Disney Cruise Line offers many unique experiences for kids and for kids at heart. One activity that is not well known, but greatly enjoyed by athletes and those that just want to be active is the Castaway Cay 5K (ages 12 and up). All Disney cruise ships that stop at their private island offer this free 5K “fun run”. You can try to beat your PR or enjoy a nice leisurely walk along the course. There is no official timing system, but there is a race clock at the start/finish line. At this time you cannot sign up online before your cruise departure, but when onboard the ship check your Daily Navigator for the announcement or head to Guest Services to register.
While on our cruise on the Disney Dream my husband and I did the run with two other couples and I was able to go to Guest Services and sign all six of us up for the race. At Guest Services they will print you a voucher for each person to hand in at registration. They will provide you with details as to the time and place that you will meet to check-in the morning of the run.
On the day of our race all runners lined up outside Evolution on Deck 4 (each ship’s location will be different) around 8:15am. You can come in your running outfit and bring your kids and all your beach stuff for the day, so you don’t have to go back to the ship later. It can be a long walk back to the ship and you want to enjoy every moment you have on the amazing island of Castaway Cay. (Make sure you have your room key and photo identification to get back on the ship.) When checking in for the race you hand in your voucher to the staff and they will provide you a race bib and pins. If you have your children give the crew member your child’s information so you may drop them off at the Scuttle’s Cove (free children’s program area) on your way to the start line. (Note that Scuttle’s Cove does not offer beach swimming for the kids. It is an inland area where the kids have a blast playing games, having sand castle building contests and much more.)
After everyone checked in for our run the two crew members gave a brief talk about the details of the event. We had two hysterical members that made us laugh and really got us in good spirits. They did warn us that since there were two of them and only a few bags of water cups to not expect water stations as big as traditional races. (If hydration is important to you, make sure you bring a water bottle.)
At 8:30am all the participants depart the ship. Grab some towels as you get off, as they do not have any other towel distribution locations on the beach. A few people stopped for pictures along our route, dropped off children at Scuttle’s Cove or even put towels and beach bags down on chairs to mark spots for the day at the beach. We eventually ended up at the start/finish line near the Bike Rentals area.
The 5K course runs along the airstrip and loops the bike trail. One of the crew members rode his bike along the course as we ran and he shouted words of encouragement through his megaphone. Everyone we came across along the route cheered each other on. When you complete the race you get a Castaway Cay 5K Mickey medal and can get pictures taken from the ship photographers. There is a Buy the Seashore store right at the start/finish line where you can buy a t-shirt or pin for the 5K. This is the only place you can buy items for the run, so be sure to grab it here if you want anything. If you don’t want to carry your purchases with you a cast member can make sure your items get to your rooms at a later time.
Of our crew of six we had all levels of running experience. We were very proud of our friend that completed her first ever 5K with us. It was fun for all and a great way to start out our day on Castaway Cay. From the finish line we headed to our beach chairs we had left our stuff at earlier and we were ready to beach it up for the day. We decided to let the kids have their fun at Scuttle’s Cove a little while longer so we could enjoy some nice well-deserved relaxation on the beautiful beach of Castaway Cay.