When most people volunteer for a good cause, they generally aren't looking for any kind of reward. The act of giving one's time is, in itself, its own reward. But hey, getting something in return for volunteering is always appreciated, right? And when that something is a day at a Disney theme park, with passes going for as much as $79, well that's really appreciated. That's exactly what Disney is doing for 2010 with its Give a Day, Get a Disney Day promotion. If you're ready to start helping out so you can help yourself to a free Disney theme park ticket, here's what you need to know.
What is Give a Day, Get a Disney Day?Simply stated, Disney is offering a one-day, one-park ticket to any of its six U.S. theme parks within the Disneyland and Walt Disney World resorts to anyone who donates his or her time for a charitable cause. Not so simply stated, there are a number of caveats, options, and other things to consider before you start volunteering or booking your Disney park vacation.
Who Can Participate in Give a Day, Get a Disney Day?The program is open to anyone, 6 or older, who resides in the U.S., including Puerto Rico, as well as Canada. A registrant must be 18 or older and can include up to 8 members of his or household in the program. An adult must accompany kids, ages 6 to 17, for the volunteering opportunity.
How Can I Get a Free Ticket to a Disneyland or Walt Disney World Park by Volunteering?
- First of all, you'll have to wait until Jan. 1, 2010. That's when the program kicks off and the registration period begins.
- Beginning Jan. 1, 2010, go to Disney's Web site (for the Great White North, go to Disney's Canadian site), click on the Give a Day, Get a Disney Day link, check out the volunteer activities, and sign up. You must pre-register online to get your free ticket.
- Complete your volunteer assignment.
- Disney will send you a verification email within 2 weeks after finishing your volunteer work with instructions about printing out your certificate.
- Redeem the certificate at a Disney park prior to December 15, 2010 for your freebie admission pass. Be sure to bring valid I.D. (Government-issued passport, valid driver's license including a photo, or valid government-issued photo ID. Children under 18 who do not have any of the previous listed IDs, will need to bring along a copy of a birth certificate.)
Would I Be Able to Redeem My Free Disney Ticket Anytime During 2010?Nope. The program runs from January 1 to December 15, 2010. So, don't show up December 16 expecting to exchange your voucher for a free ticket.
Also, there are blackout dates as follows:
- Walt Disney World: March 29 to April 8 and July 4, 2010
- The Disneyland: February 13, 14, March 21, June 21, 22, July 4, November 21, December 11, 12, 2010.
Should I Sign Up and Complete My Volunteer Work as Soon as Possible?Yup. Disney is limiting the free tickets to the first million people who participate in the program. Once it distributes a million tickets, the program is over. That may sound like a lot, but keep in mind that an estimated 47 million people visit Walt Disney World every year.
What Kinds of Volunteer Work Qualifies for the Program?Until Disney releases the details on January 1, 2010, it's hard to say definitively. The volunteer assignments are being coordinated by the organization HandsOn Network. To get a sense of the kinds of work you could choose, such as volunteering for youth and workplace volunteering, go to the HandsOn Network site.
What if You Already Have a Season Pass or You've Already Purchased Multi-Day Passes for an Upcoming Trip?You won't be able to get any money back for the dough you've already paid, nor would you be able to transfer the free ticket to anyone else, but Disney still has free goodies for you. You could choose one of the following:
- A Special Fastpass card for certain attractions for you and up to 5 additional members of your party.
- A collectible Ear Hat figurine with exclusive trading pins.
- Or you could go the altruistic route and allow Disney to donate your free ticket to a non-profit organization on your behalf.
Could I Apply the Value of the One-Day Free Ticket to a Multi-Day Pass?Yes. You could also apply it to an annual pass.
Why is Disney Giving Away Free Admission to its Parks?Unlike the Free Admission on Your Birthday program for 2009, which only allowed guests to visit a park for free on their actual birthdays, an entire family or group of friends could visit a Disney park for free together on the same day by participating in the Give a Day, Get a Disney Day program in 2010. In California, where many of Disneyland's guests typically go for a day visit, Disney will be giving a lot away, without necessarily getting a lot in return. In Florida, however, most guests come from outside the area and spend more than a day at the massive resort.
Granted, a one-day, one-park ticket to a Disney theme park is not cheap. But the cost to enter a Disney park is only a fraction of the possible revenue that Disney can garner from its guests. Day guests generally drop a small fortune on meals and gifts in the parks, and overnight guests typically drop a huge fortune on hotels, lots of meals and gifts, and all kinds of other things that fatten the Mouse's coffers.
Beyond the revenue it will generate, Disney will also be generating plenty of goodwill and publicity with the giveaway during a difficult time in the economy. And, let's not forget, the program has the potential to generate a million days of volunteer service. It would be nice to think that Disney has more than a bottom-line reason behind the program.