runDisney Castaway Cay Challenge 5K Top 10 Questions

Mickey Mouse posing with Spencer and Katie on Castaway Cay

We have run the rainy, but fun Castaway Cay Challenge 5K in 2018 and also completed the 2020 Castaway Cay Challenge 5K with new Captain Minnie Medal. Since this race is a little different than others, we’ve compiled a list of our most asked questions!

1. What cruise do I need to take for the Castaway Cay Challenge 5K?

The Disney Dream leaves Port Canaveral the Monday immediately following the Walt Disney World Marathon. This could always change, so we recommend checking with runDisney and your travel professional before making a final payment.

2. Isn’t there a 5K on every Disney Cruise?

Well, yes and no. There is a 5K on Castaway Cay every time the ship docks there. If the ship is unable to dock, they complete the 5K on the running track aboard the ship. This 5K is special! The Castaway Cay Challenge 5K is a unique course with characters and a bonus medal! Runners will get the same Castaway Cay 5K medallion in addition to their challenge medal.

3. Do I need to complete the Dopey Challenge or Marathon to get the Castaway Cay Challenge medal?

Heck no! You can complete either the 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, or Full Marathon at Wald Disney World during the Marathon Weekend in January to be eligible for the Castaway Cay Challenge Medal. Runners, of course, can choose to complete the Goofy Challenge (Half and Full) or the Dopey Challenge (all 4 races). This is one of the most accommodating challenge options as runners can choose to only complete 5K races!

4. Is there a time limit for the Castaway Cay Challenge 5K?

Yes! Just like all runDisney races, runners are asked to maintain a 16 minute mile. There is some leniency with character stops as we were technically caught at the first stop by the sweeper Golf Cart. If you are walking at a pace closer to a 16 minute mile, you may not be able to stop at every character opportunity. We chose to run between the characters and were able to stop for each one! This race is an un-timed 5K with no chip timing.

5. Are there characters at the Castaway Cay Challenge 5K?

Yes! There are some great character stops at the Castaway Cay Challenge 5K! Typically, the characters are island themed. We have seen Captain Jack Sparrow, Stitch, Chip and Dale, Timon, and different members of the Fab 5 in their special island wear. Sometimes there are face characters that have been “marooned on the island” or showing off their “wild side”. These are always fun!

6. Can my family participate or come off the ship to spectate?

This has changed from year to year, so it is best to ask at the runDisney chat prior to race day. In 2020, spectators were allowed to leave the ship with their runner. They were able to remain at the Start/Finish area. There is no separate walk off for spectators, so yes they do have to be awake very early! Family participation has been limited to those participating in the specific challenge, but you can always check with runDisney professionals for up to date information.

7. Where do I get my bib for the Castaway Cay Challenge 5K?

You will pick up your bib for the Castaway Cay Challenge 5K at the Walt Disney World Expo with your other race bibs. It is important to note that typically Goofy Runners and Dopey Runners are sent to a separate bib pick up area. Ask a volunteer if you have trouble locating this bib pickup location. Did you forget your bib? Don’t worry, there is a runDisney help desk on the ship that will have your bib for you!

8. Is the Castaway Cay Challenge 5K course different than the regular Castaway Cay 5K?

It sure is! After running both, we like the Castaway Cay Challenge 5K course better! The course starts and finishes on the airstrip. Runners head towards Serenity Bay and complete a there and back near the private cabanas. After another quick stretch of the airstrip, runners loop around the bike loop. It is a quick 3.1 miles and you are at the finish line!

9. What is the weather like for the Castaway Cay Challenge 5K?

Just like the Marathon Weekend races, this race can have some crazy weather. In 2018, we feared for rain and had a chilly day on the island after the race. In 2020, it was a stunning sunny day in the high 80s. We recommend packing all of your options, including a rain coat or poncho.

10. Are there activities on this cruise?

There are some great runDisney specific activities! Each year, the cruise director works with runDisney to make sure runners are having the time of their life. We participated in runDisney crafts and runDisney trivia! They offered special character meet and greet times and a cool smoothie and juice tasting – all just for runners!

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