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ESPN Wide World of Sports Archives

March 11, 2017

How your teen (and you!) can volunteer at Walt Disney World

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Teenagers who would like to volunteer and earn community service hours at The Most Magical Place on Earth have several opportunities coming up.

Registration is now open for the 2017 Special Olympics Florida State Summer Games on May 20 and 21 at ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World.

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Disney volunteers, also known as Sports Enthusiasts and Volunteer Ambassadors, can work at events held at the facility or at runDisney races held on Disney World property. In general, they must be at least 14 to volunteer and those younger than 16 must be accompanied by an adult. For the Special Olympics, volunteers younger than 18 do not have to volunteer with an adult. All minors must have a parent or guardian's permission and a signed waiver.

For the 2017 Special Olympics Florida State Summer Games, volunteers still are needed to help with the games on Saturday. There are waitlists for other shifts that involve serving meals and helping with “Healthy Athletes.” Volunteer shifts are typically assigned on a first-come, first-served basis with volunteers receiving assignments about 30 days before the event takes place.

The only event on the summer calendar for Sports Enthusiasts is AAU National Club Championships for Track and Field, which takes place July 7 to 15. Volunteer positions will be available for start/finish line, field events, clerk's tent and awards tent. Registration will open on April 4. Keep an eye on this website if you are interested.

For runDisney races, volunteers may work at the Health and Fitness Expo or kid races located at ESPN Wide World of Sports or at the start/finish line or along the course of races that go through the parks at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. The next runDisney event in Orlando is the Walt Disney World Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend, which includes the half marathon, a 10K, a 5K and kid races. All events take place Nov. 2 to 5. Registration for volunteers opens several months in advance, but it is not available yet.

Walt Disney World recognizes that even though its Sports Enthusiasts are volunteering for their own personal reasons, they could not host the races without the volunteers' help. As such, volunteers are given "appreciation," for their time. Each person receives a snack and one commemorative piece of apparel for each volunteer shift.

In addition, volunteers are eligible to earn points toward complimentary theme-park tickets. Each hour of service completed is equal to one point, and it takes 16 points to earn a day's admission to Walt Disney World. (The exception is shifts that are worked on a runDisney course, which earn one ticket per four- to six-hour shift.) Earned tickets are mailed within 60 days of reaching 16 points.

To get started, you must register through Active.com. You have the option to access the information as a guest or to create an account, which streamlines future registrations.

Volunteers will receive confirmation in the mail of the shifts for which they have been scheduled about a month prior to the event. The mailing also will include further information on parking, directions, and other useful information.

Questions? Call the Sports Enthusiast Information Line at 407-938-3880, or email wdw.sports.enthusiast@disneysports.com.


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April 23, 2016

Volunteer opportunities for teens at Walt Disney World

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Teenagers who would like to earn community service hours before the end of the school year still can register to volunteer at the 2016 Special Olympics Florida State Summer Games on May 20 and 21 at ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World.

Disney volunteers, also known as Sports Enthusiasts, can work at events held at the facility or at runDisney races held on Disney World property. They must be at least 14 to volunteer and those younger than 15 must be accompanied by an adult. All minors must have a parent or guardian's permission and a signed waiver.

For the 2016 Special Olympics Florida State Summer Games, volunteers are needed to help with Opening Ceremonies, Healthy Athletes, Meals Assistant, Cycling, Team Soccer, Soccer Skills, Tennis Skills, Track and Field and more. Volunteer shifts are typically assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

The only event on the summer calendar for Sports Enthusiasts is AAU National Club Championships for Track and Field, which takes place July 9 to 16. Volunteer positions will be available for start/finish line, field events, clerk's tent and awards tent. Registration has not opened yet but is expected to soon, so keep an eye on this website if you are interested.

For runDisney races, volunteers may work at the Health & Fitness Expo or kid races located at ESPN Wide World of Sports or at the start/finish line or along the course of races that go through the parks at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. The next runDisney event in Orlando is the Walt Disney World Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend, which includes the half marathon, a new 10K, a 5K and kid races. All events take place Nov. 3 to 6. Registration for volunteers opens several months in advance, but it is not available yet.

Walt Disney World recognizes that even though its Sports Enthusiasts are volunteering for their own personal reasons, they could not host the races without the volunteers' help. As such, volunteers are given "appreciation," for their time. Each person receives a snack and one commemorative piece of apparel for each volunteer shift.

In addition, volunteers are eligible to earn points toward a complimentary theme-park ticket. Each hour of service completed is equal to one point, and it takes 16 points to earn a day's admission to Walt Disney World. Earned tickets are mailed within 60 days of reaching 16 points.

To get started, you must register through Active.com. You have the option to access the information as a guest or to create an account, which streamlines future registrations.

Volunteers will receive confirmation in the mail of the shifts for which they have been scheduled about a month prior to the event. The mailing also will include further information on parking, directions, and other useful information.

Questions? Call the Sports Enthusiast Information Line at 407-938-3880, or email wdw.sports.enthusiast@disneysports.com.



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January 6, 2016

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 2016 Expo begins Wednesday and is free to public

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It’s January, and many of us are tackling a New Year’s resolution of creating a healthier lifestyle for ourselves. If you’re like me, you can use all the inspiration you can get. Fortunately for us, Walt Disney World is hosting its largest runDisney Health and Fitness Expo – beginning today -- and it’s free and open to the public!

The expo is part of Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, runDisney's most extensive collection of races, that runs Jan. 6 through 10. The expo takes place for four days at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, and even the parking is free. (How often can you say that at Disney World?!)

The Expo serves as the headquarters for race weekend, but it's also a showcase for the latest products and even a site for celebrity speakers. My husband and son are running the 10K on Friday, so we will be visiting the expo to pick up their race essentials and pre-ordered merchandise. (Because this weekend encompasses so many races, locations within the complex for packet pickup, shirt and gear bag pickup, and commemorative merchandise pickup are different. Please refer to the official race guide.) These rules are the same for everyone, though:

** You must pick up your own race packet in person and have photo identification and a signed waiver to do so. (If you forget to print your waiver at home, you can do it at the expo.)

** Legal guardians of minors must sign the waivers for minor participants, though the kids don’t have to be present to pick up their bibs.

** Race packets must be picked up no later than the day prior to the race. They cannot be picked up on the day of the race.

Hours are as follows:

Wednesday, January 6, 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Thursday, January 7, 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Friday, January 8, 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Saturday, January 9, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

While my husband and son are taking care of business, I will scope out the runDisney and race-specific merchandise that’s for sale in two locations within the complex – The Josten’s Center and The Field House. These locations are where you can purchase the “I did it” T-shirts for each race, as well as other merchandise commemorating individual races. We learned from experience that a lot of this merchandise sells out quickly, often on the first day, so if you’ve got your heart set on something, don’t delay in getting to the expo. Here’s a sneak peek at some of what will be offered:

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In addition, Disney is introducing a new line of runDisney labeled items, such as apparel, backpacks, various styles of hats, Tervis Tumblers, license plate holders, mugs, Christmas ornaments, vehicle decals and magnets and more. Take a look for yourself:

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Another must-see is the tradition of a new Dooney & Bourke pattern that sports a Disney race design. The 2016 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend pattern has been released on three bags: tote ($268), a backpack ($248) and a wristlet ($108). They can be pre-ordered at this page through Jan. 13. Shipping is complimentary and begins March 31.

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Other vendors will be selling the latest in fitness apparel, footwear, sunglasses, high-tech gadgets and nutritional products. Something everyone seemingly wants to get a glimpse of are the Limited Edition New Balance running shoes that are especially designed for runDisney. The 2016 designs were unveiled on Monday, and they depict Minnie and Mickey on the red carpet, Ariel and Dumbo. Because of popularity, New Balance requires customers to sign up for appointments in its virtual queue. Wednesday is only available to registered runners, but anyone can make reservations for Thursday and Friday. On Saturday, walk-ups will be welcome. You can get all the details in my previous blog.

There is plenty to do on the expo floor, even if you are not a shopper. There are photo spots set up with aerial photos of each race course as a backdrop; guests can be among the first to see medals for all the upcoming runDisney races displayed; and runDisney coach and Olympian Jeff Galloway is available to take photos and sign autographs for runners. Many of the vendors offer giveaways and samples, as well, and there are unique products you might not find elsewhere. Both of my children enjoyed walking around the expo last year -- and that was before either of them had completed a runDisney race.

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Good luck to all of this year’s Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend runners!



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May 19, 2015

How teens can earn volunteer hours at Walt Disney World

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Students AND parents everywhere are rejoicing that school is almost out for summer break. My family certainly is among them! But along with the daydreams of lounging by the pool or at the beach without a jam-packed schedule might be the recognition that summer is a great time for kids to complete any required community service hours.

Theme-park fans, like my own children, may wonder if there are any volunteer positions at Walt Disney World. And, in fact, there are opportunities - primarily through ESPN Wide World of Sports. Unfortunately for my 12-year-old son, the minimum age has increased from last summer. You now must be at least 14 to volunteer and those younger than 16 must be accompanied by parents or guardians. All minors must have a parent of guardian's permission and a signed waiver.

Volunteers, also known as Sports Enthusiasts, can work at events held at the facility at Walt Disney World or at runDisney races held on Disney property. Currently, volunteer registration is open for the Amateur Athletic Union National Club Championships for Track and Field. Volunteer positions for start/finish line, field events, clerk's tent and awards tent are available from July 10 to 18. The application notes that all positions require physical exertion such as raking or lifting. Volunteer shifts are typically assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

For runDisney races, volunteers may work at the Health & Fitness Expo or kid races located at ESPN Wide World of Sports or at the start/finish line or along the course of races that go through the parks. The next runDisney event in Orlando is the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend, which includes the half marathon, Mickey's Jingle Jungle 5K and kid races. All events take place Nov. 6 and 7. Registration for volunteers opens several months in advance, but it is not available yet.

Walt Disney World recognizes that even though its Sports Enthusiasts are volunteering for their own personal reasons, they could not host the races without the volunteers' help. As such, volunteers are given "appreciation," for their time. Each person receives a snack and one commemorative piece of apparel for the event.

In addition, volunteers are eligible to earn points toward a complimentary theme-park ticket. Each hour of service completed is equal to one point, and it takes 16 points to earn a day's admission to Walt Disney World. Earned tickets are mailed within 60 days of reaching 16 points.

To get started, you must register through Active.com. You have the option to access the information as a guest or to create an account, which streamlines future registrations.

Volunteers will receive confirmation in the mail of the shifts for which they have been scheduled about a month prior to the event. The mailing also will include further information on parking, directions, and other useful information.

Questions? Call the Sports Enthusiast Information Line at 407-938-3880, or email wdw.sports.enthusiast@disneysports.com.



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