5 Types of Wildlife You’ll See at Disney Cruise Line’s Lookout Cay

5 Types of Wildlife You'll See at Disney Cruise Line's Lookout Cay

Opening to guests in June, Disney Cruise Line’s all-new Disney Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point celebrates the rich culture and natural beauty of The Bahamas, with signature Disney entertainment, port adventures and nature trails, a water play area and beautiful beaches – including a dedicated beach for adults. 

The island destination is full of unique native animal and plant species, and Disney’s team of conservation experts have been working for many years to help create this magical cruise destination where nature can continue to thrive.

As we celebrate Earth Month, I wanted to share an inside look at the wildlife we’ve met along the way and highlight some of the impressive conservation work we’re doing to continue Disney’s long-standing commitment to protecting the natural beauty of The Bahamas – including more than 80 grants provided through the Disney Conservation Fund to nonprofit organizations working with communities locally to protect nature over the past 25 years.

1. Over 100 Dazzling Bird Species

Disney Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point is home to more than 100 dazzling bird species, including the Kirtland’s warbler you see in the photo on the left and the thick-billed vireo on the right, both perched on the hands of our Bahamian conservation managers Bradley and Pachancia. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for the gray and white piping plovers dotting the shoreline – you might recognize relatives of these birds from the Disney Pixar animated short, “Piper.”

We started a bird monitoring program to help us identify where the island’s resident flyers call home, and we purposefully designed the destination to avoid these sensitive areas. We continue to monitor the island’s bird species to this day through a tagging and tracking program so we can help protect these feathered friends.

Barrel Sponges in Ocean at Disney Lookout Cay

2. Barrel Sponges Towering from the Ocean Floor

We found nearly 50 giant barrel sponges off the coast of Disney Lookout Cay. These important invertebrates are the largest species of water-filtering sponge and are sometimes called “Redwoods of the Reef” due to their size and long lifespans.

To preserve these sponges along with corals and other marine habitats, we designed an innovative open-trestle pier that extends into deep waters. Designing the pier with its long, slender stilts helped us avoid dredging the ocean floor to build a dock for our ships. For the few giant barrel sponges that fell within the pier’s footprint, we expertly relocated them using a groundbreaking method with the help of our friends in EPCOT’s costuming team, who designed the innovative mesh carrier you see above. Initial results show the relocated sponges have taken root and are expected to thrive.

3. Fish and Other Marine Life Swimming Offshore

It’s no surprise the waters off Disney Lookout Cay are teeming with marine life, including 74 species of fish and more than 60 other species we’ve identified so far. While enjoying the ocean, keep an eye out for silversides like the ones pictured above as well as Nassau grouper, parrot fish and blue tangs we’ve seen swimming just offshore.

To help these fish and other sea creatures, just keep swimming around Lighthouse Point, we added some special features under our open-trestle pier. By repurposing 30 limestone boulders already on the site, we built artificial reefs to establish an underwater “fish highway.” These structures provide fish and other marine species a natural shelter so they can move safely through the pier’s support legs. 

Land Crabs at Disney Lookout Cay, Disney Cruise Line

4. Land Crabs Scurrying Across the Sand

Land crabs are important to the Bahamian way-of-life, and you’ll see plenty of them when you visit Disney Lookout Cay. Don’t be surprised if you see the ghost crab, black crab or the black-backed crab like the ones pictured above scurrying across the sand or on walkways. Just give them some space and they’ll walk right by you.

Since these crabs are abundant and important residents of the island, we’ve been tagging them and tracking their natural behaviors so we can learn more about them. This is one of the first studies of this kind in The Bahamas! 

Native Plants at Disney Lookout Cay

5. Diversity of Native Plants Growing Across the Island

From the moment you arrive at Disney Lookout Cay, you are sure to notice the destination’s rich and diverse plant life. Home to nearly 200 species of plants, the island features dense evergreen forests, open-water ponds, mangroves and more. The shrub-filled sand dunes like you see in the photo act as an important animal habitat and help maintain the island’s natural shoreline. 

To preserve the native vegetation, we’ve intentionally only developed about 16% of the land – much of it for low-density uses like beach chairs, umbrellas and small support structures. For the areas we developed, Disney Imagineers relied on elevated walkways and structures that all help reduce impacts to the natural environment. We’ve also partnered with a local Bahamian plant nursery to conserve a variety of native plants.

See it for Yourself

We are excited for guests to see all this and much more. Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment team collaborated with many others from Disney Cruise Line, Walt Disney Imagineering and local organizations in The Bahamas to design and build this destination where guests can enjoy the natural beauty Eleuthera has to offer.

From the island’s Nature Trail and Port Adventures to the various activities for both kids and adults, I hope you spend some time learning about this special place and that you come to love and appreciate it as much as we do.

This is just one example of how we are taking meaningful and measurable action to protect nature and support a healthier planet for people and wildlife. We call our collective efforts, Disney Planet Possible – and we continue to collaborate on initiatives like this globally to help inspire optimism for a brighter, more sustainable future.