Saturday, December 5, 2009

Cruising into the Sunset

(This is part of a series about cruising on the Disney Magic. Click here if you want to go back to the start of the tour).

I hope you've enjoyed our
tour of Disney's Castaway Cay.

Castaway Cay - Post Office 12 (crop)

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and so we must bid a fond farewell to the island, and set sail once again for the mainland:

Castaway Cay - Family Beach Area 20

Castaway Cay - Casting Off (16)

But even after we get home, there's still one more thing to look forward to.Do you remember the Castaway Cay post office?

Castaway Cay - Post Office 01 Castaway Cay - Post Office 04

We dropped a post card in the mail while we were there - which (eventually) found it's way back home to North Carolina:

Castaway Cay postcard

... complete with the Castaway Cay postmark:

Castaway Cay - Postmark

This concludes my recap of touring on the Disney Cruise Line. Thanks for coming along.

If you joined us in the middle, you might want to go back to the beginning of the series here.

"See 'ya real soon"
- Chris

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Details - The Last Weekend in November...

Walt Disney World's "Value Resorts" have their limitations, but they also offer solid value for the money and have a strong fan following in their own right.

Although clearly not WDI's best work, I do enjoy their festive, over-the-top exterior theming. The value resorts also contain a nice selection of Disney details.

As we reach the end of November, I am reminded of
one of my favorite of Disney details, which can be found at Disney's All-Star Sports Resort:

Gridiron Rivalry

Here we have a colorful tribute to the pageantry of American football, with two larger-than-life helmets facing each from their respective sidelines at mid-field.

This location always reminds me of the classic Goofy short "How to Play Football".

But this scene contains at least one additional layer of detail. Take a look at the color schemes on the two helmets:

Showdown at the 50-yard line
Are the helmet colors a co-incidence? I think not.

The fact that "Orange and Blue" is facing off against "Garnet and Gold" seems to me to be no mere co-incidence, as these are the colors of Florida's largest two universities -- two schools that annually face each other on the gridiron in the last weekend of November (by mandate of the state legislature). Many similar in-state rivalry games take place all across the United States near the end of each November.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Castaway Cay - Castmember Homage

(This is part of a series about cruising on the Disney Magic. Click here if you want to go back to the start of the tour).

Welcome back to Disney's Castway Cay:

Castaway Cay Map

This remote paradise is apparently home to a number of small island businesses, as is evidenced by the many signs on display.

Some of the names on display in these signs may seem familiar. For example:

Castaway Cay - Arrival Plaza 12

A quick trip to wikipedia confirms our suspicions:
"Big" Al Weiss - President, Worldwide Operations, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
(former President - Walt Disney World Resort)

Here are some other examples:
Castaway Cay - Family Beach Area 08

Castaway Cay - Family Beach Area 18

Castaway Cay - Family Beach Area 15

Castaway Cay - Boat Beach 22

Castaway Cay - Arrival Plaza 08

Notice that each sign has it's own look, and that all of them incorporate one or more dimensional elements (i.e. none of them are completely "flat").

Some quick work on the internet will show you that each of these signs contains an homage to a Disney executive (most of them refer to Cruise Line exec's). Or, if you prefer, you can look at this little photo set on flickr to see what I found.

Next time, we'll bid a fond farewell to Castaway Cay and the Disney Cruise Line.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Castaway Cay - More Disney Details

(This is part of a series about cruising on the Disney Magic. Click here if you want to go back to the start of the tour).

Let's continue our tour of Disney's Castaway Cay by pointing out more of the Disney details that dot the island:
Castaway Cay Map

For example, as we exit the tram from Serenity Bay, look up to find this hidden Mickey:
Castaway Cay - Island Trams 17

As one might expect, some of our aquatic friends can also be sighted:
Castaway Cay - Family Beach Area 03

Castaway Cay - Family Beach Area 17

Perhaps my favorite character presence is simply known as Mount RUSTmore:
Castaway Cay - Mt Rustmore 01

Castaway Cay - Mt Rustmore 03

Castaway Cay - Mt Rustmore 02

Do you fondly remember the bygone days when the Nautilus plied the waters of the Magic Kingdom? Well, the island map hints that those who venture beneath the surface of the snorkeling lagoon may be rewarded by the sight of an old friend:
Castaway Cay Nautilis

Next time - castmember tributes.

See you then.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Castaway Cay - Castaway Air Bar

(This is part of a series about cruising on the Disney Magic. Click here if you want to go back to the start of the tour).

Welcome back. Now that I've finished with my hammock time, let's continue with our tour of Serenity Bay at Disney's Castaway Cay.

Castaway Cay Map

As I mentioned
last time, Serenity Bay is a remote section of the island that offers a relaxed, "grown-ups only" experience. Now that we've had some beach time, let's stroll to the nearby "Castaway Air Bar":
Castaway Cay - Serenity Bay  25

Shaped like a WWII-era Quonset hut, the Air Bar looks right at home at the end of Castaway Cay's airstrip. It provides simple snacks (e.g. potato chips), lively libations, and peaceful views of the ocean:
Castaway Cay - Serenity Bay  28

Castaway Cay - Serenity Bay  33

Castaway Cay - Serenity Bay  30

The "set dressing" for the bar further reinforces the feeling that we've stumbled onto the sleepy headquarters of a small island-hopping airline - perhaps one started by fly-boys who served in the islands during the war and decided not to return to the mainland:

Castaway Cay - Serenity Bay  34

Plane Spotting

The period aviation references don't stop there. In keeping with grand Imagineering tradition, Disney has provided more detail in the bathrooms in the form of these classic aviation signs:

Castaway Cay - details

Castaway Cay - Serenity Bay  46

Castaway Cay - Serenity Bay  47

Castaway Cay - Serenity Bay  50

Stepping back outside, it looks like the tram back to the central part of the island should arrive shortly. I'll wait here for the tram.

Next time we'll take a look at some of Castaway Cay's other Disney details.
Castaway Cay - Serenity Bay  43

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Castaway Cay - Serenity Bay

(This is part of a series about cruising on the Disney Magic. Click here if you want to go back to the start of the tour).

Welcome back to Disney's
Castway Cay:

Castaway Cay Map

Now that we've had a chance to
explore the Family Beach area, let's board an island tram and head for the "adults-only" area - Serenity Bay:

Castaway Cay Serenity Bay

Tucked away on the west side of the island, Serenity Bay offers many of the same amenities as the Family Beach area, but on a more intimate scale and in more relaxed surroundings.

During our tram ride, the observant guest may spot a series of large letters on the broad road that runs from the island's center to Serenity bay. Close inspection of the map confirms that this broad, straight section of blacktop appears to be the "CASTAWAY CAY" airstrip:

Castaway Cay Airstrip

Our tram drops us off at the end of the runway, where we find an aging airplane being reclaimed by the island vegetation:

Castaway Cay - Serenity Bay  02

Notice the insignia on the airplane. The presence of Donald is perhaps a nod to the many military insignia designed by the Walt Disney Studios starting during World War II. Walt's studio made many creative contributions to the Allied war effort. Those yearning to learn more may wish to check out
Toons At War.

Castaway Cay - Serenity Bay  04

The rest of Serenity Bay's structures continue the airstrip theme:

Castaway Cay - Serenity Bay  05

Castaway Cay - Serenity Bay  06

Castaway Cay - Serenity Bay  07

Here's an image from the beach, which features chairs, umbrellas, hammocks, and cast members who stroll up and down the beach taking drink orders:

Castaway Cay - Serenity Bay  14

Serenity Bay also features massage cabanas, a lunch venue, a bar, and a rental spot for snorkels, fins, floats, and inner tubes.

As our cruise party were all over 18 years of age, we spent much of our two Castaway Cay days in this area. The differences between Serenity Bay and the main part of the island were both obvious and subtle. For example, where other parts of the Cay are paved, Serenity Bay pedestrians usually find sparkling white sand.

We'll explore more of Serenity Bay next time. For now, I think I'll stretch out in one of these hammocks and listen to the ocean for a while.

Castaway Cay - Serenity Bay  20

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Castaway Cay - Family Beach, Shopping

(This is part of a series about cruising on the Disney Magic. Click here if you want to go back to the start of the tour).

Welcome back to our
tour of the Disney Cruise Line's exclusive island retreat - Castaway Cay:

Castaway Cay Map

Just past Boat Beach is the "heart" of the island, which features some light shopping, picnic facilities (our lunch is served on land while the ship is docked), restrooms, and the family beach area:

Castaway Cay Family Beach

The buildings on the island feature a rustic style that captures the feel of a quaint island community mixed with a "castaway style" that incorporates objects that might have washed ashore from a shipwreck.

Castaway Cay - Family Beach Area 04

Castaway Cay - Family Beach Area 14

Adjacent to this area is the ever-popular Family beach:

Castaway Cay - Family Beach Area 28

Castaway Cay - Family Beach Area 27

Castaway Cay - Family Beach Area 29

Mix this with the Bahamian sun and the sound of the ocean and you have a destination where kicking back and "getting away from it all" couldn't be simpler.

Just like on board the ship, the Disney Cruise Line provides three classes of facilities: Kids-Only, Family, and Adults-only. For our next stop, we'll spend time at the Adults-only area - the aptly named "Serenity Bay."