Disney, working through HandsOn Network, will give away 1 million passes to Disneyland in California or Walt Disney World in Florida to those who volunteer a day of service to a participating community organization.
The “Give a Day, Get a Day” offer began Jan. 1 and will continue until all 1 million tickets are distributed — or until Dec. 15, whichever occurs first.
Bergholz, who serves as president of the senior center, said he was astonished and delighted by the number of applicants.
“I was afraid we wouldn’t get a lot of volunteers, so this unbelievable,” Bergholz said. “We’re amazed. I’m just happy people knew about it and applied.”
Bergholz said he was especially shocked at the number of volunteer applications, because the program just kicked off this week.
Scotts Valley City Manager Steve Ando wrote the letter that made the center eligible to participate in the program, Bergholz said.
Mountain Community Resources and Quail Hollow Ranch County Park in Felton are two other local organizations that are participating.
To be eligible for a pass, people must sign up at the Disney Web site before volunteering and choose from a list of available opportunities. Only one ticket is given per person, regardless of how many times the person volunteers.
When the volunteer service is completed and verified by HandsOn Network and the city, participants receive a voucher that can be redeemed for a free one-day admission.
Participants must be at least 18 to sign up, but children as young as 6 can volunteer and get a free day, too.
The Scotts Valley Senior Center has volunteer opportunities that include answering phones, teaching a class or doing outdoor work, like painting the center’s gazebo.
“We’re coming up with more volunteer opportunities, so hopefully the program lasts long enough,” Bergholz said. “We’ll need about 60 volunteers for the Fourth of July.”
Once volunteer applications are approved by the participating organization, the task must be completed within 60 days.
Janine Ramonda, 55, of Redwood Estates, was one of the first volunteers to be approved for a Disney pass. Ramonda said she heard about the opportunity from a TV commercial.
“My husband went on the Web site to look into it,” Ramonda said. “We chose the senior center because I was already familiar with the organization. I feel good about spending my time volunteering there.”
Ramonda said she’s been to Disneyland many times since her first visit at 8 years old.
“I think it’s a great idea,” Ramonda said. “I’m planning a trip with my grandkids.”
Bergholz said the latest group is the most volunteers the senior center has ever seen — all thanks to one of the largest media and entertainment conglomerates in the world.
“I’m hoping some of the volunteers will come back,” Bergholz said. “I hope the experience convinces them to keep volunteering without a free ticket to Disneyland.”
At a glance
• To apply for a free Disney pass, visit www.disneyparks.com to search for local volunteer opportunities.