Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line’s NEW Private Island – What We Know So Far – UPDATED

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Disney Cruise Line’s current fleet of five ships will become a fleet of eight ships within the next few years. To accommodate the associated passenger influx, in May 2019 Disney purchased a second major property in the Bahamas, Lighthouse Point, to be a supplement to its current private island Castaway Cay.

Disney recently announced that Lighthouse Point will be opening to cruise guests during the summer of 2024.

Lighthouse point is a 700-acre parcel of land on the southern tip of the island of Eleuthera, about 132 miles southeast of Castaway Cay.

History of the Agreement | The Guest Experience on the Island | The Magic and Fantasy to Visit Lighthouse Point Summer 2024 | Official Name Announced | Arrival Point, Cultural Center, Stage, Shopping, and Adult Area Details | Disney Releases Lighthouse Point Port Adventures

History of the Agreement

Disney has pledged to develop just 20% of the land it has purchased and return about 190 acres to the Bahamian government for use as parkland, maintaining much of the rest in its pristine, undeveloped state. DCL has also committed to using sustainable building practices and ensuring strict environmental standards. At the D23 Expo in September 2022, Disney announced that the development will be 90% solar-powered. (A 550-page environmental-impact study for Lighthouse Point is available at lighthousepointbahamas.com.)

In addition to protecting the environment, Disney has pledged to make a positive impact on the Bahamian economy with Lighthouse Point. The project is providing 120+ construction jobs, approximately 80% of which will be Bahamian. DCL also has a goal of creating about 150 well-paying operations jobs once the site opens. As a step toward the second goal, DCL now has a partnership with Junior Achievement Bahamas. The program will provide services to nearly 1,000 high school students on Eleuthera and will include education on financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and college preparedness. Additionally, DCL has awarded $150,000 in grants to small businesses on Eleuthera, designed to fund training in topics such as developing marketing plans and understanding financial statements. According to the project’s spokespeople, Disney’s goal is to have a ship at the Lighthouse Point port three to five days a week, with the destination having room for just one vessel at a time. Weekly visitors are expected to number approximately 11,400–26,600, depending on the season and which ships are in port.

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The Guest Experience on the Island

When guests arrive at Lighthouse Point, they’ll be greeted by distinctive architecture in bright, saturated hues. The curvilinear buildings will at first appear as Bahamian shells scattered along the shoreline. Upon closer inspection, guests will discover artistic expressions of the native flora and fauna of The Bahamas and the pageantry and history of traditional Junkanoo parades. Throughout the destination, references to playful folklore characters will evoke the warmth and charm of the local culture.

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Respect for the environment is at the heart of the design. Approximatley 90% of the destination’s electricity needs will be met by an onsite solar array, the pier was designed to avoid the need for dredging and elevated walkways will help limit impact on the landscape.

At Lighthouse Point, families will enjoy a day of fun in the sun as they relax on pristine beaches, embark on active adventures and enjoy Bahamian storytelling alongside favorite Disney characters. Much like Disney’s cruise ships and private island of Castaway Cay, Lighthouse Point will offer activities and areas for every age group. Families can relax and play along white sandy beaches and turquoise waters at the expansive family beach on the east side of the island, which will be centrally located near market-style dining, recreation and other amenities. And a brightly-colored, interactive family water play area will include two slides, water drums, fountains and more, along with a dedicated space for toddlers.

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A Bahamian art and culture pavilion featuring special programs and local artists will provide visitors to Lighthouse Point opportunities to learn and celebrate the traditions and natural beauty of The Bahamas.

© Disney

North of the family area will be an adult-exclusive beach — a stretch of serenity complete with a dedicated dining area for convenient access to food and drinks throughout the day, plus six private cabanas available by reservation.

There will also be 20 premium family cabanas available to rent near the family beach, including four double cabanas that accommodate larger groups and offer massage services.

Children ages 3 to 12 will have the opportunity to play at a themed kids’ club under the care of trained Disney Cruise Line counselors. It will include a splash pad inspired by favorite undersea creatures from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “The Little Mermaid,” shaded areas, and a dedicated dining zone.

Additional recreational activities will be available for kids of all ages, including a covered gaming pavilion; a volleyball court and gaga ball pit; watercraft and bicycle rentals; nature trails for hiking and biking; and more. And a collection of new Port Adventures developed in partnership with local tour operators will take guests beyond Lighthouse Point to explore the culture and landscape of Eleuthera.

The Magic and Fantasy to Visit Lighthouse Point Summer 2024

The first sailing to Lighthouse Point will be the June 6, 2024 3-Night cruise of the Disney Magic departing from Fort Lauderdale. The majority of three and four night sailings of the Magic during summer 2024 will also stop at Lighthouse Point. Four 5-night Magic sailings (on July 1, 15, 26 and August 12) will stop at BOTH Lighthouse Point and Disney’s original private island, Castaway Cay.

The official inaugural visit to Lighthouse Point (though not the first chronological visit) will be the June 8, 2024 sailing of the Disney Fantasy, with will make a stop at Castaway Cay and TWO stops at Lighthouse Point.

Lighthouse Point Gets an Official Name

At a Destination D23 session on September 9, 2023, president of Disney Signature Experiences Thomas Mazloum announced that the official name for DCL’s second private island will be Disney Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point. Additionally he said, “Disney teams are collaborating with talented artists and cultural advisors in the Bahamas to shape an experience that celebrates the natural beauty, traditions and artistry of the one-of-a-kind nation.”

Arrival Point, Cultural Center, Stage, Shopping, and Adult Area Details

On November 3, 2023, DCL announced details about several areas of Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point, including information on the arrival area, a cultural center, a stage, the shopping area, and an adults-only zone.

Arrival Point – Mabrika Cove

“Mabrika” means “welcome” in Taino, the language of the Lucayans, the indigenous people of The Bahamas. While the language is no longer used, a few words remain – one of them being “Mabrika.” At this colorful arrival point, guests will experience the warmth of Bahamian culture.

Goombay Cultural Center

The Goombay Cultural Center will embody the essence of “Junkanoo,” a Bahamian festival filled with music and parades that will come to life across Lighthouse Point. Goombay is one of the traditional music styles of The Bahamas, involving singing, dancing and drumming. The colorful pavilion and its Junkanoo-inspired arch will invite guests to embrace the traditions of The Bahamas, along with the sights and sounds of the country’s signature festival.

Triton’s Trumpet Stage

Triton’s Trumpet Stage will be the site of family entertainment on the island. The gazebo’s name is inspired by one of the stunning natural wonders found among the Bahamian beaches – a large, spiraled seashell commonly called “Triton’s Trumpet,” as well as for the king in Disney’s The Little Mermaid films.

Treasures of Eleuthera

Treasures of Eleuthera will be the retail shop featuring locally made gifts and artisan crafts. The shop will spotlight the work of Bahamian artists.

Serenity Bay

Like Disney’s first private island, Castaway Cay, Lighthouse Point will feature an adults-only zone called Serenity Bay. This area will be reserved for the exclusive use of guests ages 18 and up and will include beach and dining areas, as well as private cabanas available by reservation.

Disney Releases Lighthouse Point Port Adventures

Disney has announced their initial list of port adventures (excursions) that will be available for booking when Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point opens later this year.

Some of the excursions are substantially the same as those available at Disney’s first private island, Castaway Cay. These are bicycle rentals, bike and kayak exploration of the island, banana boat rides, and several variations of snorkeling and scuba trips.

The wholly new experiences involve exploration of the history and natural elements of the island of Eleuthera, home to Lookout Cay. Among these are “Ebike, Sand, Snorkel, and History Toru,” “Historical Nature and Awesome Buggy Tour,” “Private Historical and Cultural Tour,” “South Eleuthera Eco and Cultural Tour,” and “South Eleuthera Eco and Historical Tour.”

Prices for these port excursions are substantially the same as those at Castaway Cay. For example, a one-hour bike rental is $15.00 at both locations.

Stay tuned for updates as they become available.

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Erin Foster

Erin Foster is an original member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel (now PlanDisney), a regular contributor to TouringPlans.com, and co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line. She's been to WDW, DL, DL Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Aulani, DVC Vero Beach, and DVC Hilton Head. She's a Platinum DCL cruiser and veteran of 10 Adventures by Disney trips. Erin lives near New York City, where she can often be found indulging in her other obsession - Broadway theater.

One thought on “Disney Cruise Line’s NEW Private Island – What We Know So Far – UPDATED

  • As someone who loves Disney and loves (loved) Eleuthera’s pristine untouched uncrowded, mostly undiscovered beauty, this whole thing saddens me. Secret gone.

    Reply

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