Top 10 Tips For Your First Disney Cruise


Are you about to embark on your first Disney cruise? These Top 10 Disney Cruise Tips are to help you make the most of your experience if you are a first time cruiser.

Even if you have sailed before you can always learn something new about a Disney Cruise.


Disney Cruise Tips

We wish we had realized these things when we first sailed with Disney cruise line. It would have made it an even more magical experience.

We have been fortunate enough to spend months on board the Disney cruise ships. And here is what we would tell our best friend if they were going on their first Disney Cruise!

Join my Disney Cruise Group for Tips and Free Giveaways!

Choose Your Disney Cruise Stateroom Wisely


Your choice of Disney Cruise stateroom is going to impact more than anything else on how much your cruise costs.

The price of different staterooms on exactly the same cruise can vary by thousands of dollars. Guests in an inside stateroom will have exactly the same access to all the ship facilities as those in a verandah stateroom. However, they will have paid considerably less.

Some cruisers would never even consider an inside stateroom. Others would prefer to save the money and forget the balcony.


We have sailed in inside, outside and verandah staterooms and each has it’s advantages and disadvantages. Now we tend to sail in an outside stateroom as for us it isn’t worth the extra money for the verandah.

The only times we now go for a verandah are in Europe, Alaska and the Panama Canal.

Not all staterooms are created equal within the same categories. There are some secret bargains, and also some staterooms that just aren’t as great as the others.

To help you make the right choice we have written this comprehensive guide to help you:


Disney Fantasy Cruise Staterooms – The Ultimate Guide

Disney Cruise Packing Tips

A little planning goes a long way. With airlines charging for checked bags these days it is important to really think about what you need to pack – and what you can leave behind.

We pack light and have refined our packing very much over the years. We love to take our Disney Mickey Mouse Pants rolling suitcase with us on board. We put all our essential items like passport, cruise documents, medications and swim wear in this and take it with us on board.

That way we know we have all the essentials close at hand and don’t have to wait for our checked luggage to arrive in our stateroom.

We know some people like to pack everything. One memorable cruise my sister packed more shoes than I could even dream of. But our plan is to pack with the view that we will bring the things we know we need and accept that we may do laundry a couple of times. It’s easier than it sounds.

We think that Packing Cubes are one of the best things you can buy to make packing and travel so much easier. We never travel without them.

Disney Cruise staterooms never have enough electrical outlets. We take this this 4-Port USB Wall Charger . It is great because you can charge up to 4 devices at a time just using one wall socket. No fighting about who gets to charge their phone first.

For more about essential things to pack and what to leave at home you can see our guide:

How To Pack For A Disney Cruise – Top 15 Hacks and Tips

Enjoy All The Disney Cruise Dining Options


A huge part of any cruise is the food. And there is a whole lot of food.

You may have heard about the innovative Rotational Dining which is unique to Disney. We go over this in more detail in our guide:

How Does Disney Cruise Rotational Dining Work?


But there are many more dining options than just the main dining rooms. One thing that many guests forget is Room Service.

This is not the room service you are used to in hotels where the in room menu makes your eyes pop and your bank balance scared at the prices.

Disney Cruise Line room service is available 24 hours a day and most of the items on it are free. Yes free.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are available. All that we suggest you do, and you really should, is tip the Crew Member bringing your order. Take some $1 bills with you. It’s the only time you need cash on board.


You won’t need to be on a Disney cruise ship for very long to realize that the Crew Members are beyond excellent. They deserve the gratuities so make sure you give a few bucks at least to the one bringing your food!

We like to order Room Service on Port Days when you may have to get up early for your excursions.


One of the best experiences we have had on a Disney Cruise is ordering breakfast on Panama Canal Day. You can snack for a long time on your breakfast on your verandah whilst waiting to go through the first lock. A memorable experience.

We would also recommend going to Palo at least once on your cruise. If you want the absolute luxury experience on the Disney Dream and Fantasy it is worth going to Remy as well. This is fine dining at it’s very best.

A Disney Cruise is for Adults Too


We know that when many people hear the words “Disney Cruise” they imagine a place for the kids. It’s true that Disney does a wonderful job of keeping the kids happy. However, there are plenty of things to make the adults happy too.

There are many spaces on the Disney ships reserved just for adults. There are pools, dining, nightlife, seminars, fitness and of course the spa. All these things are strictly for the over 18s.

So take the chance to spend some grown up time and enjoy everything that Disney cruises has to offer for the adults. The kids will be happy enough in the kids clubs. You may even have a difficult time getting them to leave!

We would suggest trying the adult dining venue Palo at least once during the cruise. Brunch or Dinner at Palo is charged at $40 extra. Although the price has increased a lot in recent times, we think this is still a bargain for the quality of food and service offered.

Top 10 Things To Do On A Disney Cruise For Adults

Be A Kid


If you have ever visited a Disney Park then you know that it brings out your inner child! The Disney ships are just like that too.

Ride the AquaDuck, take an animation class, watch your favorite Disney movie, swim with a dolphin. Do all those things that make you remember what it was like to just be a kid.

In the words of Walt Disney:

“That’s the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up. They forget. They don’t remember what it’s like to be twelve years old”

So follow Walt’s wisdom and do something that will remind you of what it felt like to be a kid – no matter how long ago that was!

You Do Not Have To Get Off The Disney Ship


Disney cruise lines takes you to some exciting ports. The Caribbean, The Bahamas, Alaska and Europe all have amazing ports of call to explore.

But there may be times when you just want to relax and stay on board the ship. We usually spend at least one port day enjoying the ship.


It is great to have the chance to be on the ship when it is so quiet. No lines for the AquaDuck, reduced Spa prices, no lines in the buffet, and fewer people in the pools are just some of the benefits of staying on the ship whilst others are exploring.

If you do decide to get off the ship research before hand what you want to do. You can pre-book a Disney Port Adventure, but you may want to look online to see if that excursion is available with an independent company.

The advantage of booking with Disney is that you know that all the excursions are checked out by Disney, and they won’t leave you behind if the worst happens and you don’t make it back to the ship on time. This is very rare though and you may save a lot of money by booking an excursion independently.

Disney Castaway Cay Is Paradise


One of the main attractions of a Disney cruise is that if you sail on a Caribbean or Bahamian cruise you will visit Castaway Cay. Disney’s Private Island is beautiful. It has that extra special Disney Magic.

One of the best bargains on a Disney Port Adventure is to rent the snorkel equipment on Castaway Cay. At $31.18 for adults and $15.05 for children it will give you a whole days access to 22 acres of crystal clear water to explore.


If you have never tired snorkeling before it is a great opportunity to try. As well as all the tropical fish Disney also has some surprises for you to find under the sea.

When we were first looking at Port Adventures on a Disney Cruise we really wanted the perfect beach day. And I think we paid nearly $100 per person for it in a Caribbean port. It wasn’t worth it. We learned later that the perfect beach day is actually at Disney’s Castaway Cay. And it is included on many Disney cruises. You do not have to spend a cent more if you don’t want to.

Take Some Time To Kick Back At Least A Little


There is a lot to do on a Disney cruise. And it can be very difficult to slow down from real life sometimes. But one of the many great things about a Disney cruise is that you do get to escape reality – if you choose to. The internet. It’s an amazing thing but don’t you wish sometimes you could just cut the connection? Internet is available on Disney cruises. The speed varies and it is not cheap.

Why not try an internet free day – or even an internet free cruise? If you run your business online like us we know that isn’t possible, but could you just even nominate a day or two when you were truly not in contact with the outside world. We have done that and it has been a very liberating experience.

If you haven’t read a book in a while then bring one. The one thing about a Disney cruise is that there is no library, and only about 3 paperbacks for sale in the store!

The new craze for adults is coloring books. They are incredibly relaxing and we took one on our recent cruise and got a lot of comments from people wishing they had one too. Or go to a Disney animation class. Go to The Rainforest at the Spa – you can get a Day Pass. Whatever is going to make you actually relax.

Save Money On Disney Cruise Drinks


The days are gone when Disney said you could take as much alcohol on board the ship as you wanted. But the party isn’t completely over. You can still take limited supplies of alcohol on a Disney ship.

Disney Cruise Line Guests 21 years and older may bring a maximum of 2 bottles of unopened wine or champagne (no larger than 750 ml) or 6 beers (no larger than 12 ounces) on board at the beginning of the voyage and at each port-of-call.


So if you really want to go out searching for cheap wine or beer when you are in port you can save money. We would rather spend the time doing something else and enjoy the port rather than going to Walmart in Mexico but each to their own!

Even with the new policy savings can be made.

For a full explanation of the policy you can see our guide at:

Disney Cruise Line – Can You Really Take Alcohol On Board?

Remember too that you can still enjoy the free drinks. Disney is not like most other cruise lines who seem to be moving towards the ‘make money by offering an expensive drinks package for soda and alcohol’. Please Disney never think about that.


Soda, coffee and tea is free from the pool deck dispensers and in the restaurants. If you order a coke from a bar you will be charged for it. The simple answer? Just don’t order it from the bar!

Specialty coffee is also available for a fee. If you really must have your latte then make sure that you pick up a coffee card which will give you a buy 5 get 1 free deal.

Book Your Next Disney Cruise On The Ship


For most guests one Disney cruise is just not enough! You will already be thinking about booking your next one before your first one has even finished. But did you know that the easiest way to save money is to book your next cruise whilst you are still on board ship?

This is called a Placeholderr and can only be booked on the Disney Cruise Ship.

If you book on the ship you will get a 10% discount off prevailing rates as well as an onboard credit. This is $100 for 3 to 6 day cruises and $200 for 7 days or more.

As a further incentive you even get a reduced deposit of 10% for sailings 7 nights and over.


Still too early to decide which Disney cruise you want to sail on next? You can book a cruise which you are not sure you will sail on and then change the booking for a different cruise,ship. date, or stateroom and still keep the incentives.

Or you can book a Placeholder cruise for a $250 deposit. You just get a reservation number but don’t book an actual cruise. You then decide which cruise you want and book that with the discount

For more details of this and other ways to save money on a Disney cruise go to our guide at:

How To Save Money On A Disney Cruise

Disney Cruise Tips and Tricks

How Do You Get to Stay in Disney’s Cinderella Castle Suite?

Cinderella Castle Suite

Cinderella Castle Suite

How do you make a reservation at Disney’s Cinderella Castle Suite in the Magic Kingdom? How can you get to stay inside Disney’s Cinderella Castle Suite?

The Cinderella Castle Suite is the only place that you can stay overnight inside Disney’s Magic Kingdom. However, only a very limited amount of people will ever get to stay there.

Disney Cinderella Castle Suite


Many of us dream of staying in Disney’s Cinderella Castle, but few will ever get the opportunity. It takes rather more than just a little bit of Disney Pixie Dust to get the chance to spend a night in Magic Kingdom.

Here is a great video with a tour of Cinderella Castle Suite so you can see just what magic is inside:

Get this FREE From Disney World

A Disney Cinderella Castle Suite Reservation is unfortunately something which not even money can buy and is open only to a very fortunate few.


Disney Cinderella Castle Suite Back Story


Disney World first announced the creation of the Cinderella Suite in 2006. The space which is now the Cinderella Castle Suite was originally intended to be a place that Walt Disney and his family would stay in the park. Sadly, Walt Disney never got to see his creation as he died in December 1966, almost five years before the Magic Kingdom opened.

Title Photo by DarrenWittko

Before 2006 the space in Cinderella Castle was empty. However, at times it was used for storage. It was also the home of the Disney telephone operators for a while.

However, with the launch of The Year of A Million Dreams in 2007, Disney wanted something as a very special prize for a select few lucky guests.

Disney created the ultimate place to stay in Walt Disney World – the Cinderella Castle Suite. One lucky person, and up to 5 guests, were chosen to spend the night in the Cinderella Suite.

The Year of a Million Dreams finished in 2008. That’s now a decade ago. Since then, Disney has occasionally chosen families to stay in the Cinderella Suite. It is also sometimes offered as a prize in a sweepstakes.

This is rare though. We always publish those competitions here so keep on the look out for the latest one.

Money can’t buy a night in the Cinderella Castle Suite. However, money can buy some magical places to stay in Walt Disney World. You can read our guide to the very best hotels at Disney World.

Look Inside Cinderella’s Castle Suite


What exactly is inside Cinderella’s Castle Suite? It has the kind of amazing detailing that you would expect from the Disney Imagineers.

The Cinderella Suite is intended to make you feel not just that you are inside the Castle but that you are immersed in the whole experience.

The inspiration for the design of the Cinderella Suite were the 17th century French chateaus upon which the Castle was modeled. The Suite has ornate furnishings in dark woods with opulent fabrics. Certainly fit for a Disney Princess.

Here is another video for an exclusive tour and look inside the Cinderella Castle Suite. It is probably the closest that any of us are going to get!

The Cinderella Castle Suite is on the fourth floor and is accessed by a special elevator.

Inside, the Cinderella Suite is perhaps smaller than most people imagine at just 650 square feet.


The bedroom has 2 beautiful Queen sized beds facing an ornate fireplace. Above the fireplace is a 17th century style portrait of Cinderella.

However, all is not what it seems as the portrait magically transforms into a flat screen television! There is even a remote control for the lights and the fireplace.

Cinderella’s Glass Slipper finds pride of place in the Suite.


The bathroom houses a huge garden tub with ornate stained glass windows and a twinkling star ceiling.

Guests may be surprised that it isn’t easy to get a view of the Magic Kingdom from the Suite. The windows are small and stained glass.

There is a balcony outside the Disney Cinderella Suite but it is not accessible for guests.

So how do you make a reservation for Cinderella’s Castle Suite? Unfortunately you can’t. This really is something that money cannot buy.

Disney occasionally gives away a nights stay as a prize. The last guest known to have stayed at the Cinderella Suite was Kevin Jonas and his wife Danielle as they celebrated their first wedding anniversary on December 19th 2010.

Tom Cruise also stayed in the Cinderella Suite with Suri. Mariah Carey has also had the privilege of staying there.

So obviously being an international superstar, preferably one who has made Disney many millions of dollars, must help in getting a reservation!

All photos by Disney Parks unless otherwise stated

So what would you give to stay inside Cinderella Castle Suite? Leave a comment below!

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Top 10 Disney World Rides for Teenagers


What are the very best rides for teenagers at Walt Disney World? The Disney parks are perhaps best known for their appeal to younger children and adults. However, this does not mean that if you have teenagers in your group they are going to feel left out. Disney World is for teens too!

Here is my list of Top 10 Disney World rides for teenagers.

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster

What better than a mix of rock music and a high speed roller coaster? The teens are likely to want to ride this major Disney Hollywood Studios attraction more than once. This Aerosmith inspired roller coaster ride accelerates from 0-57 mph in just 2.8 seconds cataputing riders 200 feet!

Rock N Roller Coaster is an intense roller coaster particularly by Disney World standards. Riders experience G Force of up to 4.5.

Read more in this Disney Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster guide.

Disney Hollywood Tower of Terror

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

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The Hollywood Tower of Terror is another attraction in Disney’s Hollywood Studios which is sure to keep the teenagers happy. Riders plunge 13 stories in this 199 feet tall very imposing attraction. The ride sequence is random so you never quite know which ride you will experience.

The theming on Tower of Terror is excellent. The teenagers may not ever have seen the Twilight Zone television series. However, they will appreciate the general spookiness of the place, right down to the excellent bell hops who control the elevator.

If you want to know more go to Disney’s Tower of Terror Guide.

Star Tours The Adventure Continues

You don’t have to be a Star Wars fan to appreciate this amazing motion simulator ride (but it helps). Star Tours has just undergone a major redesign and it is now one of the very best rides in the Disney parks.

Of course with the opening of Star Wars Land in 2019, Star Tours is probably going to feel rather dated. However, for now it is the best way to get to a Galaxy Far Far Away.

Star Tours is an attraction in Disney Hollywood Studios which the teenagers will really enjoy. There are now 54 possible variations so you never know which sequence you are going to get. If you are familiar with the Star Wars movies you will recognize the classic pod race scenes on Naboo, enjoy the snowy lands of Hoth and of course love to battle it out on the Death Star.

Epcot Mission Space

Mission Space

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This is the ultimate thrill ride for teens at Disney’s Epcot. Tell them that it was the first ride to supply vomit bags for guests and you are sure to get their attention. This is an extreme ride. Heed the warnings. If you are not ready for this ride then you can select the Green line which is the none spinning version. The cabin is still pretty small so if you suffer from fear of small spaces it is best you give this ride a miss.

Nasa astronauts say that Mission Space gives riders a good idea what it feels like to be launched into space. I guess you can’t beat that endorsement! As with all Disney rides this one has a story. Guests board a 4 person vehicle to be launched on a mission to Mars.

You experience up to 2.5 G Force on the Orange ride so even the most reluctant teenager can’t fail to be impressed by this intense Disney ride.

Epcot Test Track

Test track Epcot Panorama 2009

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Epcot Test Track is a highly unique ride which really doesn’t have any comparison with any other theme park ride. The whole idea is that this is a test facility for new vehicles.

Guest on Epcot Test Track board a 6 person vehicle. Riders will experience a series of tests including handling, breaking, and a hot and cold test. The final test is the high speed test where you will reach speeds of 65 mph on an outside steeply banked circular track. This is one for the thrill seekers out there and the teenagers are going to love it.

If you want to know more here is a guide to Epcot Test Track

Soarin’ Over the World


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Another very original ride located in Disney’s Epcot theme park. This 4 minute 40 second simulated flight ride is a flight simulator of a very different kind. You board a huge structure in front of a very large screen.

The structure goes up to 40 feet into the air and guests get a sensation of flying. It takes guests over the amazing sights of the World. These include The Taj Mahal, The Great Wall of China, the planes of Africa and The Eiffel Tower.

Epcot Soarin’ Over the World is a very unique ride with no other attraction in the world quite like it.

Expedition Everest

Disney - Expedition Everest HDR (Explored)

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The newest and the most thrilling of the Disney World Mountains is located in Disney Animal Kingdom park. Guests board the Anandapur Rail Service train which is scheduled to take them to the foot of Mount Everest. The journey begins mildly enough but then the tests, turns and drops begin. This is a classic roller coaster with amazing Disney theming. The attention to detail is amazing – Imagineers spent 6 years researching this ride.

Animal Kingdom Kilimanjaro Safari

Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a very unique place to experience a very different animal park. The Kilimanjaro Safari ride is a favorite with all ages. Teenagers are likely to enjoy this very unique opportunity to get as close to a safari experience as you can without traveling to Africa.

Board a safari vehicle and your guide will take you through the plains of Africa to see lions, zebras, elephants, giraffe, hippo and many other animals at very close quarters. Don’t worry. It is all in a very controlled environment. Whilst you can see the lions, this is Disney after all and they aren’t going to get near you!

Disney Pirates of the Caribbean Ride

This Magic Kingdom ride will be a big hit with the teenagers if they enjoyed the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Plenty of chances to catch sight of hero Captain Jack Sparrow even if he is just an audio animatronic figure.

This is one of the oldest of the Disney rides (it debuted in Disneyland in 1967). It is the last attraction which Walt Disney worked on personally. A dark boat ride with lots of dark images, fighting and explosions, this one should appeal to the teens.

Space Mountain

Space Mountain is a classic Disney roller coaster which teenagers should enjoy. Not because it is fast or particularly thrilling (it only ever reaches 28 mph which is a snails pace for modern roller coasters) but because it is a unique experience.

The appeal of Disney’s Space Mountain appeal is that it uses light very effectively and creates the great Disney illusion of not being quite what it seems.

What are your favorite Disney World rides for teenagers? I would love to hear from you. Leave me a comment below!

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What Not To Pack on a Disney Cruise


There is so much advice about what to pack on a Disney cruise that you may have missed the fact that some items are prohibited. You really need to make sure that you are aware that there are certain items you can’t take on a Disney cruise.

Disney cruise lines has a long list of prohibited items. Some items could even make you subject to a hefty fine.


Even if the item isn’t on the prohibited list,some things just going to fill up your suitcase and aren’t needed.

Here is our guide about what not to pack on a Disney cruise.

Over the Door Hanging Organizers

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Disney Wonder Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom With Verandah Review

This one causes some confusion, but you really have to get it right or you could find yourself regretting it!

There are many articles out there telling you to bring an Over the Door Hanging Organizer on to your Disney Cruise. However, this is old advice. Due to the hooks on the organizers damaging doors and walls on the ship Disney Cruise banned over the door hanging organizers.


Think you can take a chance on this and bring one anyway? Just don’t. If you are in violation of this rule and damage is done to your Disney cruise stateroom you will find a charge of $100 per incident on your account. Really not worth it.

Click here for a Disney Cruise Prohibited Items List

There is a lot of storage space in your Disney cruise stateroom bathroom. There are so many shelves in there we really don’t think that you need an over the door organizer for the bathroom.

However, you can increase the storage capacity in your Disney cruise stateroom without violating the rules. We think that Packing Cubes are one of the best things you can buy to make packing and travel so much easier.

Why are packing cubes so great? Firstly they help you organize your packing at home so much more easily. You can separate out your packing at the start to help you think about what you have. This also means that when you arrive in your stateroom you are going to know where things are in your suitcase.

Who wants to dig around to the bottom of the suitcase trying to find socks for your toddler? Or having to unpack everything before you find your swim stuff. No one. This is taking up precious cruise time! So having Packing Cubes helps save you a lot of wasted time.

When your luggage arrives in your Disney cruise stateroom the unpacking process becomes so much easier if you have Packing Cubes. You just take them out of your suitcase and throw them straight into a drawer. Easy.

101 Essential Disney Cruise Tips

Extension Cords or Surge Protectors

A Fantastical Morning in Jamaica

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This is another one that you will find on a lot of Disney cruise packing lists. However, extension cords and surge protectors are prohibited items on Disney cruises.

The problem is that there aren’t that many outlets on all the Disney cruise ships, even after all the dry dock improvements.

We are sure that the new Disney cruise ships will have more electrical outlets than you can ever use, but the existing ships design means that you can have a problem as there aren’t enough outlets.

The Extent Of It

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With more and more phone and tablet devices you can find yourself fighting over the outlets with your family members!

The solution? Really the things that you are going to want to plug-in to charge are phones and tablets. So the problem can be solved with a good multi port plug-in charger. We have this 4-Port USB Wall Charger . It is great because you can charge up to 4 devices at a time just using one wall socket.

Electrical Appliances


Disney cruise lines is always concerned with safety on board. This is why they ban electrical appliances including “rice cookers, hot plates, coffee makers, blenders, electric irons, electric blankets, heating pads, bottle sterilizers and warmers”.

I have to confess I have never been tempted to take a rice cooker on board! However, the one that most people get confused about is if it is OK to take an iron on a Disney cruise. It isn’t.

However, if you really need to iron don’t worry. There are irons in every laundry room on board. They are chained to the wall so you don’t run away with them!

If you would prefer not to iron at sea you can use Downy Wrinkle Releaser. This is a travel size spray which you can easily pack in your cruise luggage. Also, packing clothing items by rolling them up helps prevent those wrinkles in the first place.


You can’t cope without a great cup of coffee every day so you are tempted to bring your coffee maker? This is on the list of prohibited items, so just don’t do it. The coffee from the pool deck is tolerable and in the rotational dining restaurants it is actually pretty good. If you want a specialty coffee the Cove Cafe is the place to go, but there is an extra charge.

If you really need to brew your own coffee think about bringing a Bodum Travel Tea and Coffee Press.

Pack your favorite coffee beans and you are good to go. You can bring ground coffee or use this Manual Coffee Grinder if you like freshly ground beans.

It is easy to get boiling water from the pool deck and you can have your very favorite roast. Disney has a good selection of tea bags available too if tea is your tipple.

If you have a baby on board you can’t bring your own bottle sterilizers and warmers. However, there are always limited quantities of these baby friendly items available from Guest Services. You can borrow them for free, subject to availability.

What NOT to Forget on a Disney Cruise

Things for the Pool


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Disney prohibits:

“Kites, balloons, surfboards, wave boards, inflatable floats, pool noodles, inflatable pools and wagons”.

Not sure why you would want a kite on board a Disney cruise but I guess that someone has tried it before.

You might be surprised that you are not allowed to bring your own balloons on board a Disney cruise. I am not sure of the logic behind this, but I guess it could be the latex allergy issue which may harm other passengers. Or too many people started to bring helium filled balloons on board.

However, if you really want to have balloons in your stateroom you can order them as part of a celebration package.

disney cruise swimming pool

Disney provides approved flotation devices on board the ship and on Castaway Cay. You are not allowed to bring any other flotation device or toy such as a pool noodle. Really, because of the size of the pools on the Disney ships if you added inflatable pool toys it would be a nightmare.

The pools on the Disney ships are small in relation to the number of people who want to be in them. An inflatable Mickey Mouse just isn’t going to help.

Quiet Cove on Disney Magic

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I have to admit that it is great that wagons are banned on a Disney cruise. I have noticed that people in the Disney theme parks have abandoned the simple stroller and are now bringing huge wagons into the parks. Please Disney ban wagons in your parks too ….

We have heard of some people bringing small inflatable travel bath tubs for babies on board. This can help if you have a young baby and they are too small for the bath. Technically this comes under the rule about not bringing inflatables, but Disney seems to turn a blind eye to this. You can even order a Disney Minnie Mouse Inflatable Bathtub. As this is going no where near the pool it is probably fine.


Disney - Welcome to Paradise

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Thankfully Disney prohibits “Firearms, ammunition, knives (including dive knives), swords, daggers and any other types of weapons”.

This one is obvious, but where you may get confused is that Disney also does not let you bring “Toy guns or other replicas of firearms and weapons” on board either.

So that sword that you bought your five-year old for Pirate Night is going to have to stay in the port. Yes, it really has happened that plastic swords have been confiscated. A rule is a rule.

Are you permitted to bring a Swiss Army type knife on board? Disney cruises bans all knives so just leave it at home. Some people bring that for the corkscrew feature. However, just ask your Room Steward if you need one and he will bring it to your stateroom.



There isn’t any need to bring towels on board a Disney cruise. You can have as many as you want and someone will even launder them for you! It is a common question about whether you need pool towels on a Disney cruise. The easy answer is that you really don’t. There are plenty of towels in your stateroom and if you need more than just ask your Cabin Steward.

Pool towels are always available on a Disney cruise on Castaway Cay. As soon as you get of the ship at Disney’s Castaway Cay you will see a huge supply of towels. Take what you need and return them at the end of the day.

If you are lucky enough to get a Castaway Cay Cabana towels are provided for you in the cabana. These are a really nice quality. If you need more just ask your Cabana Concierge.


It seems like a pretty obvious point that illegal drugs are prohibited on a Disney cruise. However, a question that is coming up more recently is are you allowed to take marijuana on board a Disney cruise? The answer is a very definite no. Disney has a very clear just say no policy about marijuana whether or not it has been obtained legally or is medically prescribed. Hookah pipes are also banned so don’t put one of those in your luggage either!

It is fine to bring prescription medication with you on a Disney cruise. However, it is always a good idea to bring a copy of any prescription with you. That way Disney knows what it is and you will also be able to replace the prescription more easily if you need to for some reason.



This can save you a lot of space in your luggage. You do not need to pack shampoo, conditioner, soap or body lotion. All are supplied in your Disney cruise stateroom. I know some people want to bring their own favorite brand and this is fine. However, I am really particular about hair products and absolutely love the ones you get for free on board a Disney cruise.

Another tip to find great shampoo, conditioner and body wash on a Disney cruise is to go to the changing rooms in the Senses Spa. You do not need to book a treatment at the spa to use the facilities in the changing room which include a sauna and some great showers.

Sometimes if you have people fighting over the shower in the morning it is just easier for an adult to go to the Senses Spa showers. You get the considerable perk of free Elemis products there.

Toys and Things on Wheels


There is plenty to do on a Disney cruise so you won’t suffer too much knowing that certain items are banned and you have to leave the toys at home. Don’t worry, we are not talking about that adorable Captain Mickey plush that you have. It is only certain toys which are prohibited on board a Disney cruise ship.

Disney prohibits:

“Bicycles, scooters, skateboards, hoverboards, inline & roller skates, any footwear with wheels (i.e. Heely’s type shoes) and Segways, or other wheeled mobility devices with less than 3 wheels and devices that cannot maintain stability and balance when stopped, unpowered or unoccupied. Training wheels or similar modifications are not permitted”.

It would be pretty difficult to sneak a Segway on board a Disney cruise. However, if you really want to try one you should look at the Disney cruise activities in some ports which offer a Segway tour!

I can’t imagine why someone would want to take their roller skates on board, but don’t be tempted by footwear with shoes. This is prohibited.

You are of course able to take your own mobility scooter on board a Disney cruise. Most areas of the ship are easily accessible. However, you must always store your mobility scooter inside your stateroom. You are not allowed to obstruct the walk ways and in particular the corridors outside the staterooms.

You also need to leave your gaming systems such as Playstation®, Xbox and Nintendo Wii at home. You really don’t need them anyway as there is plenty to do on board. You won’t need your “DVD, VCR, and Blu-ray players”. Not sure who still has a VCR, but they are banned on a Disney cruise anyway!

Ice Chests and Coolers

This is one which needs looking at more closely as not all ice chests and coolers are prohibited on a Disney cruise. Disney cruise lines does allow”

“Coolers no larger than 12″ x 12″ x 12″ [30.5cm x 30.5cm x 30.5cm], as carry-on luggage only for storing medications, baby food or items related to dietary restrictions only”.

So there are two elements here. Firstly the cooler can never exceed the prescribed size. Secondly it can only be used to carry those items. I know guests sometimes want to bring water and alcohol on board a Disney cruise and carry them in a cooler. You can’t do that. Both are fine in your hand luggage – provided you stick to the rules about bringing alcohol on board a Disney cruise.

This is a Cooler Bag which meets the size requirements and is highly rated.

You are also welcome to bring breast milk provided it is packed in your carry on luggage.

If you need to bring food items because of dietary restrictions you can do this. However, you do need to follow certain rules. You can only bring packaged food on board. Disney cruise lines prohibits:

“Homemade, precooked or perishable foods or open food containers”.

Disney cruise line is excellent at accommodating dietary requirements, so you really shouldn’t need to bring much on board with you, except in very limited circumstances.


Of course you will miss your pets whilst you are sailing on a Disney cruise. However, don’t think about smuggling Fido on board. He isn’t allowed. The only pets allowed are service dogs. I have seen a couple of service dogs on board a Disney cruise.

Wonder where the dog bathroom is? Service dogs get their very own patch of grass to put out on your balcony, and there is a specific spot, usually on the promenade deck.

Guests who need more information about bringing service dogs on a Disney cruise should consult with their Disney Travel Agent or call (407) 566-3602. It can take a number of months to get the necessary permits together for the dog to be able to leave the ship with you in port. Always check before you book a cruise if you know you will be needing to bring your service dog.

Sport’s Equipment


Disney has a long list of sport’s equipment that it needs for you to keep at home too:

“Potentially dangerous sporting equipment, including baseball and cricket bats, hockey and lacrosse sticks, pool cues, ski poles, fishing gear and archery equipment”.

You can take golf equipment on board a Disney cruise just so long as you keep it stored in your stateroom.

You can’t bring “Scuba equipment such as tanks, spears, spear guns, slings, dive knives, pry bars, and underwater scooters”. I do wonder if anyone has actually tried to bring an underwater scooter on to to Disney cruise.

Fortunately it is absolutely fine to bring Snorkeling Gear with you. This can save you money on Castaway Cay if you bring your own.

Other Random Things

Don’t bring Musical Instruments, Metal Detectors, Drones, Candles, or Flammable Liquids.

Leave the Fireworks for Disney to handle on Pirate Night. Passengers can’t bring fireworks or pyrotechnics. Thank goodness.

what not to pack on a disney cruise


Disney Castaway Cay – The Ultimate Guide


Are you wanting to know more about Disney Castaway Cay? One of the highlights of a Disney cruise is a trip to Disney’s private island Castaway Cay. Here we want to share with you some of the secrets of Disney Castaway Cay island.

Most Disney cruise guests say that their visit to Castaway Cay is the highlight of their trip. We agree!


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Disney Castaway Cay

Disney's Human Element - Chase the Oasis

Photo Credit

Disney was one of the first cruise lines to offer their guests a private island to explore. Disney wanted to be the very best. They made sure that the island had the perfect location in the Bahamas and offered an amazing experience for their guests.

Disney’s Castaway Cay private island is 1,000 acres in area. However, most of this is not developed. Disney cruise lines has made a 55 acre paradise in the Bahamas for their cruise guests. Disney Castaway Cay Bahamas is often the highlight of a Disney cruise.

Disney Castaway CayWhat You Really Need To Know
Disney Cruise Tips
Disney Cruise castaway cay Tips
castaway cay guide

If you want to learn more about some of the itineraries which have a port stop in Disney’s Castaway Cay you can read our guides at:

Disney Western Caribbean Cruise

Castaway Cay Tips and Hacks

Disney Cruise Miami

Disney Castaway Cay History

Castaway Cay

A very limited number of cruises also stop at Castaway Cay twice in one sailing. There are known as castaway Cay Double Dip sailings and you can read about them here.

Disney Castaway Cay History

It is fun to know a little of the rather dubious past history of Castaway Cay. Contrary to popular belief Disney does not actually own Castaway Cay. The island of Castaway Cay actually belongs to the Bahamian government. Disney Cruise Lines have a 99 year lease which began in 1997, the year before Disney Magic was launched. They are reputed to have spent $25 million on making this island a true Disney paradise for their cruise guests.

However, this his 1,000 acre island in the Bahamas, which was known as Gorda Cay, was not always used for family friendly activities!

Disney Castaway Cay has an interesting history …….

Disney Legend has it that pirates used the island to hide and wait for passing ships to ambush. There is some evidence that this is actually true as there were some treasures found on the island from a ship which sank in 1733.

Fortunately, the only pirate who you will encounter on Castaway Cay now is Captain Jack Sparrow. He will be out and about and available for photos on Castaway Cay.

Castaway Cay view from the Disney Dream

Before it was renamed Castaway Cay it was called Gorda Cay. The island was used in the last century by farmers who lived on the neighboring islands. An entrepreneur, Alvin Tucker, bought part of the island in the 1960s. He built a runway to improve access to the island.

However, the fact that it was a great place to grow things and had a very useful airstrip built in the 1960s, meant that it was discovered by drug smugglers. When Alvin Tucker heard about this he tried to stop it but failed.

It is rumored that even the local police were supporting the operation. Tucker sold his interest in the island to a private company which later was revealed to be backed by drug smuggler Frank Barber.

Frank Barber thought it would be a great idea to use the island for tourism as well as running his drug operation there! However,in 1983 his reign came to an end when the police raided the island and found $100 million worth of cocaine.

Disney leased the island from the Bahamian government in 1997, just a year before the launch of the first Disney cruise ship, the Disney Magic.

It is believed that they spent $25 million converting Gorda Cay into an island paradise for Disney cruise guests. This included blasting out some of the sea bed to build a dock and importing 50,000 truck loads of sand to build the beach.


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Getting Off The Ship at Disney’s Castaway Cay

The Rainy Walk

It is an incredible experience to watch the ship approach Castaway Cay. You will arrive early in the morning. If you have a verandah stateroom it is a great idea to get a room service breakfast that day. You can then enjoy a leisurely breakfast whilst you watch Castaway Cay get closer and closer.

If you do not have a verandah then you should head on up to the buffet to get some breakfast. You can still watch your arrival at Castaway Cay from the buffet whilst you get a bite to eat.

Our tip is to start the day early at Castaway Cay. You only have a limited time there and the best way to get the maximum benefit from it is to start out early. You can also get some precious island time before the sun gets too strong.

It is very easy to get off the ship and on to Castaway Cay. Disney thought of pretty much everything when they were creating their private island. Tender boats are a pain, and so Disney made sure that their ships could dock directly on the island.

Many cruisers get off the ship early at Castaway Cay. However, because the process is so easy you won’t experience those awful lines to disembark which some other cruise lines have.

Remember to take your Key to the World Card with you. This is your way to get on and off the ship. You also use your KTTW for any purchases that you want to make on the island.

There isn’t really much else that you actually need to bring with you when you get off the ship. We always advise hats and sun screen though.

You probably want to bring something to take photos with too. You can pick up a water proof camera for a reasonably low price these days.

Castaway Cay with Disney Fantasy

When you exit the ship one of the first things that you will see is a stack of towels. You can pick up one of these to use for the day – no need to bring towels off the ship.

Always remember to take waterproof sunscreen with you. They do sell it on the island, but of course it is highly priced. Take some with you!

Another Disney cruise tip which people with young children need to know is that you do not have to bring a stroller off the ship. Disney has everything covered for you. There is free stroller rental right off the ship.

Kids usually think it’s fun to have a different stroller. Take advantage of this free Disney cruise perk which includes strollers, wagons and even jogging strollers.

There are free wheelchairs available too with huge wheels so that you can take them on the beach.

You will pass the Disney Castaway Cay Post Office on your right. This is a great place to send a postcard as it will be stamped with the Castaway Cay post mark. It will take some time to reach its destination but it is a cool thing to do!

The first decision of the day that you will face is whether to take the Castaway Cay Tram or not. We suggest that you do not take it on the way out to the beaches.

It really isn’t that long of a walk and you may find that it is quicker than taking the trams at the beginning of the day. We usually don’t take it on the way out, but take it on the way back.

Walking to the beaches has the advantage that you tend to get to the beach earlier than most people, who are still stuck waiting for a tram. You can also get more of a sense of the island and see some of the Disney details along the trail.

If you are thinking of sailing on a cruise on the Disney Cruise we always suggest contacting a Disney Authorized Travel Agent. We recommend Destinations in Florida – Get a Quote Now!. Their services are free and you may even get a discount!

Which Disney Castaway Cay Beach Should We Choose?

Castaway Cay

Another great thing about Disney Castaway Cay is that there is more than one beach to choose from.

The closest beach to the ship is Castaway Cay Family Beach. As you would expect, this is the most popular beach on the island. The Castaway Cay Family Beach is set out in a number of different areas.

The Family Beach on Castaway covers the most space on the island. There are different places that you can aim to settle for the day.

Pelican Plunge

Human nature being what it is, most people don’t want to venture far from the Disney ship. Therefore the rule seems to be that the further you get from the ship, the less populated the beach is. It’s kind of like the principle of how you can search for ever for a parking space close to the store. However,if you are prepared to walk for two minutes there will be plenty of space.

As the day progresses the beach gets more crowded. The Disney Wonder and Magic have many less guests than the Disney Dream and Fantasy. This means that you will have fewer people on the island if you are on the classic ships.

We don’t think that Castaway Cay ever seems that crowded. But it isn’t empty either. If you want to get your preferred spot on the Castaway Cay Family Beach you need to be one of the first batch of guests off the ship.

Castaway Cay

People also leave early in the afternoon. Another tip is to go for the last couple of hours on Castaway Cay when everyone else is heading back to the ship. Guests, and we admit this includes us, tend to go back to the ship earlier than is really necessary.

Maybe it’s the mostly irrational fear that you will be waving goodbye to the ship and stranded on this island of paradise! Whatever it is, people tend to start leaving the island around 2 hours before the departure time. If you want to take advantage of this, leave your beach time until the end of the day.

Disney probably won’t thank us for this insight, but they aren’t going to leave you behind. We have seen guests left behind in other ports. However, do you you really think Disney isn’t going to make sure you are off their own private island?

Don’t take advantage of this and inconvenience other guests and the Captain by being late. Be cool about it. However, you can leave the island 15 minutes before the scheduled departure and still be fine.

If you are child free you will definitely want to Serenity Bay Castaway Cay. This is the adults only beach. If you want a fabulous, perfect, pretty much empty beach you will find it on Serenity Bay Castaway Cay.

If lying on the beach and going for a swim in the perfectly clear and calm ocean is your thing then this is paradise.

Sitting on a beach is definitely not our thing – anywhere else in the world except Serenity Bay. However, here Disney has created the perfect beach paradise which even people like me can actually relax on for more than 15 minutes!

You can leave the kids in Scuttle’s Cove if you want to catch some time on Serenity Bay. We say it is worth it, even if it is just for a couple of hours out of the day. There is also Teen Hideout for those over 13 who probably don’t want to spend the whole day with you anyway!

Castaway Cay Cabanas

Disney Dream Cruise - Castaway Cay

One of the most sought after commodities on Disney’s private island are the Castaway Cay Cabanas. If your budget can stretch to a Castaway Cay Cabana you will be very happy in your very own private paradise. However, you have to be very lucky to get one.

There are 24 Castaway Cay Cabanas and they generally all sell out as soon as booking opens. What this means is that usually you have to be a Disney cruise concierge guest to even have a chance of booking one. The concierge guests have priority booking of 120 days out from the cruise and they are usually gone on day one of the booking window.

Most of the Cabanas are on the Family Beach, but there are some available on Serenity Bay. The Serenity Bay cabanas are slightly easier to book – most people go on a Disney cruise with their children.

So why are the Disney Castaway Cay Cabanas so popular? They offer your own haven of shade and comfort on the island.

They are wooden cabana structures which have the front open to one of the Castaway Cay beaches. They also give the lucky few who book them some extra things such as free rafts, tubes and snorkel gear. There are more things which we will detail later.

Castaway Cay

If you book a Castaway Cay Cabana you will receive a note with special instructions in your stateroom. Here you will get a wrist band so you can be identified as having snagged that elusive Cabana reservation.

Once you get off the ship you will go to the Disney Castaway Cay Cabana Check In. Once you have checked in a helpful Cast Member will take you by golf cart to your very own cabana.

The Cast Member will give you a tour of your Castaway Cay cabana. They will make sure that you know about all of the perks and amenities. If you want anything then a Cast Member can easily be called with the push button in the cabana. They will even come back and transport you anywhere you want to go with the golf cart at any time during your stay.

The furnishings inside and outside the cabana are of very high quality. There is a fabulous porch with comfortable furniture on the deck outside.

It is an amazing experience to sit outside on the deck – there is a ceiling fan in case you get too warm. You will probably find that you spend a lot of your time outside there on the deck close to the sand.

Another great perk of the Castaway Cay Cabanas is that you get your very own hammock.

Guests who experience the Disney Castaway Cay Cabanas usually feel as though they are worth the cost.

What extra perks do you get with the Castaway Cay Cabana? You will have use of your own refrigerator which is stocked with hand towels, bottled water and soda.

There is a safe, which is great for peace of mind if you are carrying cameras and phones. There is also a power socket so you can charge these.

There will be basic snacks in your cabanas such as fruit, bags of chips and granola bars. You are even provided with sun screen, sand toys and magazines.

Castaway Cay cabana

We really can’t stress the importance of sunscreen on Disney Castaway Cay. We are really vigilant with it, but have experienced sun burn. Not a great thing to return to the Disney ship with.

Although there are snacks in the cabanas you will have to make your way to the barbecue for lunch. The advantage is that you can eat it in your own private space if you want to.

Castaway Cay cabana

There is a fresh water shower and a changing curtain for privacy. You can also have music in your cabana. If you have a young children you can request a Pack N Play.

The one thing that you don’t get with your Castaway Cay Cabana is a bathroom. You still have to walk to the bathrooms and depending upon where your cabana is located, this can be a bit of a trek.

As you can imagine all of this comes at a price. How much do the Castaway Cay Cabanas cost? The Family Beach Cabana is $549 and accommodates up to 6 guests, the Grand Family Beach Cabana is $899 and will accommodate up to 10 people. The Serenity Bay Beach Cabana is $399 and will accommodate 4 guests.

You can add extra guests to each Castaway Cay Cabana for an extra fee. If you want more than 6 in the Family Beach Cabana there are charged at $50 per person up to 10 guests. The Grand Family Beach Cabana can add up to 6 guests for an additional $50 per person up to 16 guests.

If you want to have more than 4 guests in the Serenity Bay Cabana they are also $50 per person up to a maximum of 10 guests.

A Castaway Cay Cabana is the most difficult thing to actually book on a Disney cruise as there is such limited availability. There are only 21 cabanas and demand far exceeds supply. You really have to at least be a Platinum Castaway Cay Club member or Concierge Guest to even have a chance of getting one of these.

However, we have occasionally heard of guests getting a last-minute reservation when someone cancels.

Our Disney cruise tip is to go to Guest Services when you board the ship and ask to be put on the waiting list. Nothing ventured nothing gained. You may get very very lucky and get a last-minute cancellation of a Castaway Cay Cabana.

If you want a complete guide to Castaway Cay Cabanas then you can read that here.

Disney Castaway Cay Activities

Waterslide at Castaway Cay

You can spend the whole day on Disney’s Castaway Cay simply relaxing on the beach, but there are also many activities on the island to keep you occupied. Some of the activities are free such as Pelican Cove on the Family Beach. This is a 2,400 square foot floating platform which has slides and water canons. It is a lot of fun for the kids. However, you do have to swim out to it though so they have to be comfortable out in the water. There is one open and one enclosed water slide.

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Disney’s Pelican Plunge is a very popular feature of the family beach. If you want to avoid the crowds make sure that you get there early or stay late. The part of the beach which is closest to Pelican Plunge is always the busiest.

Spring a Leak is also a lot of fun, particularly for smaller children. It is a 2,400 square foot water splash area. It has lots of water fountains and sprinklers for the kids to play in.

There are some paid activities and excursions on Castaway Cay as well. There are a variety of Disney Castaway Cay excursions to choose from. You really can enjoy Castaway Cay without spending any additional money at all. However there are some activities for an extra cost which may interest you and your family.

Some of the least expensive and good value extras are the equipment rentals on Castaway Cay. You need to head to Marge’s Barges and Sea Charter Dock on the Family Beach for rentals.

We always rent a Float or a Tube to enjoy the ocean on Disney’s Castaway Cay. They are $10 for the day. Bicycle rentals are also a great idea. Castaway Cay has a great bike trail and you will get to see parts of the island that you usually wouldn’t. These are $10 by the hour.

It is good value to get a day package which gives you snorkel equipment rental and an inner tube for the day, as well as bike rental for an hour. The price of this is $40 so this offers good value if you think you will take advantage of all of these things.

Castaway Directions

Snorkeling is a very popular activity. There is a special area on the Family Beach for snorkeling. Of course Disney puts its very own special magic on this activity and you will find some unusual items in the water.

You can rent snorkeling equipment for $29 for adults, $14 for children for whole day. This is a great introduction to snorkeling.

Castaway Cay Watersports

You can have a lot of fun with the boat rentals too. These are priced at $14 for a 2 person paddle boat and $18 for a 4 person paddle boat for 30 minutes.

A Hobie Kat is $27 and a Sea Cycle is $24. You can also rent a 1 person sea kayak for $14 and a 2 person for $18. All prices are for 30 minutes. They are rented from the Family Beach.

Take our advice and make sure you wear hats and use a lot of sun screen. It’s hot out there and you can get burned quickly – we know from experience!

One of the most popular of all of the Castaway Cay excursions is the Castaway Ray’s Stingray Adventure. If you want to get up close and personal and learn something about these creatures, this very popular adventure is for you.

The current price is $52 for adults and $41 for children under 10. Your kids have to be at least 5 years old to participate. Most people review this experience very highly. It is limited in numbers each day so it is advisable to book the excursion as soon as you can.

Disney Castaway Cay Stingray Adventure

One of the most expensive of the Castaway Cay excursions is the Parasailing Experience. This is available for anyone aged over 8 and the experience costs $104. The actual above ground experience lasts less than 10 minutes, but is one of those things that you will never forget. If you are a thrill seeker this is as good as it gets on Castaway Cay.

There are a number of other port adventures that you can enjoy at Castaway Cay. We actually view Castaway Cay as an amazing experience in itself and rarely spend much on port adventures apart apart from renting the inner tubes and bikes. We prefer to save our money for other ports of call.

There are so many Castaway cay excursions we have written a separate article for you which you can find here.

Disney Castaway Cay 5K Run

Disney Dream Cruise - Castaway Cay

If you want to burn off some of those extra calories you will be eating on the ship you might want to enter the now very poplar Disney Castaway Cay 5K Run. This is a great way to start the day on Disney’s private island. Everything is very relaxed and this is an amazing place to run your first 5K.

The Disney Castaway Cay 5K Run is free to enter. You will be rewarded at the finish line with a Disney Castaway Cay 5K medal.

You need to register for the 5K at the ships Guest Services. You will then be given a ticket with a time and place to meet on the ship for the morning of your day at Castaway Cay.

The usual time is around 8.15 and you will all disembark the ship as a group with the Cast Member who is dealing with the Castaway Cay 5K that day.

You have to be at least 10 to take part in the Disney Castaway Cay 5K. This is very much a family event and not one is really taking any notice of how fast or slow you are! If you have kids under 10 you can drop them off at Scuttle’s Cove so that they can be taken care of whilst you run the 5K.

You will need to decide if you are going to go back to the ship to get a shower and get changed after the run. This is up to you. If you go back to the ship you will of course not have as much time on Castaway Cay.

If you decide that you won’t go back to the ship you can take your swimwear and change of clothes in a back pack and leave them in the free lockers provided.

The route is flat, but of course it can get pretty hot, even that early in the morning. Make sure that you drink plenty of water along the way.

Many participants take the chance to take a lot of photos along the way and just enjoy the experience rather than try and get the best time.

When you have finished you will get a Disney Castaway Cay 5K medal. If you want you can also buy one of the shirts.

Disney Castaway Cay Dining

You will never go short of food on a Disney cruise and Castaway Cay is no exception. The food is fine and functional. It is not gourmet and it isn’t as good as that offered on the ship. However, as a beach food venue it is fine.

If you want better quality food you should go back onto the ship and we have done this sometimes. You will have an almost empty buffet experience on the ship because most people are out there enjoying Castaway Cay.

It is pretty quick to get back on to the ship and off again, but time on the island is at a premium.

The food on Castaway Cay is fine, not fabulous. If you can just accept it for what it is and enjoy it. Time on Castaway Cay is valuable so we advise eating here even if we admit we are a bit negative about the food quality.

There a three barbecue locations on Disney’s Castaway Cay. Cookies One is located closest to the ship on the Family Beach and tends to be less busy that Cookies Two which is further in but also on the Family Beach. They both serve the same menu. It is typical barbecue fare and you certainly won’t go hungry.

There is also a Serenity Bay BBQ. If you can possibly eat here we recommend it. The Serenity Bay Beach is the least crowded of all the areas on Castaway Cay so that is an obvious advantage. They also sometimes serve dishes that aren’t on the Family Beach.

You do need to be aware that the buffet is not open all of the time that you are on Castaway Cay. It typically opens late morning and will close by 2 pm. We actually think this is something which Disney should probably address as not everyone likes to eat on that schedule. However, just as long as you are aware of the opening times you can plan accordingly.

All of the Castaway Cay BBQ venues serve the same menu (although you may get lucky at Serenity Bay). There is a selection of salads and fruit as you first enter the buffet area. You will also usually find Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, Ribeye Steaks, Rotisserie Chicken, Cajun Mahi Mahi and BBQ Pork Ribs.

If you are vegan or have other special dietary needs it is best if you ask your servers about this when you are on the ship. They will make sure that you are catered for and will tell you which particular venue to go to.

You will also find the usual BBQ favorites such as corn on the cob, fries and fresh fruit. There are also bags of Lays Chips available which for some reason seems to absolutely delight the kids!

Dessert is limited, but you are in the sun on the beach so really it’s not the place to crave sugar! If you do there are some good chocolate chip cookies to enjoy. There is a also self service ice cream station located next to the serve yourself soda bar.

Disney Castaway Cay Bars

You can enjoy as many drinks of soda as you want on Castaway Cay as there are drinks stations at each of the three BBQ venues on the island. Just as on the cruise ship, all the soda is free. If you want to enjoy a more adult drink on the island of course there are plenty of places you can purchase these too.

There are four bars on Disney’s Castaway Cay. The very best is of course located on Serenity Bay – the Castaway Air Bar. If you really want to enjoy a cocktail on Castaway Cay the general option is that the Konk Kooler is the one to go for. This is a mix of Rum, Passion Fruit, Pina Colada and Passion Fruit which will make your time on Castaway Cay all the more memorable. The Deep Blue Sea is also a favorite and includes Bacardi Rum, Blue Curacao, and Sweet Lemon Mix.

The other bars on Castaway Cay also serve the same menu. The Sand Bar and Conched Out Bar are both close to the Family Beach. The closest bar to the ship is the Head’s Up Bar which is near to the Castaway Ray Stingray Adventure. Prices for all the bars are pretty reasonable. You can enjoy a cocktail for less than $6 here.

The bars are not the only place where you can enjoy a premium drink. We particularly like the Summertime Freeze Frozen Drink venue. As everyone knows, Disney’s Frozen gets everywhere. It is obvious that Olaf is a perfect fit to permanently live on Castaway Cay. Close to the Family Beach on Castaway Cay you can find some great smoothies. Of course they cost extra, but we think you should indulge at least once when you are here.

The names of the drinks are pure genius and include Worth Melting For, Sven’s Carrot Delight, and Frozen Heart. The prices here are what we think is a reasonable $5.95 or $11.95 in an Olaf Sipper. That souvenir is going to be something you actually use back home so why not treat the kids?

Disney Castaway Cay Scuttle’s Cove

Castaway Cay

We think of Disney’s Castaway Cay as a place to enjoy with all of the family and so we have always stayed together. However, we secretly admit (well maybe it’s not a secret now) to wanting to go to Serenity Bay for an hour or two! If you want to do that and have children there are Disney kids clubs available on Castaway Cay.

You can check your kids into a supervised program, just as you can on the ship. For your peace of mind the children have plenty to do, but they are definitely not taken anywhere near the water.

If you have older kids they may not want to spend the day with you anyway! There is a Teen Beach on Castaway Cay. There is also a Castaway Cay activity which is exclusively for teens which they may really enjoy. This includes a kayaking adventure, cycling, snorkeling as well as a tour of Disney’s private island. This may be a great way for your teens to spend time with their friends and for you to actually get some alone time in paradise!

Disney Castaway Cay Shopping

The shopping on Castaway Cay is surprisingly limited. There really isn’t that much to see, but there are some small shops to browse on the island. She Sells Sea Shells and everything else and Buy the Sea Shore sell Castaway Cay merchandise which can make a nice souvenir.

You can also pick up items that you may have forgotten to bring such as sun screen and sand toys. Cultural Illusions sells Bahamian craft items, but doesn’t have a great selection.

Should I Stay on the Ship at Castaway Cay?

A Day as a Castaway

We admit that we are big fans of staying on the ship in port stops that we really are not interested in anymore. Nassau immediately springs to mind! It is a great opportunity to experience a Disney ship without many other guests if you stay on the ship whilst you are in a port that you do not want to experience.

However, we really think, and so do the majority of Disney cruise guests, that Castaway Cay is the highlight of most Disney cruises. To stay on the ship is not an option that we really recommend. There is paradise right out there so we recommend taking the opportunity to experience it.

Having said that, if you do want to stay on the ship it is one of the best times to experience the Aquaduck. You will have pretty much no wait time and can experience it again and again.

The food is also much better on the ship that on the Disney island. Again, we really don’t suggest losing any time on Castaway Cay. However, we do acknowledge that the food is so much better on the ship. For us, this is not a reason to go back to lunch. You can experience fabulous dining for the other meals on your cruise. Castaway Cay isn’t about the food.

Really what we are saying is that Disney’s private island is not somewhere that you are every going to spend much time. Even if you go on lots of Disney cruises you have limited time there. We say, make the most of it. We think that Disney’s Castaway Cay is about as close to paradise as we are going to get!

Getting Back Onto the Ship At Castaway Cay

Disney Dream Cruise - Castaway Cay

A lot of people go back to the ship earlier than they really need to. We are not sure why – it really isn’t going to be that Disney leaves you behind. Most people start to head back to the ship around 2 hours prior to the time that the ship is due to leave the island.

We are not advocating arriving back late and causing thousands of people and of course the ship’s crew, the inconvenience of leaving late. That is just not cool. What we are saying is don’t leave a huge window to get back to the ship. Enjoy the experience for as long as you possibly can.

A trip to Disney Castaway Cay really is one of those experiences which you will remember for a lifetime. Then you will want to work out how you can do it all again soon!

Do you have any Disney Castaway Cay tips and tricks? Share them with us in the comments section below.

If you want a huge list of Disney Cruise Tips Click Here


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Top 10 Best Walt Disney World Restaurants for Kids


Which are the best Walt Disney World Restaurants for kids? Disney World offers some very unique dining choices and sometimes it can get overwhelming to choose which ones the kids are really going to love.

It can be difficult to choose which of the Disney character dining experiences, or the uniquely themed restaurants are the ones which your kids are going to like the most.

Top 10 Best Disney World Restaurants For Kids



Disney Sci Fi Dine In Theater

Photo by expressmonorail

Think diner food in one of the most unique restaurants in Walt Disney World and here you have the Sci Fi Dine in Theater. The kids are going to find this Disney Hollywood Studios restaurant a whole lot of fun.

Step back to the 1950s for some traditional diner food in a restaurant which looks as though you have stepped right into a movie drive in.

The first thing that you will notice is of course the tables which look like convertible cars all lined up in front of a huge movie screen. The second thing you as an adult will notice is how loud and dark the room is! The fun here is about the design and the atmosphere.

Make sure that you ask to sit at one of the convertible car tables as there are some picnic style tables at the back of the restaurant which you will probably want to avoid. The car seating holds up to six guests in two rows of three.

There is a huge screen at the front of the Sci Fi Dine in Theater. It shows old B movies such as the “Amazing Colossal Man” and “Plan 9 From Outer Space.”

Appetizer choices include Fried Dill Pickles, Crispy Onion Rings, Spinach and Artichoke Dip and Honey Chipotle Barbecued Chicken Wings. The Entree menu has choices to please pretty much everyone. You can enjoy Flame Broiled New York Strip, Chicken or Shrimp Pasta, Build Your Own Angus Burger, Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie or the Southwest Vegetarian Burger.

For dessert the Warm Glazed Donut is very tempting, or perhaps the Out of This World Turtle Cheesecake.

The food here is not the best in Walt Disney World. You come here for the atmosphere. And usually because the kids really want to go here. Expect average food, high prices and a very fun theme and you won’t be disappointed.

For more information about restaurant and to see the menu here is our guide:

Disney Sci-Fi Dine in Theater

Disney Princess Storybook Dining

The Akershus restaurant in Epcot World Showcase is home to the very popular Disney Princess Storybook Dining. The Norway Pavillion has become an even bigger draw for young Disney Princess fans now that the Disney Frozen Ride has opened.

If you want to give your kids one of the best chances to meet and talk with the Disney Princesses then this is a great opportunity. Really there is no easier way to make sure that you spend some quality time with the Disney Princesses at Walt Disney World.

You can never guarantee that a certain character will actually appear. However, you do often find Princess Aurora, Belle, Ariel, Princess Jasmine and Snow White. The characters do a good job of spending time with the guests at each table.

You have a choice of breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Disney Princess Once Upon a Time Breakfast offers pre-plated all you can eat breakfast favorites. The Princess Storybook Lunch and the Dinner are a combination of all you care to eat buffet items and entrees which you order from the menu.

The quality of the food is pretty average but really you go here for the great chance to meet the Princesses not for the food.

For breakfast you will be brought a plate of the usual breakfast favorites including scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage. There is also a buffet table with Norwegian items including Smoked Salmon and Peppered Mackere.

We particularly enjoy the cheese selection which usually has Jarlsburg, Muenster and Gjetost Goat Cheese. There is Yogurt, Granola, Fruit and Pastries.

The lunch and dinner experience is a combination of ordering from the menu and enjoying the buffet. The menu entree choices include Pan Seared Salmon, Norwegian Turkey Club, and Oven Roasted Chicken Breast.

If you want to try something a little different we suggest the Traditional Kjottkake which is Norwegian meatballs served with mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables and lingonberry sauce.

There is a buffet table which usually includes a really good cheese and smoked fish selection. The dessert is served family style and has a Sweet and Savory Chocolate Mousse, Traditional Rice Cream and Apple Cake with cardamom whipped cream.

The price of the meal includes a photo package. As with all Disney character dining restaurants the price varies according to the season. For more information here is our guide at

Disney Princess Storybook Dining

Disney’s Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Villa Resort

Table View of Sanaa at Lunch

There are very few restaurants in the world where you can dine whilst looking out of the window to watch zebras, giraffe and other wildlife passing by. Sanaa is located at the Animal Kingdom Villas at Kidani Village.

There is a huge picture window in Sanaa overlooking the savanna. One of the best times to go is lunch time as you can see the animals passing by outside. This is a very unique experience for all the family, not just the kids!

This is one of the lesser known Disney restaurants, but it is also one of the most spectacular. If you are prepared to be a little adventurous it also has some of the very best food. The Disney Animal Kingdom Villas are a little out of the way. However, it is worth the effort to get there to dine.

App For 2 @ Sanaa

The menu is described as being African food with Indian influences. What this translates to is a very high quality interesting menu with such items as Tandoori Chicken, various curries, spicy side dishes and naan breads. Don’t be concerned if the kids are more of the mac and cheese preferring kind! Disney Sanaa has the usual kids menu offerings of pizza, cheeseburger and macaroni and cheese.

We particularly recommend the Indian Style Bread Service as an appetizer. You choose the type of bread and dip that you want. The Garlic Ginger Naan or the Spiced Naan are our favorites. The dips include Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, Mango Chutney, Tomato-Date Jam, Tamarind Chutney, Coriander Chutney, Garlic Pickle, Red Chile Sambal, or Spicy Jalapeño-Lime Pickle.

If you want a more traditional entree you can choose the Grilled New York Strip or the Lamb Shank. If you want to be a little more adventurous you could try the Fragrant Duck or the African Inspired Biryani.

To finish off your meal why not try the Trio of Desserts which includes Afrika Povu, Lemon Lychee Tart, and Seasonal Kulfi? This will give you a selection of tastes from this unique restaurant.

Disney Chef Mickey’s

Photo by Bart Hanlon

Chef Mickey’s is a very popular character dining experience for all the family. It is particularly great for young children as it is chance to get up close to Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

Chef Mickey’s is located at Disney’s Contemporary Resort which is just minutes away from the Magic Kingdom. Breakfast, Brunch and Dinner are served each day.

Disney Chef Mickey’s is one of the most difficult of the Disney dining restaurants to actually snag a reservation for, so be prepared to get your reservations early!

Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Chip and Dale are usually there at breakfast. Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, and Donald Duck usually go for dinner. As with all character appearances these are subject to change.

The food is good quality buffet fare and there is plenty of choice for even the pickiest eaters. This is very popular with young children so go there expecting a noisy, fun atmosphere and you won’t go far wrong!

Contemporary Resort - Chef Mickey

Chef Mickey’s includes all of the usual breakfast favorites at an all you care to eat buffet. The breakfast items include Scrambled Eggs, Mickey Waffles, Breakfast potatoes, Minnie’s Breakfast Pizza, Pancakes, Powder-Sugar Dusted French Toast, Buttermilk Biscuits and Gravy, Sausage Links and Bacon and Tator Crisps.

We like the Brunch option as you can go early to Magic Kingdom and get on a lot of the rides. Then you take the monorail out of the park and go to Chef Mickey’s for a break and to regain some energy for the afternoon!

The buffet menu items do vary but some favorites which are usually included are Mango BBQ Pork Ribs,Baked Salmon Fillet with mango chili chutney and rice, Braised short-ribs with creamy polenta and Orecchiette Pasta with vegetables, garlic oil, and goat cheese. We usually can’t resist the Parmesan Mashed Potatoes or the Green Beans with Mushroom Cream Sauce.

The desserts are also very tempting and usually include the Warm Bread Pudding, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and a personal favorite of Minnie’s Chocolate & Red Velvet Cupcake.

For a complete guide with the menu and prices go to

Disney Chef Mickey’s

Cinderella’s Royal Table

Cinderella's Royal Table breakfast

Want to know how you can get a look inside Cinderella’s Castle? Be one of the lucky ones who manage to snag a reservation at the most popular of the Disney Restaurants – Cinderella’s Royal Table.

This is an extremely popular restaurant. Not only do you get to dine inside the Magic Kingdom Castle but you also get to meet Cinderella.

You may also see The Fairy Godmother, Princess Belle, Ariel, Princess Aurora and Snow White (you know I am going to say that all character appearances are not guaranteed and are subject to change without notice).

The food is pretty good. The kids (and the grown ups) will love the chance to meet their favorite Disney Princesses. Unlike many of the character dining locations at Disney, Cinderella’s Royal Table is not a buffet venue. You will choose your meal from the menu.

For breakfast choices include Caramel Apple Stuffed French Toast, Shrimp and Gris or Baked Quiche. You can also choose a Traditional Breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, and rosemary-lemon roasted potatoes. The entree is served with a basket of assorted pastries.

The Lunch and Dinner menu includes a Chef’s Tasting Plate as an appetizer – this is the only option. The entree choices include Slow Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Beef Tenderloin Salad, Pan Seared Chicken, Spring Vegetable Couscous, or Chef’s Fish of the Day.

For dessert the aptly named The Clock Strikes Twelve is a delicious flourless chocolate cake with berry compote and chocolate ganache. Gus and Jaq’s Favorites are also a great choice with a white chocolate-jasmine tea mousse, lemon and lime curd with honey-oat crisp.

For a complete guide go to:

Cinderella’s Royal Table is it Worth It?

T-Rex Cafe Restaurant in Downtown Disney

T-Rex Restaurant - Downtown Disney

The T-Rex Cafe was created by the same people who brought us the very popular Rain Forest Cafe. The theme is of course the pre historic world so expect dinosaurs, decent but pricey food and a whole lot of noise! This is a great restaurant to take the kids. As it is in Disney Springs you can visit on one of your non park days as you won’t need a ticket.

The menu at the T-Rex Cafe is definitely on the pricey side. But who can resist Asteroid French Onion Soup, Brachiosaurus Bruschetta , or a Gigantosaurus Burger? Well the kids probably can but don’t worry, there is a kids menu with the usual favorites, pizza, burgers and pasta.

Disney Crystal Palace Restaurant

The Crystal Palace

The Crystal Palace is located at the end of Main Street in Magic Kingdom. It is a great place to take the kids, particularly the 5 and under set. This is one of my very favorite Disney character dining restaurants as not only do you get to meet Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and Eeyore the food is also pretty good for all the family.

The Crystal Palace serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. A particularly good choice is lunch as you can take a break in the middle of the day to sit down and refuel.

For a complete guide go to

Disney World Crystal Palace Restaurant

1900 Park Fare

Desserts at 1900 Park Fare

This is another very popular Disney World character dining restaurant where at dinner you get the chance to meet Cinderella. 1900 Park Fare is located in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort so is just a very short monorail ride from the Magic Kingdom. It has some of the highest quality buffet food in the whole of Walt Disney World.

Breakfast characters include Alice in Wonderland, The Mad Hatter, Mary Poppins, Winnie the Pooh, and Tigger. If you want to see Princess Cinderella, Prince Charming, Lady Tremaine, Drizella and Anastasia then they are usually scheduled to appear at dinner.

There is a special children’s buffet section which is low down so that the kids can help themselves. 1900 Park Fare is of course a very popular Disney dining location. It can get pretty busy and is rather loud but it is definitely a winner with the kids!

The Supercalifragilistic Breakfast is served from 8.00 until 11.40 am every morning. This includes the usual breakfast favorites, but if you want to try something a little different you can sample the Floridian Strawberry Soup or the Cheese Blintz.

Dinner is served from 4.00 until 8.50 pm. Entree choices may include Ginger Soy Glazed Salmon with Mango Salsa, Fried Sustainable Mississippi Catfish with Remoulade, Mongolian Beef Stir Fry,Verlaso Salmon with avocado salsa, Bucatini, Bratwurst, Sauerkraut and Sushi Rolls.

Regular offerings also include Spice-Crusted Salmon with Crispy Plantains, Jasmine Rice, Cheese Ravioli, Caribbean Pork Loin, Guinness Stew, Pork Pot Stickers, Chicken Marsala, Spicy Durban Chicken, Peel-n-Eat Shrimp, Potato Casserole, and Vegetable Stew.

You can see more about the menu at

1900 Park Fare Menu

Hoop Dee Doo Musical Review


The Hoop Dee Doo Musical Review is a fun dinner show which has played to guests since 1974 at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. The show is practically unchanged since that time so if you are looking for Disney nostalgia which is great fun for both kids and adults then this is a wonderful choice.

The show is held in Pioneer Hall which is the hub of Fort Wilderness Campground and Resort. It is very popular and shows run 3 times a night at 4 pm, 6.15 pm, and 8.30 pm.

The price that you pay for the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Review is set according to the seating tier that you choose. Tier 1 is closest to the stage, Tier 2 and 3 are further away.

We advise people to stay away from Tier 3 seating unless they have absolutely no choice. Not only are you the furthest from the stage, but you will also find yourself seated with your back to the stage.

The food is served family style and includes breads, salad,Crispy Fried Chicken, Smoked Barbecued Pork Ribs, Mashed Potatoes, and Country Style Baked Beans. Very traditional fare.

The real appeal of this experience is of course the entertainment. Tables are pre assigned and the closer you are to the stage the pricier the reservation.

Be prepared to be entertained by Johnny Ringo and Claire de Lune the dancers, Jim Handy and Flora Long the singers, and Six Bits Slocum and Dolly Drew provide the comedy.

Unusually for a Disney dining venue, selected alcohol is included in the price. You can enjoy unlimited Sangria, Bud Light or Yuengling Draft.

Epcot Coral Reef Restaurant

Photo by expressmonorail

Epcot Coral Reef restaurant is another great choice for both the kids and the adults. Coral Reef is a restaurant with a difference. The restaurant has a wall of 8 feet high windows which look onto the huge salt water aquarium. which is part of the Seas With Nemo and Friends pavilion in Epcot Future World.

Sit and eat your meal whilst you watch up to 85 species of fish in the giant tank. Perhaps more entertaining for the children is the fact that often you can see divers float past your table.

Mahi-mahi @Coral Reef

As you would expect, there are a lot of great seafood choices on the menu. Appetizers include Crispy Rhode Island Calamari, Creamy Lobster Soup, Charboiled Octopus and Caesar Salad.

The entree menu offers a lot of seafood choices including Seared Mahi-Mahi or Rainbow Trout, Pan Seared Verlasso Salmon and Seafood Scampi.

If seafood isn’t your thing you can also choose from Marinated Grilled Vegetables and Vegetarian Chick’n Breast, Grilled New York Strip Steak or Oven Roasted Chicken Breast.

Whilst the concept of Epcot Coral Reef is an excellent one and the decor and theme are a brilliant idea, service can be a little inconsistent. Here is my full Epcot Coral Reef review at:

Epcot Coral Reef Restaurant

Whichever restaurant you choose in Walt Disney World there are plenty of options to keep the kids (and the grown ups) happy. Which do you think is the Best Walt Disney World Restaurants for Kids Leave me a Comment!

You may also like:

Disney World Character Dining

Top 10 Disney Magic Kingdom Rides for Toddlers

Where Can You Find Cinderella in Disney World

Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort Review

Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort Review

Are you thinking of staying at Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort? We have been lucky enough to stay here a number of times and Cabana Bay Beach Resort is one of our favorite hotels in Orlando.

Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort has a really fun retro 50s and 60s theme. If you ever wanted to go back to nostalgic Americana you are going to love Cabana Bay Beach Resort.


Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort Review

Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort is perfect for a Universal Orlando theme parks vacation.


There are few hotels where you arrive as a grown up and are just really excited by the theme. Cabana Bay Beach Resort puts a smile on your face from the moment that you arrive in the lobby. The theme is upbeat, fun and really well done.

Here is our video which shows the really funky room design of a Universal Cabana Bay Resort Family Suite

We think Cabana Bay is an excellent choice for those who want great features, value for money and a fun theme. It is a particularly good choice for families as the majority of the rooms are Family Suites which sleep up to six guests.

Click Here TO Check Current Prices

Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort Hotel Location


You really can’t get a much better location than Cabana Bay Resort if you are visiting Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure.

Cabana Bay is part of the growing family of Universal Studios Resort Hotels. The other options are Lowes Portofino Bay Hotel, The Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort and Lowes Sapphire Falls Resort. Universal Resort added a fifth hotel in August 2018 with Universal’s Aventura Hotel.

You can walk to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure from Cabana Bay Beach Resort. However, we really wouldn’t recommend doing that when it is so easy to get on board the shuttle bus.

The shuttle buses travel at regular intervals from the front of Cabana Bay Resort. It is rare that we ever experienced more than a 5 minute wait for a bus.

The actual journey from the hotel to the parks takes about 8 minutes by the Cabana Bay Beach Resort shuttle. It’s easy and the buses are clean and the drivers are helpful and cheerful. We never had to wait long for a Cabana Bay Beach Resort shuttle either to the parks or to Volcano Bay.

cabana bay beach resort shuttle

If you walked from Universal Cabana Bay it is going to take at least 25 minutes to reach the entrance to Universal Studios Orlando or Islands of Adventure. It can also get pretty hot in Orlando and we have to confess that we would rather take the Cabana Bay shuttle bus.We suggest that you save your time and perhaps more importantly your energy for the parks!

The Cabana Bay shuttle bus stop is close to the main entrance to the security check point at Universal Orlando Resort. It is a short journey up the escalator and through the security lines.

You then walk over the bridge. Turn left to Islands of Adventure or right to Universal Studios park.

Cabana Bay Beach Resort is ideally placed to visit the new Volcano Bay Water Park. There is an entrance at the back of the property. So no need for a shuttle bus.

Volcano Bay is a short walk from any of the rooms in Cabana Bay. We find this a particularly convenient feature of Cabana Bay Beach Resort. It really doesn’t get any better than this.

You have to get a shuttle bus to Volcano Bay from the more expensive Portofino Bay, Hard Rock and Royal Pacific Hotels. It’s not too far on the shuttle, but it is a great feature just to be able to walk to Volcano Bay from Cabana Bay Beach Resort.

Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort Hotel Perks


Apart from the location there are a number of additional perks which are only given to Universal Cabana Bay Resort guests.

The most valuable of these perks is being able to enter the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Park an hour earlier than the general public. This can make a huge difference to your Universal theme park visit.

Even though the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has been open for a while now, it is still the busiest area of the Universal parks. The main Harry Potter rides of Escape from Gringotts and The Forbidden Journey are still the most popular rides in the park. At peak times the wait times can approach 120 minutes.

If you have early entry you should be able to time it so that you can ride one of the main Wizarding World attractions at least twice. It is possible to go around three times but that is pushing it a little!

The more expensive Universal Studios hotels, the Portofino, Hard Rock and Royal Pacific all have the extra, incredibly valuable perk of a free Express Pass for everyone staying at those hotels. Unfortunately Cabana Bay doesn’t offer this. Lowes Sapphire Falls doesn’t and neither does Aventura when it opens.

However, we think that this is the only disadvantage to choosing Universal Cabana Bay over the other hotels. The Express Pass is a huge perk, but of course the hotels offering it are considerably more expensive than Cabana Bay and Sapphire Falls.

It really depends upon your budget and how important the Express Pass is to you. If you are going at a slow time then Express Pass is nice, but no where near as much of a perk as if you are going at a peak time.

The other perk is that you can charge everything to your room. All restaurant and merchandise purchases at Universal Resorts can be charged on your room key.

We are not sure how much of a perk this actually is. One large account instead of splitting it between credit cards? Not really a reason to stay at a Universal Studios Resort Hotel. However, if you have the perk it is easy to use.

It’s a nice feature that you can also have purchases delivered to your room. This means that if you buy all the Harry Potter merchandise that you have had your eye on you can have it delivered to your room.

However,you do sometimes have to wait until the next day for it to arrive. Not an amazing perk, but nice to have.

Click Here TO Check Current Prices

Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort Rooms


This is a major benefit of staying at Cabana Bay Resort. The rooms. They are some of the best designed rooms I have ever stayed in with family comfort in mind.

We all know that cramming four people into an hotel room can be a challenge. Not at Cabana Cay Resort. The Family Suites really are perfect for parents with children.

The Family Suites sleep up to 6 guests. They offer a very generous and well planned 430 square feet of space.

The bedrooms in the Cabana Bay Family Suites have 2 Queen Beds. The bathroom is a split bath with the toilet on one side, a sink in the middle and with the bathroom to the right having a bath with shower and a sink.


This really is the ideal set up for a bathroom for a family. Several people can get ready in the morning at once. This is really important when you are trying to get different members of the family out to the Universal parks early in the morning!

There is also a separate living room, kitchenette area. The living room has a full sleeper sofa. It is comfortable enough for two children to share.


An adult probably isn’t going to want to spend many nights sleeping on there, but it is pretty comfortable for a sleeper sofa.


The kitchenette area has a microwave,small sink, decent sized but small refrigerator, coffee maker and a bar with seating.

You can certainly save yourself some money if you are efficient about getting some breakfast items and snacks.

The bedroom and living area are completely separated in the Cabana Bay Family Suites. It has a really good sliding door so that you can have privacy between the two areas.

There is also a really useful closet area in the bedroom. It offers a good amount of space for putting your luggage and hanging clothes. It also has a safe.


Both the living room and the bedroom have 48″ televisions. There is enough separation between the two areas that you can use both televisions at the same time if you really want to.

Universal Cabana Bay Family Suites are also available with connecting suites. If you have a really large party these are ideal.

If you book a Family Suite at Cabana Bay Beach Resort you will choose between a Tower Suite and a Courtyard Suite. The Tower Suites have internal hallways and the Courtyard Suites have external hallways. We always book the Tower Suites even though they are usually at least $10 a night more. Just not a fan of external hallways.

If you need extra space at Universal Orland Cabana Bay you can book a two bedroom suite. These are ideal for larger families or even two families sharing.

The two bedroom suites offer up to 772 square feet of space and sleep up to 8 people. The two bedroom Cabana Bay Suites have 2 separate bedrooms. One has two full beds and the other has a Queen bed. The 2 bed suites also have a pull out full sofa in the living area. There is a kitchenette and 2 full bathrooms.

It is really difficult finding affordably priced larger accommodation close to Universal Studios, so if this is what you need you should definitely look at this option in Cabana Bay Resort Hotel.

You can also book a room for 4 at Universal Cabana Bay. These are the perfect solution if you want a standard hotel room for up to 4 guests. The room has two Queen beds and sleeps up to 4 guests.

The standard Cabana Bay Resort Hotel rooms also have a mini refrigerator and a full bathroom. At 300 square feet the standard rooms at Cabana Bay offer a decent amount of space.

Click Here TO Check Current Prices

Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort Pool


Cabana Bay Beach Resort has two main pools. The Cabana Bay Courtyard Pool is the largest of the two. Yo can access this straight off the lobby and it has a dive tower themed water slide. We really didn’t enjoy the water slide as the turns were really sharp and meant that you kept hitting the sides.

In contrast to this the pool slide at the Universal Portofino Resort was one of the best hotel resort pool slides that we have ever encountered.

The Universal Cabana Bay Lazy River Pool is definitely our favorite and we talk more about that below. We much prefer that pool to the Courtyard Pool.

The Cabana Bay Beach Resort pool hours vary according to the season. Check with the lobby so that you can find out the current Cabana Bay Beach Resort pool hours.

You can rent a Cabana at Cabana Bay Resort. We have never done this and feel that we probably never would.

You can just walk to Volcano Bay from Cabana Bay so if we were going to spend money on a cabana rental it would really be at Volcano Bay. However, Cabana Bay Hotel cabanas are available. Prices vary by the season but they are suitable for up to 4 guests.

Cabana Bay Beach Resort Lazy River

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort

The Cabana Bay Beach Resort Lazy River is one of the best features of the resort for us. It is a reasonable size for a resort and usually it isn’t too crowded. It is a rare feature of any hotel resort to find a lazy river. It is the only one available at any Universal Orland Hotel Resort right now. It takes about 5 minutes to go the whole circuit and there are two main entry points.

However, we do have one major complaint about the Universal Cabana Bay Lay River. To get an inner tube you have to pay! We never felt nickel and dimed in any Universal Resort, but to have to actually buy an inner tube for the Cabana Bay Lazy River is annoying.

To get a decent sized inner tube is $11. Let’s do the math. Yes you can tell we are pretty put out by this. $22 for 2 kids. You can take them home with you. It’s pretty cool to have a Universal Cabana Bay lazy river themed inner tube or two at your home, but we really could have spent the $22 elsewhere.

This really is our only complaint about Cabana Bay. Just give us a free inner tube! You can bring your own Cabana Bay Beach Resort Lazy River inner tubes, but who is really going to do that? We now own two but the chances of us remembering to back them next time we go to Universal Cabana Bay is probably almost zero!

Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort Dining


The Cabana Bay Bayliner Diner is a great place to grab something to eat. The Bayliner Diner is a large, fun, quick service dining location. There are plenty of different choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner.


There are four different hot food stations to choose from as well as a salad bar, frozen yogurt self serve and a drinks section.

The prices are pretty reasonable considering the location. We enjoy the Breakfast Waffles with strawberries and whipped cream for $7.65. The Create Your Own Omelet is also a good choice for $9.10. It is freshly made while you wait.


Lunch and Dinner at the Bayliner Diner also have some great choices. The Grill Station offers burgers, including a Black Bean Veggie Burger for $8.99. We like the International Station which serves some interesting choices such as Colombian Chicken Empanadas and Swedish Meatballs. Pizza and Pasta is also available. The pizzas are particularly good.

All of the hot food stations have a vegetarian choice. If you have a special dietary requirement just tell one of the staff.


Bayliner Diner has a huge seating area. There are places for 600 inside and 100 outside. The whole theme is the retro 50s and 60s theme of the hotel. Lots of bright blue and orange furniture. Plenty of booths for you to sit and enjoy your food. You can watch old commercials on the huge screens in the seating area.

Cabana Bay does not have a full service restaurant. However, there are plenty of places to dine just a short shuttle ride away. You can take the Cabana Bay Resort Shuttle to Universal Studios City Walk and there are plenty of restaurants to choose from.

There is also a Universal Resort Hotel Shuttle which runs in the evening to take guests to Portofino, Hard Rock and Royal Pacific Hotel if you want to dine in one of the full service restaurants there.

Cabana Bay Resort Bars


There are two outside bars at Cabana Bay – one in each pool area. Our favorite is the Hideaway Bar and Gril which is open from 10 am until 10pm. It is right by the courtyard pool so convenient for the Cabana Bay Lazy River. The Atomic Tonic poolside bar is also a great place to enjoy a cocktail by the pool.


The Sizzle Bar is located inside the lobby area and is open from 5pm until 11pm. There is a Happy Hour from 5pm until 6pm every day.

Galaxy Bowl Bowling – Cabana Beach Resort

Not many hotels have their own bowling alley! Staying with the retro theme, there is a bowling alley inside Cabana Bay Hotel. If you have ever seen the movie The Big Lebowski then you may recognize that the Galaxy Bowling alley is modeled on that.

There are 10 lanes available for bowling from 11 am until 11 pm every day.

The prices for Bowling are a little high, but it is a lot of fun. It is $15 for adults, $9 for kids 12 and under. The amount of time you get depends upon how many guests are in your party. Up to three people get one hour, four to eight people get 90 minutes bowling time.

You can also grab a table and enjoy some traditional bowling alley type food. Items on the menu include Chicken Wings, Tater Tots and Steak Flatbread. There is also a bar offering cocktails, beer and wine.

Cabana Bay Beach Resort Starbucks


If you simply have to have your Starbucks fix every day then you will be well catered for at Cabana Bay. There is a large Starbucks right next to the Bayliner Diner. There is a large seating area. Lines can be long in the morning when everyone needs their first coffee of the day.

Cabana Bay Beach Resort Store

We really like the Cabana Bay store which is located just off the hotel lobby. They have a good selection of items including a dedicated Harry Potter section. It is good to be able to browse without the crowds of people that you often find in the stores in the park. There are some fun Cabana Bay themed merchandise items available too.

Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort Parking


Universal Aventura Construction in Progress

One of the really great things about staying at Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort is that you do not need to have a car. If you just want to visit the Universal Parks then we would suggest you leave the car at home.

There is a Hertz rental location available at all of the Universal Studios Resort Hotels, but if you are just visiting the Universal Parks you can walk or use the resort transportation.

We found that the easiest way to get from Orlando International Airport MCO to Cabana Bay Beach Resort was to take an Uber. It was cheaper and easier than renting a car to get to the resort.

If you do bring your car to Universal Cabana Bay Resort there is plentiful parking available. The day rate for Universal Cabana Bay Beach Parking is $12 for guests If you are not a guest of the resort the overnight rate of the hotel is $45 a night. Hint. Don’t do it.

In summary we think that Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort Hotel is one of the best hotel options if you are spending time at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. It’s combination of well designed rooms which are big enough for a family, location, fun theme and amenities is hard to beat.


Epcot Italy – The Ultimate Guide



The Epcot Italy Pavilion in World Showcase is one of the most beautiful in the park. The attention to detail is spectacular. The pavilion is one of the smaller countries in Epcot, but you should make sure that you spend some time there.

Epcot Italy is one of the quieter spots in World Showcase. Unfortunately there isn’t an attraction, but the atmosphere, shopping and restaurants make this a great place to relax and simply enjoy the surroundings.

Epcot Italy



Title Photo Credit

The Epcot Italy Pavilion has a reproduction of St. Mark’s Square which is at the center of the space. As you approach Epcot Italy you will see the huge 83 foot tall Campanile di Piazza San Marco.

The Imagineers used a lot of artistic license in the placing of the buildings. However, this is meant to be a representation of Italy. It does a very good job of capturing the historic and grand feel of the architecture of Venice.


The main pink building in Epcot Italy is a replica of Doges Palace in Venice. The Imagineers wanted things to look as authentic as possible. The structure is made of fiber glass, but it has been painted and treated to look like marble.

If you look right to the top of the bell tower you will see a statue of an angel right at the top. It is too far away to really appreciate, but this statue is covered with gold leaf.

There are many great spots to take photos in the Italy Pavllion in Epcot. Another favorite place is the replica of the Neptune Fountain which is towards the back of the square, beyond the KidCot stop.

It is worth spending some time watching the live street performers or listening to the singers Live street theatre and the singers “I Cantanapoli”.

Remember to look at the very front of the Epcot Italy Pavilion at the edge of World Showcase Lagoon. There you will see a collection of replica gondolas just like the ones that are used in the Canals of Venice. This is a nice place to spend a few minutes and look over the Lagoon. It is also a great place for photos.

Epcot Italy Restaurants

Italy is of course known for it’s wonderful cuisine. As you would expect, there are some good Epcot Italy Restaurants. It now has two full service restaurants to choose from, as well as a small wine cellar.

Epcot Via Napoli


Via Napoli serves traditional southern Italian cuisine. The interior is spacious and welcoming. There is an open kitchen so that you can watch the chefs at work.

The menu and prices are correct as a August 2018:


Mozzarella Caprese – vine-ripened tomato, fresh milk mozzarella – $9.00

Pasta e Fagioli – pasta & bean soup – $9.00

Salame e Provolone – dry cured sausage, imported provolone cheese – $9.00

Arancini – fried risotto balls filled with mozzarella & meat ragù – $13.00

Calamari Fritti – corn-crusted rings served with spicy tomato sauce – $19.00

Fritto di Verdura – crisp fried vegetables, marinara piccante – $8.00

Fritto Misto – an assortment of just-fried seasonal vegetables, calamari & cheese. Serves 2 people. Arancini, mozzarella, calamari, melanzane, asparagi, zucchine, artichoke, mushrooms, pomodoro piccante sauce – $28.00

Gamberetti e Fagioli – jumbo shrimp, cannellini bean salad, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice – $10.00

Side Salads

Insalata del Contadino – cucumber, fennel, green beans, tomato, red wine vinaigrette – $12.00

Insalata di Ceci – chickpea fritters, arugula, scamorza, cherry tomato, onion, avocado, bacon, mushrooms – $15.00

Insalata di Cesare – romaine lettuce, shaved parmesan, savory bread crumbs $18.00

Pollo – chopped romaine, chicken, cucumber, peppers, toasted almonds, cantaloupe, raisins, carrots, green beans, celery, cherry tomato, citrus-white balsamic vinaigrette $21.00

Epcot Via Napoli Entrees

Margherita Pizza

There is a good selection of pizzas. Most of them are available in 3 different sizes so are perfect for sharing.

Affumicata Pizza – white pizza, mozzarella, smoked salmon, arugula, pomodorini, stracchino; Individual – $23; Large – $36; Mezzo Metro – $48

Broccolini Pizza – fresh diced tomatoes, broccoli rabe, fontina, mozzarella; Individual – $22; Large – $35; Mezzo Metro – $48

Candele – candle-stick pasta, sausage ragù, polpettine meatballs, mozzarella, ricotta – $24.00

Capricciosa Pizza – eggplant, artichokes, cotto ham, mushrooms; Individual – $19; Large – $31; Mezzo Metro – $41

Carciofi Pizza – white pizza, artichoke, fontina, mozzarella, truffle oil; Individual – $22; Large – $35; Mezzo Metro – $45

Margherita – tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil; Individual – $18; Large – $29; Mezzo Metro – $39

Paccheri alla Crema con Pollo – large macaroni tubes, cream, chicken, pancetta – $24.00

Pepperoni Pizza – tomato sauce, pepperoni, tomato, mozzarella; Individual – $21; Large – $33; Mezzo Metro – $45

Piatti Alla Parmigiana – Pollo – traditional preparation with chicken breast, tomato sauce, parmesan & mozzarella, served with roasted potatoes – $26.00

Piatti Alla Parmigiana – Tortino di Melanzane – traditional preparation with eggplant, tomato sauce, parmesan & mozzarella, served with roasted potatoes – $22.00

Piatti Alla Parmigiana – Vitello – traditional preparation with veal, tomato sauce, parmesan & mozzarella, served with roasted potatoes – $30.00

Piccante Pizza – tomato sauce, Italian spicy sausage, mozzarella; Individual – $21; Large – $31; Mezzo Metro – $41

Prosciutto e Melone Pizza – white pizza, fontina, mozzarella, prosciutto, cantaloupe, arugula; Individual – $25; Large – $36; Mezzo Metro – $48

Quattro Formaggi Pizza – white pizza, mozzarella, parmesan, fontina, provolone; Individual – $22; Large – $35; Mezzo Metro – $45

Via Naploi Pasta and Salads

Napoletana – beef, veal, and pork ragù, fresh egg pasta, bechamel, baked in our signature wood-fired ovens $27.00

Linguine allo Scoglio – shrimp, clams, mussels & squid tossed with cherry tomatoes – $32.00

Spaghetti e Polpettine – hand-crafted veal meatballs & tomato sauce – $24.00

Fettuccine alla Panna e Gamberi – shrimp, egg pasta ribbons, cream sauce $31.00

Pollo alla Parmigiana – breaded chicken breast, tomato sauce, parmesan, and mozzarella served with spaghetti pomodoro $26.00

Vitello alla Parmigiana – breaded veal, tomato sauce, parmesan, and mozzarella served with spaghetti pomodoro $30.00

Tortino di Melanzane – eggplant, tomato, parmesan, and mozzarella served with spaghetti pomodoro $22.00


Tiramisu – Mascarpone cream, espresso coffee, lady fingers, chocolate $12.00

Zeppole di Caterina – Ricotta cheese fritters, served with whipped cream and chocolate sauce $14.00

Coppa Brutti Ma Buoni – “Ugly But Good” Amarena cherry & vanilla gelato sundae $15.00

Gelati e Sorbetto – Vanilla, chocolate, pistachio, lemon sorbet $10.00

Gelato Frizzante – Ice Cream Soda “Italian Style” Made with San Pellegrino’s “Aranciata” and vanilla gelato $11.00

Our pick always has to be the classic Tiramisu.

Via Napoli Kids Entrees

Pizza Margarita with Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Sauce $9.50

Spaghetti with Meatballs $9.50

Bocconcini – Breaded and fried Mozzarella bites $9.50

Kids Desserts

Coppetta di Gelato chocolate or vanilla Italian Sundae $5.00

Ruota di Carretto Vanilla Gelato Cookie Sundae $5.00

Epcot Italy Tutto Italia Ristorante


The Epcot Italy Pavilion has two full service restaurants. Tutto Italia is the slightly more upscale venue of the two choices. There is a large dining room which is filled with lots of authentic Italian decor. The huge murals on the wall add to the sense that you are dining somewhere in Italy. If you possibly can, request a seat out on the piazza. We much prefer the ambience out here and of course you can enjoy some people watching whilst you have your meal.


Grande Antipasto Misto – Chefs selection of various appetizers and specialties, a generous platter served family-style. Serves Two $32.00

Prosciutto di Parma – Parma ham, Ricotta, dried figs $20.00

Tortino di Zucchine – Baked zucchini, pomodoro, mozzarella, Parmesan $15.00

Fior di Latte Mozzarella – Roasted sweet peppers, basil, Maldon sea salt, extra virgin olive oil $15.00

Calamari Fritti – Marinara piccante $18.00

Pasta e Fagioli – Pasta and bean soup $9.00


Epcot - Illuminare la Notte

Insalata di Mare – Shrimp, squid, octopus, celery, red onion, potatoes, capers, lemon olive oil $20.00

Caesar Salad – Romaine wedge, olive crostini, shaved Parmesan $17.00

Insalata Mista – Endive, arugula, radicchio, white asparagus, radish, balsamic vinaigrette $13.00


The Panini Menu is only availble for lunch.

Caprese Panini – Thick-cut tomato, basil, Fior di Latte Mozzarella, oregano, extra virgin olive oil $19.00

Salumiere Panini – Mortadella, soppressata, finocchiona, Provolone, olivada $22.00

Porchetta Panini – Roasted pork, Fontina, pickled peppers, arugula, garlic mayonnaise $20.00

Pasta “Tutto Italia”

Lasagna alla Bolognese – Traditional preparation from Emilia-Romagna with beef sauce, bechamel, Parmesan $27.00

Tortiglioni – Large macaroni, lamb ragû, taggiasche olives, feta cheese $26.00

Risotto di Zucca con Gamberi – Arborio rice, butternut squash, shrimp $31.00

Ziti – Sweet sausage, caramelized onions, creamy sauce $25.00

Spaghetti – Beef and veal meatballs, pomodoro sauce $22.00

Fettuccine Campagnole – Arugula and basil pesto, spinach, burrata cheese $27.00

Involtini di Melanzane alla Parmigiana – Eggplant, ricotta, mushroom, parmesan, tomato sauce $26.00

Tortellini di Ricotta – Peas, prosciutto, parmesan cream $27.00

Pesce e Carne

Italy Pavilion | Epcot

Salmone – Grilled salmon filet, braised fennel and oven-roasted tomatoes in a white wine sauce $27.00

Bistecca – Black Angus rib-eye, rosemary potatoes, agrodolce cipolline onions $35.00

Scaloppine di Pollo – Chicken scaloppine, cremini mushrooms, Marsala sauce $25.00

Via Napoli Desserts

Mocha Tiramisu – Mascarpone, Espresso, Savoiardi biscuits, chocolate $12.00

Bacio al Cioccolato – Warm hazelnut chocolate cake, vanilla gelato, chocolate sauce $14.00

Cannoli – Crisp pastry filled with sweet Ricotta, chocolate, candied orange $10.00

Panna Cotta Limoncello – Lemon custard, limoncello liqueur, raspberries $13.00

Torta di Ricotta – Lemon Ricotta cheesecake, marinated strawberries $12.00

Gelati e Sorbetti – Gelati – Chocolate, Vanilla, Stracciatella. Sorbetti – Lemon, Strawberry $10.00

Via Napoli Kids Menu

Epcot - Italy


Seasonal Fruit Cocktail $6.00

Pasta e Fagioli – Pasta and bean soup $6.00

Strawberry Salad – Romaine, strawberries, Mozzarella $6.00

Kids Entrees

Chicken Tenders – with fresh green beans. Includes a complimentary beverage with purchase of entrée – Juice, Bottle Water, or 1% Milk (refills not included) $10.00

Mozzarella Sticks – with a side of tomato sauce. Includes a complimentary beverage with purchase of entrée – Juice, Bottle Water, or 1% Milk (refills not included) $10.00

Pan Seared Pizza – Cheese or Pepperoni. Includes a complimentary beverage with purchase of entrée – Juice, Bottle Water, or 1% Milk (refills not included) $10.00

Spaghetti – with tomato sauce and meatballs. Includes a complimentary beverage with purchase of entrée – Juice, Bottle Water, or 1% Milk (refills not included) $10.00

Via Napoli Kids Dessert

Italian Gelati or Sorbetti $5.00

Italian Gelato Sundae $5.00

Tortina al Cioccolato – Italian chocolate cupcake $5.00

Epcot Italy Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar

We highly recommend the Epcot Italy wine bar. If you want to drink a great glass of wine and enjoy some small plates you should check out the Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar.

Surprisingly this delightful venue is often overlooked by visitors to Epcot Italy. This Epcot Italy Wine Bar is a great place to spend some time and enjoy some downtime and rest your tired feet when you are visiting World Showcase.

There is a choice of over 200 bottles of Italian wine at the Epcot Italy Wine Bar. The atmosphere is casual and relaxed.

The setting is reminiscent of a small Italian wine cellar. You can enjoy wines by the glass or the bottle. There is also a Grand Tour Wine Flight available for $30 which includes six 2oz pours for you to sample.

Specialty cocktails and beer are also available.

Epcot - Illuminare la Notte

The Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar also serves food. Unfortunately they do not participate in the Disney Dining Plan. This is definitely a place that we recommend even if you are not on the plan.

The standard of the food is very good. They serve Appetizer plates for two people which are priced from $25.00 to $27.00. The plates include selected imported Italian meats and cheese. They also have a menu of Small Plates which include:

Gamberetti Cavatappi – corkscrew-shaped pasta with shrimp, calabrian chili, garlic, pomodorini $16.00

Ragu d’Agnello – tossed with lamb ragu and pecorino $14.00

Meatballs Parmigiana – pane di casa, tomato, mozzarella cheese $12.00

Meatball Sliders – homemade focaccia, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese $11.00

Ravioli di Ricotta – with chicken, prosciutto, parmesan cream $16.00

Insalata di Aragosta – lobster, candied beet, grapefruit supreme, arugula, frisee, citrus vinaigrette $26.00

You can also choose a Panini for $8.00 to $14.00 with a selection of cheese and meat fillings.

The Epcot Italy Wine Bar is also a great place to enjoy an Italian dessert. The selection includes:

Canolli crisp pastry, sweet ricotta, chocolate, candied orange $10.00

Caramellito $3.50

Strawberries with Mascarpone Cream $3.50

Mocha Tiramisu – marscapone cream, espresso, Savoiardi biscuits, chocolate $3.50

Nutella Chocolate Cake $3.50

Panna Cotta – chocolate and vanilla $3.50

Snacks at Epcot Italy


A visit to Epcot Italy would not be complete without enjoying some authentic Gelato. There is a snack kiosk called Gelati where you can enjoy this purest of Italian indulgences. They also serve a Gelato Sandwich if you like your ice cream in a chocolate chip cookie dessert.

We also recommend the Cannoli and Tiramisu. You would expect the coffee to be great from the Italian Pavillion in Epcot, but unfortunately it really isn’t that good.

There is often available seating close to the Neptune Fountain. It is good to sit there and enjoy a snack and some people watching.

Shopping in Epcot Italy

Mask Maker at Italy Pavilion

Il Bel Cristallo is the pink building located on the left hand side as you stand in front of the Italian Epcot Pavilion. This has clothes, perfume, jewelry, and bags. Our favorite section is at the back of the store with the display of authentic Venetian masks.

Everything in the store is authentically Italian. Some of it is a little pricey, but you are sure to be able to find something that you like.

The other store is La Bottega Italiana. This has a lot of very tempting kitchen items. The prices are pretty reasonable and you will find some things that you can’t buy anywhere else. There is also a large selection of wine on sale. You can sample some of them in their wine tasting selection.

Epcot Italy at Night

Epcot - Exploding Italy

The experience of Epcot Italy is very different at night. When the sun goes down you can see very different elements of the architecture.

Epcot Italy used to be a great place to watch the Epcot Illuminations. Unfortunately these days the best spot, which is close to the gondolas on the Lagoon, is now used for Illuminations dessert parties or wedding parties.

The space between Italy and America on World Showcase Lagoon is still a good place to watch Epcot Illuminations. As always, get a spot early and make sure there aren’t any trees blocking your view.

Epcot - Italy

If you have seen Illuminations before and want a very different view point, but you aren’t worried about missing all the action on the Lagoon itself, Italy is a peaceful place to watch away from the crowds. You won’t see all of the Illuminations fireworks but it can be a place away from the biggest crowds.

Epcot Italy – Conclusion

Epcot Italy is one of the most visually stunning of all of the Epcot Pavilions. It really does capture the feeling of this beautiful and historic country. Make sure that you make time to spend just simply taking everything in here.

Sit and people watch in St Mark’s Square. Enjoy a gelato or a glass of wine. There isn’t an attraction here, but in some ways that is a good thing as everyone here is just visiting and passing through without a line to join.

We hope that you enjoy Epcot Italy. Tell us what you think in our comments section.

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