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Change in runDisney volunteer policy threatens Disney marathon’s smooth running.

runDisney has made a change to its volunteer program that may impact the ability of Disney’s event organizers to efficiently process and support the tens of thousands of guests who pay to attend Walt Disney World runDisney events throughout the year.

For those unfamiliar with runDisney, it is an organization that hosts a series of running events at Walt Disney World and other Disney resorts. These events typically include marathons, half marathons, and other running and fitness events for people of all ages and fitness levels.

A report in the Orlando Sentinel reveals that runDisney now only provides half-day passes to volunteers who assist with races in Walt Disney World. This is a significant decline from previous events where volunteers were given full-day tickets as a token of appreciation.

To make its events happen, runDisney mainly relies on volunteers who are often asked to fill shifts of 8 hours or more. The report also indicates that there is still a need for 1,800 additional volunteers for the upcoming Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.

A Surprise Change In Policy?

The change in policy went into effect starting with last month’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend, and is expected to be the policy going forward. The new complimentary half-day tickets do not allow entry into the Walt Disney World theme parks until 1pm.

According to the report, many volunteers were shocked when they received their ticket at the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend. Some volunteers say they have chosen not to return because of the revised complimentary ticket policy.

This feels like a cheap move by Disney. The cost to give away a full-day complimentary ticket versus a half-day is negligible given how the impact is spread out across the entire year.

If you’re a participant in past runDisney events, have already registered for future events at Walt Disney World, or have volunteered your time in the past but are reconsidering your participation, please let us know how you feel in the comments below.

9 thoughts on “Change in runDisney volunteer policy threatens Disney marathon’s smooth running.”

  1. I used to volunteer for Disneyland’s runDisney events in Anaheim every year, then they decided it would become a paid volunteer position and required an employment application with a third-party group who were taking over the volunteer part of runDisney for Disneyland. Once the people at runDisney saw what a disaster that became, they decided to end all runDisney events at Disneyland in Anaheim. Looks like Disneyworld is starting down that same path with their runDisney events.

  2. A half day ticket means the user will spend less money in the park, since they will attend for fewer potential hours. So the switch will actually COST Disney lost revenue. Not to mention lost good will. What a bonehead move!

  3. Volunteering at disney run events is a lot of fun, but it also takes a day of your holiday (coming from Europe). if I know I get a half day ticket in return for this 8-12 hours (incl travel and wait time) shift I will not volunteer anymore.

  4. I am really confused with the comment “ The report also indicates that there is still a need for 1,800 additional volunteers for the upcoming Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.”. We have volunteered for all 4 days of the Marathon and only received one shift, plus this is the case of many volunteers, some not getting any assignments! Can someone please explain?

  5. Volunteering is just that. Why would you expect anything in return? Anything Disney gives is a bonus! We’re volunteering for the first time, and had hoped to maybe be given a T-shirt. Looking forward to the weekend!

  6. Very true, A t-shirt and lunch was enough for me because I really enjoyed doing it. Disney offered the tickets, which I always gave to friends and family since I was already a passholder, but I would have done it either way. Unfortunately, they decided to discontinue all runDisney events at Disneyland in California.

  7. David Meldrum-Green

    If all I get for driving one hour down to Disney at 2:30AM to work my butt off for an 8 hour shift is a half-day theme park ticket…..then sorry Disney you just lost me as a volunteer. Cannot believe how cheap Disney is getting… and then to pull this move unannounced to the volunteers is really low. Walt himself would be disgusted by this corporate behavior and these values.

  8. Roseanna Susan Flynn

    My husband and I volunteered for a number of years for the marathons and half marathons. We used to get our ticket handed to us with a thank you for volunteering when our shift was over. Then they started mailing them to us and it took a full three months to get it. Now with this change, I will not be volunteering anymore. A lot of the volunteers are retired people who did this to be able to take family to the park when they visit. Now, a half day? And not until 1:00 pm? And to make the change without informing your volunteers beforehand? What has happened to Disney? I’m done.

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