runDisney Volunteers Outraged as Disney Reduces Ticket Gift to Half-Day Only

Disney relies on volunteers to make each of their runDisney marathons go smoothly. In exchange for their time, Disney gave each volunteer a complimentary full-day theme park ticket as a “thank you.” However, after this year’s Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend, without notice, volunteers received only a half-day ticket.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that this came as a complete shock to many of the race volunteers who have helped out over the years.

“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,’” Michele Stone, a volunteer with runDisney events for more than seven years, told the Sentinel. “And then they went and changed the tickets without anybody knowing. So that was just like, ‘You only half appreciate us now.’”

In the past, Disney would mail out full-day tickets to each volunteer within 60 days after the conclusion of a race. However, this time they were handing them out as they were leaving the event. Each ticket stated that it was not valid until after 1:00 p.m.

Most volunteers enjoy giving their time to help out during the event and consider receiving a complimentary ticket was a nice bonus. Some volunteers asked about the change in the ticket and were told they would be half-day tickets going forward.

rundisney volunteer 1

Volunteers lend their help with every key moment of a race weekend, from race bib pick-up at the Health & Fitness Expo to race day operations.

runDisney website

The runDisney website says that “the volunteers at a runDisney event play an important role in a runner’s race journey.” They give motivation to the runners to keep “pushing through the remainder of the race.” They also will also provide any number of other assistance from “manning the water stops along the course” to awarding finishers with their medal all with a “friendly face at each moment.”

Volunteers can work over eight hours on a race day, with each race requiring more than 1,000 volunteers. Given that the runDisney races are for profit, some feel that expecting guests to support the event for free feels exploitative. The tickets were a balm to that.

This change comes on the heels of a hiring freeze and price increases across the resort. Disney Parks, Products, and Experiences reported a 36% increase in earnings (a total of $7.4 billion) for Q4 of 2022.

Have you volunteered for runDisney? If so, let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Check out some of our other coverage of runDisney marathons:

For the latest Disney Parks news and info, follow WDW News Today on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

Source: The Orlando Sentinel

30 thoughts on “runDisney Volunteers Outraged as Disney Reduces Ticket Gift to Half-Day Only”

  1. If I understand the runDisney events correctly…these are for profit runs? Disney is at its highest for scrutiny right now and they STILL decided that screwing these volunteers out of a half day was a good idea. They are volunteering their time…I’m sure mostly to get that free ticket. WOW!

    Reply
    • For all they do, it is not a bad trade off to get that ticket. In the end, they use the tickets to spend money IN the parks. Paycheck is gone, and they pulled this.. This one sits on Josh D’Amaro, yet another individual that they need to be rid of

      Reply
    • Yeah, people don’t ever deserve a little something for putting in work. I have no sympathy for DIS, this one is going to bite them.

      Reply
    • Let’s call us “helpers.” So instead of Disney paying employees to work the course, they figure others should do the work out of some sense of charity, really??? Sorry, but I do appreciate getting something for waking up at 1:30 in the morning to start a 2:30 am shift .

      Reply
    • We do it for the runners. Pay for hotel and drive 2 hours each way….It was nice to get a ticket I’ve worked many events like invictus games there for no ticket just helping out the amazing athletes
      We also work a real job and for money imagine that shame on us

      Reply
    • Most volunteers get something, be it a free meal, swag, whatever. I think rewarding 8-10 hours of work with a day at the park isn’t asking too much.

      Reply
    • I’m assuming you know very little about this and judging too quickly. My wife and I volunteer and travel by plane and pay for our own lodging, plane ticket, food and transportation car rental or Uber. We awake at 2am to board a bus to the location we we work. 6-8 hard labor lifting heavy boxes of supplies and preparing the site for the runners. My brother passed away from Leukemia years ago and thought of it as a way of honoring him. We spend on average about $2500 to volunteer for this event we also get to see friends and enjoy doing this hard work. The ticket is not why we volunteer. However it was a nice gesture and a way of thanking us for our service. The tickets could not be resold to someone else because our name was on it. The reduction to a 1/2 day from a full day we perceived as they had too many volunteers. So we will not do it again and the money spent at the parks and Disney springs will be spent on another charity event. . Terrible move on Disneys part!

      Reply
  2. Not all, but you know some of those full day tickets were being sold. This is a way of controlling that. Besides, with the price of the tickets being what they are, $13/hr on average isn’t bad for the amount of work we have to do as a volunteer.

    Reply
    • Well Jerry. Disney. Can take their half day ticket and stick them where the sun don’t shine No more volunteering from my family and friends

      Reply
  3. What is the definition of a volunteer?
    § 553.101 “Volunteer” defined. (a) An individual who performs hours of service for a public agency for civic, charitable, or humanitarian reasons, without promise, expectation or receipt of compensation for services rendered, is considered to be a volunteer during such hours.

    Want paid or Compensation? NOT a volunteer0

    Reply
    • Let’s call us “helpers.” So instead of Disney paying employees to work the course, they figure others should do the work out of some sense of charity, really??? Sorry, but I do appreciate getting something for waking up at 1:30 in the morning to start a 2:30 am shift .

      Reply
  4. OK.. so since Disney is a for-profit entity, that means volunteer hours can’t be counted towards anything like community service or fundraising or anything that would constitute a charity. These people spend many, Many, MANY hours volunteering to make the event a success, and now, their only tangible perk is cut in half?

    You will see them now have a serious drop in voluntter numbers, deservedly so.

    Reply
  5. The runners pay for the marathon. The volunteers are checking in at 3-4 AM to set up tables of water or Gatorade or the snack boxes at the end as well as cheering them on at each checkpoint. If you can’t get into the park till 1:00 you wouldn’t get to ride very many rides as that is the high volume of people in the park. As well as no notice of the changes. M M charges enough to enter the parks as well as charging you for parking etc.

    Reply
  6. This seems like a significant failure on D’Amaro’s part. Chapek the jerk is gone and stupid decisions like this can’t be blamed on him any longer. Disney needs to be building TRUST back with their devoted guests. This demonstrates a poor decision that is D’Amaro’s and he must be realigned by CEO Iger or he needs to go too in the house cleaning. Too much damage was done in Chapek’s 999 days of terror to continue such poor treatment of guests and supporters. Iger must show that expectations have changed or he will not regain the RESPECT that Disney has lost under the Chapek cheapskate regime.

    Reply
  7. Oh this is horrible. One of the highlights of my run as a participant are the volunteers. If I could buy them all park tickets I would. They make these runs what they are. Please take care of them! This news is so sad.

    Reply
  8. Let’s call us “helpers.” So instead of Disney paying employees to work the course, they figure others should do the work out of some sense of charity, really??? Sorry, but I do appreciate getting a full comp ticket for waking up at 1:30 in the morning to start a 2:30 am shift . Let’s see how long the runs survive without adequate help.

    Reply
  9. I’ve not yet done a run Disney race, been suffering from sticker shock, but I’ve completed 48 half marathons and have always been grateful to the volunteers that make it all possible. From now on I’ll try to see how grateful the organizers are to those volunteers because while I’m sure they appreciate me saying “thank you” if there are perks or lack thereof for them I’ll voice approval with my wallet. And don’t call the volunteers greedy for being disappointed with cuts to the ticket, the hours they put in a park ticket isn’t an overpayment particularly when you consider what they likely spend when they enjoy it. Luck to all this seasons runners and thanks to all the volunteers.

    Reply
  10. You people are ridiculous. So now we need to reward all people who volunteer for charity events. If you want compensation, then put in an application and get hired. If you want to volunteer, then do it expecting nothing and rejoice if something comes you way. If not, then you are not volunteering, you are working. You want the glory and praise of a volunteer but you want compensation. Total hypocrite.

    Reply
  11. Good luck finding people to work the first aid and medical without the day tickets. That was the only incentive for medical professionals to work the event.

    Reply
  12. I’ve been volunteering for 8 years. I do it for fun and collect tix for family. I have an annual pass so I do not care for the tix. But yes this is a big blow.

    Reply
  13. Worst of all is these tickets are a tax write off for Disney and cost the company absolutely nothing……Disney isn’t losing anything. I’m betting Eiger will change this back and also bring back the Star Wars Marathons.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.