Disney’s Castaway Cay 5k Recap and Tips

Disney Cruise Line has a private island in the Bahamas called Castaway Cay. They also have a FREE 5k race you can run with a real medal given to you at the finish line. I have written two other Castaway Cay 5k posts, you can check them out below after reading this one:

Castway Cay 5k and  here.

Castaway Cay is Disney’s private island that most of their cruises sail to at the end of the voyage. The Castaway Cay 5k is an unofficial runDisney run. It is a free fun run, it’s untimed, and is a 5k distance that has a race clock so you can see your time at the end. Let me back up and start from the beginning.

The night before our day at Castaway Cay, there was information in our navigator (papers that highlight the next day’s activities) about the 5k. It told us to meet in the Tube at 9:00 ready to run, and bring our ship card and ID with us. It was for anyone 12 and older if I remember correctly. Bobby and I knew that the start of the 5k is a pretty good ways into the island and didn’t want to waste time going back to the ship after the race, so we each brought backpacks with us so we could go straight to serenity bay afterwards.

We went to the Tube about 9:10 and checked in. We were given a bib and safety pins, and they wrote down our bib and stateroom number next to our bib number and told us to be sure to check in with them after so they didn’t leave anyone out on the course.

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People checking in at the table for the race.

We took a seat, pinned on our bibs, and waited. At about 9:25, a cast member got up on stage with a microphone and explained what was going to happen. We were going to walk off the ship together and to the starting point by the bike rentals where there would be a big box to drop personal belongings. We would start the race (water provided on the course) and they went over the route with us on a map up on the big screen. They reminded us to check in after so we could get our finishers medal.

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At 9:30 when we were cleared to go ashore onto Castaway Cay. wWe walked together off the gangway and onto the island. Bobby and I grabbed some towels to put into our backpacks and we followed the group for the 8-10 minute walk to the starting line. We put our bags in the box, and got behind the start line where they went over the map/course one more time.

castaway Cay 5k

It was very dark and had started to drizzle a little bit.

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I carried Bobby’s phone with me so I could snap some photos. This proved to be difficult because I was so sweaty, but I managed to get a few! I didn’t have high expectations for this race after eating myself into a  food coma every day for seven days, but it’s still fun to run with Disney! Soon we were off, and I fell into a steady rhythm.

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It rained on us for about two minutes and then stopped. I made it to the first turn and followed the red and white 5k signs.

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We ran a bit on the airstrip before making our first turn onto the bike loop. One of the cast members had gone out ahead and set up a water station for us. I didn’t grab water this time, but knew I would when I came through the second time.

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Into the loop I went, and this loop for some reason feels like it goes on forever. I’m not sure if it’s because there are so many trees you can’t really see anything or because you run it twice, but it’s not my favorite.

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It was weird running, I felt like I was rocking back and forth on the boat and had to really concentrate to keep my balance. I made it out and took a right onto the airstrip. It was nice to be out in the open but man was it hot! No shade, and running on asphalt. I picked off a couple runners, and headed towards Serenity Bay.

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Bobby passed me going the other way and we waved. I made it to the Serenity bay turn around, and you are supposed to loop around the cul-de-sac. I got a little frustrated that a couple girls in front of me cut it way short, but then reminded myself this was a fun run. I headed back down the airstrip as people were heading towards the beach to relax and I wished it was me! I grabbed some water at the entrance to the bike loop and headed in again. At about mile 2.3 I had to stop and walk for a minute because the heat was getting to me. I wished at that point I had worn a hat or visor. I chugged along reminding myself I was almost done then I could relax on the beach all day. I finally made it out of the bike loop and headed back towards the finish. I followed the signs and made one last turn and then saw the finish line ahead of me with people clapping! I crossed at 29:00, definitely slower for me but I was proud anyway. I checked in and got my medal before Bobby and I took some pictures.

Castaway Cay 5k

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We chugged some water that was at the finish line, grabbed our bags and headed to the tram stop which happens to be right by the finish line. We made it to Serenity Bay, changed clothes and hit the beach for an amazing and relaxing day on Castaway Cay!

Castaway Cay 5k

Here are a few tips I have learned after doing the Castaway Cay 5k 8 times that may be useful:

1.) Bring your beach clothes and things with you in a bag or backpack so you don’t have to go back to the ship. You will waste a good 30-45 minutes walking back, showering, and coming back out when you can change and shower at the beach. They have a large bin you can keep your things in at the start line.

2.) Get towels when you get off the ship. I am so glad we did because they did NOT have towels at Serenity Bay and we would have had to go back and get some.

3.) Sunscreen, sunglasses, hat. It’s HOT and there isn’t a lot of shade on the course.

4.) Hydrate! They set up a water stop at the bike loop, but you can also take advantage of the water stops in the bike loop and at the Serenity Bay tram stop.

5.) SOMETIMES they have a Disney character waiting at the finish line (didn’t this time, but did last time) so bring a camera or phone to capture the moment!

6.) If you want to see the island but don’t want to run, there is an “island power walk” that leaves just a few minutes after the 5k that you can join in with, or you can always rent bikes.

7.) be sure to look at your finishing time as you cross, it’s on your left up high in a brown box

8.) At the souvenir shop right by the finish they sell 5k finishers shirts. I wouldn’t wait until late in the day to get one in case they run out of your size. I snagged mine right after I finished the race and they had plenty.


(This photo is taken from the start. When you are coming in to the finish, the clock is facing the other way so you can see your time.)

QOTD: Would you want to run the Castaway Cay 5k race? Have you ever run in the Caribbean or Bahamas?

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  1. Sounds like a great race even if you didn’t feel you were at your best performing it. It seems like a fun venue to do it and I would definitely give it a go 🙂

  2. I would love to do this fun run….it looks really fun and I love the private island stops in the Bahamas. I need to talk my family into a Disney cruise! I ran my first untimed race yesterday in London, a charity race that was a super hero run. It was fun for a great cause and they gave us finisher medals too!

  3. I’m doing this run a week from Tuesday! Can hardly wait! Last I checked there was a 60% chance of thunderstorms that day so I’m hoping for the best.



  5. Amy - Mom's Magical Miles says:

    I did this last August and I was also NOT a fan of the loop! It was pretty hot. I’m glad I did it at least once, but I think I would head straight to the beach next time!

    • We have done 2 double dips with 2 stops to CC, and both times we did the 5k once and hit the beach once, it was nice lol!

      • Jennifer says:

        I have been searching everywhere to see if they would offer it both days on a double dip. It sounds like they did on both of yours. Did I read you correctly?

  6. If I ever have the chance, yes, I would do this race. I’m not good in heat so it would be a slow fun run to just get out there and get moving.

  7. I loved this race! I’m so happy you talked me into doing it! 🙂

  8. I’d do this run, I’d love to do it (I don’t know if I can call it a race since it isn’t timed, though), just because I love cruises, islands, and running.

    Do they do this on every Disney cruise that goes to Castaway Cay, or is it a once a year or annual thing?

  9. I love that they offer a 5K! I’m looking into doing Cruise to Run on their next sailing. Must be such a cool experience running on an island!

  10. Awesome job on the race! it’s so amazing how far the CC 5k has come in the past 5 years. The first time we did it in 2007, we started at the ship, there were no bibs or water, and only like 5 people ran it!

  11. Looks like a fun race. I bet it was crazy humid though if it was drizzling before all that beautiful sunshine came out.

  12. Lindsay says:

    New reader, love your blog! Thanks for the informative post. My fiance and I will be honeymooning on the Fantasy after our wedding at WDW and I am really excited to run this!

  13. Awesome tips Heather! Sounds like a fun place to do a 5K!

  14. I would LOVE to do this race! Heck, I just want to go on a Disney cruise – my husband and I are thinking about going on one for a vacation in 2014! If we do, I will definitely do this 5K!

    Also, Heather, I nominated you for a Liebster award, I love your blog! Check out my latest post for details 🙂

  15. What an awesome idea for a race! I want to do it for sure should we have the opp to do a Disney cruise!

  16. Your first post about this race is what finally got me running. It was also the very first time I read your blog. Running the Castaway Cay 5K was my very first “goal race” which I got to do last November. It was awesome! I got “land sick” as well. lol Also, living in Puerto Rico I run in the Caribbean all the time. lol

  17. Jennifer says:

    I would do this in a heartbeat! Looks great!

  18. I want to castaway! Looks like a blast! Cute bikini too!

  19. Yes I would LOVE to run this race! When we were on our honeymoon I don’t remember Castaway Cay having a 5K…of course that was 12 years ago so they probably didn’t lol!

  20. Oh my gosh, this is so awesome. I had not heard of it before! I so wish they had something like this on the Royal Caribbean ships. I am excited about testing out the running track on Allure of the Seas next month, though I’m a little worried that boredom might set in. I think I read it takes 6 loops around the track to hit one mile…. eep.

  21. This is definitely a fun but HOT race!! Great recap!

  22. Do they do the 5k on every Disney Cruise that hits up Castaway Cay?

  23. Jacinta Dawson says:

    My husband and I ran this in June 2012 and plan to do it again next week. We live in FL so we are more accustomed to the heat and humidity, but the heat at CC is pretty intense on the airstrip. I agree; that loop by the lookout tower does seem to last forever. Thanks for the hat suggestion!

  24. Jay Pepper says:

    I’m glad to hear that the 5k run has gotten so big……. I’m the one who started the 5km run back in the day, where I would only have 5 guest.. This is such great news.

  25. My 10 year old son is the runner in the family and my husband and I are going to jog along with him. This is the first time I’ve heard that there is an age minimum. Have you ever seen younger children run it? Does Disney make excaptions?

    • No I have not seen anyone younger than a teenager run, so sorry. You have to bring your ID when you check in for the race so they know who is what age. I can’t speak from experience in this cade but you know what happens when people start to make exceptions 🙂

      • You are right. I don’t want Disney to make an exception, it might not bode well for all. I am just thankful for your blog post. It will be easier for him if he knows ahead of time rather than finding out that morning. Thanks so much!

        Looks like we will just have to plan another cruise in 2 years when he is old enough to run:) Maybe by then Disney will have a kids fun run and his younger brothers can join in on the fun!

        • Jacinta Dawson says:

          If I may chime in….we just ran the CC5K for the second time on May 31, 2013. This is what we have seen and experienced with 2 kids ages 13 and 8. The younger kids under age 12 can run the race with mom or dad, but the cast members will not officially sign them up to receive a race bib or finisher’s medal at the end. Only guests 12+ will be listed on the run registry.

        • you never know though they like to randomly change the rules. I would maybe go to the front desk and ask for sure when you get on the boat!

  26. My family and I are going on our first Disney Cruise in April and we’ll be stopping at Castaway Cay. Did you have to register for the 5K prior to your cruise? Or is it just a show up on the day of kind of thing? Thanks!

  27. julian says:

    is there an oppourtunity to get a run in at any of the ports the ship docks
    specifically st marteen/st john

    • I have never been to st. marteen so I can’t speak for that, but at most ports you can just take to the streets if you want to.

  28. Jim and Karen says:

    Jim (69) and I (71) completed the 5K Fun Run on Castaway Cay Nov 2014. This was our first 5K. We were just happy that we didn’t finish last. It was quite fun and the other runner/walkers were friendly and encouraging. Going back in May and will try to beat our time. Gonna do a little parasailing this time also. We only have one life to live so enjoy it……..

  29. Vanessa says:

    We cruised in December 2012 and I was going to run the Castaway 5K, but we didn’t get to dock because of the wind and currents. I was so disappointed. We just cruised around in figure 8’s all day. We’re going to do a 5-day on the Wonder next April so I may be in touch!

Mentioned elsewhere:

  1. runningwithsass says:

    Disney’s Castaway Cay 5k April 2013…

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

  2. […] Heather’s recap from 2013 has some great pics of the course so you can see what it looks like. […]

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