UPDATE: How to Volunteer for a runDisney Event
AllEars® Guest Blogger
A few months ago, I wrote an article for the AllEars® newsletter explaining how to volunteer for a runDisney event. Almost all of that information has now changed! Therefore, I wanted to give as much updated information as I can.
Volunteering for a Disney race is now as popular as running in one. Registration can fill in a day. To make registration go quicker, I recommend that you already have an account on the registration website, so that when you sign up for a race, you don’t have to go through full registration process. Note that runDisney no longer uses Active.com for volunteer sign up. The new website address is: https://volunteerambassadorwdw.my-trs.com/
You can no longer register other volunteers on the same account. Each volunteer, including children, must have his or her own account attached to an individual email. That means only one person per email address. Teams are welcome to work races, and you can now register a team on this site. Creating an account is simple and straightforward.
The first page you will see is the Welcome page. At the top is the new symbol, stylized people of different colors creating a star, with the words “VOLUNTEER AMBASSADOR TEAM” at the top of the page. Below will be a general description of volunteering. On the right, you will see LOGIN and CREATE A NEW ACCOUNT buttons. New registrants will click on the CREATE button.
The next page will show a single blue box with the words VOLUNTEER AMBASSADOR TEAM. Click SELECT.
A list will appear that explains the VOLUNTEER AMBASSADOR TEAM CODE OF CONDUCT. When you have read this, click CLOSE.
In the grey box beneath the explanation of contact information, you will tick the white box, stating you are interested in Volunteer Ambassador Team events.
A new list will be added to the right side of the page. At the bottom right of the page, Click NEXT.
Finish creating your account by providing your email address, first and last name, and your password. Once you are registered, you can return to this page and log in to adjust your profile data. Again, to make signing up for runs quicker, complete your profile BEFORE the race registration date.
There are a few ways of getting to your account on the day of sign up.
The easiest way is to sign into your Volunteer Ambassador Team Account. This will take you to your EVENT dashboard where you will see EVENTS YOU HAVE SIGNED UP FOR, either as an individual or as a team leader; AVAILABLE EVENTS, to register for specific runs or events that are open; and CONTINUE REGISTRATION, which lists future events that are not yet open. These events include volunteer chances for other than runDisney races. Once you see your event under AVAILABLE EVENTS, click on it. Since this is a brand new system, I have not seen the rest of the registration process. However, if it is anything like how it used to be, you will be given the choice of date, shift time and race.
Another way is to start on the runDisney website. First, go to http://www.rundisney.com/volunteer/. You can also get to this page from www.rundisney.com at the bottom under OTHER LINKS. This is the official page for runDisney events and you can check for information and the status of events by clicking the down arrow where is says VOLUNTEER FOR SELECT AN EVENT, which is located UNDER the pictures. (The EVENTS button at the top of the page next to the runDisney title is for runner information) On the day of sign up, choose the race, click on REGISTRATION. When it’s time, the words REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN will appear. Click on this and it will take you to your volunteer account page. Once you log in, go down to AVAILABLE EVENTS and choose the race you are signing up for.
There are many other opportunities to volunteer for. If you are interested in volunteering for other sports events, go to https://espnwwos.com and click on VOLUNTEER. This will take you to a list of events at Disney ESPN Wide World of Sports, which include runDisney races. These all count toward Disney points awards. You can use this page to navigate to registration. When the race registration opens, click on it, it will take you to the runDisney page. Click on REGISTRATION NOW OPEN to take you to your Log in. This is the most roundabout way and better used for ESPN events.
Now that you know how to register, your next question is probably "When?" For runDisney events, volunteer registration is 3 to 4 months before the event. Sign up dates for 2016-17 are as follows:
Disneyland Half Marathon, Sept 1-4, 2016 Closed
Disneyland Paris, Sept 23-25, 2016 Closed
WDW Disney Wine & Dine, Nov 3-6, 2016 July 26, 2016, Noon (ET)
DL Super Heroes, Nov 10-13, 2016 July 19, 2016, 9am (PDT)
WDW Marathon, Jan 4-8, 2017 Sept 13, 2016 Noon (ET)
DL Star Wars- Light Side, Jan 12-15, 2017 Sept 27, 2016 9am (PDT)
WDW Disney Princess, Feb 23-26, 2017 Nov 15, 2016 Noon (ET)
WDW Star Wars- Dark Side, Apr 20-23, 2017 Not yet announced
DL Tinker Bell, May 11-14, 2017 February
These times and dates may change, so be sure to sign up for emails on the runDisney site at the bottom under OTHER LINKS and check the site occasionally.
Then you have to decide which events you want to volunteer for. (I have only volunteered at WDW, so can only speak of these races) Your choices will include the race Expo, which is indoors; the kids’ races; Race Retreat; the 5K, 10K, Half Marathon or Full Marathon (Marathon weekend only). ALL races are now very early morning races. You choose a shift for the Expo, Half Marathon and Marathon (you will also choose an assignment at this time) and do a general sign-up for the rest of the races (You will choose your assignment when you arrive for your shift). (Again, this information may change with the new system.)
Those of you who have volunteered before know that Disney compensates their volunteers with points and park tickets. The ESPN events, race Expo and kids' races are all on the point system. You receive 1 point for each hour you volunteer. When you reach 16 points, you are mailed a 1-Day 1-Park ticket, good for any of the Walt Disney World theme parks. (Be aware that your points will be erased at the end of the year, they will not carry over.) For each shift completed for the 5K, 10K, Half and Full Marathons, a 1-Day 1-Park ticket will be mailed to you within 60 days. (They will no longer hand you a ticket at the end of a half or full marathon shift.)
Another change is that for the 5K, 10K, Half and Full marathon you MUST pick up special credentials BEFORE the race. When you sign up for a race, you will receive a packet (envelope) about 30 days before race weekend that will include your scheduled shifts, directions and paper name tag. For the longer races, you must pick up a different name tag (credentials) in order to volunteer. You can pick these up at an early pick-up or at the Expo. You will also need to bring a signed waiver, found on the runDisney race page. Volunteers must be 14 years old and up, younger than 16 must be accompanied by an adult registered for the same shift. Those 18 and younger must have a parent waiver when signing in.
If you have specific questions, do not hesitate to contact them. For Walt Disney World runs, call 407-938-3880, or email email@example.com. For Disneyland runs, email DLrunDisney.Volunteers@disneysports.com. For those with a medical background who would like to volunteer, call the Medical Volunteer Hotline at 407-303-4053.
Volunteering for runDisney events means you will start very early, you will be standing for up to 8 hours, and you will be outside in the weather (rain or shine), but those hours go by quicker than you expect. So, when you decide to volunteer, expect to show up well-rested, wearing comfortable closed-toed shoes, prepared for the weather, and most of all, with a smile on your face and encouragement for the runners. It is definitely rewarding.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
During the first of her two runDisney races, Rebecca Foreman decided that it looked like the volunteers were having so much fun, she had to try it for herself. She was right, and is now hooked! Walt Disney World holds a special place in her heart as the best family trip taken when she was a child, and it still gives her that nostalgic, magical feeling every time she is lucky enough to get there.