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Friday, July 6, 2012

Making of: Castaway Cay




Castaway Cay is a private island in the Bahamas which serves as an exclusive port for the Disney Cruise ships. Today we take a peek a the Making of: Disney's Castaway Cay...






Castaway Cay is located near Great Abaco Island and was formerly known as Gorda Cay. It is owned in full by The Walt Disney Company, giving them substantial control over the experience of visitors to the island. Disney acquired Castaway Cay in February 1996. A post office on the island has special Bahamian postage specific to Disney Cruise Line, and a "Castaway Cay" postmark.








Disney is said to have spent US $25 million to develop and outfit the island. Construction took 18 months and included dredging 50,000 truckloads of sand from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean. The pier and its approaches were constructed to allow the Disney ships to dock alongside, thus removing the need for tenders to get the passengers ashore. To create the mooring site for the ships, workers dredged sand and used explosives to blast coral, thus forming a 1,700-foot channel about 35 feet deep and ranging from 200 to 400 feet wide. The island is still largely undeveloped: only 55 of the 1,000 acres are being used.









Gorda Cay was once used as a stop for drug runners. There is an airstrip on the island, but it is no longer in regular use nor maintained. Gorda Cay has also been used for filming; the beach where Tom Hanks first encounters Daryl Hannah in Splash is on the island.









The island is developed in the theme of a castaway community, with buildings made to look as if they had been improvised after a shipwreck. The facilities are maintained like any other Disney theme park, and the shops accept guests' stateroom keys for payment. The food service is operated as an extension of the cruise package. A variety of activities are available to guests including bicycle hire, personal watercraft rental, snorkeling, and parasailing. There are three beaches for guests: one for families, one for teens, and another exclusively for adults, called Serenity Bay.







Two submarine-ride vehicles from the now-closed 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage ride at Walt Disney World lie underwater in the snorkeling area. The Flying Dutchman pirate ship, from the Pirates of the Caribbean film series, was on display in the lagoon. In November 2010, the Flying Dutchman had been removed and taken to another location on the island where it was being dismantled.









The seven-night cruises visit Castaway Cay on Fridays, four-night cruises visit on Tuesdays, and three-night cruises visit on Saturdays. Castaway Cay has facilities for the exclusive use of the ships' crews, including beaches and recreational areas. A staff of 70 custodians, boat captains, drivers, landscapers, and maintenance personnel live on the island, and are supplemented by crew from the ship when one is in port. Food and other supplies are brought in by the ships themselves. Sea water is desalinated for drinking with reverse osmosis water processors.








A short tour of the island:




That does it for today's Making of segment; until next time...



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