Disney Fantasy Cruise 2016: The Castaway Cay Day That Wasn’t

This is the last installment of our cruise recap, sad times! Unfortunately, this cruise did not end on a high note for us. Read on.

We woke up to gloomy skys, but I didn’t care. We were soon going to dock at my FAVORITE place on earth, Castaway Cay. A little gloom was not going to stop my happiness (oh really now.) We got dressed, ate breakfast, and headed to the tube to get our bibs for the 5k and wait for instructions. Keep in mind there are no windows down here so we couldn’t see what was going on with docking.


We waited…and we waited…and I knew we should have docked by now. Finally, someone got on the microphone and said that the wind was too high for us to dock, and was blowing us away from the dock. The captain was going to try again in 1.5 hours, and they were waiting to get the word on what to do about the 5k. We waited around about 20-30 minutes before we got the verdict.

We were not postponing the 5k until we (hopefully) docked later, but we were going to run around the ship….really. IMG_1527

Seven and a half laps to be exact. The boat is HUGE, so yup, that’s what it took to run a 5k. Now, this is where I got annoyed. I realize I am risking backlash by writing this, but honestly it got me so fired up that I am ok with people not agreeing with me. I know medals for people not finishing and runDisney races are a hot topic, but in this case, the people in question didn’t even attempt to START the race, so here goes…They told everyone that if they didn’t want to run around the ship, that they could “promise to run a 5k at home in the next few days” and come get their medals now and leave.



Huh? If you are already dressed to run a 5k, and were planning to run said 5k…why not just go ahead and run it RIGHT NOW? There were around 400 people in the room, and only about 60 stayed to run. EVERYONE ELSE GOT UP, AND COLLECTED THEIR MEDALS AND LEFT! Not only that, the race is for those 10 and up, but they were handing medals out to everyone! Little boys and girls, anyone who wanted one. (The kids were there because the adults were going to drop them at the kids club before the race). Here is a picture of everyone jumping up to get their medals. I just couldn’t believe it.


Now, I would like to believe these people went home and ran a 5k, really I do….(and props to you if you did follow through, you are my hero), but I’m also not dumb, and know that for the majority this probably did not happen. A lot of the other people that stayed to run were very annoyed as well. They are getting a medal for a race they didn’t even START? I was so worked up, that Bobby and I actually ran really fast for our 5k.

They send us out in two groups so we wouldn’t be all bunched up, and then off we went, 7.5 laps, around, and around, and around. It. was. so. boring. There were a few sweet families that stayed on the side and cheered for us as we went by, and Disney even put out a “water stop” for us on the deck which was nice of them. It was difficult to run because if you have ever run on a Disney boat you know this, but there are some tight spaces at certain points. Now imagine 60 runners PLUS people playing shuffleboard/just walking around the deck for enjoyment. There was lots of stopping and going, weaving and “excuse me, on your left” going on. After we finished, we met in the pub for water and to get our earned medals, and then back to the tube to collect our belongings.


In the elevator we had the chance to chat with some people who also ran and were frustrated that people who didn’t even attempt to start the run got medals, so it made me feel better we weren’t the only ones. I was very proud of myself for sticking out a boring frustrating run and that medal means more to me now.


(note how windy it was).

So even though I didn’t sail on the cruise to complete the castaway challenge and get the special extra medal, I DID still technically complete the challenge!


Later that day I saw people walking around wearing their medals that I distinctly remember getting up and getting the medal without running. Really? sigh. About that time, we tried to dock again, and could not do so, the winds had not changed. The captain tried a third and final time an hour later. It was SO disheartening to be looking over our balcony, just a few hundred yards from the island, seeing all the workers standing out there waiting to receive us, and have us get close, only to slowly drift and pull away again. I’m not going to lie. I cried. I cried because I was frustrated about the morning race, sad it was our last day, and mad I was not getting to go to my favorite place, the highlight of my cruise. It may sound pathetic, but in that moment, Heather was not having a good day and I’m owning it.

The rest of the day was pretty boring. We ate lunch, took a nap, watched TV in the room, etc. There was a noticeable change in the mood of everyone on the ship. We had already had 3 sea days, so we honestly were just a little bored. It was rainy and windy so there was no laying out by the pool which I would have been perfectly fine with doing.

It was finally dinner time, and we were at Enchanted Garden.



Here we are with our new friends and tablemates. We all decided to get mickey bars that night. Cheers!


Back in our room this guy was waiting. We sadly put our luggage in the hall, and I honestly can’t remember what else we did that night!


The next morning we had breakfast at the buffet before getting off the ship and taking the bus to the airport. I am so glad we had the opportunity to go on this trip, but between me being sick/losing my voice, lots of rain and not going to Castaway Cay, it wasn’t our best cruise. That just means we have to go again to make up for it, right?

Thanks so much for following along with this trip report. It was fun to relive the good times from the cruise with you all.

QOTD: ever run a 5k on a ship? Do you like Mickey bars?

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  1. Thank you for saying that. I totally agree about the medals. I would hope those people still ran a 5k at home, but many probably didn’t or are telling themselves”I still plan to run” but they won’t. I don’t think it teaches kids a good lesson either. We’re basically saying if you don’t put the hard work in, it doesn’t matter because you’ll still get a reward. Disney was put in a rough spot and they can’t change the weather, but c’mon.

    • Totally agree. I know they want to make everyone happy, but they could have just said you have to at least attempt the race to get the medal.

  2. Bridie Rist says

    Seems like it could have been handled better by Disney…sorry that it left you so disappointed (rightfully so). I did a 4 or 5 mile run on a cruise ship…got up early ad did the track. I think 8 laps equaled a mile. Best thing was my Garmin telling me I did my fastest mile ever…3 minutes…lol.

  3. I have not run a 5k on a ship but was training for a marathon during a cruise and had to put in 10 miles one day. I tried the treadmill but the ocean waves in front of me and slight rocking of the ship I was so off balance so I took it to the deck that was like almost 9 laps to a mile. I ended up running 40 miles the week we were on the ship. Sorry you didn’t get to Castaway Cay but you will just have to go on another Disney cruise (any excuse, right?).

  4. I feel the same way about medals. It’s a “finisher’s” medal. Good on both y’all and everyone else who did run and earned it.

  5. I cried too – I’m glad I wasn’t the only one. It made it harder because we heard lots of stories about how this was the captains third failed attempt in all his years cruising – 3rd! So next year we are going to go at the tail end of Feb and hope for the best – And I did take a medal however at that time we were still hoping that we would dock and we were going to make our own 5k on the island. When we found out we weren’t I went to the treadmill (I have picture proof) only because I had already ran on the ship track twice and didn’t want to again with so many people but I do agree about the medals and people taking them without running or intending to run.

    • I think we decided next time to do a back to back 3 night and 4 night so maybe we can go to the island twice, but hopefully at least once! Props to you for going and running!

      • Wow back to back – I never thought of that! Our tentative plan right now is the four day one that leaves 2/27 that way I can run princess the day before (never have and I’m perfect tink so I need that pink coast to coast!) our only reservation is a four day cruise – we’ve never done one that short and are concerned we are going to have regrets

  6. So sorry about not being able to dock on CC! Congrats though on sticking with the 5K and running despite the circumstances. I can’t even imagine 400 runners trying to run around that deck….omg.

    • They spread us out by 15 minutes in groups of 30, so if everyone would have run hopefully no more than 60 would have been out there at a time, but it was still a lot!

  7. I would have been annoyed about the whole medal fiasco too. ? Once I’m amped for a race I would feel really let down about not running it that if have to at least run one on my own. At least you can say you ran a 5k on a cruise ship. That’s kind of cool!

  8. My husband and I ran a few times, several miles each, on the jogging track/deck of the Dream a few years ago. It was such a strange feeling with the waves moving and seeing that in my peripheral vision. I felt a tad woozy! We encountered mostly staff, so it wasn’t too bad as I think they are more aware of runners coming through. It was pretty boring seeing the same thing around and around, but I guess the experience of running the ship was worth it.

    Completely understand your frustration about the handing out of medals! I’d be miffed about that as well.

  9. I understand about being upset with them giving out the medals, but I think a good number of people ran the race in the next week. We were traveling with 5 adults, a 2.5 year old and a 7 month old. Four of the adults in our group were going to run and by the time it was officially canceled, my brother-in-law had been watching both kids for an hour and a half. (Almost longer than we would have been gone had things run on time.)

    We left so that we could take care of the kids. My mom and sister did the run that afternoon on the ship and my husband and I did it the following Monday. Trying to have everyone run on the track at the same time would have been a disaster. I am glad they had the option, because I had been looking forward to the run since we booked the trip and at least this way I didn’t completely miss it.

    • I’m glad that you stuck to your end of the deal and ran, that’s awesome, but unfortunately I doubt that all of the other 350 other people did. They broke us into 30 person groups that left every 15 minutes, so the entire group would not have been running the deck at the same time. I do understand having to go take care of the little ones, but otherwise without kids too young for the kids club, if people came/were planning to run anyway, I don’t understand taking the medal and leaving.

  10. Ugh, sorry your last day went that way! I definitely would have cried in your position so I totally respect you for telling us that. Especially to SEE Castaway Cay and not get to go? I would have been so upset.

    I also don’t blame you for being frustrated about the medals. You pushed through less than ideal conditions to earn yours and other people just walked off with one? I mean, I guess it’s the honor system kind of like a virtual race but I would have been really annoyed by that. Great job pushing through!

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