Fastpass to History ~ Real Pirates of the Caribbean

After disembarking in paradise, many of us have enjoyed hearing the legend of the original castaways while riding the tram to the family beach or Serenity Bay.

Castaway Cay April 2013
This (Disney original) story tells of the islands supposed original inhabitants and how the various parts of the island came to look the way they do now in an elaborate and winding tall tale. These original castaways built nearly everything you see today from pieces of wreckage. Even the monstrous whale skeleton plays into the backstory.


But did you ever wonder about the real history of Castaway Cay?

To begin with, Castaway Cay (pronounced "Key") originally known as Gorda Cay is a relatively new discovery as far as islands go. Virtually unvisited until a chance discovery of Spanish ingots on an outlying shoal, the island played host to many in the years before 1997 when Disney bought a 99 year lease on the island from the Bahamian government. The adventures of the islands real inhabitants is far stranger and more unbelievable than any legend that followed.

Are there pirates?
Ever ridden on Pirates of the Caribbean at Walt Disney World?
Gorda Cay's experience with buccaneers far predates the arrival of Disney Cruise Line, the Flying Dutchman (since removed) and Jack Sparrow. The island is believed to have originally been a hideout for such notorious characters as Blackbeard, Anne Bonney and Mary Read. Gorda Cay served as an ideal location for these pirates to catch ships laden with New World riches as they followed the trade route and headed back to Europe from the colonies.

Current Day Castaway Cay Family Beach
Clearly Castaway Cay and Gorda Cay are very different experiences. If you need me I'll be in my hammock.

Do you have any parts of Disney where you wonder about the back story behind the back story?

Want to know more about Castaway Cay?
For a fascinating firsthand look at the pirates, eccentrics, drug cartels and farmers who really occupied the island, I recommend Robert Antoni's fascinating "Blackbeard Doesn't Come Here Anymore." He does an excellent job breathing life into the islands recent history, drawing on his time as a small boy when he and his grandfather would make the run from Grand Bahama and enjoy the island before and during the construction of the airstrip.


  1. Love Castaway Cay, it's our favorite stop on the cruise. So cool that Pirates used to walk the land.

  2. I knew the island used to have pirates, but I had no idea Blackbeard used the island! Thanks for linking up!


Post a Comment

A comment? How magical!

Popular posts from this blog

Disney Cruise Line 101 ~ What Not To Wear

DCL 101 | The Ultimate List of Disney Cruise Tips and Tricks!

Pixie Dust and Stateroom Upgrades | Disney Cruise Line 101