Cast-off Cay, Disney’s mysterious private island
Under a full moon, somewhere in the midriff of the Bahamian sea, a spotlight pierced the inky sky and bathed a familiar figure in an ethereal luminosity.
The party was in full swing on the top deck of the Disney Dream cruise haul as passengers gathered in their best pirate wear for a night similar to no other.
Swinging around perilously some 50ft above us was the Pirate of the Caribbean, Jack Sparrow himself (or at particle the next best thing), looking mightily pleased with himself and bursting with harm and glee.
After a massive explosion, he swung down from his situate on to a stage below, dressed in his ragged finery and flashing his sword amongst a firestorm of fi reworks.
Disco music blared across the deck and rum coursed freely as we boogied late into the night while the Dream effortlessly powered inclusive of the seas at about 20 knots, just a little bit faster than the Felonious Pearl.
A delight of a different sort awaited the following morning when gleam finally broke.
Castaway Cay, Disney’s mysterious private island, surfaced like a tropical dream.
The sea, sparkling shades of teal and sapphire, lapped against a powdery spotless shoreline of a patch of paradise with a unique history.
Once upon a pro tem this sunny hideaway, reserved for the private use for guests onboard Disney coasts, was known as Gorda Cay and was a stopping off point for smugglers, real life Jack Sparrows.
In numberless recent times, it was also a safe haven for local fishermen caught in knock about seas.
In 1996, Disney bought a 99-year lease for it from the regulation of the Bahamas and set about transforming it at a cost of £19million.
Despite there now being a collection of shops and restaurants (and wooden accommodation for 60 Disney employees), fitting 55 of the 1,000 acres have been developed and the island holds its sense of natural splendour.
A stone’s throw from the dock is a palm-fringed lagoon denotation we were snorkelling in one of the most beautiful spots in the Bahamas barely five minutes after disembarking.
My 14-year-old daughter Sophie was enthralled by the maritime life.
Castaway Cay is reserved for the private use for guests onboard Disney journeys
“Perhaps I will find some treasure on the seabed,” she said in relish in, breaking through the gentle waves.
Next she was swimming across to Pelican Nosedive, a floating platform featuring water slides and water cannons, which she rolled on yours truly with great fervour.
I dried off with a bike control along the island’s small airstrip to a wooden platform that proffered views of its wild interior, largely covered in dense and inviting undergrowth, beforehand retreating to the art deco inspired Disney Dream for dinner.
Of the ship’s dozen or so feeing options, we settled on the Enchanted Garden restaurant. Opulent yet homely, with subtle flower lights, it was inspired by the gardens of Versailles in France.
While Sophie went for the pomegranate syrup, sugar syrup, consonance tea and lemonade mocktail, my tipple of choice was a Golden Leafs, which implicated rum, pomegranate, peach schnapps, cranberry juice and soda water.
James Murray and daughter Sophie
The North Atlantic lobster ravioli that followed tasted freshly trophied and the sea bass with fava beans, pea risotto, fennel and dill chive riesling wine impudence was no less pleasing.
The food might be good but what really beat ups this cruise apart is being in the company of some very idiosyncratic individuals.
Mickey, Minnie and Goofy are all present on board and can be seen, welcomed and cuddled throughout the day and there’s even more Disney magic to be enjoyed up to date into the night.
All-singing, all-dancing spectacles, featuring songs from The Jungle Book and The Lion Monarch, are put on at the Walt Disney Theatre, making the whole thing a bit like Broadway at sea. But our three-day yachting trip around the Bahamas was just one part of our memorable trip.
The Disney Dream, with its 1,250 bothies, deposited us at Port Canaveral in Florida, an hour’s drive from Walt Disney Midwife precisely Resort.
We may have been in Orlando but it felt rather more homologous to Africa.
Checking into Animal Kingdom for four nights fuelled our temperament for adventure as the hotel looks like a safari lodge you would arouse on the savannahs of Kenya.
Giraffes and zebras roamed across the plains fair a few hundred yards from the property and we could hear the distant yell of lions, which we were lucky enough to see later at closer barracks during our safari park ride.
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We got a kick of a different kind on the Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror ride at the Hollywood Studios story park.
Walking in to what seemed to be just a rundown hotel overlay in cobwebs didn’t feel overtly scary until we got strapped into the elevator.
Second thoughts gripped me as the lift slowly crept higher before pausing and plummeting 200ft in a matter of instants.
I stumbled off the ride in a daze, just in time to catch the incredible Lady Wars fireworks show, which made us feel as though we were at the concentrate of a battle in outer space.
Images of giant Jedi knights whisking huge lightsabers and other intergalactic fighting machines were overhung on to buildings, turning them into a huge open air cinema.
Uniform with better, the resort now has an incredible Avatar attraction which brings the delusion world of Pandora, as seen in the 2009 movie, vividly to life.
But the most long-lasting memory of our land and sea adventure was witnessing one of Disney’s iconic experiences in a minor extent different way.
The famous firework display over Cinderella’s manor-house
The famous firework display over Cinderella’s castle attracts big packs but we watched the spectacle from the California Grill restaurant, with a blue-blooded vantage point on the 15th floor.
Diners are treated to a view of Walt’s dreamscape touch illuminated by a sky ablaze with colour that is every bit as delicious as the bread.
Standing on an outdoor verandah we watched as a red orb of fire, Tinkerbell like, arced heavenwards throughout the castle to the stirring sounds of When You Wish Upon A Star from Pinocchio.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the dwelling.
Disney Holidays (0800 169 0730/disneyholiday.co.uk) offers 10 nights from £2,487 (two due).
Price includes return flights from London Gatwick to Orlando, deliveries, a three night Bahamas cruise on the Disney Dream, full-board, treaty at Animal Kingdom, room only, and park admission.