Today in Disney History, 1999: The Very First Disney Cruise Wedding on Castaway Cay

by | Feb 14, 2022 | Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line, Disney History

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Today we remember the first Disney Cruise wedding, which was held on Castaway Cay on Feb. 14, 1999 (Valentine’s Day).

Love was in the salty air on Valentine’s Day at Castaway Cay when Disney Cruise Line hosted its first wedding. What’s it like to have your most magical day aboard a Disney Cruise? Hear those wedding bells ring as we share all the details below.

Developing Castaway Cay

In 1996, Disney purchased its private island for $25 million and promptly broke ground on the project. Castaway Cay then saw its first guests on August 2, 1998, as they disembarked from the maiden voyage of the Disney Magic, the first of Disney’s ships to launch.

The island did not host any weddings for Disney Cruise Line guests for the first six months of its operation, and before the island was even purchased by Disney, it had quite the interesting history.

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Castaway Cay offers plenty of fun activities for Disney Cruise Line guests. Photo by Scott Smith

The Bahamian island that guests visit today was originally called Gorda Cay. Settled by the late 1700s, Gorda Cay became a popular stopover for bootleggers going into the 1930s, eventually being used by cartels of drug runners before local authorities put an end to the practice in 1983.

The island then sat vacant for a number of years until it began being used for the setting of Hollywood films. Touchstone Pictures (now part of the Walt Disney Company) filmed scenes from Splash (1984) on the island; this iconic film features Tom Hanks alongside Daryl Hannah. 

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An idyllic setting for family vacations aboard Disney Cruise Line, and of course weddings, Castaway Cay offers a number of amenities today. Guests visiting Castaway Cay are treated to multiple beaches, activities on land and sea, a Quick-Service restaurant and bar, and more. 

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Castaway Cay is an idyllic setting for a wedding. Photo courtesy of Disney Cruise Line

One more aspect that makes Castaway Cay a convenient stop compared to many other islands in the Caribbean is that the ships are able to dock right at the island. At other destinations, the ship often needs to stay at sea and be tendered, with guests making their way to land on smaller boats through a somewhat time-consuming process. But the port at Castaway Cay makes it easy to enjoy shipside amenities and spend some time on the island

Today, the island hosts a handful of special events in addition to day-to-day activities for Disney Cruise Line guests, including 5K races and of course, the occasional Disney Cruise wedding. 

A Disney Cruise Wedding at Sea

Disney Cruise Line boasts some of the most unique wedding venues for Disney fans, whether a ceremony is hosted onboard one of the Disney ships or shoreside at Castaway Cay. Whichever Disney Cruise Line venue is chosen for your special day, you will work to plan the event with Disney Fairytale Weddings, ensuring that the day is as magical as possible for you and your guests. 

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A Disney Cruise wedding can be a unique and magical experience. Photo courtesy of Disney Cruise Line

A variety of wedding packages are available when you book your special day with Disney Fairytale Weddings, and nearly everything you might need for a gorgeous seaside wedding is included in the Castaway Cay package. 

Weddings at Castaway Cay include a special wedding coordinator for the day of the event and your choice of fresh floral from a selection of options prior to your cruise. Music at the ceremony will be provided by a solo pianist, and Disney will offer an officiant for the ceremony as well. 

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Receptions operate a little differently on Disney Cruise Line weddings (and smaller weddings in general within the Disney Fairytale Weddings collection, whether they be during a cruise or at Walt Disney World or Disneyland.) In lieu of a full reception, guests getting married onboard a ship or at Castaway Cay will enjoy a small wedding cake and a champagne and toast celebration where they can still have their first dance, father/daughter dance, and other traditions.

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You can get married on Castaway Cay. Photo courtesy of Disney Cruise Line

Photo packages from Disney Cruise Line are available for an additional charge and must be booked as an add-on to the event prior to setting sail. Have your own photographer? Guests are welcome to bring their own photographers for their weddings; however, they must also book passage on the cruise to be on board and get to Castaway Cay.

Aside from the wedding on the beaches of Castaway Cay itself, there are a number of perks set aside just for couples married during a Disney Cruise Line vacation. The couple will receive a credit for dinner for two at Palo, the ship’s most exclusive signature restaurant, during their cruise vacation. They’ll also receive a commemorative Disney Cruise Line ceremony certificate. 

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A Disney Cruise Line wedding package comes with special perks for the married couple. Photo courtesy of Disney Cruise Line

Prior to the wedding, complimentary steaming services are available for ceremony attire, and the couple will receive a $100 stateroom credit that can be used for merchandise, spa treatments, and select port activities during their Disney Cruise Line vacation.

How to Get Married at Castaway Cay 

Disney Fairytale Weddings makes it incredibly easy to get more information while considering a Disney Cruise Line wedding and to book your event. Head over to disneyweddings.com to fill out a contact form for more information, and a Disney wedding planner will reach out to start your planning. 

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Disney Fairytale Weddings will help coordinate your magical wedding. Photo courtesy of Disney Cruise Line

All of the above package details are included in Castaway Cay weddings, and the events are priced from $4,500 before any additional upcharges.

Keep in mind while planning a Disney Cruise Line wedding that guests in attendance need to be on the cruise. While some couples choose to purchase cruise fares for their guests, there is no requirement or set etiquette to follow in this situation, and doing so is entirely up to the couple. 

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You can also be married on a Disney Cruise ship. Photo courtesy of Disney Cruise Line

Couples have been saying “I do” on Disney’s private island for the past 23 years, and the Caribbean locale is sure to be a popular wedding spot for years to come.

Written by Brittany DiCologero

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Brittany DiCologero is a freelance writer specializing in Walt Disney World history, along with various travel, and lifestyle topics based in New England. She is the author of “Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Realities of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort,” and “Brittany Earns Her Ears”. When she is not writing, you can find her exploring local museums and historic sites, and binging documentaries on Disney+.
Brittany DiCologero

Written by Brittany DiCologero

Brittany DiCologero is a freelance writer specializing in Walt Disney World history, along with various travel, and lifestyle topics based in New England. She is the author of “Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Realities of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort,” and “Brittany Earns Her Ears”. When she is not writing, you can find her exploring local museums and historic sites, and binging documentaries on Disney+.