Volunteers Shocked When Disney Reduces Their Gift to Half-Day Park Admission

Volunteers for a popular event got a huge surprise when Disney suddenly changed the complimentary ticket they received as a thank-you for their service to just half-day Park admission to the Walt Disney World Resort.

a child holding a minnie and mickey mouse plush

Credit: Disney

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Many fans enjoy attending the runDisney events hosted at Walt Disney World, and many Guests recognize that none of it would be possible without the Disney volunteers. In fact, about 15,000 volunteers help support the events each season, with over 1,000 volunteers handing out race bibs for Pick-Up and maintaining operations on race day.

On the contributions of its volunteers, the runDisney organization’s website had this to say:

More than assisting with the operation, the volunteers at a runDisney event play an important role in a runner’s race journey. From manning the water stops along the course to awarding you with your finishers medal after you’ve accomplished what you set out to do, the volunteers are that friendly face at each moment.

Credit: Disney

However, some volunteers now feel like these words are empty appreciation for their exploitation by Disney. RunDisney events are for profit, and often benefit charities, but are almost completely organized for free by these volunteers.

Typically, the Walt Disney Company provides complimentary one-day theme park admission to race volunteers to compensate them for their time. Although most members say they enjoy volunteering their time, the ticket did serve as a nice added bonus.

Unfortunately, Disney somewhat abruptly changed their policy without notice, and volunteers at this year’s Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend found out they would receive a reduced admission entry instead… as they were leaving the successful event they’d already put on.


Credit: Disney Tips

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Specifically, each ticket now allowed for Disney Park entry only after 1:00 p.m., unlike the full-day tickets volunteers usually received via mail within 60 days of a race’s conclusion. After nearly a decade of supporting runDisney events, volunteer Michele Stone told the Orlando Sentinel:

Over and over [during the event], you hear the announcements, ‘Thank you, volunteers! We couldn’t do it without you. We depend on our volunteers.’ And then they went and changed the tickets without anybody knowing. So that was just like, ‘You only half appreciate us now.’

What’s more, Disney told some of the volunteers present that the change to half-day admission as compensation for a full day, or often a full weekend’s worth of work would be permanent moving forward. DisneyTips will provide updates if and when they become available.

For more information on becoming a runDisney volunteer, click here.

About Spencer Beck

Spencer is a lifelong lover of theme parks, princesses, and Disney history that recently relocated to Northern California. She completed her undergraduate studies at UCLA, where she was the founder and first president of the campus Disney Club. A former Cast Member still mourning the loss of the Disney Store, she now haunts the halls of the Walt Disney Family Museum, and shares her opinions with anyone who will listen @pinknpurble everywhere.