Volunteer registration opened for the 2023 Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend, which takes place at Walt Disney World in November, but volunteers discovered they will no longer receive complimentary theme park tickets.
No Complimentary Tickets for runDisney Volunteers
The following message was on the runDisney volunteer registration page:
Thank you for considering volunteering your time during the upcoming RunDisney race season! Your passion for making a difference in the Central Florida community through our celebrated charities is truly valued. In keeping with that spirit of volunteerism, complimentary theme park tickets will not be distributed. We appreciate your support and enthusiasm for our magical running community.
Previously, Disney would mail out full-day tickets to each volunteer within 60 days after the conclusion of a race. Last year, they handed out the tickets at the end of the event, when volunteers were shocked to discover the tickets were only valid until 1:00 p.m.
Last year, frequent runDisney volunteer Michele Stone told 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.’”
Volunteers can work over eight hours on a race day, with each race requiring more than 1,000 volunteers.
The runDisney website states 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” and assist in manning water stops and awarding medals with a “friendly face at each moment.”