Controversial ‘Insulting’ Policy Has Disney World Under Fire

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A Disney World guest holds up a medallion for the upcoming Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend in November

Credit: runDisney

RunDisney is getting a ton of heat from its fanbase, and it’s not good. A new controversial policy was released yesterday, “prohibiting” volunteers from entering its Disney World parks.

Magic Kingdom turnstiles, parking entry closed
Credit: CNN

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runDisney – Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend 2023 Volunteer Opportunities Announced, but With a Terrible New Twist

Yesterday, Disney unveiled the volunteer opportunities opening every year for the annual Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend from November 3 through the 5.

At the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend, they’ve got a Banquet Bash that’s all about savoring moments from your favorite dinner or tea gatherings. After the race, there’s a Post-Race Party with a worldly spread.

The 5K is a whimsical Alice in Wonderland tea party run, while the 10K lets you dine with Belle at our Be Our Guest-themed event. For a touch of Madrigal magic, join the Encanto-themed half marathon and embody Luisa’s strength. Or, get creative and aim for the Disney Two Course Challenge, where finishing the 10K and Half Marathon earns you Figment’s quirky kitchen medal.

rundisney medals worn by participants
Credit: runDisney

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Volunteering opportunities opened up to the general public yesterday afternoon, but it came with a new reality with the entire fandom up in arms, including a Disney Imagineer. Disney is no longer allowing volunteers to receive complimentary tickets to the parks.

The announcement came out of nowhere and had guests baffled as to why Disney would permit this “insulting” policy to take place after years of allowing those who take their unpaid time to volunteer for a significant and exclusive event like this one not to receive some sort of giveback from the company.

Volunteering opportunities just opened for

Wine and Dine Weekend. This year will be interesting, they are NOT offering comp tickets for volunteering. You must click a box acknowledging this. I wonder how this will affect the amount of people who volunteer. I’ll still do it to support the runners as it’s always awesome to reward them for all the hard work they put in to run the race.

rundisney galaxy's edge
Credit: runDisney

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The comment section of this post and many other seats were littered with guests who felt robbed and insulted that Disney would do such a thing after years of givebacks to those who volunteered their time for an event like this one. In previous years, merchandise, food, and complimentary tickets were handed off to those who devoted their unpaid time to special events.

Now, that is no longer an option. Disney is even ensuring everyone is aware by having each volunteer click on a box to confirm that you acknowledge that free tickets are no longer given away. A former Disney Imagineer, Jim Shull, spoke up about the new, controversial policy, stating the following:

Sorry but this event is a income generator for WDW therefor giving volunteers complimentary theme park tickets is the right thing to do. Not giving volunteers tickets is short sighted because paid cast members will need to replace them.

– Jim Shull, former Disney Imagineer for over 30 years

The outspoken voices of Disney Imagineers and guests should ring loudly in the ears of Disney World higher-ups. Hopefully, enough people speak up, and this policy will be changed shortly. But for now, volunteers are needed, and those willing to give in their time should sign up as soon as possible while slots are still available.

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