Disney Castaway Cay – The Ultimate Guide

Disneycastawaycay

Disneycastawaycay

One of the highlights of a Disney cruise is a trip to their own private island Castaway Cay. Here we want to share with you some of the secrets of Castaway Cay island. We will give you all the tips and hacks that you need to make your day on Disney’s Castaway Cay a memorable one. You will also learn about the less than perfect history of the island – long before Disney arrived. Here is our complete Disney Castaway Cay review which will help you get the most from your experience.

Disney Castaway Cay

Disney was one of the first cruise lines to offer their guests a private island to explore. Of course Disney wanted to be the very best and 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, but most of this is not developed. Disney has made a 55 acre paradise in the Bahamas for their cruise guests.

disneycastawaycaysecrets
Disney Castaway CayWhat You Really Need To Know

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

Disney Castaway Cay History

It is fun to know a little of the rather dubious past history of Castaway Cay. Disney cruise lines leased the island in June 1998 to coincide with the launch of the Disney Magic. This 1,000 acre island in the Bahamas was not always used for family friendly activities! Disney Castaway Cay has an interesting history!




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 these days is Captain Jack Sparrow.

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 on the island.

Getting Off The Ship at Disney’s Castaway Cay

The Rainy Walk

It is an incredible experience to watch the approach to 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 bit 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.

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, but because the process is so easy you won’t experience those awful lines to disembark which 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, and also 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 – most people bring their phone 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 thing 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 so take advantage of this free perk which includes strollers, wagons and even jogging strollers.

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 it’s 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 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. It covers the most space on the island and so there are different places that you can aim to settle for the day.

Human nature being what it is, most people don’t want to venture far from the 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, but if you are prepared to walk for 2 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, so you will have less 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 tactic 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. However, you can leave the island 15 minutes before the scheduled departure and still be fine.

Castaway Cay

If you are child free you will definitely want to head 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 and you are actually lucky enough to get one, you will be very happy in your very own private paradise.

There are 21 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 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 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 and 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 sun screen on 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 of course 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 rarely heard of guests getting a last minute reservation when someone cancels. Our 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.

Disney Castaway Cay Activities

Waterslide at Castaway Cay

You can spend the whole day on 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 – 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. This 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 Cove 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, but there are some activities for an extra cost which may interest you and your family.

Umbrellas at Castaway Cay

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 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.

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!

Castaway Cay

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, but obviously this is a very personal choice.

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 if you have never done this before. It 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 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

Disney Fantasy Cruise - Eastern Caribbean - 2013 - 230

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. 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 sometime 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 BBW 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 Mahimahi 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

Castaway Cay

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 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

Castaway Cay

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 tine on Castaway Cay, but 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 (which really is fine, but we know isn’t fabulous).

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 a 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 Castaway Cay really is one of those experiences which you will remember for a lifetime – and then 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.

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Disney Fantasy Palo Brunch Review

disneypalobrunch

Disney Fantasy Palo Brunch Review

Here is my Disney Fantasy Palo Brunch review from our latest cruise. We have enjoyed many Palo Brunches on the Disney Wonder but wanted to sample the experience during our recent sailing on the Disney Fantasy. You really have to experience at Palo Brunch at least once on a Disney cruise.

Disney Fantasy Palo Brunch Review
Disney Fantasy Palo Brunch Review

Disney Fantasy Palo Brunch

Palo is one of the two adult only restaurants on the ship (the other is Remy). Palo is high up on the ship with amazing ocean views from most of the tables. The design and food influence in Palo is Northern Italian. The decor is beautiful and the atmosphere is very relaxed.

The dress code for the Disney Fantasy Palo Brunch is more strict than the rotational dining rooms. However, we still we found that most diners were dressed casually. We received our invitation in our stateroom the day before our reservation. This reminded us that jeans, shorts, swimwear and tank tops are not allowed in Palo.

disneyfantasybrunch

The design of Palo on the Disney Fantasy is beautiful. When we visited there were very few other diners and we had an excellent table right next to the window.

We were greeted at our table by our server who offered us a choice of Prosecco or a Mimosa. She then took us on a tour of the buffet tables which are set up in a separate area at the back of the restaurant. Our server was very attentive throughout, always anticipating what we needed and clearing empty plates from the table quickly.

disneyfantasypalo

The choice of food at the Disney Fantasy Palo Brunch is huge. The first table is of pastry and bread items, the second has an amazing seafood selection and the third table has lots of other tempting items. These include salmon mousse, caviar, mozzarella and tomato, lots of different cheeses and numerous other vegetable offerings.

Disney Palo

There is plenty to choose from – the only dilemma is which items to have first!

There are also hot entrees on offer which are displayed for you as well. I opted for the Fried Mozzarella which was very good. My dining companion tried a pizza which was made gluten free for him. Other entrees on offer include Chicken Parmesan, Eggs Benedict, Eggs Julia, Pancakes and even Grilled Cut Sirloin Steak.

The Palo Brunch is very allergy friendly. Most of the non gluten free items are on one table and so guests with allergies can easily avoid that. The same thing applies to any guests with seafood allergies – everything on the buffet table is kept separately. As always, Disney is very good at helping guest with allergies and providing them with lots of good alternatives.

The dessert table is spectacular. The servings are small so that you can sample as many different ones as you want without feeling too guilty. You keep walking past it and thinking that you really need to leave room for dessert!

The Palo Bruch experience is one that I would highly recommend. At just $30 per person it is still a bargain for the quality of food, service and the ambience.

disneyfantasypalotheme

Palo Brunch is served on the Disney ships from 10am to 2pm on sea days. You can book ahead online and the system will allow you to make only one reservation per adult per cruise. Once you get on board you can go to the Palo and Remy podium to see if there are any reservations available. Even if you are out of luck on your first try you can keep trying to see if there is a cancellation.

I wanted to see if I enjoyed my experience more on the Disney Wonder or the Fantasy but really both are so good I couldn’t choose one that I preferred. The restaurant decor on both ships is beautiful and the food is very good. I tend to prefer the service on the Disney Wonder, just because I know more of the servers on that ship. However, I have more sailings on the Disney Fantasy planned and I would always book a Palo brunch there too.

One thing which I liked about the Fantasy was that it is not an open kitchen as it is on the Magic and Wonder. Just a personal preference but last time we were in Palo the Head Chef and his staff did not seem to be on the best of terms and I really didn’t want to see that!

Have you dined at a Palo Brunch on any of the Disney ships? Would you recommend the experience?

You may also like:

Disney Palo Brunch on the Disney Wonder

Disney Castaway Cay Stingray Adventure

Disney Cruise Gratuities

Disney Cruise Gratuities

Disney Cruise Gratuities

One of the things which first time cruises tend to get very confused about is how Disney Cruise Gratuities are calculated and charged. However, the system really is very simple. Here is our guide to Disney cruise tips and grautities.

Many of the Disney Cruise Crew rely on gratuities for a large part of their income. The main people who you will need to tip are your Server, Assistant Server, Head Server and your Stateroom Host or Hostess. Disney has made this system very simple. There are recommended amounts per night for each of these crew members.

Here is a chart which shows the suggested amounts per night. All of these are minimum suggestions - you can always add to these amounts if you want to. You will most likely receive exceptional service and want to leave something extra for your dining team and stateroom host.

These standard gratuities will be added to your stateroom account on the final night of your cruise. They are the same for adults and children. On the last night you will find envelopes in your stateroom for each of your dining team and your stateroom host where you can show the amount that you have added. If you want, you can give these envelopes to them directly. If you want to add more that is easy as you just fill in the form that you are given with the envelopes.

You can also put extra cash in the envelopes if you want to.



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5 Nights

6 Nights

7 Nights

Server

$12

$16

$20

$24

$28

Asst. Server

$9

$12

$15

$18

$21

Head Server

$3

$4

$5

$6

$7

Stateroom Host

$12

$16

$20

$24

$28

Total

$36

$48

$60

$72

$84

How To Save Money On A Disney Cruise

How To Save Money On A Disney Cruise

How To Save Money On A Disney Cruise

Are you wanting to know how to save money on a Disney cruise? There are many ways to save money on a Disney Cruise and here we show you our best hacks and tips.

If you have already booked your Disney cruise and want to know how to save even more when on board the ship go to

More Disney Cruise Savings Tips

How to Save Money on a Disney Cruise
howtosavemoneyonadisneycruise
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How to Save on a disney Cruise

Book Your Disney Cruise As Early As You Can

DisneyCruiseCastawayCayDoubleDip2015

We know that with some cruise lines the advice is to wait and pick up a last-minute bargain but with Disney cruises the opposite is true. Usually the earlier you book the cheaper the stateroom price. This is one of the easiest ways to save money on a Disney cruise.

Disney cruise Lines usually release cruise dates around 12 to 18 months ahead of time.

For example Disney announced Fall 2017 cruise dates in May 2016. They usually give priority booking to Platinum and Gold Castaway Cay members. This means that the first day or sometimes two of booking is given to only guests who have sailed with Disney at least 6 times before. These Disney Cruise Platinum and Gold Castaway Cay members are the guests who will get the lowest prices and the most sought after itineraries and staterooms. It pays to be loyal to Disney Cruises!

Disney Cruise Lines then releases the dates to everyone. The usual pattern is that from that day forward prices rise and staterooms become sold out.

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!

Be Flexible With When You Can Travel on a Disney Cruise

Disney's Private Island Castaway Cay

Disney’s Private Island Castaway Cay

We know that we just told you to book as far ahead as possible. It is true that the most reliable way to get a lower price is to book as soon as the new itineraries are released by Disney cruises. One of the best ways to save money on a Disney Cruise is to book as soon as possible. You can always book and then cancel a cruise. Provided you are within the cancellation date window, you can cancel without any penalty.

There are sometimes exceptions to this rule that you will save money on a Disney Cruise by booking as early as possible. Rarely an itinerary will not be selling well and there will be last-minute discounts offered. These are often for the slightly unusual itineraries, such as the re-positioning cruises.

Usually these last-minute rates are offered 21 to 75 days prior to sailing. You will be booking a Guaranteed Category Stateroom. What this means is that you will book either an Inside, Oceanview or Verandah stateroom guarantee.

You will book a guaranteed Category of your choice and Disney cruise line will allocate the actual stateroom. You can’t pick your own. You could be assigned a higher category, but you won’t get a lower one. You may not know your stateroom number until Disney gives it to you. This can even, although rarely, be as late as the day you sail on the cruise.

Disney Dream and Fantasy Suites

These late rates can work out really well and save you a lot of money if you can be flexible. There tend to be more staterooms available if you have 2 or 3 guests. This is simply because there are more staterooms which sleep that number of guests. You can only book up to 4 people in one stateroom.

Be aware that if you are booking 2 Guaranteed Staterooms they may not be anywhere near each other. Disney does want to be as magical as they can. However, sometimes they simply can’t put guests close to each other.

You can only book a Guaranteed Stateroom as a new booking. No changing that booking you have paid for and then see the lower rates. Yes this can be annoying if you are aware of it. There is a slight chance that your neighbor paid less than you. However, there is a bigger chance they paid more if they waited.

You must pay in full at the time you make the booking and there are no refunds if you book late.




Which Stateroom Do You Really Need?

howtochooseadisneycruisesteroom

Do you really need that Verandah? Is it worth the extra dollars for you and your family? Only you can decide that. However,in general the lowest prices start with an Inside Stateroom, then an Outside and the most expensive is a Verandah. Concierge is of course on a whole different level of expense!

We have written a comprehensive guide to help you choose the best stateroom on a Disney cruise for you and your family:

How To Choose A Disney Cruise Stateroom

Disney Cruise Line Military Discounts

disneycruisegalveston

The most frequently offered discounts are for the Military and their families. Usually the discounts are offered for last minute availability.

To qualify for a Military Discount rates are available to all retired and active US Military personnel or their spouse. The active or retired military person does not have to travel if their spouse also has a valid military ID.

Military personnel include US Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy, US Coast Guard, US National Guard, Army Reserve and US Department of Defense Personnel.

A valid military ID must be provided by all active or retired Military Personnel (or their spouse) at check in. The offer is limited to one stateroom per military member or spouse.

Disney Cruise Florida Resident Discounts

savemoneyonadisneycruise

Disney sometimes offers Florida resident discounts. Usually these are close to the sail date so it pays to be flexible.

Disney cruise lines is very strict on it’s rules about proving residency. If you don’t provide proof within 48 hours of booking it will be cancelled. If this happens cancellation fees may be applied.

To qualify for a Florida Resident Disney cruise discount one of the adults in each stateroom much provide an id which will be valid at the time of sailing. Accepted ID includes Florida Driver’s License, Florida ID Card with a Florida address, Florida utility bill with the Guest’s name and address, Florida voter’s card, lease agreement.

A property deed is not accepted as proof of Florida residency. You will need one of the other forms of ID to get the discounted rates.

Book On Board A Disney Cruise

disneycruiseonboardbookingdiscount

The Disney Future Cruise Booking Desk On The Disney Fantasy

Disney encourages guests to book another cruise whilst on board by offering a generous 10% discount off prevailing rates. They also give an on board credit of $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. This is a great way to save money on a Disney cruise.

The good news is that you can book a cruise which you are not sure you will sail on. You can then change the booking for a different cruise,ship. date, or stateroom and still keep the incentives.

If you think you will need 2 staterooms you can also book this on board and have the benefits for both. If you change your mind you can cancel both staterooms, one stateroom or both. It really is pretty flexible so if you have any idea that you may want 2 staterooms then book them. If you want more than 2 staterooms you can go ahead and book – you will get the on board credit but not the discount rate.

You can even book what is known as a Placeholder Cruise. You don’t book a specific cruise but you do get a reservation number. When you then decide which cruise you will go on you will still keep the incentives. At the time of booking the Placeholder the deposit is only $200 but you will have to pay any increased amount of deposit when you book an actual cruise. Remember though the usual rule that prices for Disney cruises go up as you get nearer to the sailing date – so if you wait too long prices may have risen more than 10% so wiping out your discount. This is one of the best ways to save money on a Disney Cruise.

disney cruise europe discounts

There are some conditions of course. There are blackout dates which aren’t eligible for this offer. For 2016, 2017 and 2018 the blackout dates are:

For 2017:

Disney Fantasy: 4/8, 4/15, 11/18, 12/23, 12/30

Disney Dream: 4/10, 4/14, 4/17, 11/20, 12/22, 12/26, 12/29

Disney Wonder: 4/9, 4/13, 4/16, 5/12, 9/15, 9/22, 10/13, 11/17, 12/22, 12/29

Disney Magic: 4/9, 4/16, 11/18, 12/24, 12/29

For 2018:

Disney Fantasy: 3/24, 3/31

Disney Dream: 3/26, 3/30, 4/2

Disney Wonder: 3/25, 3/29, 4/1, 4/27, 5/4, 5/11

Disney Magic: 3/28, 4/1

If you are thinking of sailing on a cruise on the Disney Cruise we always suggest contacting a Disney Authorized Travel Agent. Check Disney Cruise prices now.

Disney Visa Card Discounts

Disney Visa Card holders can get a $50 on board credit when they pay for their Disney cruise with their credit card. You can only use this credit for beverages though. You cannot combine this with any other Disney offer. However, you can use it if you are getting an on board credit direct from a travel agent. You will of course get the 6 months interest free credit for all Disney purchases, and extra Disney Rewards Points.

Disney Visa Card holders are also entitled to certain discounts on board the cruise when they register the card to their stateroom. You do not need to pay for your cruise with your Visa Card to get these discounts – although you may want to because of the 6 months interest free credit feature.

The current Disney Visa Card discounts include:

10% off selected merchandise if you spend $50 or more. There are some exclusions to this which include Castaway Cay merchandise. jewelry, cosmetics, some art and collectibles, gift cards and merchandise. It is not always clear what is excluded so ask a Cast Member about specific items to clarify what the discount is.

10% off the Castaway Cay Getaway Package which includes rental of items for snorkeling, float or inner tube and 2 hours of bicycle rental.

10% off most photo packages. This is a very useful saving.

20% off some spa treatments whilst the ship is in port. Unfortunately this excludes massages on Castaway Cay. Also you can’t use it on already discounted specials.

Target Red Card

If you have a Target Red Card then you get 5% off most purchases in the store. This also includes Disney Gift Cards. You can pay for your Disney cruise with any Disney gift card so this can be a great way to save an additional 5%.

Be aware that this offer is subject to Target Red Card terms and conditions and some readers have reported difficulty with getting the discount for gift cards.

Do you have a favorite money-saving tip when booking a Disney Cruise?

This post contains affiliate links. See our policy here



Disney World Fort Wilderness Cabins

disneyworldfortwildernesscabin

Disney World Fort Wilderness Cabins and Campground offers guests a unique place to stay right in the heart of the theme parks. Offering 748 camp sites, RV hook ups and 409 cozy wood cabins Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort is spread over 740 acres of mainly pine forest, within easy reach of all the magic of Disney World. You will feel as though you are living in the wilderness but you are never far from any of the Disney parks.

Our Cabin - Peacock Pass #2808

Photo Credit

Disney World Fort Wilderness is a car free zone. When you arrive you will leave your car in the parking lot and go to the Reception Outpost to check in if you are in a cabin, or pull your car up in front of a drive through check in if staying on one of the campsites. The resort is laid out in loops with 3 access roads. There are 28 loops where you will find the campsites and log cabins.

Disney World Fort Wilderness Cabins

Photo by Darren Whittko

Disney World Fort Wilderness peaceful landcaping

There are 407 spacious and comfortable air conditioned wood cabins available at Fort Wilderness each sleeping up to 6 people in 504 square feet of space. The Fort Wilderness Cabins were newly renovated in 2016. They are an ideal choice for larger parties and of course those who want to do some of their own cooking as the provide a kitchen with stove, microwave and refrigerator.

There is a separate bedroom with a double bed and bunk bed. There is a living area with television, a dining area which seats 6. A nice touch is a kid sized table. Additional sleeping space is on the pull down Murphy bed. There is a full kitchen,bathroom, and an outdoor grill on the deck.

Photo by cdharrison




The cabins are located near the front of Fort Wilderness Resort. Each has a daily housekeeping service. There are some accessible cabins available which should be requested at the time of booking.

Prices vary by season but range from $348 to $606 for a cabin which will sleep up to 6 people. These are the rack rates and deals are often available – Click Here to See the Latest Pricing

Camping at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

Photo by cdharrison

There are 788 campsites at Fort Wilderness each of which fit into one of a combination of 4 categories:Premium, Preferred, Full Hook Up and Partial Hook Up.

If you have a large RV over 45 feet then you will need a Premium Site. These sites are the largest on the resort and in the best locations. They have every amenity available including electricity,water and sewer and cable. They also have access to the internet which is available at an additional fee.

A preferred site has the upgraded amenities and electricity,water,sewer, cable and internet access. They are called preferred because of their location closer to either The Trading Post,the marina and Pioneer Hall.

Partial hook up sites have water and electricity. You can have a partial hook up in either a preferred or non preferred location.

Photo by projecttracker

There are comfort stations located close to all the sites. Here you will find clean, well maintained bathrooms, showers, laundry facilities,phones and ice machines. If you don’t want to do your own laundry then housekeeping provides a laundry service for everyone on the resort including those on the camp sites.

Prices of course depend on location and category. The range is between $70 and $112 a night in value season for a site sleeping up to 10 guests. For Holiday Season the range is between $135 to $183 per night.

Fort Wilderness is Disney World’s only pet friendly resort. There is a $5 daily charge and you have to request a pet friendly site. Pets are only allowed in RVs- they are not permitted in tents or the cabins. There is also a pet boarding facility at the entrance to Fort Wilderness. Dogs, cats and small animals are welcome, and you can book overnight or day care.

Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort Transportation

Fort Wilderness is a large resort at over 700 acres. There are 3 resort buses – Orange, Purple and Yellow which run around the resort and between the Outpost Depot at the front of the resort near the Disney bus transportation, and the Settlement Depot which is near the marina which has boat access to Magic Kingdom.

You can also walk or bike around the resort. A popular option, but pricey at $59 a day,is to rent a golf cart. These can be reserved up to one year in advance at The Outpost by calling 407 824 2742.

Photo by joeshlabotnik

The transportation to the Disney parks and resorts from Fort Wilderness has the reputation of being the worst of all the places you can stay in Disney World. Really the best advice if you are staying at Fort Wilderness is to bring a car! Whilst transport to Magic Kingdom is good because you can catch a resort boat at the marina, the rest of the transport system is far from convenient.

Transport around the Disney Fort Wilderness resort can be slow with 10 to 15 minute waits. Then you have to catch a bus to all the other parks and resorts which again can involve a long wait. Guests love Fort Wilderness Resort but do consistently say that the transport provision is the only let down!

Disney World Fort Wilderness Recreation

Photo by joeshlabotnik

The recreation facilities at Disney’s Fort Wilderness are arguably the very best of any Disney resort. Not only do you have the great outdoors on your door step but you have plenty of recreational activities to choose from.

There are 2 heated swimming pools. The meadow Swimmin’ Pool is the most popular. Located near the center of the resort it has a children’s play area, a slide and a hot tub.

Bay Lake is a center of activity for Fort Wilderness with lots of opportunities to have some fun! The sandy beach at the side of Bay Lake near the marina is also a popular spot (although you are not permitted to swim in the lake). If you enjoy fishing you can fish for free or take an excursion. If you are looking for something a little adventurous then parasailing, wake boarding and water skiing are available.

You can rent a range of water craft from Fort Wilderness Marina.

There are tennis courts, basketball and volleyball courts. You will also find shuffleboard and horseshoes to play around the resort.

A unique feature of Fort Wilderness is the free to visit petting zoo. It is a pleasant way to spend some family time with the kids.

Tri-Circle-D Ranch and Stables is a popular place which offers pony rides every day. It also houses Cinderella’s ponies and the Main Street horses. 45 minute trail rides cost $42 and can be booked up to 30 days in advance by calling 407 WDW PLAY. You pick up the tickets at The Kennel at Fort Wilderness. Same day rides are often available but it is always best to call in advance if you are traveling from outside the resort.

You can also take a Wagon Ride around the resort. The 45 minute Wagon ride cannot be booked in advance and is on a first come first served basis. The rides are at 7.30 and 9.30. There is also a 9.00 ride for the Magic Kingdom fireworks. If you want a more exclusive experience Carriage Rides are also available. Each carriage holds up to 4 guests and leaves Crockett’s Tavern at Pioneer Hall each night between 6pm and 9.3pm. The 25 minute ride costs $35. You can get a ticket from the driver or book in advance at 407 WDW PLAY.

Photo by elemscibone

Want a very special experience for the Holidays? Book a Sleigh Ride at Fort Wilderness! Starting at the end of November and going to December 30th each year you can ride around the resort on a special sleigh. Each sleigh will fit 4 adults or 2 adults and 3 children – the cost is $60 for each party and the sleigh ride lasts around 25 minutes. Book in advance by calling 407 WDW PLAY.

Always wanted to try a segway? Well you can on the Wilderness Back Trail Adventure. The cost is $85 per person and each tour takes a party of up to 10 guests. They are available at either 8.30 or 10.30 each moring except Sunday or Monday. Call 407 WDW TOUR to book. No experience is necessary as you will be fully briefed as to how to ride a segway. You must be over 18 or if 16 and over accompanied by an adult.

If you aren’t quite ready for a segway then you can always rent a bike! Bicycles of all sizes are available. If you want to ride with all the family then Surrey bikes are a lot of fun too!

Are you ready for a new experience? Then why not try archery? A 90 minute experience including equipment and instruction costs $25 and is open to ages 6 and up.

So one thing you will never be at Disney’s Fort Wilderness is bored! There is something to do for every age.

Disney World Fort Wilderness Resort Dining

Photo by joeshlabotnik

There are some great choices for dining at Fort Wilderness with two restaurants, two dinner shows and a snack bar. Or of course you could eat in your cabin or camp site.

Crockett’s Tavern and Trails End Restaurant are both in Pioneer Hall. Crockett’s Tavern serves pizza, chicken wings and nachos. It also serves beer and wine. Trails End Restaurant serves a buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

If you want entertaining whilst you eat then try Mickey’s Backyard BBQ Dinner Show. This all you care to eat buffet is held on Thursdays and Saturday from 6.30pm to 8pm at the Outdoor Pavillion. Enjoy a wild west themed event with country music,line dancing and Disney characters. The price is $50.99 for adults and $20.99 for children aged 3 to 9. Selections include hot dogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob and cole slaw.

One of the most popular dinner shows in Disney World The Hoop De Du Musical Revue is held at Pioneer Hall at Fort Wilderness. It is held every night with 3 shows at 5pm, 7.30pm and 9pm. The Hoop De Du Musical Review is very popular so Advance Dining Reservations are essential. It is a family style buffet brought to your table which you eat whilst being entertained by singers, dancers and comedians. Guest satisfaction is usually very high at this high energy revue. The food is western style fare includes fried chicken,pork ribs, mashed potatoes and western style baked beans with strawberry shortcake for dessert.

As the Hoop De Du Musical Revue is a seated dinner show the prices are in one of 3 categories which range from $52.99 to $61.99 for adults and $26.99 to $31.99 for children aged 3 to 9. There is no charge for the under 3s. Category 1 is the closest to the stage. It is part of the Disney Dining Plan but you will need 2 full dining credits.

Disney World Fort Wilderness Cabins and Camp Sites really do offer something different to a guest looking for a resort on Disney property. It is one of the least known places to stay and it is often overlooked.

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Disney World RV Park

Disney RV Park

Disney World RV Park

Did you know that there was an Disney World RV Park and Campsite right inside the heart of the theme parks? The fact that there is an RV park and campground on Disney World property often comes as a surprise to guests who know about the hotels but are unaware of this other accommodation option.




The Disney Fort Wilderness Resort is set in over 750 acres of woodland. In addition to offering 409 wood cabins to rent the Fort Wilderness campground also offers a place to hook up your RV or pitch a tent.

Photo by elemscibone

There are also 409 wood cabins on Fort Wilderness for rent. If you want more information about these then check out our guide at:

Disney World Fort Wilderness Cabins

There are 788 campsites at Fort Wilderness each of which fit into one of a combination of 4 categories:Premium, Preferred, Full Hook Up and Partial Hook Up. Prices depend on location and facilities for each camp site.

Disney World Deals! Click Here to See the Latest Pricing

Premium Sites are the largest on the resort and are in the very best locations. If you have an RV which is 45 feet or over then these are your only option. These sites are the largest at around 24 feet wide and up to 60 feet deep. The Premium sites have all hook ups available for electricity (30/50 amp),water,sewer and cable television. They also have access to the internet which is available at an additional fee.

Preferred Sites have upgraded amenities and electricity,water,sewer, cable and internet access. The term Preferred refers to the location of the site as they will be close They are called preferred because of their location closer to either The Trading Post,the Marina or Pioneer Hall.

Full Hook Up Sites have electricity,water,sewer, cable and internet access but are not in the preferred locations.

Partial Hook Up Sites all have water and electricity. Partial hook ups can be in either a preferred or non preferred location.

Disney RV Park

Photo by Darren Wittko

The Disney World camp site and RV park rates start at $60 per night in Value Season for a tent or pop up ranging up to $101 per night for a Premium site. The most expensive Holiday Season for 2017 starts at $135 a night and rises to $183 for a Premium site. Still a pretty good rate for a Disney World resort with all the benefits that this brings.

Disney World Deals! Click Here to See the Latest Pricing

Each site has room to park one vehicle (in addition to your RV or camper). All of the camp sites have a paved pad, with a picnic table and bbq grill (charcoal only).

There are 15 comfort stations located around the resort which have showers, restrooms, ice machines and a laundry room. There is also a laundry service which you can pay an additional fee for.

The Disney World RV park is the only Disney resort property where you can bring your pets – they are welcome on some of the locations for an additional charge of $5 per night.

One of the drawbacks of the Fort Wilderness Resort is that is is very large and you have to either use the internal bus resort transportation or rent a bike or golf cart to get to the facilities and the buses which will take you to the Disney World parks. You can have a long wait for one of the buses to transport you around the loops to the main bus stop. You can rent a golf cart to get around the resort but this is a pricey option at around $64 per day. These can be reserved up to one year in advance at The Outpost by calling 407 824 2742.

Disney bus transportation is available to all the Disney parks and in addition there is boat transportation to Magic Kingdom.

The recreational facilities at Fort Wilderness Resort are excellent. There are 2 heated swimming pools, tennis courts, basketball and volleyball courts. There is plenty to do on Bay Lake including fishing, parasailing, water skiing and renting a range of water craft.

You will also find shuffleboard and horseshoes to play around the resort. There is even the Fort Wilderness Petting Zoo which is free to visit. Tri-Circle-D Ranch and Stables is a popular place which offers pony rides and trail rides every day. You can even take a Wagon Ride around the resort. So you will not be short of activities to keep you busy at the resort.

There are some choices for dining at Fort Wilderness with two restaurants, two dinner shows and a snack bar. The Hoop De Du Musical Revue is the oldest and many say the best Disney World dinner show and this is held at Pioneer Hall at Fort Wilderness.

Whilst it may come as a big surprise that there is a Disney World RV park once the secret is out then guests do tend to return after that first visit. This is one of Disney’s best kept secrets but now you are in the know so why not give it a try?

Want to know how much a stay at Disney World RV Park will cost? Click Here to See the Latest Pricing

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Walt Disney World Contemporary Resort – Which Are The Best Rooms?

Disney Contemporary Resort

Disney Contemporary Resort Hotel

The Walt Disney World Contemporary Resort is a wonderful deluxe resort which is ideally suited for guests looking for luxury very close to the Magic Kingdom. Disney’s Contemporary Resort has 655 stylish rooms all located within a very futuristic A Frame design. Some of the best views of Disney’s Magic Kingdom can be had from the Contemporary Resort rooms.

One very distinctive feature is that the Disney monorail runs right through the lobby! Getting to the Magic Kingdom is so easy from the Disney Contemporary Resort – just go down to the lobby and hop on board the monorail.

As you may expect from a hotel with the word Contemporary in it’s name, this Disney hotel has very modern design features in the rooms. The rooms are a very generous 394 square feet. There is plenty of room to spread out in luxury.

The design of the rooms is my favorite of all the Disney resorts. There are some nice Disney touches but if you are looking for Mickey Mouse at every turn then you may be better off choosing one of the other Disney World Resorts. Some think that it just isn’t themed enough – for others the contemporary style with subtle Disney design touches is exactly what they need.

Walt Disney World Contemporary Resort rooms have either 2 Queen beds and a day bed, or a King and a day bed. They sleep up to 5 so are great for families.




Where Are The Best Rooms in Disney Contemporary Resort Hotel?

Disney contemporary resort room

Disney Contemporary Resort Queen Room

Photo by stacyrackley

There are 2 buildings in the Contemporary Resort. The A Frame is known as the Tower and the smaller South Garden Wing is located behind the Tower. The Tower is the largest with some spectacular Magic Kingdom and the Seven Seas Lagoon on one side, or Bay Lake and the swimming pools on the other. The smaller South Garden Wing has views of the water, the garden and the parking lot.

If you are looking for the views then the Tower at the Disney Contemporary Resort is the place to be. They are of course more expensive than the South Garden Wing. But if you have the budget and want great views then the Tower is the place to be. If you want Magic Kingdom views then of course you have to be on the Seven Seas Lagoon side of the resort. For the very best views try and get a room on the 9th floor and above.

If you are on the Bay Lake side of the Tower then the views are good although of course not as good as the Magic Kingdom views. Here your choice of floor doesn’t matter quite so much but following the general rule of hotel views, the higher floors are better than the lower ones.

If you are staying in the Garden Wing of the Contemporary Resort you do have to be more careful with your choice of room. Avoid rooms ending in the numbers 52 to 70 as with these you will get a view of the parking lot and not much else.

The Garden Wing rooms at the Contemporary which are generally seen as having the nicest views and the quietest position are 6116 to 6123, 6216 to 6223, and 6316 to 6323.

Also good are 6107 to 6115, 6207 to 6215, and 6307 to 6315. They are water side rooms which are a little nosier but still excellent rooms.

If you have a family and want easy access to the Contemporary Resort swimming pool then you could consider ground floor rooms 5110 to 5125. The views aren’t as good as the direct Bay Lake ones though.

Disney World Deals! Click Here to See the Latest Pricing

Should I Stay In The Disney Contemporary Resort Tower Or The South Garden Wing Rooms?

If money is not a huge consideration then I would say splurge on the Contemporary Resort Tower Magic Kingdom View rooms. Once you have stayed here you may not want to stay anywhere else though! The views and the access to the Magic Kingdom are fabulous. Some have said that rooms in the Tower are noisy because they are so close to the lobby but I have never found that. Disney has the sound proofing worked out, but if you are particularly worried about this then pick a higher floor.

Garden Wing rooms at the Disney Contemporary Resort are also a very good choice. They cost less than the Tower rooms but still give you the size, design and of course the fabulous location close to Magic Kingdom. Yes it is a bit more of a walk to the monorail but really for the money you save this perhaps should not be much of a consideration.

Just to give you an idea of the price differences for a midweek stay in Fall 2017 for the Contemporary Resort if you stayed in a Garden View standard view (probably the parking lot) the rate is $444 a night, a Garden Wing view room is $477, a Tower Bay Lake view is $620 and a Seven Seas Lagoon view in the Tower is $685. These are all rack rates for the Contemporary Resort as published in 2017.

So you may decide that you want the convenience of a stay in the Contemporary Resort without the higher rate if you forgo the view. There is a $240 per night difference so if you want to save the money you should pick the Standard View.

Click Here to See the Latest Pricing

Whichever room you choose at Walt Disney World Contemporary Resort you are sure to enjoy what is one of the most convenient and stylish of all the Disney World Hotels!

Disney Grand Floridian Resort Hotel – Which Rooms Are The Best?

Top 10 Disney World Hotel Resorts

The Pros and Cons of Every Disney World Deluxe Hotel Resort

Disney World Deluxe Hotel

Disney World Deluxe Hotel

Here is a guide to the Pros and Cons of Every Disney World Deluxe Hotel Resort. All of the Disney World Deluxe Hotels are amazing places to stay and it can be difficult to decide which of these will be best for your family.

This guide will help you to choose the perfect Deluxe Disney World Hotel for your vacation. We have stayed at most of the hotels ourselves and so can give you the insider view

The Pros and Cons of Every Disney World Deluxe Hotel

Disney Magic Kingdom Hotel Resorts

Disney Grand Floridian Resort

Photo by express monorail




Pros

  • Located minutes from Magic Kingdom on the monorail or by boat
  • Many rooms have excellent views of Magic Kingdom and The Seven Seas Lagoon
  • Rooms are large at 440 square feet with 2 Queen beds
  • Very opulent and elegant decor
  • Lots of excellent dining choices
  • Nicely themed swimming pools and beach
  • Cons

    • The Price
    • Too formal for some
    • Bus transportation can be slow to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios
    • Disney World Deals! Click Here to See the Latest Pricing

      Best Rooms

      disney world grand floridian

      Photo by Saving_Queen

    • Conch Building 7228 to 7231, 7328 to 7331 and 7425 to 7431 are Magic Kingdom view rooms
    • Sago Key Magic Kingdom view rooms 5139, 5144, 5145, 5242 to 5256, and 5342 to 5345.
    • For a detailed discussion on the best rooms go to

      Disney Grand Floridian Resort Hotel – Which Are The Best Rooms?




      Rooms To Avoid

    • Some Boca Chica rooms have an obstructed view out over a building
    • Best Suited To

      Guests looking for a 5 Star experience close to Magic Kingdom who are willing to pay the high price.

      Our Rating

      8 out of 10. A very luxurious hotel in a fabulous location. But the price is too high compared to other Deluxe Disney Hotels.

      Disney’s Polynesian Resort Hotel

      Photo by expressmonorail

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      Pros

    • Great location minutes away from Magic Kingdom by boat and monorail
    • A relaxing, laid back resort with a tranquil theme
    • Good dining choices
    • Good themed swimming pool
    • Large rooms at 410 square feet, with some 476 square feet rooms with 2 Queens
    • Many rooms have excellent views of Magic Kingdom and The Seven Seas Lagoon
    • Cons

    • Expensive
    • Building work in 2014
    • Not all rooms have balconies
    • Bus transportation can be slow to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios
    • Best Rooms

    • Some 476 square feet rooms are located in the Tokelau, Rapa Nui and Tahita longhouse buildings.
    • Rooms To Avoid

    • Avoid rooms in the Rarotonga longhouse which are on the monorail side.
    • Parking lot view rooms in Rapa Nui.
    • Best Suited To

      Those looking for a great location with large rooms and a very relaxed ambience.

      Our Rating

      9 out of 10.

      For more on this resort see our guide at

      Disney Polynesian Resort

      Disney’s Contemporary Resort

      Pros

    • Great location minutes away from Magic Kingdom by boat and monorail
    • The monorail station is located inside the hotel
    • You can even walk to Magic Kingdom
    • Very cool hotel design
    • 394 square feet Standard Rooms with Queen beds
    • Can be less pricey than some of the other Deluxe Hotels if you book the Garden Wing
    • Cons

    • Not Disney enough
    • Disappointing design of swimming pool
    • Some rooms close to the lobby can be noisy
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      Best Rooms

      Disney contemporary resort room

      Disney Contemporary Resort Queen Room

      Photo by stacyrackley

    • Tower Magic Kingdom View Rooms are the best – and most expensive
    • The Garden Wing rooms with the nicest views and the quietest position are 6116 to 6123, 6216 to 6223, and 6316 to 6323.
    • For our guide to the best rooms see

      Disney’s Contemporary Resort Which Are The Best Rooms?

      Rooms To Avoid

    • In the Garden Wing avoid rooms ending in the numbers 52 to 70 as you will only have a view of the parking lot
    • Best Suited To

      Guests who enjoy contemporary design and don’t mind a little less “Disney” Not for those looking for a great swimming pool for the kids.

      Our Rating

      8.5 out of 10. We love the location, the rooms and the views but the swimming pool and lobby areas are not our favorite.

      Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Villas

      Pros

    • One of the most beautiful themed of all the Deluxe Disney Resort Hotels
    • Just a boat ride away from Magic Kingdom
    • Less expensive than some of the other Magic Kingdom Resorts
    • Cons

    • The only Magic Kingdom Hotel not connected to the Monorail
    • Rooms only sleep 4
    • Small Rooms for A Deluxe Resort at just 340 square feet for a standard room
    • Bus transportation only to Epcot, Disney Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom
    • Best Rooms

    • Most rooms at the Wilderness Lodge have nice woodland views.
    • Lake views in the hotel are 4000 to 4003, 4166 to 4169, 5000 to 5003, 5166 to 5169, 6000 to 6003 and 6166 to 6169.
    • Most rooms at the Wilderness Lodge Villas have woodland views. The best are odd numbered rooms 2531 to 2563 and 3532 to 3563.
    • Rooms To Avoid

    • Rooms on the 4th, 5th and 6th floor of the Hotel numbered 70 to 99 overlook the lobby and are very noisy.
    • Best Suited To

      Families looking to get away from it all whilst still being within reach of the parks.

      Our Rating

      8 out of 10. Beautiful hotel, but loses points with us for inconvenient location and small rooms compared to other Deluxe Resorts.

      Disney Epcot Resorts

      Disney’s Beach Club

      Photo by expressmonorail

      Pros

    • Easy walk to Epcot
    • Just a boat ride away from Disney Hollywood Studios
    • Stormalong Bay is the best swimming pool in Disney World
    • All the restaurants of the Epcot Resorts and The Boardwalk within easy reach
    • Cons

    • Bus transportation only to Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom
    • Not many dining choices in the Beach Club itself (but plenty within easy reach
    • The Beach Club is showing it’s age and is due for a refurbishment
    • Best Rooms

      Disney Beach Club Rooms

      Photo by gator-chris

      Rooms To Avoid

      Best Suited To

      Families who will spend a lot of time in Epcot. Great for families with kids who want to spend time in the best pool in Disney World.

      Families looking to get away from it all whilst still being within reach of the parks.

      Disney World Deals! Click Here to See the Latest Pricing

      Our Rating

      8 out of 10. Fabulous location and great pool, but not enough dining choices on site, as well as needing some ‘refreshing’ of the decor.

      Disney’s Boardwalk Inn and Villas

      Disney Boardwalk Inn

      Photo by expressmonorail

      Pros

    • Easy walk to Epcot
    • Just a boat ride or 15 minute walk away from Disney Hollywood Studios
    • All the restaurants of the Epcot Resorts and The Boardwalk within easy reach
    • Close to Boarwalk
    • Cons

    • Bus transportation only to Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom is slow as it includes multiple stops
    • No restaurants in hotel, and ones close by are not very child friendly
    • The Boardwalk Inn is showing wear and tear
    • No Quick Service Dining in the resort
    • Not as appealing to children as many of the other Disney hotels
    • Most rooms do not have a great view
    • Best Rooms

      Photo by mom2amara

    • Standard rooms are 371 Square Feet with 2 Queen Beds
    • The good views in the Hotel are from odd numbered rooms 3123 to 3255 and 4213 to 4255
    • The best view rooms in the Boardwalk Villas are odd numbered rooms 3001 to 3033, 4001 to 4033 and 5001 to 5033
    • Rooms To Avoid

    • There are many rooms in the Boardwalk Inn and Villas which have very mediocre views of the parking lot and the roof of the conference center
    • Best Suited To

      Adults or families with older children who will spend a lot of time in Epcot.

      Our Rating

      8 out of 10. Fabulous location for Epcot. No Quick Service Dining and not that appealing for young children. Needs attention to decor and maintenance. A lot of money for mediocre views.

      Disney’s Yacht Club

      Photo by expressmonorail

      Pros

    • Easy walk to Epcot
    • Just a boat ride away from Disney Hollywood Studios
    • All the restaurants of the Epcot Resorts and The Boardwalk within easy reach
    • View of Epcot fireworks from some rooms
    • Stormalong Bay is the best Disney World resort swimming pool
    • Great water views from some rooms
    • Cons

    • Bus transportation only to Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom is slow as it includes multiple stops
    • Not many dining choices
    • No Quick Service Dining in the resort
    • Not as appealing to children as many of the other Disney hotels
    • Best Rooms

      Photo by vortech

    • Rooms 5161,5163,5207 and 5241 have great views of the lake
    • Rooms 5171 to 5185 have a great view of Epcot
    • Rooms To Avoid

    • Standard rooms have a view of either the parking lot or a roof top.
    • Best Suited To

      Adults without children who will spend a lot of time in Epcot.

      Our Rating

      8 out of 10. Great location for Epcot.

      See our complete guide at:

      Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

      Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort and Villas

      Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort Hotel

      Pros

    • The animals!
    • Has some of the best Disney World Restaurants on site
    • One of the most beautifully themed of all the hotels
    • Very relaxed atmopshere
    • Bunk beds in some rooms are a big favorite with young children
    • Large zero entry swimming pool
    • Cons

    • Bus transportation only to all the other parks can be very slow. A car is recommended
    • Standard rooms are only 344 square feet
    • Rooms are dark and bathrooms small
    • Best Rooms

      disney animal kingdom room

      Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge Queen Bed Room

      Photo by rharkness

    • The best views are from Kudu Trail and Zebra Trail rooms.
    • The odd number Zebra trail rooms overlook the Arusha savannah
    • The best rooms for being close to the feeding areas are on any floor the rooms numbered 572 to 584
    • Rooms numbered 541 through 555 have a great view of the feeding areas.
    • Click Here to See the Latest Pricing

      See our complete guide at

      Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort and Villas – Which Are The Best Rooms?

      Rooms To Avoid

    • Not all rooms overlook a savannah. Some have a view of the parking lot. We would say that if you are staying in this resort you should splurge on the savannah view.
    • Best Suited To

      Everyone who wants to spend time close to the parks in one of the most amazing hotels in Disney World.

      Our Rating

      9.5 out of 10. Absolutely our favorite. We would give it a 10 if it had better transportation options.

      See our complete guide at:

      Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge

      Which of the Disney World Deluxe Hotels will you choose for your next vacation?

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