Disney's private island, Castaway Cay (pronounced KEY), wins awards for good reason! When you sail with Disney Cruise Line and your itinerary brings you to one or more Caribbean islands, Castaway Cay is a port stop on many itineraries. You'll love every minute of your stay here.
Having heard that it's possible to get off the ship prior to other passengers if participating in the Castaway Cay 5K, I knew that was what I wanted to try. I've completed several Disney half marathon events, so I figured this would be fun to try. On board, I registered with Guest Services. This is not something you can do before boarding the ship, but make sure you sign up when you set sail. There is no charge for this event.
Tickets for this will be printed and left at your stateroom for you to bring to the meeting destination (check your ticket). We met on Deck 4/AFT in Evolution at 8:00 a.m. Children under 10 are not able to participate, but parents may bring younger children to Scuttles Cove where they will be supervised by Cast Members who they may already be familiar with from the kids clubs.
Make sure to bring your Key to the World Card (I forgot mine and had to go back for it) and your passport. For whatever reason, I didn't think they would need it since it was their private island. I was wrong...don't be like me! =)
When everyone checks in and receive their bib and safety pins, they will provide you with some information about the course. Let me share, it is hot out there. Drink water before, during, and after the event. Even if you walk the entire thing, stay hydrated! There are areas where there is little to no shade. Since everyone was not on time from our group, or maybe because so many registered, they actually announced that guests on board could disembark onto the island. So much for my plan!
I met the sweet Ku family there and we stuck together from start to finish! I was grateful for their company and more thankful that we are still friends today. Once off the ship, we all walked to the starting point. The view of the island was beautiful along the way.
Once you are at the start line, be sure to drink the water they have there. Grab a cup or two. There will be a cooler on the course, but there may not be cups left, so make sure to grab some here.
When you start off, there will be a cluster of people. If you want to walk, stay towards the back of the pack. If you'd like to compete and try to get one of the top times, make your way towards the front.
There will be signs along the way showing you where to go. Follow the group, and you'll be pointed in the right direction. Be careful as you go because some passengers who are off of the ship may have rented bicycles and they may be traveling on the path too. It's definitely a neat way to see parts of the island that you might not otherwise explore.
At the end, you receive your medal! It's not metal but more of a rubberized material, but it's still a fun souvenir. How many people do you know who have run a 5K race on an island? There will be photographers near the finish line to take photos, too. The ONLY place to get Castaway Cay souvenirs is on the island, so be sure to get a t-shirt, towel, vinyl sticker for your car, etc. if you'd like something while there.
You may use your Key to the World Card to charge back to your room. The only thing you can NOT charge is if you'd like to mail a postcard from the post office on the island. They only take cash for the stamp. That said, the post office was closed on the day we went, so I was told to bring my post card to Guest Services on board, and they made sure to mail it (it's postmarked from Castaway Cay, too - it was brought to the post office on a day when they were there and it was open).
I enjoyed checking out the rest of the island. For my first visit, I did not book any excursions because I wanted to take photos. My family enjoyed some things though. My mother-in-law relaxed under a palm tree and we made sure there was plenty of cold water in a cooler. My bonus daughter went on the Wild Side Teen Adventure, and she said she enjoyed herself. My husband and bonus son decided to try parasailing. I took some photos with characters on the island (Mickey, Pluto, and Captain Jack Sparrow). We all enjoyed BBQ food for lunch at Cookies Too before heading back onto the ship.
I hung around when they went back on board to see if I could grab a few more shots. Lucky for me, I ran into two sweet ladies, Betty and Brenda, who invited me to come check out their cabana. Curious to know what it was like, I went with them, and I was grateful they allowed me to take some photos to share. We didn't get a chance to book a cabana since they go quickly when reservations can be made (based on your Castaway Club level or concierge staterooms). After spending some time with them, I would LOVE to get one in the future! I'll also need to check out the BBQ at Serenity Bay (18+ only) next time I'm there.
Overall, there is so much to love about Castaway Cay. I'm confident that you will also fall in love with this private island. There are so many things to see and do with your family or on your own. It has something for everyone!
Disney has been a part of Cheryl's life since 1975. She is married, and she has a son and two bonus children. They live in Northwest Arkansas with their two dogs.