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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Monday, February 25, 2013

Castaway Ray's Stingray Adventure on Disney Cruise Line's Castaway Cay

 Our Holiday Disney Cruise on the Disney Dream made two stops at Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line's private island in the Bahamas.  We decided to reserve a spot at Castaway Ray's Stingray Adventure on our first day on the island.  We have participated in this shore excursion before--click here to read more--but it was great to do it again!
The fenced in area is the home of the stingrays.

Our time was 10:00 am and we knew we would need to give ourselves time to arrive.  The Stingray Adventure is located near Gil's Fins and Floats.  We wanted a spot on the beach at Pelican Point, the second tram stop and expanded section of family beach after Pelican Plunge was added to the island.  So, we took the tram to Pelican Point and scouted out our spots on the beach.
Reserving our beach chair at Pelican Point.

After playing for a bit, we walked past the Family Beach on a lovely path with great signs towards the Stingray Adventure.  It was about a 10 minute walk.

We bumped into some characters at Mt. Rustmore and decided to say hello!

Then, it was time to head to Castaway Ray's.  We had our shore excursion tickets with us and gave them when we checked in.  We were given snorkel gear, directed towards bins where we could put our belongings, then donned parts of our gear for the introduction provided by a naturalist on the island.

Having done this before, we knew some of the answers to the questions about stingrays.  We were also reminded about the stingray shuffle when entering the water, moving about, and exiting the water so as not to step on a stingray.

After the opening information, the larger group was divided into smaller groups and assigned to various stations in the water, each "manned" by a Cast Member.  We "shuffled" out to our stations and gathered around the U shape floating dining table for the rays that are conditioned to look for the Mickey shape and get fed.

The boy did not like the squid.
Everyone in the group got to feed the stingrays at least once by hold the food between their fingers and placing their hand on top of the Mickey shape in the U shaped dining table.  The rays then swim over your hand and eat the food from your fingers--it is more like sucking the food.

We also got to pet and observe the rays as they made their way into the U shaped dining table.  Some of the rays were carrying their young in little bumps along their back.

After feeding time came exploring time where guests could snorkel within the area with the rays.  The husband took the underwater camera and captured some great photos.
The boy got bit on his finger by one of the little fish circling around our legs.

The boy loved being with the rays and other fish that had made this area their home.  He ventured farther out and away and soon I heard the lifeguard blowing their whistle as someone was on the rocks.  Yep, knew it was the boy and I yelled his name and directed him to move. (My voice was louder than the lifeguard's. . . hmm.. .)

The excursion lasts for about an hour and there is plenty of time to explore.  There are containers labeled to return the snorkel gear at the end and a water station nearby to get a drink of cool water.

We walked back towards our spot on Pelican Point.  Lunch on the island starts at 11:30 am, so it wasn't quite time for lunch, but the ice cream machines were working!

Our tips for getting the most from Castaway Ray's Stingray Adventure:
  • If you can, reserve an earlier time during the day.  You won't feel rushed and the sand will still be somewhat settled for better underwater photos.
  • Give yourself some time to get to the location.
  • Bring a camera suited for underwater photos.
  • Have questions and ask them.  Since the barbs on the rays are filed, I imagined a "to do" list of sorts--file barbs today, so I asked about the frequency--every three months or so was the answer.
  • This shore excursion becomes more economical when you combine it with float rental, bike rental, and snorkel gear rental for you day on the island.  Consider bundling for the Extreme Getaway Castaway Ray's Stingray Adventure for more bang for your buck. 
  • Have fun!
We enjoyed this shore excursion so much that we have done it twice.  But no matter what you choose to do, your day on Castaway Cay is going to be great!

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