Castaway Cay 5k Take Two


My post on the Castaway Cay 5k is to this day one of my most visited posts, and also one of my top search terms. even though I wrote it almost two years ago, it is still relevant to people going on Disney cruises…until now. When I went on the Disney Fantasy for the earmarked conference a couple weeks ago, I convinced three of the other agents in the agency I work for to do the race with me. We had a blast, and I am so glad they all participated! However, there were some new (pretty big!) changes since I last ran the 5k ten months ago (this would be my third time running.) So, I thought a new post and recap was in order. Let me just say I LOVE most of the changes, all but one, which you will see below!

Since it was a special preview cruise, I wasn’t sure if the 5k was going to happen or not. When I saw it listed in my Navigator the night before we went to Castaway Cay, I was so excited and knew I had to run, along with some of the other agents I was with! The navigator said to meet in one of the adult area’s (The Irish pub) at 8:45. (Change number one: Normally we meet right outside the ship at 9:00, or whenever we are finally able to get off the ship.) We all headed down in our running clothes, excited for what was in store. When we got to the pub, there were a lot of people already inside. We headed to a table with two cast members, and were told to write down our name and stateroom numbers on a chart, and then we were given a bib and safety pins. (change number two: we have never had bib’s in the past!) We chatted with some other runners, I ran into Lorraine who was also running. Loraine and I were both part of the Princess blogger group back in February!

At 9:00, we headed off the ship following a cast member.


Corby, Robyn, me, and Amy. Notice, my bib is ALWAYS crooked!

We followed the cast members off the ship… and we walked…and we walked. This is the one change I did NOT like. We had a fifteen minute walk just to get to the start line. (Change number three: We always used to start right off the ship, ran a 3 mile loop that ended back at the ship). We started over by the bike rentals and volleyball nets. Those familiar with the island know it’s a good hike to get there! I was already hot and sweaty  by time we got out there. Oh well!

They had an official sign for the 5k start!


Everyone gathered around to listen to the cast members, and then Daisy showed up!


We gathered around the map as the course was explained to use. We were to run out to the airstrip towards the adult beach. head into the loop where the observation tower is. Run the loop, head to Serenity bay, head back, do the loop again, and then head to the finish line, which was also the start line. (change  number four: well, the whole course! before we just did the loop once but ran all the way back to the ship.) Oh, they also had a box where you could leave personal items that you didn’t want to run with.


We were told we could get photos with Daisy at the finish, and to line up by the start clock. Heck yes, there was a time clock! I know it’s hard to see with the sun on it, and the fact that I took this hours after so it’s not actually on anymore.


We were told there would be water on course, and there was water at the finish. (You can see it behind the time clock.) One of the cast members got on a bike, and when we started he said to follow him out to the loop. he was going to stay outside the loop to make sure everyone made it in, back out, then back in again. He did a great job of cheering us on the whole time!

The race started, and we were off! We made it out to the loop, and in we went, into the thick trees!IMG_5079

I made it around the loop and back out, and started heading down the airstrip towards serenity bay (the adult beach) There were no trees and it was quite sunny. I started getting a little woozy and thought it was just the heat and kept going.




See the red plate on the barrel? It says 5k, and was where we turned around to head back.

I headed back the other way and waved at my friends as we passed each other. I stopped for water before heading back into the loop. They had set up a little station for us right before heading back into it.


I started getting REALLY dizzy about this point, and felt like I was spinning. Then it hit me…my sea sickness patch behind my ear!!! I had heard stories of people who had issues wearing them once they got back on land, but I hadn’t thought about it until then. Last year and the year before when I did the 5k I didn’t have the patch. I decided for safety I should start doing some run walk intervals so I didn’t make myself sick or more dizzy. I made it around to the observation tower and knew I was about halfway around the loop.


Luckily, there was also some water (nice and cold!) so I was able to rehydrate (side effect of the patch is AWFUL dry mouth. I felt like I couldn’t breathe or get enough water!) There was another water stop before I made it out of the loop, and I gladly stopped to take a drink.


I made it out of the loop and decided to run in to the finish. I made it the rest of the way down the airstrip and followed the sign. (change number 5: signs directing us!)


I kept running, and came to a fork in the road and wasn’t sure which way to go. I could here cheering at the finish, so I took a chance and went left and kept running. I ran into a family walking, they cheered me on and I yelled that I didn’t think I was going the right way. They told me “you are almost there the finish line is just around the corner! Go go go!” So I picked up the pace, ran around the corner and saw the finish line, and Daisy duck! She was standing with one of the cast members, and she was holding medals! (change number six: medals!) After I crossed Daisy handed me my medal and I thanked her. I finished right at 30 minutes, not bad considering my pathetic “land sickness” issues!


Here are the cast members cheering in one of my friends!

After I drank about four cups of water, I made the long walk back to the ship wearing my medal, and got lots of strange looks, as everyone else was heading in the opposite direction towards the beaches! I had to laugh because all the medals said “winner” on them (by the way they are plastic!)


Overall, the changes were good. The directional signs were greatly appreciated, and the bibs, medals, and time clock were a nice “official” touch to the race. Having plentiful cold water was nice in the warm tropical climate, and the guest appearance by Daisy was so cute! I was very pleased! I also love how the bibs say “runDinsey” on them!


*UPDATE: ON our March cruise the 5k said “open to adult runners” but on our May cruise it said “ages 12 and up”
QOTD: Have you ever run a race in a tropical climate?

A huge thank you to Amy for letting me use some of her photos!

***It has been reported from several people that DCL is no longer giving out medals to participants, but instead you get a certificate for completing the race in your room afterwards.

*Meghann from Meals and Miles mentioned the race and my post in her post this morning! Go say hi to her!

***The winner of the Zero Water giveaway is Ricole Runs! Email me at so I can get you your prize! ***

Thank you to all who entered! You can all sign up for zero water coupons here.

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  1. I have never run a race in a tropical climate and can foresee it being a challenge. I had no idea they even offered this. Just one more reason I need to go on a Disney cruise 😉

  2. That looks like a lot of fun!!!!! I have never been on a Disney cruise, but the new changes look awesome!

  3. Alexandra "Alec" Dadisman says

    Fun! I want to go on a Disney cruise! How neat that they do a 5K at port. <3

  4. So fun! Can’t wait to cruise again!!!!!

  5. Kristyn @ Life In Running Shoes says

    New Orleans is about as “destination” as my races get, so I have never run in a truly tropical climate, but south Mississippi in August is pretty tropical in my book 🙂 It sounds like the changes (other than moving the start) were all a great move and it seems like they enhanced the race experience. Good Job Disney! Medals, even plastic ones, are always a nice touch at the end of a race. A Disney cruise is slowly moving its way up my vacation to-do list!

  6. Amy Lauren says

    New dream race right here :). I’m pretty sure this will be the hot topic of track practice this evening (I coach) too. If I ever do a Disney cruise I would definitely do this race.

    Glad they had plenty of water out for everyone too… it seems like it was really well planned out for a race on an island on a ship (I mean, not too many people are going to want to run a 5K on a cruise). Plus I like how they had the characters there and custom bibs and medals for everyone. Seems like an awesome way to encourage an active vacation too!

  7. Looks like so much fun!

  8. So much fun! You did a great job!

    The signs/red plates and new course (complete with the looooong walk) were there when we did the race in March 2011. I love that there are medals, bibs, and Daisy! Can’t wait to do it next April 🙂

  9. My family loves Disney cruises and we’ve been on like 10 of them! The last one we went on, I was planning on doing the 5K, but the vacation tuckered me out too much to get up that early and get off the boat. After reading your recap I’m definitely going to be running next cruise!!!

  10. Tara Burner says

    ohhhhhhhhhhhhh as if I wasnt already jealous of you enough…now I sooooo wanna do this too!
    and bummer on ‘land sickness’ from sea sick patches

  11. I have never done a tropical destination race! I’m sure it would be a blast 🙂 I have seem them advertised on Disney and Royal Caribbean now! So cool.

  12. How tall are you, lady??? You look like you may be as tall as me!! (6′)

  13. I think this is so neat! I found this from Meghann’s blog too 🙂 Congrats on running on your vacation and in that crazy sun/heat!
    Living in FL, the middle of summer is pretty much a tropical climate. I generally take it pretty easy and run at night or super early morning.

    I would love to do something like this or a destination race soon! So far, my short race list is all local 🙂

  14. Hey Heather! I proudly wore my CC 5K t-shirt yesterday! I’m such a goob! Thanks for encouraging me to run. I’m glad I did! It was a blast! Next time I’m looking at the clock as I finish!!! lol

  15. I lived in St John, USVI for a couple of years and did a race called the 8 Tuff Miles ( You basically run from one end of the island to the other but the terrain is very steep going from sea level to almost a 1000ft up and back to sea level again. One of those races where you curse and promise yourself you’ll never do it again and then you forget all the pain and sign up for it again the next year. I love your post on the Disney races. Keep it up!

  16. Awesome! What a great idea for a cruise to have.

  17. How fun! I would love to do that!

  18. How fun!! I’ve never done a tropical destination race, but I totally would if I had the opportunity!

  19. Is this 5k standard for all cruises that go to Castaway Cay? Is there a time limit and is there a big turnout? I’d totally do this if I ever get around to a Disney cruise.

    • yes! all cruises as far as I know, it has always been offered and I have done 4. I don’t think there is a time limit…it is timed, but it’s more like a fun run. There is no posting or results or anything like that. we had about 30-35 people.

  20. I am participating in this for the first time at the end of this month! I just ran my first 5 k last month and I had awesome time! I can’t wait to do it at CC!!!!

  21. That’s awesome – I have so many reasons I want to go on a Disney cruise and this definitely adds to the perks of DCL vs. other cruise lines. Good to think about that patch though – I could have seriously used one of those on my last cruise!

  22. Love this! I hope to run this one day — but it will be a ways down the road sadly. The seasick patch cracked me up! So weird 🙂

  23. Karen :0) says

    Sounds like nice and necessary changes to the race (minus the long walk to the start)! I love that they now have directional signs! Cute medal! Congrats on your finish! :0)

  24. I WON??!!! Wow, thanks! But this 5k thing sounds AMAZING. I want to go on a cruise and run a 5k and get a freaking adorable Micky Mouse medal! Does Disney do this 5k on all of their cruises? What a blast.

  25. How fun!! Another reason to move up take a Disney cruise on the vacation list! 🙂

  26. Thanks for the great write-up on the changes. My father and sister have both run the January Half, and I’m terribly jealous of their bling. I have recently been fitted with decent shoes(thanks Dad) and have started the c25k program with my son. Game plan is for me to run with my Dad and Sister. The fact that I will have some of my own Run Disney bling by the end of the summer makes this race all the sweeter !

  27. Thanks for the info! Looks great!

    I did it about a year and a half ago. About 5 people showed up. They said you could run farther if you prefer. I did the loop, went past Serenity Bay on the bike path to the turn around and back. When I got to the turn around, I suffered from tropical running as well. I was used to the distance, but the heat, sun, humidity got the best of me and I too walked/ran back. I was the only one that went that far. When I got back there was no one there. I had to go to the Excursion desk to get my “certificate”, which was a basic document printed from a computer.

    Will be on the Fantasy in September and I am really looking forward to participating! Love getting medals, especially unique ones!

    Thanks again!

  28. I have been on 10 Disney cruises and never did the 5K race…however, I have now WALKED two 5K races at WDW in the past year, and after reading your report, I am going to do the Castaway cay one when I cruise next month!! Thanks for the info!

  29. We are booked for this October. My husband and 2 of my best friends ran the Disney Marathon in January. I am secretly jealous of their medals. My friends are determined that I am doing the Princess half next year. I am NOT a runner. I started running and completed my first 5k last month for my daughter’s autism school. I’m doing another one for the VA Tech Memorial run this weekend. You have convinced me to do the 5K on the Dream. I want some Disney bling!!!

  30. Shannon C says

    Thank you so much for posting this! 🙂 I am heading on a disney cruise at the end of April for a wedding. The bride to be & I usually run disney races together and were planing on running the 5k around the island. Now we are super psyched for the run now. Thanks!!! 🙂

  31. Great Post! I’m heading out on the Dream in a couple of weeks and I have been debating the 5k. Your post has made up my mind – count me down for the Castaway Cay 5k.

  32. I’m on The Dream next week….do you know if on The Dream they do the medals as well b/c I know they didn’t before.
    Thanks and it looks awesome I want to do it!

  33. As this started in the adult area of the island, is this an adult only run? I run with my 17 year old son who would love this!

    • It doesn’t start at the adult area, and I have had conflicting reports. On one cruise it said adults only and one said 12 and older so you would need to check on your specific cruise good luck!

  34. Do you know if there was a minimum age requirement? My 9 yr old would like to do this with me when we go.

  35. So they have 5K shirts to purchase? I am running this June. Super excited.

  36. I think I’m looking forward to running the 5k more than anything else on my cruise coming up. Is there something wrong with me? LOL

    Did you run on the track around the ship? I’ll be on the Dream, but it should be similar to the Fantasy. I’m just curious if the track is crowded with people just walking around or if there will be room to run. I can just jump on a treadmill if it’s too bad, but I would prefer running outside.

    Thanks for any insight you can offer.

    • nothing wrong with you! I didn’t run the track 1) I dont do well running while ship is moving 2) so many people walking it would have been difficult

      • Thanks for the info. I was thinking running on the track while the ship is moving might be difficult, let alone dodging the people. It might even be difficult to run on the treadmills while looking out into the ocean. I guess I’ll find out soon!

        • Yeah I could only do the TM while we were in port, then did the 5k of course. I just lifted weights and did the stationary bike the other days. Have fun!

          • Thanks! I’m passing time at work reading some of your other blogs. I just started running a couple years ago (I’m 41) and ran my first races this year. The Disney Royal Family 5k was my first. I saw you ran that too. My first timed race was the Gasparilla 5+3k. If you and your husband haven’t been to Tampa for those races, you really should try. It’s a great weekend full of distances for all levels (and cool bling!). I’m working on increasing my distances and running the Tower of Terror 10 miler, then the Wine and Dine 1/2. And my plan is to do the Goofy in January. That one won’t be for time – more about the accomplishment.

            By the way, I love your comment in one of your blogs about not wearing the race shirt at the event. I’m not sure why, but that’s a pet peeve of mine too.

          • thanks for reading! Ya I’m not sure WHY it bugs me when ppl wear the race shirt but it just does! lol! Sounds like you have a full schedule!

          • OMG! I’m in one of your pics – LOL.

            It’s in your Disney Princess Half Marathon Expo blog. You have a picture of people picking up their running packets. I’m in khaki shorts and a reddish orange shirt. My friend is in the blue shirt in front of me picking up her packet. Too funny!

          • too funny! someone else told me they are in one of my race photos, and I showed up on someones princess race video!

  37. Thanks for the info! I’m going in August and I hope they have the run! I am sooo excited now!

  38. Hi~
    Just got back from Castaway Cay and my husband and I ran the 5k. We didn’t get medals though.. I was disappointed! Did everyone get medals when you ran it or was it just the winner?

    • Hi! When I ran yes, everyone got the plastic medals. however, I have heard reports of one or two people saying their particular sailing didn’t get medals because they were out of stock. We all agreed while it is frustrating, since no one pays for the race they couldn’t really complain to Disney or anything. I still hope you had a great time though and maybe they will have them for your next cruise!

      • Oh.. I wouldn’t complain to Disney! We had actually been told by one of the staff that we would get a medal, so at the end of the race we were disappointed that we didn’t.
        Yes.. Maybe next time 🙂
        Since DCL is moving to TX soon, that may actually be more likely.

        • no worries! I didn’t mean you would complain, more just saying thats what I would tell myself if it had happened to me, that it was a free race and more of a bonus. Although, that cast member never should have told you that you were getting them, how disappointing! I am going on the oct. 6th galveston sailing. If you ever need help booking let me know! There are some good deals on galveston cruises the rest of the year I would be happy to help!

  39. Heading out on the Fantasy in December and hoping to run this 5K again. We were there on the Dream at the end of July 2011 — I did this race, and it was SO hot…my wife thought I had lost my mind (and by the time I got to the finish line, I was tending to agree with her!). Guess I should have expected that in the heat of summer in the Bahamas, eh? Anyway, I can’t wait to try it again in December (presumably with slightly less oppressive heat). Very glad to hear they have t-shirts available now. They did not have them on the prior trip, and I had been looking forward to wearing a truly unique race shirt back at home. Sounds like I’ll finally have my chance!

  40. My family and I will be heading out on the Disney Dream in a week or so, and the Castaway Cay 5k is one of the things I’m looking forward to the most. Reading your post really made me more excited for it, but more importantly, it gave me an idea of how things are going to go. As for running in a tropical climate, well, I actually live in a tropical country and run regularly. It’s torture running past 6am between late March to early June or so. At around mid-June to mid-October, it’s tolerable, but the best months are of course, mid-October to mid-March. The climate is quite cool then, and the sun rises later during those months.

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Mentioned elsewhere:

  1. Castaway Cay 5K run - PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel says:

    […] Castaway Cay 5k Take Two | 5K run on Castaway Cay – Cruise Critic Message Boards Be sure and check the Navigator aboard ship for current times, location, etc. __________________ […]

  2. […] I have written two other Castaway Cay 5k posts, you can check them out here and here. […]

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