Before I set sail on my first Disney Cruise, I scoured the decks (internet) for information on the event I had been Dreaming of. After 25 or more runDisney contests, I couldn’t let this one elude me any longer. Unfortunately, other than the Disney Parks Moms Panel, there was little information on this, the Most Magical Race in the Caribbean. I may have run aground, but you don’t have to! Here’s my Top 5 Tips for Running the Castaway Cay 5K.
The Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Fantasy, and Disney Dream all have as part of their itineraries a stop (or if you are truly Pixie Dusted, a “Double Dip” stop) at the idyllic Castaway Cay. This Disney-owned private island in the Bahamas is a slice of tropical nirvana on earth. And on every runDisney habitué’s Bucket Billboard. Now that I finally have one under my fuel belt, let me share with you my Top 5 Tips for Running the Castaway Cay 5K.
Tips for Running the Castaway Cay 5K
There is no readily available, official information from either the runDisney or Disney Cruise Line websites regarding the Castaway Cay 5K. So welcome sailor! (Do not be confused by available details about the Castaway Cay Challenge which is run exclusively and immediately following Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. That 3.1 is run on a very different course, offering character entertainment, snacks, and a challenge medal to those runners who qualify.) You will not be able to register for the Castaway Cay 5K prior to your Disney Cruise. Check the Personal Navigator or race to Guest Services when you board.
Savor this Disney race experience. It’s FREE! And untimed. Runner corrals are not a feature here, and so is the pressure. Finisher “medals” are of the plastic variety. (Think the standard runDisney 5K medallions of old.) Missing is the typically-included runDisney race-themed shirt for the occasion, as well as the elaborate race costumes runDisney folks are accustomed to. Also absent is the up-before-dawn call; we assembled for pre-race instruction on the ship at 8:00 am-ish, and the race did not begin until 9:00 am. Two water stations are present on the course (we were told to save our cups in case they ran out…?), but characters and photographers are not. The Castaway Cay 5K is open to runners/walkers 10 years and older. All-in-all, you get much more than you don’t “pay for” here.
#3. The Course
Yes, you are in paradise, but you must manage your expectations. Unlike the aforementioned Castaway Cay Challenge, you will not be galavanting on or near powdery white sand, or in fact even SEE that emerald green Bahamian ocean during your 5K. However, the approximately one-mile “warm-up” walk to the start does offer a gorgeous glimpse of what is on the other side of that Finish Line. Take your bragging photos then.
Here are some sights from the course:
#4. It Will Be HOT.
Though the mean average high temperature for Castaway Cay is about 83 degrees, with the standard island high humidity levels combined with asphalt running surfaces, it will feel hotter than what the thermometer reads. Personally, between the advanced age and the pre-diabetes, I knew I needed to bring additional water for the 5K. Runner, know thyself! If you run hot (in the literal sense), or if you are a sweat-er, consider packing some Nuun tablets, pretzels, or your favorite electrolyte supplement. (Review my runDisney Packing List | A Physical Therapist’s Must-Haves HERE.)
It is far better to run safely- you have a hot time in the island sun to look forward to! Likewise, despite the early-ish hour, slather on plenty of sunblock before you leave the ship. As you may be able to tell from the course map and photos, there is very little shade to run in, and the dark pavement will attract the sun’s rays. Don’t get burnt before you even plop into your beach chair.
#5. Plan Ahead to Use Your Time Wisely
If you have ever visited Disney’s Castaway Cay, you know how precious every minute of your time there is. It. Always. Goes. Too. Fast. I overheard several runners say they were headed back to the ship post-race for a shower and to retrieve their beach clothes. Don’t do it!! The time spent on the tram, in security lines, and in the shower could be spent dunking yourself in the Caribbean Sea!!!
With a bit of forethought, you can bring your gear, stow it in the giant “trunk” at the Starting Line, and be ready to catch a wave immediately following your 5K. You are required to bring your photo ID and Key to the World card onto the island. (If you want that Konk Kooler or open-air cabana massage to celebrate, you will need it to make payment.) So either wear a running belt, or wear a running skirt/shorts that will store your valuables.
There is no runDisney Health & Fitness Expo to gorge on here, so treat yourself at Buy the Sea Shore. Located near the Finish Line, here you can purchase your exclusive t-shirts, hats, and pins for bragging rights. These items are not available on the ship. So don’t have “lack of buyer’s” remorse! Also, if you want to boast about your surroundings to your running cronies at home, you will need CASH to buy a postcard and postage at the Castaway Cay Post Office.
Perhaps the biggest tip of all? Just do it. This race is an experience like few other. And… with these Tips for Running the Castaway Cay 5K, you will feel oh-so-much-better about that Cookie’s BBQ cheeseburger in paradise.
check out other great posts from the experts!
Here are other Tips for Your Disney Cruise:
- 1st Stop – The Delightful Life | So… what’s NOT included on a Disney Cruise?
- 2nd Stop – What’s the Point? | Disney Cruising with Kids Under 3: Tips and Tricks
- 3rd Stop – Post 50 Rx | Top 5 Tips for Running the Castaway Cay 5K
- 4th Stop – Adventures in Familyhood | Everything You Need to Know About Fish Extenders
- 5th Stop – Disney in Your Day | Decorating Your Stateroom Door on a Disney Cruise