Friday, June 22, 2012

Dream Trip Report Day 5: Castaway Cay

Everyone was awake by 6:30 a.m.  Oh how I wish the kids could sleep later!

Today was our first day at Castaway Cay! (Disney's private island in the Bahamas).

The night before, at the turn-down service, our stateroom host left us our navigator for the next day.  Here is a copy I scanned in so you can see what sort of activities were happening on board the ship and on the island throughout the day.  It's kinda hard to read since it opens up like a book and I had to scan one page at a time:
Day 2 Navigator

I opened the curtains and discovered the daylight.  The kids liked the porthole.

We had ordered room service for breakfast the night before--just some muffins and donuts for the kids.  Brian and Nathan went up to Cabanas by themselves for breakfast and brought us down a plate of protein to go with our carbs.

Not soon after we got up, we could see that we were backing into Castaway Cay!

Today was the day that prompted me, about a year ago, to start the Couch to 5k training program.  I was going to run the Castaway Cay 5k run!

The runners were meeting in Club 687 (one of the adult nightclubs on the ship) at 8:30 a.m.  This is a picture that Brian took of me before I left the room.

When I arrived at Club 687, there were already several runners there. A super bubbly crew member named Cally instructed us to sign the sign-in sheet with our room number and we were each given a race bib.

After a few minutes, Cally explained the 5k to us.  She said it was pretty laid back, there was a timer on the course but it wasn't really a "race" per say.  We could take it at our own pace.  She explained that we would get off the ship as a group and walk to the bike rental shop to the start of the course.  Walking there would take about 10 minutes.

By the way, I have no pictures of all this because I didn't want to take my camera with me while I was running.  It turns out that Cally watched everyone's stuff during the race so I could have brought it and taken some pictures before it started.

Oh, and I ran into a lady from our cruise group at the runner's meet-up.  We sat at a table and chatted with a few other runners.

So then we got off the ship and stopped for a group picture.  There were maybe 25-30 runners.  And then out comes Goofy in his track suit to pose with us! (I could have bought this picture but I didn't...I didn't know most of the other runners).

Then we walked to the bike rental place where there was a map of the course.  Then there was a countdown and the clock started!

Now a few minutes before the race, I noticed a young guy changed into a performance tank top, and when the clock started he zipped off. And I mean it was like he was sprinting.  And one of the runners in the crowd shouted, "Well, I guess we all know who's going to win this one!"

It was probably 9:10 or so when we started.  We ran to the old airplane runway and took a loop around the bike path with the observation tower.  I, unfortunately, took a wrong turn and actually ran TO the observation tower.  Oops!  Had to run back to get back on the main path.  Then we went back to the runway and continued down to Serenity Bay (the adult beach) and turned around.  Back up the runway for another loop around the bike bath/tower loop.  Then back to the place where we started.  And I missed a turn and wound up running almost to the beach when a cast member stopped me and said I was totally in the wrong place.  (There were signs/arrows posted for the 5k but I think they were missing one at the last turn).  It was hot and muggy.  I vowed that no matter what, I would just keep running.  I knew if I started walking, I'd never be able to start up running again.  I stopped for water 4 times (well, didn't fully stop, I jogged in place while I was drinking water).  And I finished the run at 36 minutes!  Not too bad considering my 2 detours and all of my water stops.

At the finish line, Cally handed us each a Disney Cruise Line "Winner" medal.  I gulped down more water.  I was so glad I made it through with this race!

I stopped in the gift shop and bought a Castaway Cay 5k t-shirt before heading back to the ship.  It was shortly before 10 a.m. and lots of people were just getting off the ship to come to the island.  Many of them saw my race bib and asked what it was for.  I don't think the 5k was heavily advertised--it was on the activity list on the navigators, but I only knew about it from reading the DIS boards over the last several years.  I think more people might run it if they knew about it in advance.

Brian had dropped off Alyssa at the nursery at 9 that morning so I had to go back to our room and shower and pick her up by 11 a.m.  I was moving so slow, I was tired!

I showered and still had some extra time, so I stopped by the Future Cruise Desk and booked a future cruise for us.  ;-)

Meanwhile, while I was doing all that, Brian got off the ship around 9 a.m. with the boys.  They got their picture taken with Jack Sparrow on the island.

They took a tram to the 2nd tram stop and swam out to Pelican Plunge and went down one of the water slides.  Fun!

Then they spent over an hour just relaxing on the beach.  The boys built sand castles and hung out in the water.

The water was as clear as bath water.  There were little minnow fish everywhere, and then these bigger white fish (about 6-8 inches long, I'd say).

We used our wave phones (the cell phones the cruise line provides to work on the ship and on the island) to figure out that we would meet at Cookies Too for lunch on the island.  The food was yummy and I was starving.  Hamburgers, hot dogs, ribs, chicken, salads, chips, fruit, cookies, ice cream, etc.  I was very impressed with the crew members working at Cookies Too.  I was going through the buffet with Alyssa in a stroller and trying to balance my tray, and a crew member came over and carried our tray and got our drinks for us and got us settled down at a table.  Woohoo!

After lunch, we decided to take a family bike ride.  We went to the bike rental shop and picked out bikes for all of us.  We decided that Alyssa should ride on the back of Brian's bike since he is an experienced cyclist and I am terrible at bike riding.  In fact, I wasn't sure if I could pull it off without falling.

But the bikes were great!  They had ones with training wheels (which Josh rode) and the bikes were all old-school bikes without hand breaks.  Like the bike I was used to riding as a kid.

Here are Brian and Joshua coming down the runway:

Nathan was always out in front:

So we were riding bikes on the same path where I was running earlier in the day.  Except it felt a lot cooler on the bike.  It was breezy.

We took the bike loop off the runway and climbed up the observation tower.  We could see the Disney Dream anchored in the distance.

Nathan on the top deck of the observation tower:

Checking out the island from the top:

So at this point, Joshua was getting really tired.  He just hadn't been getting as much sleep as he was accustomed to.  We decided we should head back to the bike rental place instead of continuing down the runway to the other bike loop behind the adult beach.  But twice, Joshua just stopped on his bike and shut down.  He didn't want to move any further.

Luckily for us, along comes two of the kid's counselors from the kids' club!  Apparently they had the day off and they were riding bikes too.  They stopped to see if they could help us out.  They encouraged Joshua to keep going and we made it back to the bike rental place.

We turned in our bikes and decided to drop the boys off at Scuttles Cove, the kids' club on the island.  It was after 1:00 p.m.  While they were there, Brian and I hung out with Alyssa on the beach. She had a good time.

Around 2:30 we headed back to Scuttle's Cove to check on the boys.  They said they had a good time there.  We asked them what they wanted to do--Josh said he wanted to watch a movie in the room, and Nathan said he wanted to go to the ship's pool. So I returned to the room with Joshua and Alyssa while Brian took Nathan to the pool.  Joshua watched Aladdin on our bed, and I closed the curtain and Alyssa took a nap on the other side.

Did I mention that the ship has on-demand TV shows and movies?  Like every Disney movie and tv show you can think of.  The kids loved it and we used it about once a day for our down time.

Alyssa woke up around 5 p.m. and played with Joshua.

We ordered room service for the kids for dinner because tonight was going to be our first dinner date night alone, just the 2 of us!!!  At 5:30 p.m. we dropped Alyssa off at the nursery and the boys at the kids' club.

YAY!  Our first dinner alone together, EVER, on a vacation!  Just the 2 of us!  Some of you may think this is no big deal, but for us it was.  We have never had a date on a vacation ever!

We decided to stop by the atrium after dropping the kids off and get our picture taken together.  We were waiting in line for this moon backdrop, but the line was longer and the white backdrop had no line.  The photographer convinced us to do the white backdrop.  It was the same crew member at this white backdrop all week and she was great!  We ended up liking the white backdrop pictures better than most of our other pictures taken on the ship.

We had dinner by ourselves at our table in the Enchanted Garden.  This restaurant is supposed to resemble Versailles in France and it subtly changes from day to night throughout dinner.  It was nice, but it didn't seem nearly as "Disney" as Animator's Palette did the night before.  It was more like a nice, normal restaurant.  Which was totally fine with us.  We were just happy to be there.

I had lobster ravioli as my appetizer.  I am a big fan of lobster ravioli!

For dessert we each had the Sacher chocolate torte.  I figured that since I had run and rode a bike that day, I could afford to splurge on dessert.

Our dinner was over at 7:30 and it was time to pick up Alyssa from the nursery.  We decided to pick up the boys from the kids' club and get our family picture with Captain Mickey.  I think Captain Mickey was out every night on the balcony overlooking the atrium.  His line got shorter as the cruise progressed.

Again, all of us looking at the camera.  How did we get so lucky??
After that, Brian and Nathan really wanted to see the movie John Carter, which was playing in the smaller movie theater.  So they went off to that.  I wanted to attempt to see one of the Broadway shows.  Tonight the show was the Golden Mickeys.

I took the 2 younger kids back to the room, grabbed some candy that had been left in our Fish Extender, and headed to the Walt Disney Theater.  I found a row in back with just 3 seats, so I figured that would be perfect for us.  The only problem was that the show didn't start right away--the cruise director spoke, then the captain of the ship came out...then the show finally started.  But we didn't make it through.  The kids started being too loud and disruptive.  So we snuck out of the theater.  It looked like a good show, maybe I'll catch it next time.

Our towel animal tonight was an elephant!

Tomorrow:  Nassau, Bahamas!

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