What are the Castaway Club Benefits for repeat Disney Cruisers? Once you have sailed on a Disney Cruise you automatically become a member of the Castaway Club.
But what does this mean and what perks do Castaway Club members have?
Disney Cruise Castaway Club Levels
There are 3 levels of Castaway Club membership:
- Silver – Begins after your first completed cruise
- Gold – Begins after your fifth completed cruise
- Platinum – Begins after your tenth completed cruise.
Note that you move up a level after you have completed your first, fifth and tenth Disney Cruise.
In other words if you are sailing on your 10th cruise, you are still at Gold Castaway Club level. When you sail again on a Disney Ship you will move up to Platinum Level.
What are the advantages of moving up the levels? There are 2 types of benefits – those before you sail and those during your sailing.
Castaway Cay Club Benefits – At Home
Perhaps the most valuable of the Castaway Club perks are these first two. Early booking for the actual cruise itself and early booking for activities once you are actually booked on the cruise.
Disney Cruise Early Itinerary Booking
Disney Cruise Itineraries are usually released just three times a year.
As there are only four Disney ships right now (soon to be five with the Disney Wish) the competition for cruises, particularly certain sailings, cab be fierce.
For instance, the Disney Magic European cruises tend to sell out in days and the Disney Cruises to Hawaii sell out extremely quickly.
Also, usually the prices for Disney Cruises tend to go up over time. As a general rule, the cost on the first day of release, is the lowest you will see it.
Of course, there are exceptions to this and military and Florida resident discounts are offered (usually for the Disney Dream). However, unlike some other cruise lines who discount unsold staterooms closer to the time of sailing, Disney tends not to have a lot of unsold staterooms – so very few discounts.
So it is a very definite perk that once the new Disney Cruise sailings are released, all Castaway Cay members can book them earlier than the general public.
- Silver Castaway – 1 day prior to sailings being released to the general public
- Gold Castaway – 2 day prior to sailings being released to the general public
- Platinum Castaway – 3 day prior to sailings being released to the general public
Disney Cruise Early Activities Booking
Another one of the major Castaway Club benefits is being able to book activities on board the ship earlier than non members. Some activities are extremely popular and get booked very quickly.
I know that people do get very concerned that they have not been able to book certain activities online prior to their Disney Cruise. However, don’t despair!
Often, there are still spots available once you board the ship as not all activities are released prior to sailing. The best example of this is Palo Brunch. Every sailing, guests are concerned prior ot boarding that they haven’t been able to get a reservation for Palo, particularly brunch.
However, not all of the available reservations for Palo are available online prior to boarding – they always hold some back.
So when you board the ship, always check to see if Palo or whatever other activity was “sold out” online is available. You can do this at guest services, or by going to the designated place where the dining room team will be there to help you.
Here are the priority dates for online reservations according to which level of Disney Cruise Castaway Cay member you are.
- First-time Guest – 75 days prior to sail date
- Silver Castaway – 90 days prior to sail date
- Gold Castaway – 105 days prior to sail date
- Platinum Castaway – 120 days prior to sail date
The only category which takes priority over Platinum Castaway members is those who are sailing in a concierge stateroom. All requests for activities are sent to the Concierge 5 days prior to Platinum members being able to request them. The activities are released on the same day, but in reality, Concierge will have priority over Platinum.
So, if you want to book a Castaway Cay Cabana you really need to sail concierge to maximize your chances.
Disney Cruise Port Arrival Time
Another great perk for Gold and Platinum Castaway Club members is Early Access to Select Port Arrival Times.
When you check-in online you are allocated a port arrival time. If you are a Gold Castaway Club member you can select your port arrival time online. This is subject to availability – the earlier times may all have been allocated, so you may still get a late boarding group.
If you are a Platinum Castaway Club member you can board the ship as one of the first 3 groups (after concierge). I have to say I really like this perk.
If you don’t have priority boarding as a Platinum Castaway Club member you will have to wait for your boarding group to be called. In most Disney ports embarkation is pretty efficient, but I do like being one of the first onboard.
Not only do you get to see the ship with very few people on board, it is easier to get a table at the buffet or go and get that Palo Brunch reservation that you want.
Here is a Complete Guide To Embarkation on a Disney Cruise so you can see how the boarding process works and what to do on your first day.
At the port Castaway Cay members will also have a dedicated check-in line. This is a nice perk as the lines are usually quite a bit shorter than the general line. Platinum Members have the same line as Concierge, so this usually goes pretty quickly.
Castaway Club Disney Cruise Phone Number
The final pre-cruise benefit of being a member of the Disney Cruise Castaway Club is the dedicated helpline 1-800-449-3380.
Disney Castaway Club Benefits Onboard
Castaway Club members also have benefits available once they have boarded their Disney Cruise Ship.
Every Castaway Cay Member gets a welcome back aboard gift. These gifts vary according to your membership level.
Over the years I have had some really useful gifts, although it does become a little disappointing when you already have the exact same backpack and luggage label you have been given for the previous years!
Gold and Platinum Castaway Club Discounts
Discounts in the store are a very nice perk. This is usually 10% discount on most goods in the store.
Gold and Platinum Castaway Club Onboard Reception
In days past they used to have these on all sailings which are 7 days or more. However, in recent years this has been cut to just holding the reception on cruises which are 8 days or longer.
What this means is that these Castaway Club Receptions don’t happen very often any more! Most sailings are 7 nights or less, so they don’t have a reception.
I have attended them on Panama Canal sailings and they were held around the Goofy Pool on Deck 9. There were plenty of free drinks and some nice snacks available. The Captain and the Officers attended and you get a great opportunity to talk to them and ask any questions that you have.
Platinum Complimentary Dinner at Palo
This is one of my favorite Castaway Club perks. Once you reach Platinum status you can get one complimentary dinner or brunch at Palo. The official Castaway Disney Cruise site only mentions dinner, but I have used it for Brunch.
This is a good saving of the $45 cover charge.
Always make sure that you tip your Disney Server though – they work very hard and deserve to be rewarded.
Disney Cruise Castaway Club Questions
- How do you access your Castaway Club account?
There is a dedicated site at Disney Cruise Castaway Club where you can log in with your Disney account. This shows you a summary of all the benefits, which cruises you have sailed on, and which membership level you have reached.
- If I am at Castaway Cay Platinum level, but my partner in the same stateroom is only Gold, will we both get a complimentary Palo Dinner?
Yes. A Castaway Cay membership is personal to the individual and is not transferable, but the exception is that every adult in a stateroom with a Platinum Member will receive the complimentary meal.
- I am a Castaway Cay Platinum member so I can board the ship early, shortly after concierge. Can my partner, who is only Gold, board with me?
In that situation, you can board with your partner even though they do not have Platinum status.
Which Disney Cruise Castaway Club Benefits do you enjoy most?