting at a certain time and location is not announced prior to the appearance. You’ll know someone will be there, but that’s about it.
The crowds that you’re used to on the beach or in the line for lunch? You won’t be seeing them right now. Ship capacity is being held to a fraction of what it normally is, which makes everything on Castaway Cay that much easier. It’s not hard to physically distance from others not traveling in your party. For reference, the photo above was taken at 12pm.
I’ve had the fortune to spend 14 days over my adult life at Castaway Cay, and I have to say that my time on the island today felt just as fantastic as it has in the past. Physical distancing was adhered to, and overall, crew members did their best to ensure that guests were safe.
Have you had the chance to return to Disney Castaway Cay? What were your thoughts regarding the changes that have come to the island?