It’s an exciting time for Disney Cruise Line. We already know quite a bit about the next ship, Disney Wish, scheduled to be delivered late 2021 and will offer its first sailings in January 2022. Two more ships are expected in 2022 and 2023. In addition, at the D23 Expo in August 2019, it was announced that a second private island destination is in the works! Catch what we know about this new island below.
1 – A Second Private Island
At the D23 Expo in August 2019, Disney revealed new information and two early conceptual artist renderings for its second island destination in The Bahamas, which is located on the breathtaking island of Eleuthera at a place called Lighthouse Point.
“With three new ships joining our fleet, we thought this would be an incredible opportunity to add another unique destination to our ports of call. We looked all over The Bahamas and Caribbean for an ideal location that would enable us to create new experiences, while celebrating the culture of this amazing region,” Chapek said.
2 – Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde Leads the Design
Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde, whose work includes the design of Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park in Orlando and Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii, has embarked on an in-depth cultural tour of the Bahamas to meet with local artists and cultural experts. Together, they have explored arts and cultural sites across New Providence and Eleuthera, from Junkanoo shacks to noted art galleries.
“The Lighthouse Point site is so beautiful and so full of nature that we want to preserve this and use our designs to call attention to the extraordinary quality of the place itself – a place of natural beauty with a rich and fascinating cultural tradition,” Rohde said. “We will be directly involved in conservation efforts to preserve and protect the environment that creates this beauty, and we will be working with artists of every kind, much like we did with Aulani in Hawaii, to create a unique destination that is rooted in Bahamian culture and imbued with Disney magic.”
3 – Disney’s Partnership with The Bahamas
Disney Cruise Line completed its purchase of privately owned Lighthouse Point earlier this year and signed an agreement with the Government of The Bahamas that guides the responsible and sustainable way the site will be developed.
Disney has committed to develop less than 20 percent of the property; employ sustainable building practices, including an open-trestle pier that eliminates the need to dredge a ship channel; establish environmental monitoring programs during construction and operation; and donate more than 190 acres of privately owned land to Government, among other commitments.
4 – Disney Conservation at Work
Through the Disney Conservation Fund, Disney has provided more than $13 million to marine conservation programs around the globe, including several in The Bahamas. Since 2007, Disney has been directly involved in leading a multiyear initiative to protect and rehabilitate coral reefs in The Bahamas and will continue to work with leading conservation organizations and communities to protect special places there.
5 – Completion Timeline
Construction at Lighthouse Point will begin only after an Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management Plan are reviewed and accepted by the Government of The Bahamas, and public consultation has occurred. Construction could begin in 2020 with completion in late 2022 or 2023.
RELATED ARTICLE: Castaway Cay – What You Need to Know About Disney Cruise Line’s Private Island
by Cindy E. Nykamp
Castaway Cay is Disney’s private island destination. Located in the tropical waters of the Bahamas, Castaway Cay provides the ultimate escape, whether a guest is seeking adventure, relaxation, or quality time with the family. Learn everything you need to know about this fantastic island destination below.
1 – Castaway Cay Transportation
The dock built at Castaway Cay eliminates the need to tender, making the ship easily accessible throughout the day. Throughout the day, guests are easily able to head back onto the ship for any reason. When exiting, be on the lookout for many great photo spots, including a framed shot of your Disney ship with a Castaway Cay sign.
When you’re ready to explore the island, transportation is provided to and from various points on the 1,000-acre island, including a special tram to Serenity Bay – a beach area reserved exclusively for guests 18 years of age and older. While we do enjoy walking around, it was very nice to have the option to take the trams to save some time.
2 – Castaway Key Amenities
Castaway Cay has its own post office where guests can mail a message to family and friends back home. For added convenience, complimentary beach towels are available for guests to use on the island. There are also a few gift shops around the island to get the perfect souvenir. Stateroom key cards may be used to make purchases on the island, including merchandise and alcoholic beverages. There are plenty of chairs all around the island, so no need to worry about not getting one. There are also a lot of umbrellas around the island that are set up and available for no extra charge (other cruise lines charge for umbrellas). Being able to have an umbrella on a hot day is a very nice perk!
3 – You Won’t Go Hungry
There are plenty of places to get delicious food on the island. An all-you-care-to-eat lunch buffet is served at the open-air Cookies’ BBQ and Cookies Too located near the main family beach under covered family pavilions. Cookies feature typical back yard barbequed fare such as ribs, hamburgers, hot dogs, and chicken sandwiches, etc. The food choices are the same at each location, so head to the one closest. Each Cookies location also has self-serve ice cream machines with the unique flavors of strawberry and banana, in addition to vanilla and chocolate.
Adults spending their time at Serenity Bay don’t need to leave for the main beach to eat lunch or grab a drink. A smaller lunch buffet, Bahamian specialty drinks, beer, and mixed drinks are served at the nearby Castaway Air Bar. As an added bonus at the adults-only lunch location, ribeye steaks grilled to order are available.
Also, be sure to check out Summertime Freeze, an Olaf-inspired beverage location serving non-alcoholic specialty frozen drinks in souvenir cups. Only Disney Cruise Line guests can cool down with creative menu items inspired by the animated hit “Frozen,” like “Olaf’s Flurry Freeze” and “Sven’s Carrot Delight.”
4 – Spaces for All Ages – For Families
Like the Disney ships, Castaway Cay is designed with unique activities and areas for every age group, providing an exceptional experience for everyone. We explored the many areas of the island. Here is a breakdown of the fantastic things to do on Castaway Cay.
Flying high above the island on a parasail adventure, snorkeling in a 12-acre lagoon, casting off on a fishing tour, building sandcastles on the beach, or bicycling around the island are just a few of the activities that every member of the family can enjoy. More fun for families includes:
- Guests can swim and interact with Southern Stingrays in a private lagoon. This up-close encounter with the rays is part of a one-hour experience called Castaway Ray’s Stingray Adventure and is open to guests five years of age or older.
- For water sport enthusiasts, there are water cycles, paddleboats, sea kayaks, sailboats, stand-up paddleboards, and snorkel gear for rent. The island features a 12-acre snorkel trail dotted with sunken treasures, including a submarine from the classic Disney attraction 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and a statue of a certain familiar mouse.
- Located within swimming distance from shore, Pelican Plunge is a 2,400-square-foot floating platform featuring water slides, water cannons, and other get-wet fun.
- On the island, a 2,400-square-foot water play area called Spring-a-Leakhelps, everyone cool off with fresh-water jets that squirt and spray and saturate guests.
- Castaway Family Beach has plenty of umbrellas, chairs, and hammocks for a perfect day in the warm sun and comfortable shade, plus tube and float rentals for fun in the swimming lagoon.
- Premium private cabanas along the far side of the family beach and are available to rent, providing luxury and giving guests a spectacular view of their Disney cruise ship from the cabana’s front patio deck.
- In Da Shade Game Pavilion provides guests wanting to take a break out of the sun a place to play games such as table tennis, foosball, billiards and basketball in a shaded structure centrally located near Castaway Family Beach.
- The Watercraft Ski Adventure gives guests a chance to drive a personal watercraft through intricate mangroves and other natural wonders around the island.
- Nature-lovers rejoice: there are several paths to the island’s interior that can be explored either on foot or bicycle. A knowledgeable guide explains the ecological wonders found in the Bahamas during the Castaway Cay Walking and Kayak Nature Adventure.
- Throughout the island, guests are treated to a myriad of surprises from Disney characters, including exclusive meet-and-greets, photo opportunities, and dance parties.
5 – Spaces for All Ages – For Kids, Tweens, and Teens…
Mirroring the youth activities on the ship, children ages three to 17 will find programs and activities designed specifically for them on the island, supervised by trained, experienced counselors.
- Scuttle’s Cove is the “hub” of youth activities for kids (ages three to 12) and features a 1,200-square-foot water play area with a soft wet deck and an array of pop jets, geysers, and bubblers. It also connects to a Monstro Point, a dig site filled with artificial whale bones. Activities at Scuttle’s Cove include:
- Gotta Get Soaked, a team challenge with water balloons and buckets.
- Water Mania, water play for younger kids.
- Caribbean Beach Party, sandcastle challenges, and bubble games offering more games, music, and fun for the little ones.
- Tweens (ages 11-13) have scheduled time to hang out together, supervised by youth counselors, at In Da Shade Game Pavilion and Pelican Plunge.
- Hide Out is a secluded retreat for teens (ages 14-17) where they can hang out, kick back, soak up the sun, listen to music and watch the action at the nearby beach volleyball and soccer areas.
- Teens explore Castaway Cay during TheWild Side excursion designed just for them. They’ll snorkel, bike, and kayak through the island and finish with a hearty lunch.
6 – Spaces for All Ages – Just for Adults…
Located almost a mile from the main family beach, Serenity Bay is a pristine stretch of beach exclusively for adults. At Serenity Bay, where sparkling azure waters meet the natural white sand, and palm trees sway in the breeze, special amenities and activities offer the ultimate in relaxation for adults:
- Guests can soak up the sun or relax in the shade of an umbrella on comfortable lounge chairs or two-person hammocks that dot the beach.
- Premium private cabanas spoil guests with the luxury of a deluxe beach resort.
- Adults can enjoy a therapeutic massage at a massage cabana overlooking the ocean or participate in a yoga class on the beach, just steps away from the crystal-clear water.
7 – Our Time on the Island
During our first Disney cruise, we thoroughly enjoyed our time on the island. The food was delicious, and we really enjoyed having plenty of beverage stations to grab a soda or water. We have a nice bike ride through the island trails were able to see some pretty secluded areas. We did not end up swimming as it was a cool day (our cruise was in January). However, the water looked fantastic, and there were plenty of people enjoying the many activities in the water. Time on the island was too short, but we can’t wait to get back and explore it again!
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