DCL Castaway Ray’s Stingray Adventure Review

| July 13, 2009

On our recent four day cruise aboard the Disney Wonder, we decided to book Castaway Ray’s Stingray Adventure as our shore excursion on Castaway Cay.  The excursion was described in our Personal Navigator as a one hour session to feed, snorkel and interact with Southern Stingrays in a private lagoon.  The price was $35 for adults (ages 10 and over) and $29 for children (ages 5-9).  We figured this would be a splurge family activity for four of us – so read on to see what our family thought of it.

We followed the signs to the Stingray Lagoon, checked in at the shack, and received our snorkeling equipment.  We were a few minutes early so we waited for the marine specialist to begin the session.

We looked around the waiting area and saw some of our friends from the cruise.

After a few minutes, a marine caretaker for the stingrays came out, and gave us a 15 minute talk about the stingrays.  Because we took the girls out of school for the cruise, we figured this was the educational part of the trip for them.  I thought the talk was interesting, but, remember, I am a nerdy scientist who gets into this nature type of stuff.  We learned about the different species of stingrays, the ratio of males to females, and how the female stingrays care for their young (they don’t!).   Even our daughters (ages 8 and 11) thought the talk was interesting, but they were getting a little anxious to get down and see the stingrays.

Afterwards, it was finally time to see the stingrays.  We waded into the water to the different feeding stations.  This was the coolest part of the entire adventure.  The stingrays are trained to swim into a little “ramp-like track” where they will take food out of your hand.

This was definitely something different to experience.  You could touch the stingrays as they swam past your hands on the track.  You could feel the little spines on the backs of the animals.  When the stingray would eat the food out of your hand, you could feel their soft underbelly and slightly raspy mouth as they sucked it up like a vacuum cleaner.  While you were waiting to feed the stingrays, they would swim all around you and swirl at your feet.  After everyone had a chance to feed and touch them, we were declared graduates of the stingray adventure, and entitled to get a “Castaway Ray’s Stingray Adventure Disney Conservation Fund Pin.”  Part of the money from our shore excursion was evidently donated to the Disney Conservation Fund.

Now that feeding time was over, it was time to snorkel.  This is where, in our family’s opinion, the excursion went downhill.  Once everyone left the feeding station, the stingrays scattered.  We floated around face down with our masks and snorkels on, but all we could see was the bottom of the lagoon.  The stingrays have learned to avoid people when they do not have food in their hands.  The water was warm, and it was certainly relaxing.  However, it was not the most interesting snorkeling.  If your family is more interested in snorkeling, I think you would be better off renting equipment and staying on one of the underwater snorkeling “trails”.

This excursion is definitely popular, as Disney recently celebrated the 100,000 guest during the 3 years this attraction has been open.  However, our family’s can only give this excurison a mixed response – the stingray feeding gets a thumbs up, but the snorkeling gets a thumbs down.  While it was novel to feed the stingrays, that part of the adventure was short, and I would have rather had more time doing some interesting snorkeling.  If you’ve done this excursion, leave a comment below and let us know what your opinion was.

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  • bornteach

    Dave- We did this, this past Saturday and I would say that it was a let down. My DD (5) LOVED the feeding part (which was about 5 minutes) but does not snorkel as she would not put her face in the water. I wish I had known how much “feeding” time there was as opposed to exploration time.

  • elemusing

    My family did the stingray adventure last summer. We had the exact opposite experience as you during the snorkling. The rays were all around us and came right up to us as we snorkled. It was GREAT!

  • Dave Parfitt

    I wonder if the rays are more active at different times of day? We were there around 1:00p, and possibly they just eat and swim away? I wonder if those that have more interaction with the rays are there earlier in the day?

  • DarkWingFan

    Hi Dave. We did this on July 3rd at 2:00 on our Magic cruise. There were rays all around the shallow end and rays up against the net in the deep end. The middle was a little sparse but there were some rays there. The family enjoyed snorkeling here much better than in the main snorkel area on the family beach. My 10 year said this was the best part of our 7 night cruise.