It may or may not be a life long dream of mine to be a Disney Princess. I may never get to be a Disney Princess, but I did get to volunteer for the Mouse last Saturday and this is my experience. Full disclosure, I am a RunDisney / Disney fan, I have not other affiliations to the Walt Disney Company. The opinions posted are my very own. :)
To Volunteer is to freely offer to take part in an enterprise or task. Our first task? Run Disney Kids Races. I have always wondered what the Kids Races were like. Since we don't have children, I always felt it might seem a little strange to go watch. So, how can I get in on the excitement of the Kids Races? Volunteer of course!
To be honest, our original intent was not to work the Everest Weekend. On the first Saturday in May of 2012, I laced up my sneakers and ran my very first 5K. The Everest Challenge. I had been begging Prince Charming to let us register but the event sold out before we could register. So, we opted to volunteer. A perk of volunteering is that you can earn hours or points towards a free ticket to Disney. Since we plan to run the Goofy Challenge in January, we are trying to cut costs here and there soooo earning a ticket, AND being at the event that changed my life one year ago,... it was a win win!
Truly, my experience at the Everest Challenge in 2012 gave me the confidence to continue running and register for the Princess Half (Recap)
So, now that you know my motivation to volunteer for this specific weekend, let me get on to the volunteer experience.
The Everest Challenge Weekend isn't exactly the largest weekend Run Disney does. I'm not really sure why though, it's REALLY fun! Prince Charming and I serve at our Youth Group on Friday nights so we couldn't leave until either late Friday night or early Saturday morning. Since we wanted to save some money and sleep in our own bed, we opted to drive up Saturday morning.
3:00 a.m., my alarm went off and we loaded in the car and headed to Disney! When we arrived, it was fun to see they had parking reserved for us volunteers! Since it was raining, and our spot was literally the first row before the side walk - I was pleased!
We checked in and waited for our turn to be escorted to the Kids Races! Prince Charming and I quickly realized that most of the volunteers are PROS! Seriously,... these people all know each other and have "their jobs" a.k.a. "I ALWAYS give out medals, ..." and ... "I Always pass out the water!" haha Prince Charming and I waited for our team leader to ask for 2 volunteers to ... (whatever, as long as we were together, we didn't care). Our turn came, "I need 2 people to work the obstacle course!" Yess!!! We were chosen!
1) demonstrate the obstacle course for the kids while the announcer cheered us on.
2) cheer on the athletes!
I was super excited about our job!
Although we were super stars at demonstrating the obstacle course, we were moved to parent direction. Yeah, ... we had to stand in the middle of a field with signs and direct parents.
Have I mentioned it was raining?
After that job, we hung out at the medals for a bit and then were moved over to the Family Scavenger Hunt for more runner direction!
It was there I saw Rachel from Runners Tales. Okay, ... when I saw her. I didn't realize I'd seen her. I knew she looked familiar, and I loved her team shirts - but didn't say anything. It wasn't until I was on Instagram that I realized WHY she looked so familiar!
anyways! After our shift ended at 1, we drove to our hotel and checked in.
After a quick power nap (2.5 hours) we were back up and ready to go volunteer for the Expedition Everest 5K! I was SO excited!!
When we checked in, we were given an arm band. This was a Magical Armband! Why? it gave us 2 hours of access into Animal Kingdom after our volunteer shift was over!!!
Our shift went pretty quickly, it was our job to make sure runners were properly hydrated, and that they had plenty of garbage cans to throw cups into!
Prince Charming and I were stationed at some tables between Coral B and C. It was so much fun to see the crowd get excited, and be there for the start of all the waves. Prince Charming and I started walking up and down the corrals offering cups of water to runners inside their corrals. I know that when I take my GU I always wish I had a little sip of water to help wash it down. We also tied an extra trash bag on the outside of the fence so runners had more opportunity to throw garbage in a bin!
After all the athletes started, we moved over to the finish line where we congratulated runners and handed out water!
I felt like a hydration Diva!
There was a young boy passing out water just in front of me, so runners would go to him first and thank him for volunteering. It was cool to observe.
Overall, I'm taking the following lessons with me from my volunteer experience.
Fact: Filling cups of water and lining them on the table is exhausting, and there are very few people that actually say "thank you".
Lesson: Say thank you, volunteers need to hear it!
Fact: Sometimes just two hours in the park can feel like a full day and riding Everest 7 times in a short period of time can make your tummy twirl!
Lesson: No matter how tired you are, take the time to ride Everest as many times as possible. Because when you leave the park, you only have your memories you don't get to take the rides with you.
Fact: I'm afraid of dinosaurs!
Lesson: I think I should skip the Dinosaur ride, because it makes my heart rate go up.
Would I Volunteer Again?
Absolutely! I loved it!
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