Disney Cruise Line

Run The World: Disney Cruise Line Edition!

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Castaway Cay 5K Finisher
Castaway Cay 5K finisher!

Whether you’re running a runDisney event, or simply logging miles on Disney World property, every mile really is magic at Disney! Recently, I had the opportunity to take my Disney running to the next level when I traveled aboard the Disney Magic. I learned that it’s not only possible to keep your training up while cruising, but it can be a lot more fun than you might think!

In this post, I will share three run categories: Indoor Training, Outdoor Training, and even a runDisney “Race,” so lace up your running shoes…and let’s go!

Indoor Training

Treadmill over the water!

Sure, I know what you’re saying: it’s a treadmill. But really, if you’re on a cruise and looking to run several miles on your training plan, it is an option that you should consider while aboard. Several treadmills line the front window of the Fitness Center and are generally available throughout standard operating hours. I visited at 8 AM on our “At Sea” day and had no problem securing a treadmill located in the center of the room.

The current machines are “Life Fitness” models and have many technological touches to keep your workout as enjoyable as possible – you can hook your headphones right into the machine and watch TV, listen to your iPod, or select options on the touch screen to visualize trail runs, track workouts, and more…though honestly, I could not take my eyes off the gorgeous blue water outside! It was a really neat feeling to feel like you’re flying above the waves!

PROS: Fitness center is easily accessible on Deck 9 forward (check your Personal Navigator for hours; during our cruise, the schedule was 6:30 AM to 10:30 PM daily), and towel, water, and shower facilities are available and free of charge.

CONS: Rough waters could cause your treadmill run to be an exercise in balance, but for the most part, indoor training is a comfortable option for logging longer runs.

Outdoor Training

Jogging Track SignBefore I was a runner, I often admired the joggers circling Deck 4 – so of course, this time, I had to join their ranks, and boy, am I glad I did!

Accessing the jogging track is easy – walk out onto the outdoor deck area and get your feet moving! The distance of one full lap is 1/3 mile, so just take the distance you want to run in miles, and multiply that by three for the amount of times you need to run around.

PROS: Running the track is fun and scenic – when else can you run on the ocean? Also, there are water fountains on both sides of the deck, and the distance is long enough to not get too repetitive.

Views from Disney Magic Jogging Path
Run with a view!

CONS: Not necessarily a “con” per se, but a word of caution – this track is not only shared by walkers, joggers, runners, but cruise and maintenance staff, so be sure to be aware of your surroundings. I would recommend running “unplugged ” (sans headphones) and taking advantage of the safety mirrors in the forward and aft sections of the running track.

The runDisney Castaway Cay 5K

Ahh, the best for last! I was the most excited about this event – especially since I had heard that the somewhat “unofficial” event had been promoted to a full-fledged “runDisney” experience!

Castaway Cay 5K Ticket
Your ticket to run!

Getting involved in this event was easy:

  • Visit Guest Services anytime before arriving at Castaway Cay
  • Show up at the time indicated on your ticket on Castaway Cay day
  • Bring your ID, Key to the World (KTTW) card and your ticket – then pick up your bib and you’re good to go!

Really, it’s that easy – and unlike other runDisney events, it’s totally free! Wahooo!

Although details may differ on different itineraries, our race morning was very easy and straightforward: after presenting our KTTW, we were briefed by our friendly cruise staff and told that we’d be the first to disembark the ship at Castaway Cay. As a group, we all swiped out of the ship and walked to the bike rental area, where the course was verbally reviewed, and at 8:30 AM, we were off!

The course is relatively simple: a jaunt down the path away from the bike rentals, down the “runway,” in and around the bike trail loop, back down the runway toward the adult beach, a turn around, a second loop, and back toward the bike rental location for 3.1 miles.

Running in Castaway Cay 5K
Course enjoys both shaded and sunny sections.

The 5K run is not timed officially, though there is a large clock at the finish for runners to glance at as they cross the finish line, which was definitely a nice touch. Since the island is, in fact, located in the Bahamas, the temperature and humidity level might be higher than many guests are accustomed to, but since it is early enough in the morning, it is both manageable and enjoyable.

Castaway Cay 5K Women's Shirt
Women’s finisher shirts.

PROS: The Castaway Cay is open to walkers, joggers, and runners – seriously! The cruise staff are very friendly and encouraging of all cruisers who are interested in checking out the run, and all who complete the 3.1 miles will receive a special medal! Men’s and women’s shirts are also available for purchase at the nearby gift shop.

CONS: If you’re not used to running in high temperatures, it can be a challenging 3.1 miles. My recommendation is to take this run easy – there are no age-group awards or special incentives to gain from achieving a personal record, so enjoy!

One more con? Participants must be 12 years of age or older to participate, so be sure to plan ahead of your family situation requires.

As a runner always readying for my next event, I was delighted to get in my miles while cruising! It not only helped launch my days with a healthy dose of fun and energy, but running made me feel a little better about all the indulging I did aboard the ship. I think that if we had a longer itinerary I may have even run while visiting other ports of calls, which would be yet another category of running while cruising.

Do you run on your cruise vacations? Do you have any tips or tricks to share?

Looking for more info about running at Disney? Check out my previous posts on the Touring Plans Blog:

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