Disney Cruise Line’s Dubious Decision Puts Guests’ Safety at Risk

by SharonKurheg

The Walt Disney Company is big on guest safety. If you go to the parks, you’ll see curbs marked with paint to prevent tripping, adequate lighting everywhere, signs that say to not climb on things, Cast Members (Disney speak for “employees”) asking people not to do whatever potentially unsafe thing they’re doing, etc. And to their credit, during the earlier days of the pandemic (Fall, 2020), Disney World (and Universal, too) really did appear to do a lot of things to keep people safe.

Of course, no individual person would want to be offering something that is UNsafe to people. But in a litigious society such as the United States, the stakes are higher because if something happens to someone at a theme park, there’s a decent chance they’re going to sue for damages. Sometimes crazy damages, to the tune of $11 million (spoilers: they didn’t get that much). Cruise lines have the same problem, at least with American tourists. Remember the tourists who said they caught Covid on a Disney Cruise?

And speaking of Disney Cruise Line – they just opened their second private retreat for guests in the Bahamas, Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point. Instead of being a private island like their original Castaway Cay, Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point (could they have not picked a shorter name? Let’s call it LCLP) is located on the southern tip of Eleuthera, which is one of the islands that make up the Bahamas.

According to reports, Disney spent between $250 million and $400 million on developing the 700-acre property, incorporating Bahamian themes, and donated 190 acres, including the southernmost tip, to the government for a national park.

The entire resort was designed by Disney, and frankly, it looks lovely. Here are some pictures I’ve seen (all from the Walt Disney Company. That upper right one is actually an artist’s rendition from 2022, but Disney is excellent at making the “real thing” look like the artist’s rendition.

a collage of a group of people and a beachAs I was perusing pictures of the new digs, one thing I noticed in the “official” photos is that you never really see where the Disney cruise ship is in relation to the resort area. There is one map on Disney’s website that kind of has an arrow that points to the direction of where the ship is, but that’s about it.

a map of a resort

Bottom left corner: “< To ship”

And then we discovered WHY Disney didn’t include any pictures of the ship in relation to the island.

It’s about a half mile away. And Disney expects/encourages the vast majority of people to walk it.

So Disney built a pier to connect the ship to the island, and it’s roughly a half mile long (Scott Gustin above says it’s a little less; I read other reports that it’s a little more. So we’ll just say about 0.5 miles even). From what I’ve read, there’s no motor vehicle transportation from one side to the other, unless you don’t think you can make it and ask guest services, and then they’ll let you catch a ride on one of their Smart Carts (think like a golf cart that holds 4 to 6 people).

But look at those pictures – especially the one with the ship in the far background, that shows the entire walk. Note that there’s absolutely no shade on this half-mile of the walkway. No water stations. And it’s in the Bahamas, where it’s humid from April through December, and the average temperature in the summer is in the high 80s, but with record highs in the mid-90s.

Is Disney out of their mind?

Sure, it’s “only” a half mile. But y’all, who in their right mind would decide to build a half-mile-long pier in the Caribbean, with no shade, for people who are generally not used to such extreme weather conditions?

I mean yeah, millions of people go to Disney World every summer and the weather there and then is just as bad. But you can also sneak into multiple stores for a breath of air conditioning. But a Mickey ice cream pop. Stand under a tree for shade. And Disney restaurants will give you free ice water anywhere, just for the asking.

This half-mile walk? None of that.

Oh, and by the way, Virgin Voyages also has a long, LONG pier between their ship and the shore in Bimini, too.

a cruise ship docked at a dock

PC: Resorts World Bimini. Pic is not a Virgin Voyages ship; multiple cruise companies use that dock)

But Virgin Voyages also has trams (with roofs, so the sun isn’t beating down on your head) every few minutes that transport people back and forth across that pier (and beyond, to the private beach club resort they get to use), all day long.

Why didn’t Disney plan this better?

Who knows? A Disney Cruise Line cast member said a tram on the pier “isn’t feasible.” But before Disney came, that area of Eleuthera was deserted. If Disney, who has bajillions upon bajillions of dollars, was able to build the resort, and, undoubtedly the pier (because again, there was nothing there before), why didn’t they build the pier so that a tram WOULD be feasible?

I promise you that someone is going to try that walk in one direction or another – possibly someone who’s not in good shape and isn’t wearing a hat (wear a hat in the sun, y’all!) – and they’re going to wind up with heat exhaustion, if not heatstroke. And THEN something will happen – they’ll make shade, they’ll supply water, they’ll figure out some sort of transportation system for all, or…something. While they’re being sued for $11 million.

Feature Photo: Disney Cruise Line

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