WHILE Disney is known for its theme parks, many may not realise that they even have their very own private island.
Castaway Cay, located in the Bahamas, is private in that only cruise passengers are able to visit it – and I was lucky enough to be one of them.
The island is included in most of Disney’s cruise trips, with the five-strong fleet including ships such as the Disney Dream and soon to be the new Disney Wish.
The 3-mile-long destination is meant to resemble an abandoned island, with fake plane wrecks and metal batten restaurants.
Most of the 1,000 acres are still undeveloped, with visitors accessing just 55 acres of built-up land.
As soon as I stepped onto the island, I was greeted by the famous Disney characters, waving at Goofy as I walked past.
It has everything covered – there is the island Post Office so you can send a postcard with the Castaway Cay postmark, along with snorkel, tub and float rentals.
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Scuttle’s Cove is perfect for kids, with a huge water play area, while Pelican Plunge has a dual waterslide for you to race someone down into the water.
At the In-Da-ShadePavilion, games include basketball, billiards and ping pong, although there are also beach sports including tetherball, volleyball and football.
You won’t get hungry either, there is the Gumbo Limbo or Cookie’s BBA, while there are smoothies and frozen drinks found at one of four bars.
However, three things stood out for me – here are my 3 favourite things about the exclusive island.
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The adults only section
There are three main beaches on the island – Family Beach, Sports Beach and the adults-only Serenity Beach, which I headed to straight away.
With the ship being full of families, this meant not only did I manage to avoid the kids while trying to sunbathe, but the beach was much quieter.
Even during the busiest part of the day, I managed to float away on the water with barely anyone around me, as well as have a sun lounger away from everyone else – something almost unheard of on most public beaches.
The affordable bike rentals
My favourite activity on the island was to hire a bike, which can be rented by the hour, to enjoy a 5k cycle around the island through tree-lined paths.
There is even a plane ‘landing strip’ which was huge and empty so had fun racing up and down with friends.
I went all the way to the other end of the island, and found a quiet spot in the shade which overlooked the beaches, which remained relatively secluded all day.
I was very surprised to barely bump into anyone on my cycle ride as well.
If you don’t fancy cycling, there is also the island tram, which takes you from the entrance, to the middle beaches and to the adults-only end – also a lot of fun.
The private cabanas
But if you want to do the island in style, skip the sun loungers on the beaches and opt for a private cabana.
While they may be steep at £399, they can be used by up to six guests and have towels, seating, hammocks, snacks and cold drinks, as well as a button to press for any assistance.
It meant I got to dip my toe in the water without having to take all of my own food and suncream.
If it got too hot, I retreated to the inside area for a cool soft drink and fruit, as well as reapply my suncream without getting sandy.
I can’t pretend I didn’t have a midday snooze in the hammock, before grabbing a complimentary inflatable to take back into the sea.
Even better, they are tucked towards the end of the beach so no one walked past to disturb.
So even if you don’t think Disney island isn’t your cup of tea, you might want to rethink it if you want a quiet spot of paradise without the crowds – but with all the luxury that Disney offers.
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If you want to try it for yourself, Disney has recently launched their new Disney Wish cruise ship, with three night sailings from Florida including the Bahamas island.
Disney was the first to ever launch their own private island for cruise guests only, although others such as Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and Virgin have since followed suit.
And Disney is even planning a second private island – costing $400million, Lighthouse Point hopes to open in the next few years.