Are you looking for a way to participate in runDisney race weekends without having to actually run the race? Get in on the excitement and consider volunteering your time at Disneyland runDisney races!
I have participated in four runDisney races in the past few years – two on the West Coast and two on the East Coast. The excitement of participating in these races is unlike any other experience, but there is no way these races could take place without the hundreds of people who dedicate their time and energy to make sure the runners have an amazing race. From the water stations, medical tents, ChEAR Squads, and down to the people directing traffic or giving you a medal at the end of the race, these are all people who wanted to make your race day a reality. So, if you’re looking to participate in a runDisney race, I highly recommend becoming a runDisney volunteer.
Each volunteer opportunity is provided by a local Orange County organization, and last weekend I volunteered on behalf of Discovery Cube Orange County at the Star Wars Half Marathon. I had signed up several months in advance and there were plenty of shifts to choose from, from the runDisney Health and Fitness Expo, to helping with the 5K, 10K, or half marathon races – but they fill up VERY fast so you have to act quickly if you want to volunteer for a particular race.
For me, I volunteered to work one 8-hour shift during the Star Wars Half Marathon – the 2:45 am – 10:45 am shift (waking up even earlier than some of the runners!). I was assigned ‘Event Assist’ and ended up getting selected to assist with the Mylar blanket station (because despite your body temperature rising during a run, once you stop running, your body cools down quickly and you start to shiver!) In the wee hours of the morning, my fellow volunteers and I opened up boxes filled with rolls of mylar blankets that needed to be torn at perforated marks – and then set them along the gates so they could be easily handed out one the runners came through the line after receiving their medals and having their photos taken. I also got the chance to meet my fellow Babes in Disneyland contributor, Didi, who ran the Rebel Challenge (both the 10K and the half!)
The question I get most often is, What do I get for volunteering at the runDisney race?
Well, not only do you get a volunteer shirt, lots of coffee and a snack box to keep your energy levels up, you can also earn a complimentary Park Hopper ticket for dedicating your time. I want to reiterate that there are very definite stipulations to getting this ticket and just because you volunteer at a runDisney shift, you are not guaranteed this extra perk, so read the following carefully.
To earn a ticket, you must work a minimum of two shifts at the Expo or the shorter races OR you can work one shift (up to 8 hours) on half marathon race day. You are not limited to just two shifts for volunteering – some people may try to volunteer all days that the runDisney weekend is happening. For example, my husband volunteered at the Disneyland Marathon weekend back in September and a.) helped with the Expo on one day and then b.) handed out medals during the 10K. After the race weekend ended, he was sent a one-day ticket via email several weeks after the event.
For me, since I volunteered on Sunday during the half marathon, I got my complimentary Disneyland ticket after I completed my volunteer shift and I returned to check out at the registration booth. Pretty nifty! You can only earn a maximum of one (1) ticket, so even if you volunteer for 3-4 shifts, you’ll only receive one ticket.
The official runDisney site states as such:
- Individual Volunteers: Each individual volunteer must complete two assigned volunteer shifts Tuesday – Saturday OR one assigned volunteer shift on Sunday, to be eligible for the complimentary 1 Day Park Hopper® ticket (valid at Disneyland® Park AND Disney California Adventure® Park). Theme park tickets earned will be distributed within sixty days of the event. * Subject to change.
So you’re ready to sign up now, right? With increased prices at the Disneyland Resort, earning a free ticket can sound like a bonus on top of all the fun you’ll have a runDisney race. But be forewarned, it’s not easy becoming a volunteer – many people get wait-listed! The half marathon volunteer sign-ups go VERY quickly, so if you have your heart set on volunteering during the half marathon, you have to keep an eye on the individual event pages and check when volunteer sign-ups are happening.
The list of runDisney races at Disneyland include:
- Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend (just passed)
- Tinkerbell Half Marathon Weekend (May) –
- Volunteer sign-ups are happening on Tuesday, February 16, 2016!
- Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend (September)
- Volunteer sign-ups are happening on Tuesday, May 24, 2016!
- Avengers Half Marathon Weekend (November)
- Volunteer sign-ups are happening on Tuesday, July 19, 2016!
You may not always get the shift that you want, nor will you get the event that you want to volunteer for, so keep an eye on the event pages if you’re keen on participating as a volunteer.
Please read all of the eligibility information available at www.rundisney.com/volunteer to see if you qualify to volunteer at the runDisney events.
Perhaps I will see you at the next race – either as a runner or a volunteer. Let us know if you’ve ever volunteered at a runDisney race!