Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Disney offers free entry to 1 million who volunteer

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New York » Disney is offering a free day's admission to 1 million guests who complete a day of volunteer work next year.

The "Give a Day, Get a Disney Day" program will provide certified volunteers with a one-day ticket to any park at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., or Walt Disney World near Orlando, Fla., in 2010.

Disney is partnering with HandsOn Network, a clearinghouse for volunteer opportunities, to connect people with projects and to certify that the work was done.

Disney's Jay Rasulo called the promotion "very timely," citing the increased needs of nonprofits in the weak economy, as well as President Barack Obama's national volunteering initiative.

Duncan Dickson, who teaches theme park management at the University of Central Florida's Rosen School of Hospitality Management in Orlando, said the volunteer initiative is "a smart marketing move."

Dickson said Disney will get good buzz for encouraging volunteerism plus free publicity from the nonprofits that benefit. And even when theme parks let people in for free, they make their money back in other ways, Dickson said.

Some guests who come in for free would have bought tickets anyway, but the free offer will also bring in visitors who wouldn't otherwise have made the trip, and they'll bring paying guests with them, Dickson added.

HandsOn Network has 70,000 affiliated agencies, from Habitat for Humanity to local
food banks, churches, health care centers, and educational programs. Once their service is verified by HandsOn, volunteers print out an online certificate that can be redeemed at a Disney park.
This sound like  a great deal to families who live near or around Disneyland or Disney world, and if you are interested in volunteering with a reward system. Most volunteering is done by people who do it because they enjoy it or have extra time, many times volunteers are not rewarded and it is a thankless but worthy cause. Why not do something for others while rewarding yourself!

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