Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island, is probably one of my favorite places on the planet. The whole thing is absolutely gorgeous. The water is crystal clear and calm, the sand is perfectly white, and they have several beaches for different age groups, including an adults only one.
But before I get to the relaxation, I have to recap our experience with the Castaway Cay 5K.
For about a year going into our cruise, I was super excited about this race. I mean, how often do you get to run a race in the Bahamas? I read blog posts written by people who had run it whenever I could find them, and the general consensus was that everyone enjoyed it.
I guess I’m the exception.
It all started at 8am when we were supposed to check in to get our bibs. There were way more people running than I would have guessed and it got cramped really fast. A lot of people didn’t realize that you actually needed to register for the race, as in you needed port adventure tickets, and so there were some grumpy people sent off to the floor below to officially sign up. I really didn’t understand how people missed that because it was in our Personal Navigator every day.
The other problem that made people angry is they didn’t realize that they needed a photo ID to get off the ship. So even more people had to go back to their rooms to get some form of ID, which just ate up time that was unnecessary.
At 8:30 we lined up to debark. We were meeting on the 4th floor, but debarked on the 1st floor. There were so many people that when we lined up it took up all of the flights of stairs and then some. Zach and I were toward the back, and people were still coming to check in at 8:35 and I could tell the crew members were pretty frustrated because they had already packed up their stuff. But, they were nice enough to check them in.
So after we finally got off, we had to walk about halfway across the island to get to the start.
See how the 5K map only shows half the island? Anyway, I was under the impression that we would be running before the rest of the people on the ship got off. We took so long getting off the ship, walking across the island, and stowing bags that it was about 9:15 before we were lined up and ready to start. Debarkation for the rest of the ship was at 9 so I knew we would be fighting bikers on the path.
The run itself was horrible, and not just because I had been eating junk all week. The course was pretty much two loops around the bike path, which was boring. The only things to look at were trees. And asphalt. I like looking at trees here in Virginia, but all these trees looked identical.
It was also about 88 degrees with 100% humidity, and I found myself struggling to catch my breath. At about the 1 mile mark I caught up with Zach (who was more miserable than me, not being a runner at all) and we wound up walking the rest. There was no shade and I was dripping sweat, and I was overheated to the point I thought I was going to throw up. All my runs at home had been in about 70 degree weather, so I just wasn’t prepared for the heat.
(I actually remember telling Zach that I hope it’s 32 the day of my marathon or else I was going to die. I’m not sure what else came out of my mouth).
We actually raced the last quarter mile, and thanks to my short legs and his long ones, Zach beat me by like 2 seconds. We got our plastic Mickey medals, and I decided that the run was worth it, but wasn’t my favorite by any means.
|My finishing face|
|Zach’s finishing face|
Since the race was free (with purchase of a cruise) any memorabilia you wanted had to be purchased at the gift shop (conveniently located by the finish line). I was hoping to grab the women’s cut shirt I had seen online but all I could find was the unisex. It wasn’t the prettiest but I wanted to buy it. When I was in line, an employee brought out an armful of the women’s ones and the day was saved. However, having worked in retail I was amazed at how unprepared they were for the rush of people. The run happens every time a ship docks.
Overall, I thought the Castaway Cay 5K was poorly organized over every aspect. Yes, it is a cool idea, but it should not take an hour from check-in to start, the course should have something worthwhile to look at, and all the merchandise should be put out at one time.
(If you only care about my running blogs you can stop reading now)
The rest of the day was spent in Serenity Bay, the island’s adult only beach. I can’t even describe this place to you, so here are some pictures.
While we were on the beach, a storm actually moved over another part of the island, hence the dark clouds in that middle picture. It never actually rained on us, though!
Pretty much all we did until it was time to get back on the ship was nothing. We did eat lunch but other than that we sat in out chairs and read. It was absolutely wonderful!
Dinner was bittersweet because it was the last time eating with our new friends. However, it was also at Animator’s Palate, which I have already said is my favorite.
There was a special dinner show that involved drawing a character and having them come to life on screen. Because that took up so much time, the appetizer and the soup only had one option and we only got to pick the main course.
Appetizer: Sampler trio: smoked duck breast on duck confit, sliced mozerella and tomatoes, and dill marinated lobster and shrimp. All three were delicious.
Soup: Baked Potato and Mac & Cheese soup. It only had a few macaroni noodles in it, but it was really good!
Main course: Seafood Linguini. I had to get seafood as my last dish! It was delicious, except the mussels. They were too much work for such little meat, so I just let them sit there.
Dessert: See Ya Real Soon Sweet Temptations. Cappuccino mousse tartlet, celebration cake (kind of a layered strawberry cheesecake) and Chocolate Decadence (rich chocolate cake). The tartlet was my favorite, but they were all amazing.
The show involved the characters we drew being animated and put on the screens. It was really cool! They gave us an “Official Disney Animator” sticker on our drawings when we got them back.
The next morning, I really didn’t want to leave. It was a perfect, magical cruise, and the best honeymoon we could have asked for. Here’s to hoping we can do another in the future!