Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Volunteering at a Run Disney Event

Volunteering for a Disney Race is a great way to be involved in the Disney Magic even if you don't want to run the races. My sister and I traveled to WDW last year so she could run the Disney Marathon. Since neither one of us was participating in the Goofy Challenge, we thought we would be a part of it through volunteering.   We were both volunteers for the Half Marathon on Saturday and then I was a "Semi" volunteer for the full marathon on Sunday. You can read our complete story of our crazy volunteer experience HERE.


 

                                               It's waaay to early in the morning for this!


Here are a few things you should know Before signing up to volunteer.
( I can only speak for volunteering at Run Disney events at WDW, I can not say how things operate at DL)


1. If you are a volunteer, you will have to get up VERY Earlier. We were up and out of our resort room by 2:15 am.

*Note: We volunteered for the first shift because we wanted to have the rest of the day to go to the parks. There are later shifts, but then you are required to stay later in the day.

2. If you are a volunteer, you have to provide your own transportation. We had to call a cab ( call the night before) and we had a rather expensive cab ride!

3. The volunteer meet up point is a parking lot in DTD.

4. Once you get to the volunteer point, you will be separated into groups ( based on what you signed up to volunteer for)



5. You will be provided with a great Disney windbreaker ( yours to keep), a flashlight, and a bag of snacks.

*Note: You will want to keep all personal items to a minimum I would just bring a phone/camera or anything you can stash in your pocket, no backpacks or bags.

6. After you gather all your goodies, you will then board another shuttle bus that will take you to your volunteer location along the course. You can Read our story to see where we got to volunteer HERE.


7. When our first shift of volunteering was over, we were allowed to go help others with their shift, so we did. We got to hand out medals and that was one of the best jobs ever!
The runners are so grateful. We got so many "THANK YOU FOR VOLUNTEERING". People are so emotional. They want to hug you, they want you to take their picture, and some look as if they just want their medal and they are ready to collapse. We had one young man come through and he refused to take a medal! I thought maybe he felt that he didn’t deserve it because he didn’t finish the race, but clearly he had finished, I saw him come through with the rest of the runners and it was fairly early in the race so he made a good time. I don’t know what his deal was. I know there were some celebrities running this race such as Allison Sweeny, Drew Carey, that guy who played Samantha’s neighbor in the first Sex in the City movie ( don’t remember his name) and a few others, but I didn’t hear or see any of them come through. But then again, I am so horrible with celebrity sightings, I doubt I would recognize them anyway!

*Note: We did not get anything extra for volunteering for 2 jobs. We just did it because we wanted to.

8. When your shift is over, you have to go back to the DTD area and "Sign out".  There is a shuttle that will take you back to the volunteer point.

9. Once you are back at the volunteer tent at the DTD parking lot, you have to sign some paper work and then you get a one day park pass ( if your job was eligible for one).

*Note: as of right now, only Marathons and Half Marathon volunteer jobs are eligible for a free park pass. 5Ks and 10Ks are not, but they work off of a point system.

10. Once you sign out and get your park pass, you are free to leave. However, there is no transportation from that point back to your hotel.  You will have to call a cab, or do what we did. We walked through the parking lot and through DTD to the Market Place and waited for one of the resort buses.  We had to a wait a fairly long time just because we kept getting the wrong information as to which bus stops were operating at what times. But even though we had to wait a bit, it was still better than paying for a cab!



Other volunteer opportunities are available at the Health and Fitness Expos. Volunteers for the expo are required to put in so many hours. Volunteers receive points for the hours they put in. They can then redeem those points for a park ticket. Instead of a windbreaker jacket, expo volunteers receive a T-shirt.

If you are traveling with family or friends to a Run Disney event and they are not planning on running, this is a great way for them to be involved ( and earn some free Run Disney swag and a park ticket).   And not only that, these races ( as many do) depend on the generosity of volunteers!

* There are certain age requirements for volunteers depending on which volunteer job you sign up for. Volunteer opportunities open up a few weeks before the event. Volunteering is now closed for the WDW Marathon weekend, but the PHM weekend has just opened up. Click HERE to register or for more information about volunteering!

Have you ever volunteered at a race?

This post is part of a Run Disney Blog Hop. Make sure to check out the other posts to learn some interesting facts about Run Disney events!
Virtual Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Blog Hop Directory

25 comments:

  1. I'm volunteering for the half this year! I'm so excited.

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    1. That's the one we did. Enjoy it, it's lots of fun being on the "other side" of the race!

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  2. I did volunteer at a race once when I was recovering from my first marathon.....I had major Race Envy! LOL.

    Volunteers are awesome....we couldn't have a successful race without them. I always thank them, no matter how tired I am.... :)

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    1. Yes, I couldn't believe how many Thank Yous we received that morning! I always make sure to thank the volunteers when I run a race now ( everyone from the people who give the medals to those giving water).

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  3. Great post! Makes me want to volunteer. I bet handing out medals was such a rewarding experience.

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    1. Yes it was, but it made our arms tired because those medals are SO heavy!

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  4. Awesome post! I would love to volunteer at a runDisney event if I am ever there and not doing a race :) That is pretty crazy y'all were on your way out at 2:15 AM. How did you even have energy for the parks later in the day? lol! I haven't volunteered for a race yet, but it's one of my 2014 goals!

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    1. I think once the sun came up we forgot how tired we were. We were also so energized after seeing the runners finish! Poor Lacey had to get up early the next morning too for the marathon!

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  5. The Run Disney volunteering experience sounds great! A Run Disney race is on my life list, and I might have to add volunteering at one as well!

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    1. Yes, there is nothing like a Run Disney race! Once you run one, you'll be hooked!

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  6. I LOVE the volunteers. Seriously just love them. They get up so early in the morning and they are the sweetest people in the world. I am NOT a fast runner so God only knows how many people have run past them by the time they see me but they all still have huge smiles and chEAR as if I'm in first place. I can't say thank you enough!

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    1. I love the volunteers that are on the course and ChEAR with the big white Mickey gloves!

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  7. Great post! I volunteered for a race here at home last year and really enjoyed the experience.
    If I'm ever at Disney and NOT running, I'll be sure to sign up.

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    1. I know what you mean, it's hard to go to a Run Disney event and not be the one running!

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  8. Graet post. VoluntEARS are such an important part of races. I want to volunteer sometime too!

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    1. There are a ton of opportunities for volunteering at a Run Disney event. Not all of them are on the race course. There are people who volunteer at the expo and a ton of medical staff too!

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  9. Very cool - I haven't volunteared - but sounds awesome to get a free park pass! I should have done that when I was 6 months pregnant - I watched instead - but that was pretty fun, too!

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    1. Yea, we didn't even know that we were going to get a free park pass until after we registered. The park pass was just the icing on the cake, we would have volunteered anyway!

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  10. Nice! I have never volunteered at a race, but I hear it is awesome!

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  11. We volunteered at the WDW Half last year and the expo too. Hard work but we had fun. http://www.runninghappilyeverafter.com/2013/01/wdw-marathon-weekend-day-3-water-get.html I'm volunteering at the Half again, while DisneyGroom runs Dopey. Great recap and tips for volunteering! ~DisneyBride

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  12. You have wonderful behind the scenes insights Meranda. My one experience volunteering at a runDisney event was through a Charity Partner, so my experience was quite different. (I BET that early taxi ride was costly!) When friends of mine are on the fence about running, I always suggest that they volunteer at a local, or better yet, runDisney race; isn't the energy contagious?! And that windbreaker is a nice perk too. :D Headed over to read your complete story now. Tricia and I can't thank you enough for this terrific post!

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  13. I love the windbreaker you get! Other than the logistics and early time, it sounds pretty fun!

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  14. I haven't volunteered for a race itself, but I spent many years with the American Stroke Association's running program, so I was out at a lot of races volunteering with the ASA. One of these days I'll volunteer for a Disneyland race.

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  15. Hi! I'm looking into volunteering for a race so thanks for this informative post! Do you know if the park passes you got were transferable to another user? I have an annual pass so I was wondering if I could give the pass I earn from volunteering to a friend or family member. Thanks!

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    1. The park passes we received were just regular paper passes so I bet they could be used by anyone. I do believe they may have had an expiration date one them. I'm not sure though.

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Fairytales and Fitness is a personal blog authored and edited by us, Meranda and Lacey. The thoughts expressed here represent only our own and are not meant to be taken as professional advice. Please note that our thoughts and opinions change from time to time. We consider this a necessary consequence of having an open mind in an ever changing society. Any thoughts and opinions expressed within our out-of-date posts may not be the same, nor even similar, to those we may express today.