My ten-year-old son and I wondered if we should participate in the Disney Cruise Castaway Cay 5K. We decided to give the 5K a try and we enjoyed the time together and the opportunity to exercise and see different parts of the island. Here is a journal of our Castaway Cay 5K experience.
Preparing For The Castaway Cay 5K
We had to go to guest services the day before docking at Castaway Cay to sign up for the 5K.
The time that your ship docks at Castaway Cay can vary, so this schedule is based on our personal experience. Our Navigator (the daily agenda that is left in your stateroom the day before) listed the meeting time and location for 5K participants. We met in the District Lounge (adults only lounge) at 8:00 a.m.
Our only option for breakfast was the cabanas which were perfect. We ate outside and watched as the ship docked. We allowed time for a restroom break and arrived at the District Lounge at 8:00 a.m.
5K participants waited in line to get numbers to pin onto our shirts. Then we sat in the District Lounge for a long time.
Participants disembarked the ship as a group. We waited so long in the lounge that we were definitely not the first ones off the ship.
Disney Cruise staff kept the group loosely organized. We definitely did not walk as a pack to the start line. 5K participants were asked not to ride the trams multiple times, but I’m confident several people did. Walking from the ship to the 5K start line took about 10 to 15 minutes.
The Disney 5K starting line is very well marked and right next to the bike rental area. We followed signs to bike rentals.
What to Bring to the 5K
There is a treasure chest on Castaway Cay at the 5K start line that you can store your bags and personal items in while completing the race. We didn’t know this existed so we didn’t carry anything like our swimsuits with us.
We were given cups for water and the cast members told us we had to keep track of our cup the entire race, so I’m glad I had a pocket to put my cup in.
Castaway Cay 5K Schedule
Check the Navigator for meeting time and location – ours was District Lounge at 8 a.m.
We were among the first to arrive at the start line at 9 a.m.
I walked the majority of the 5K and finished in just under an hour. There is a digital timer at the finish line to clock your time.
We went back to the ship to change into our swimsuits. We grabbed some ice cream on the ship and arrived back at scuttles cove on the tram at 10:45 a.m.
We didn’t use wave phones, so we planned to meet the rest of our party at the post office and they were waiting for a while on us to return. At least there were characters to meet at the post office while they waited!
Keep in mind that things are spread out a good bit on the island to accommodate big groups of people. This means a lot of walking, which is a good thing for the body after eating so much on the ship. But it also means that 5K is was nearly a three-hour commitment including time to change clothes. So if your goal is purely to exercise then I just recommend going for a jog or walk on your own schedule.
Can You Walk the Castaway Cay 5K?
Yes! I have never run a 5K. Walking the Castaway Cay 5K was the first time that I’ve ever walked in a 5K. My ten-year-old son stayed with me part of the time and then after getting comfortable with the route decided that he wanted to run. He just waited for me at the finish line.
We were the first to the start line and a Cast Member arrived after ten minutes or so to officially start the race. A few people sped off into the morning sun. A good group of people jogged at a nice pace. Several of us walked. The atmosphere was very calm and friendly. I did not pick up any sense of competition.
By the time I finished they were running out of water on the course and out of medals, but it was not a big deal because they had them delivered to our staterooms the next day.
Our visit was in late January, so the weather was in the 70s and very comfortable. It was nice to have water along the route, but I would’ve been fine waiting until the race was over to get a drink too.
I’m not particularly fit, but I certainly enjoyed participating in the 5K!
Castaway Cay 5K Route
The 5K start line is next to the bike rental area and a building with Olaf on the side. The entire course is paved and fairly level.
After starting the 5K route briefly follows a paved road to an old airplane runway. Then there is a water station where you turn right into a loop that is about 5,000′. The loop is surrounded by vegetation, so there was some shade.
After walking through the loop one time you head back to the old runway that leads to Serenity Bay, the adults-only beach. When you get to Serenity Bay you turn around and head back to the loop one more time before returning to the finish line/bike rental area.
There are trams hauling people to Serenity Bay on the airstrip and bicycles in all of the areas towards the end of the race. The airstrip is plenty wide enough to accomodate all kinds of traffic.
My son and I are really glad that we did the 5K together because it was a great experience, we got to spend time together doing something new and we got to see more of the island than we would’ve otherwise. He is really proud of the medals that we were given. It also felt good to get some exercise when the food is so plentiful and amazing.
Here are other notes on our first Disney Cruise – Dos and Don’ts for a Disney Cruise
My husband went back later in the day and checked out the lookout tower at the top of the 5K loop and snapped this picture.
Whatever you decide to do we hope that you enjoy your Disney Cruise as much as we did!