Guests Disappointed By Disney’s Private Island, Too Much “Safety Theatre”

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minnie and mickey at castaway cay

Credit: Disney

Castaway Cay is The Walt Disney Company’s private island, exclusively accessible to Disney Cruise Line Guests and as a Disney Fairytale Weddings venue.

Pluto Castaway Cay
Credit: Disney

Related: Multiple Guests Leave Disney Park Disappointed After Alleged Merchandise Decline

Chris Wakefield (@wakefieldreport), an experienced Cruise passenger, discussed his experience at the exclusive Disney island on Twitter. He compared it to Perfect Day Coco Cay, Royal Caribbean’s private island experience. Wakefield felt that Disney’s Castaway Cay is too “safe” and “dull:”

After spending a day at Castaway Cay, I can comfortably say…..

There is NO WAY you are going to convince me the Disney island is better than Royal Caribbean’s Perfect Day Coco Cay…

Here are my thoughts ⬇️

BEACH: The first thing I noticed is that Disney built a massive breaker that shields the family beach from waves and sea life. This makes for a pretty safe, but very dull, beach experience. Compare this to South Beach at Coco Cay that isn’t restricted. ⬇️

Additionally, Wakefield said Disney has too many restrictions, even for the youngest Guests. Disney Cast Members wouldn’t let Wakefield’s young daughter swim without a life vest, even though she knew how, and it made their experience more difficult:

RULES & RESTRICTIONS: To swim out to Pelican Plunge with us, we were told our kid had to wear a life vest. If you’ve listened me on @ETicketReport, you know I prefer my kid not. We teach her how to swim and kids wearing life vests dont learn as well. But I put the vest on her ⬇️

While wearing it, she had a hard time swimming the way I’ve trained her. So I just picked her up. The lifeguard said I couldn’t. She had to paddle… She hated it. Instead of safety theatre, just let me swim with my kid the way we’ve been trained and practiced to do. ⬇️

Wakefield listed other frustrating rules, like no snorkels or water shoes allowed on the only two slides at Castaway Cay and strict restrictions in the only permitted snorkeling area. He called it “safety theatre:”

I was told I could only snorkel in the approved snorkeling area, and, I had to wear a life vest…. Safety theatre strikes again. I’m shocked Disney even let me use my own snorkel and mask, instead of making me pay for one of their (cheap quality) ones. ⬇️

When I went to the ✨approved✨ snorkeling area, I saw two fish and a couple of statues they placed there. They Disneyfied the damn ocean. Almost no sea life. At this point, it was almost time for lunch… ⬇️

Wakefield said the lunch experience was too complicated and overall “meh:”

We saw people walking around with ice cream. But when we went to get some, staff were just closing them down. For 15 minutes…. Between 11:15 and 11:30 – No ice cream… Why? Who knows. They weren’t being cleaned. Just Disney making things more complicated, just like at parks ⬇️

This is subjective, so I won’t dwell on it, but the lunch was meh. I prefer the food at Perfect Day (those chocolate brownies are SO GOOD). The drinks on the Disney island were even weaker than the weak ones on the ship. How about kids play areas? ⬇️

The toddler splash pad was too “dull” for Wakefield’s family, with many of the effects “half broken.” Additionally, parents weren’t allowed in another children’s play area, Scuttle’s Cove, and his daughter didn’t want to play alone:

This is it. This small unthemed (half broken) dull pad is all for families. For my daughter to experience Scuttle’s Cove, we couldn’t join her, and she doesn’t like that. So we never saw it. No other family splash areas on the island. Compare that to Royal Caribbean Perfect Day⬇️

Lastly, Wakefield argued that Disney hadn’t done enough development on its private island, comparing it to Perfect Day, which has a pirate ship play area and a freshwater pool:

These are photos of the fresh water pool at Royal Caribbean’s Perfect Day island (not part of the upcharge water park). I can’t show you photos of Disney’s pool on their island because there isn’t one. 🤷🏽‍♂️ Ok. Just a couple more things and I’m done. ⬇️

My daughter also spends HOURS playing on the pirate ship at Perfect Day. Splash fountains, water guns, little slides. Disney has no such amenity on their island. We also love hanging in the huge hammock section of Perfect Day. Only hammocks on Castaway are a few on adult beach.

Overall, Wakefield felt Castaway Cay was too safe and dull for his family. He described the experience as a “Rated G movie:”

OVERALL: Castaway Cay is safe, predicable, and dull. It has no edge. It’s like watching a Rated G movie. Too many rules and “safety theatre.” I call it, “safe toddler island.” Perfect Day has so much more to offer for what my family likes. It’s exciting. Colorful. and FUN!

If you’ve only ever seen Castaway, I could see how you’d think it was the best out there. But Perfect Day gives you a lot more bang for your buck. It offers so much for a family. I know a lot of Disney hardcores disagree. But Disney could do so much better.

If Castaway Cay isn’t for you, you’re in luck. Disney’s newest island, Lighthouse Point, is currently under development. For now, Guests on Disney Wish, Disney Fantasy, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream, and Disney Magic can only visit Castaway Cay and other non-Disney destinations.

At D23 Expo in September, The Walt Disney Company announced the development of an all-new Disney Cruise ship, Disney Treasure. The Walt Disney Company is also rumored to be considering purchasing Global Dream, an unfinished German liner.

Have you ever visited Castaway Cay? 

Please note that the story outlined in this article is based on a personal Disney Cruise Line Guest experience. No two Guest experiences are alike, and this article does not necessarily align with Inside the Magic’s personal views on Disney Cruise Line operations.

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