Walt Disney World & World Travels

Wonder of Wonders Family Edition – Castaway Cay day

Posted on: August 11, 2009

Rise & shine it is Castaway Cay day!  I watched the phone yet again waiting for Mickey to tell me it was time to get up.   The phone rang, room service knocked; time to start the day.

Jon, Jason & I went for breakfast at Beach Blanket Buffet while Meg (not a breakfast person) got ready for the day on the island.  I love buffet breakfast, so many choices!  A few of the choices here: egg “mc muffin” type sandwiches, waffles (with cherries, chocolate sauce & whipped cream) hashbrowns, sausage & bacon, cereal, omelet station, fruit, pastries…… A little of this, a little of that and before you know it; a full tummy.   We got our food, ordered our omelets and found a table outside overlooking the island.  Our omelets were delivered to our table a few minutes later.  It was a very good, filling breakfast!

Sunscreen? Check! Room keys/ID? Check!  Excursion tickets? Check!  Time to check out Castaway Cay!!!  I think this is what the kids have been looking forward to the most.  Off the ship, take the tram and then pictures with Lilo & Stitch.  Pretty cool so far.  Check in at Scuttles Landing, the kids club on the Island.  The counselors tell me that we can check Jason in whenever, for any part of the day.  Excellent!  Now it’s time to check in for our excursion.  We are doing the ‘Extreme Getaway Package’: snorkeling, sting ray adventure, biking & floating.  Here’s your “tip of the day” snorkel 1st!  First thing in the morning, before the bottom gets all stirred up; go snorkeling.  Jon is the only one of us that has snorkeled before; so I’m pretty sure we were quite the sight on the beach trying to get our gear on.  You’ve never seen people have this much trouble putting masks on.   Ok, swim vests, flippers, masks; we’re set and off into the crystal clear water.  The water is very shallow for quite a ways out; it’s taking a lot of effort to get out.   Then, a fish swims by Megan and another through her legs…..that’s it; she’s done.  She was willing to try snorkeling, but we knew it wasn’t her thing……she has a fear of fish and these got way to close for comfort!  Meg heads in to the beach and we make our way further out.  This is really cool!  It took a little while to get “used to it”, but WOW!  The fish are beautiful!  All sorts of stuff to see down there!  It was time to head in and check in for our Stingray adventure (this is the only part of the excursion that has a set time).   You learn about stingrays in the “classroom”  and then go into the water.   Meg was pretty excited about this, she loves Mr. Ray in Finding Nemo.  For the record, the rays have all had their stingers removed and are checked frequently so there’s no concern of getting stung.  The stingrays know that when they see their plate (it’s a Mickey head), it’s time to eat.  We were told how to hold the food between our fingers and to put our hand down flat on the plate; then the rays swim up a ramp and right over your hand taking their dinner as they go.  I’ll say that it’s a little freaky at first.  The rays have a smooth/rubbery feel, their eyes are on top of their head and mouth is underneath.  They eat like a vacuum cleaner, sucking up the food.  That’s why you need to keep your hand perfectly flat, or your finger will appear to be sticking up like the food to be eaten.  Time to feed the rays; poor Meg didn’t realize that there would be fish in the ray beach…..Jason didn’t keep his hand as flat as need be and got what is called a “kiss” from a ray.  Unfortunately it broke the skin and bled, so we needed to get out and get that bandaged.  Meg was happy to leave the fish infested water.  It was a really neat experience and I’m sure it turns out better for other families 🙂

The teenager has done her “family time” and heads off to join the other teens on the island, with a ticket for her bike & float rental and explicit orders to be on the ship and in the room by 5pm.  Jon, Jason & I decide it’s time for some food–hey we haven’t eaten in hours.  Off to Cookies BBQ for the cookout lunch.  Burgers, hotdogs, BBQchicken,and BBQ Ribs.  They also had salad, chips, cookies & ice cream.  Good lunch, but I tell Jon not to eat too much here; I want to take him out to Serenity Bay where they also serve lunch for just the adults.  

After lunch we took Jason over to Grouper’s Game Pavillion where the kids club was hanging out for awhile.  We signed him in there so that he could have some time out of the sun & water and have fun playing with the other kids.  Grouper’s is cool, picture a picnic shelter with a tall roof.  In there they have ping-pong tables, foosball, shuffleboard, giant checkers and basketballs.  Lot’s of stuff to do and it’s right next to the Sports Beach.  What’s a sports beach?  Well, there are sand volleyball courts of course but there is also tether ball and soccer fields.  Talk about getting a good workout!  Play some sand soccer and you’ll feel the burn- doubly if you forget sunscreen.

With the kids off doing their own things, it was time to take Jon out to Serenity Bay.   Serenity Bay is a wonderful place on the island for those 18 and over.  No kids, no games, no whining or crying; just beach chairs, hammocks, a bar and servers that deliver to your chair.   We hopped on the shuttle and enjoyed the breeze for a few minutes.  It was really getting warm out!  First things first, time to eat our real lunch.  A little thing I learned on my agent cruise, the food is a little different at Serenity…..still have burgers, chicken & ribs (very good ribs) but ribeye steaks instead of hot dogs.  They also have fantastic salads, nice light & refreshing.  Even though this is for adults only, don’t worry they still have the cookies & ice cream 🙂   We shared our picnic table with a nice older couple (from Orlando)  they gave us a few suggestions of where to snorkel at Serenity Bay beach and told us about the plane engines that had been dropped out there a few years ago to form a reef. 

It was time to go find some beach chairs and do some snorkeling.  Very very warm outside now, time to get in the water.  There were some very cool things to see out here, lots of fish and other creatures.  There was one fish, that Meg would have had a heart attack if she’d seen.  As it was, Jon heard me scream and we  both had our heads in the water.  This was a big fish, I mean really big!  About 5 feet long and it was grey/silver in color and yes it scared the daylights out me when I saw it.  When he was done laughing at me, Jon took some more pictures and then we decided we were tired.  Time to stretch out and enjoy a frozen concoction.   Our server on the beach was our server in the Cadillac lounge, so she knew us & we knew her.  That’s one of the things I really like on the cruise, getting to know everyone.  She brought me a Konk Kooler, the signature drink of Castaway Cay.  I want to say it’s dark & light rum, colada mix, orange juice and maybe passion fruit juice, what I know for sure; it’s YUMMY!   Unfortunately it’s so hot out, it’s not cooling me much.  We decide it’s time to head back and see what Jason is up to and maybe we’ll run into Megan. 

We took the tram back and when we got off, we heard the announcement that 2 for 1 Konk Koolers and Mai Tais at the Conched Out Bar.  Well you don’t have to tell me twice!  After we refueled we headed to Scuttles Cove to get Jason.  He’d had fun but was ready for more snorkeling.  I was wiped out and ready to sip my drink, so we found some lounge chairs on the family beach and the boys took off to snorkel.  I enjoyed the quiet and my drink and then went down to the water because if I haven’t mentioned it yet; it’s hot out!  We’re well past warm, it’s hot!   This is my 1st time in the water at the family beach and a few observations; the bottom is soft & smooth, very sandy (much rougher/rockier at Serenity) and it get’s deep quick.  I just people watched while floating, it was very relaxing.  I loved watching the lifeguards (they have stations all over out in the water)  when it was shift change/rotation time, a lifeguard would climb down from there station hop on a surf/boogie board and paddle over to the next station.  That lifeguard would do the same and so on.  I just enjoyed watching them, it was pretty cool.  Jon and Jason then came to join, having decided they were done snorkeling.  They returned the snorkel equipment and got our floats/tubes.  Jon & I wanted floats, Jason insisted on a tube (inner tube).  Here is my next Tip of the Day for you; don’t let the kids get the tubes.  They’re huge, very difficult to get on & stay on, especially out in the deeper water.  It was a frustrating lesson to learn.   Once we gave up on the tube, we started to relax again.  Before we knew it, it was time to head back to the ship.  We stopped to get a couple of souveniers; looked around for Megan but didn’t see her, decided she could get her own souvenier later on the ship.  When we got back to the gangway, Captain Hook was there to welcome us back.  

One last Tip, when we swiped our keys to get back on the ship I asked the Cast Member if they could tell me if my daughter had come back.  They looked and were able to tell me who came back & when.  So I knew exactly what time she returned to the ship.  Nice peace of mind for a mom that was starting to worry.

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