The Bahamas' art and music come alive on Disney Lookout Cay

June 7, 2024, 8:04 PM · For its second private destination in The Bahamas, Disney Cruise Line has added a dash of local flavor.

Disney's first private port, Castaway Cay, offers passengers an idyllic day at the beach. But it could be any beach - Walt Disney Imagineers purposefully designed an experience that reflected a variety of beach settings rather than any one specific place.

For Disney Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point, Disney wants you to know that you are relaxing in The Bahamas. This time, Imagineers have designed the port day to reflect the culture, music, nature, and food of The Bahamas. Today, I visited Disney Lookout Cay as part of a press preview of the island, sailing here from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale aboard the Disney Magic.

What's different from Castaway Cay?

Disney Lookout Cay stands on the southern tip of the island of Eleuthera, rather than occupying an entire island as Castaway Cay does. This means that Lookout Cay is sharing its island not just with Bahamian natives and residents, but also other private cruise ports. Carnival Corporation's Princess Cays stands just north of Disney Lookout Cay dock, on the western side of the island.

Most of Lookout Cay stands on the eastern side of this thin island, about half a mile from the end of the Disney Cruise Line dock on the west shore. Since Disney does not do tenders and could not dredge a deep-water port, it instead built a long, half-mile pier for guests to walk on their way to the island.

Lookout Cay pier
Remember that it is also a half-mile walk back to the ship from the tram stop in the afternoon.

Once on shore at Mabrika Cove, it's time for a tram ride across the island to the rest of Lookout Cay. There you will find a familiar collection of amenities along the family and adults-only beaches, including abundant beach chairs, free BBQ buffets, and recreation equipment and cabanas for rent. The architecture of Lookout Cay, however, will look very different from Castaway Cay. Disney has studied and partnered with Bahamian artists to create a look for the destination that celebrates Bahamian culture.

Treasure of Eleuthera
Treasure of Eleuthera is a gift shop selling works from Bahamian artists, located next to the Lookout Cay tram stop

Art installations on the island include:

Antonius Roberts sculpture
The Antonius Roberts sculpture. It's a stop on the Discovery Trail activity you can access via the Disney Cruise Line's Navigator app. WiFi for the app is available throughout the destination.

In addition, Dorman Stubbs murals have been replicated and featured on many buildings, and wood carvings on exterior doors are inspired by Andret John's designs. While you can't miss the colorful designs the resort's structures, if you really want to spend some time and attention to the resort's artworks, that might best done inside one of the private cabanas.

Bahamian artwork in a Serenity Bay cabana

The cabanas start at $523 for a family of four, with an additional $56 charge per person, up to a total of 10 people. If you scrounged to save just enough money to step up to a Disney Cruise, that's likely not an option for you, but if you are someone who can afford Disney Cruises regularly, the artfully decorated shaded space, with chilled drinks, towels, lounge chairs and an unmatched view of the beach might be a worthy splurge.

Elsewhere, here's a tip to help you navigate Lookout Cay's design motif. Looking for a restroom? Look for a building with a pointed roof. All the public buildings with points on their roof have restrooms.

Bow & Ribbon Bar
There's always a restroom in the bar on Lookout Cay

Lookout Cay's roofs are worth inspecting for more than just a way to find a place to go, of course. The top of the roofs are inspired by something natural - seashells - while underneath reveals the human-crafted Bahamian art motifs that Disney has curated for this destination.

More art elements at Lookout Cay
Artistic detail lies under the roof at Lookout Cay

The star of a day at the beach is, of course, the beach. And Lookout Cay's does not disappoint, with beautiful, soft pink/white sand and aqua blue water - a big step up from Castaway Cay, according to many people I spoke with today.

Lookout Cay beach
On the beach at Disney Lookout Cay

Bahamian entertainment on Lookout Cay

But Disney has added Bahamian-inspired entertainment to Lookout Cay for those who want a unique experience that they won't find on just any-old stunningly beautiful Bahamian beach. Disney's north star for the design of Lookout Cay has been the holiday festival Junkanoo.

Junkanoo is an African holiday celebration that the Caribbean has made its own, most notably in The Bahamas. (Think, a Caribbean-flavored Carnival, but after Christmas instead of before Lent.) Disney's version is Rush! A Junkanoo Celebration, which comes to life at the Goombay Cultural Center.

If your kids want to get in on the fun instead of just watching it, they can participate in Junkanoo-themed craft and music activities at Goombay Cultural Center. Or head south a few steps down to the Play-Play Pavilion and the Disney Fun in the Sun Beach Bash. Here kids can play limbo, ring toss, and other games with Disney characters while Bahamian-styled arrangements of Disney songs play over the pavilion's speakers.

Disney Fun in the Sun Beach Bash

Check the Disney Cruise Line's Navigator app for showtimes for these and other activities on Lookout Cay. If you missed them, or your want to play, head over to Rush Out Gush Out, a water playground and slide inspired by a Junkanoo shack, the places where Junkanoo performers work together to design and create.

Rush Out Gush Out

Ultimately, Disney has done well in designing a curated experience that recreates something that has become somewhat difficult for the average cruise tourist to find - a destination that feels authentically Bahamian rather than one that has been overrun with bars, chain restaurants, T-shirt shops, and beach tours that appeal to free-spending Americans. The "real" Bahamas remains very much alive, of course, but it's hard to find and experience it when you are surrounded by thousands of other tourists who just got off your ship. Darn that observer effect.

Disney Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point is the compromise. It's a taste of Bahamian flavor for those who want that, while also enjoying the magic of the Disney bubble on a well-earned vacation.

Previously: An Insider's guide to Disney's new Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point

Next: I try the food on Lookout Cay, then explore its nature trail.

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