Will you be taking a Disney Cruise to their private island in the Bahamas? If so, read on to see if you should participate in the Castaway Cay 5K. I've got full details on the race and what you should know before you go.
I just returned from my third Disney cruise aboard the Disney Dream and finally ran the Castaway Cay 5K. It's been a bucket-list item for me (like running a runDisney half marathon... but that's for another time) and I'm so glad I got the chance to do it. Not only did I complete it, but I was also the first female across the finish line so I felt pretty good about that.
Castaway Cay 5K
I had a lot of questions about the event so I figured I'd put together a little guide to help you decide whether or not you want to complete it too (and I really hope you do!).
How long is the Castaway Cay 5K?
Every 5K should technically be 3.1 miles. According to my Apple Watch, the distance was measured as 2.94 miles. I'm not sure if my watch was wrong or not, but I'm just giving you the info I have. I completed that distance in 23:54 at an average page of 8:07/mile (and the temperature was a perfect 70 degrees with 55% humidity for those wondering). If you're simply walking for fun, it will probably take you about an hour to cover the course.
Is this a chip-timed event?
No, this is more of a "fun" run or walk. The run isn't officially timed or scored so you can easily go at your own pace or push as hard as you like.
How much does the Castaway Cay 5K cost?
It's FREE. Read that again. There aren't many Disney-related things that are free, so please take advantage of this fun excursion if you can.
How do I sign up for the Castaway Cay 5K?
You'll sign up once you're on board at the Guest Services desk. There's no way to register ahead of time. Theoretically, you should do this the day you arrive but I forgot and signed up the evening before the race. I was in luck because I was just in time for the pre-race meeting and bib pickup for those wishing to do so before the race.
We met in one of the ship's lounges and participants turned in our signed waivers in exchange for a race bib. A crew member then went over instructions for exiting the ship the next morning (you could exit at 8:30 AM and needed to be at the start line by 8:50 AM for the 9:00 AM start time). The start line is by the bicycle rental station on the island so we received instructions on how to get there and then how to navigate the course. We were also told to bring our Key to the World Card and state-issued ID (driver's license is fine versus a passport) with us in order to get off and then back on the ship.
How old does a guest need to be?
Guests need to age 10 and up in order to sign up for the 5K
Is childcare available?
YES! If you have a child ages 3 and up and want to participate in the 5K, you can check them into Scuttle’s Cove once you're on the island. This area of the island offers supervised child care while you run the race.
What's the route like?
The route starts at the bicycle rental station and heads towards the adult-only section of the island, with a loop through some dense vegetation in the middle. The route is mostly paved and easy to follow with navigational signs. There is a water station around the halfway point that you can hit more than once with the way the route is set up. There are also random water coolers along the route. It's an easy, flat course with no elevation.
Is there a bag check?
I wouldn't call it an official bag check, but there is a storage box where you can place your belongings at the start/finish line of the Castaway Cay 5K. I didn't bring a whole lot of stuff with me and just planned on returning to the boat after the race to get changed and collect my family for our day on the island. It's about a 10-minute walk from the boat to the start/finish line. This also gave me a great opportunity to hit the professional photographers on the way back to the boat and get photos with my race medal. There were hardly any lines and I got some great shots with Goofy.
Can you listen to music during the 5K?
Absolutely. I wore my Aftershokz bone conduction headphones so I could still hear my surroundings and this worked really well for me.
How many people participate?
On our cruise (February 2020), the gentleman in charge of the event told us that approximately 330 people had signed up for the 5K. I'm not sure how many actually participated, but I thought that was a pretty great percentage of passengers.
What is the Castaway Cay 5K medal like?
Every guest who finishes the Castaway Cay 5K will receive a keepsake finishers' medal, which is also free. Although I'm calling it a medal, it's actually really lightweight and made of a rubbery material. You can also buy other 5K souvenirs at the shops on the island if you'd like.