I have always said there are two types of people out there – those who get excited about running a 5K on Thanksgiving Day and those who think you’re joking when the former suggests it. I am proudly a member of the Turkey Trot Enthusiast Club. Because of that, I’d be the first to sign up for the Castaway Cay 5K on my next Disney Cruise, too.
And even if you are one of those who could not imagine their holiday ruined by 3.1 (sometimes cold) miles, I ask that you not disregard Disney races because no one does races quite as magical as Disney.
Why runDisney Races?
So you ask why Disney races are worth it even if I’m not an avid runner? Especially one that requires me to run on vacation. Well, first off, you don’t have to run. Walking is entirely allowed and sometimes even necessary.
Castaway Cay is Disney’s private island exclusively for guests of Disney Cruise. Even seasoned runners can struggle in the Bahamian heat so there is absolutely no shame in walking.
Secondly, I repeat that the Castaway Cay 5K is on a private island. Can you imagine how beautiful the course is? I find that the miles go by much more quickly when I love the scenery.
Also, because it is a private island, you don’t have the massive crowds other races do. Especially the ones at the Disney World park, because the number of people who can participate is limited to those on the ship.
If you aren’t a regular runner but want to participate in this unique shore excursion that no other cruise line offers, you won’t be the only one. Disney races, in general, aren’t for the elite of the elite. This isn’t Boston.
Disney races are definitely more for the “everyman” and are about fun, not competition. And there is nothing like the camaraderie of a runDisney Race with Disney Cruise Cast Members and other passengers along the race route to cheer you on.
Afterward, you share a sense of accomplishment with the other participants and earn a much-deserved beach day.
Also, unlike regular shore excursions, or Port Adventures, as Disney Cruises likes to call them, there is no additional charge to participate in the Castaway Cay 5K. A great workout, beautiful scenery, and the Castaway Cay 5K medal for free? Sign me up!
How Do You Sign Up?
Previously, you could sign up for the Castaway Cay 5K on the ship. Disney Cruise Line guests can pre-register for the 5K via My Cruise Reservations. Go to My Plans > Add Activities component for Castaway Cay days.
Today, you don’t have to worry about registering for the Castaway 5k in advance. Once you disembark from the ship at Castaway Cay, you can start the run whenever you like. The starting point is near the bike rental information booth, and the course is clearly marked with signs.
What About My Kids?
On a Disney Cruise, it is likely to be a family vacation with young kids, right? They don’t have to be left out of the Castaway Cay 5K run.
Runners as young as 10 can register for the race to get a commemorative race bib and medal. Runners under 10 are allowed on the course with their parents but do not get the bib or medal.
If you don’t want your younger children to participate in the event, you can drop them off at Scuttle’s Cove. This is done before the Castaway Cay 5K starts.
Scuttle’s Cove is Castaway Cay’s kid’s club so that adults can enjoy the 5K or adult time while on the island. They offer supervised child care and lots of fun activities.
It features a 1,200-square-foot soft wet deck area. This provides fresh-water fun with an array of pop jets, geysers, and bubblers, and Monstro’s Point—a giant whale-bone excavation site.
To take advantage of Scuttle’s Cove while running, bring them with you to the pre-race meeting on board the ship. You will then be allowed to disembark first to take them to Scuttle’s Cove before the race starts.
Race Day and the Race Route
The morning of the Castaway Cay 5K, per the ticket and letter you received the night prior, you will head to the meeting place on board the ship. Here you will be given instructions and ask questions if you have any. This is the meeting to bring your children to if you want to drop them off at Scuttle’s Cove prior to the start.
After disembarkation, as the group heads toward the start. If you’ve carried anything off the ship that you don’t want to hold on to during the race, lockers are available to store your stuff.
It is recommended, though, not to bring anything you don’t need while running. After the race, nothing will feel better than going back to the ship for a shower and a quick cool down.
After that, you can enjoy the rest of the day on Castaway Cay.
Castaway Cak 5K Route
The Castaway Cay 5K route starts at the island’s airstrip. You then go through a forested bike path and then a quick turn around at Serenity Beach (the adults-only beach) before going back through the bike path again to the finish.
The bike path is the only part of the race that is shaded. Be sure to lather on the sports sunscreen. The path is regularly used by other passengers who are not participating in the race. Listen closely to the pre-race instructions about where to run on the bike path.
There are two water stops along the course, and because you are in the Caribbean, it will be hot and humid. Staying hydrated throughout the Castaway Cay 5K is incredibly important.
The terrain of the race is predominantly level, although you may encounter some areas with sand that could impede your progress. Don’t worry, though; it’s all part of the fun! After all, this race is more about relishing the natural splendor of the island and having a good time rather than worrying too much about your speed or finishing time.
Castaway Cay 5k Map
Castaway Cay 5K Medal
Every participant receives a Castaway Cay 5K medal as a souvenir. The medal features a colorful design, with the Castaway Cay logo and the words “5K finisher” inscribed on it.
It does change from year to year, but they are always awesome.
It’s a great keepsake to remember your run on this beautiful island paradise!
This is my favorite part of any race I participate in and usually my biggest motivator – the medal. If a race doesn’t give out a medal, I don’t sign up because I basically collect them.
A Castaway Cay 5K finisher’s medal is included in the free price of the race registration along with a commemorative race bib, and it is a collectible. If you want other race swag, shirts, and other Castaway Cay 5K items can be purchased at the Buy the Shore Souvenir Shop.
Free registration gets you an exclusive Castaway Cay 5K medal. For an additional charge, a Premium Package option is also available, where participants receive a Disney Castaway Cay 5K cinch sack, water bottle, and hat.
Castaway Cay 5K Challenge
You may have encountered the Castaway Cay Challenge in your Google research of the Castaway Cay 5K. This is slightly different.
The Marathon weekend this year is January 6-10.
To complete the Castaway Cay Challenge, you must run a race at Disney World during Marathon Weekend. This can be anything from a 5K to a full Marathon.
Then, participate on the 4-night cruise that departs Port Canaveral on January 11th. In the Castaway Cay 5K. You will then have completed the Castaway Cay Challenge.
In addition to the Castaway Cay 5K medal, you will receive a special Castaway Cay Challenge medal. This changes every year and a participant t-shirt.
The Castaway Cay Challenge is perfect for those planning a Land and Sea Adventure with Disney. Which Disney makes incredibly easy and convenient.
If you’ve ever cruised, you know how indulgent cruises can be – all-you-can-eat food and snacks and drink, three-course dinners, lots of lounging, etc.
You should enjoy your once or twice-a-year (if that) vacation to the fullest. Still, the beautiful private island Castaway Cay, 5K with family and fellow passengers, is the perfect way to indulge guilt-free.