12 Tips for Annual CHOC Walk in the Park at Disneyland

This is a sponsored post written by me for CHOC Walk as an observer. 

What another amazing year at CHOC Walk in the Park! It was an early rise for all of us, but we were so anxious to get started, we couldn't even sleep the night before. I think my team slept 1.5 to 3 hours because we stayed up all night talking. You'd think we never see each other. What was it? Was it because we didn't want to miss our alarms or maybe it was because we haven't had a slumber party in so long. We needed to be at Downtown Disney by 5:00 a.m. PST to make it to the Opening Ceremony at 6:15 a.m. at Main Street USA. Coffee was a must, but other things that took time was find parking, getting through security, and walking over to the front of the Disneyland park entrance alone takes about another thirty minutes. There were a lot of walkers waiting already, but no one was complaining.

choc walk disney park 2017 main street usa photo at letsplayoc.jpg

I think the ceremony is one of the best parts of the whole experience so if you arrived too late, you might be one of the last groups still trying to get in. They fill Main Street USA to the max and even then, as we were exiting the first park, there were still walkers at the entrance. They select a Walk Ambassador every year and the family's story is always heartfelt and remarkable. As I look into the faces of the crowd, everyone is holding signage declaring why this cause is important to them. The DJ plays music to get you all pumped up, Disney cast members are out giving high-fives and some are handing out water. Various youth groups, school bands, and cheerleaders are out there with their bright smiles and it was encouraging to finish. Plus who doesn't love seeing Mickey Mouse and friends bright and early?

choc walk disneyland park 2017 main street usa photo letsplayoc.jpg

2017 Event Day Details

  • Sunday, August 27 2017, Disneyland® Resort at 6:30 a.m.
  • Opening Ceremony: Main Street U.S.A. at 6:15 a.m.
  • Entrance cutoff time: 7:30 a.m.
  • 5K walk through Disneyland® Park, Disney California Adventure® Park and Downtown Disney® District.
  • Minimum donation - $85 per CHOC Walk participant/team member (ages 3 and older). 
  • Walkers ages 2 and under FREE
  • CHOC Walk information booth will open at 5:00 a.m. in the Disney® Esplanade

FREE Parking is available at the Disneyland® Resort for all CHOC Walk participants at Mickey & Friends Parking Structure OR Pumbaa Parking Lot which opens at 4:00 a.m. The Mickey & Friends tram will not be running. Please allow time to walk to Main Street U.S.A.

choc walk disney park 2017 cheerleaders photo at letsplayoc.jpg

Why CHOC Walk?

This year CHOC Walk was early and is was held on Sunday, August 27 at Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure and Downtown Disney! The fundraising walk is always done in the early hours before the park opens to the public and raises funds for health care programs, education and research for Southern California’s kids. (Note: It does not include admissions to the park but you are walking through the park before operating hours, and there's a special offer to purchase discounted park tickets same day only.) All fundraisers could win prizes for being top fundraiser. At the end of the walk, the party is continued into Downtown Disney where all the sponsor booths are at. This year they have raised an amazing $2,300,000 to help the children in Southern California. CHOC Children's provides the highest level of care not only to patients, but to their siblings, parents, and extended family. The donations provide families with help during the most challenging time of their life. CHOC Walk fundraising continues until September 27th giving Walkers a chance to earn prizes like the commemorative CHOC Walk lapel pin, the CHOC Walk medallion and Disneyland Resort Park tickets! It is not too late to help them reach their goal of $3.1 million for the kids in Southern California! More information about CHOC (Children's Hospital Orange County) can be found here: www.chocwalk.org.

choc walk 2017 disney park finish line photo at letsplayoc.jpg

TIPS 

You can decide if you want to become a fundraiser, a walker, or team leader. I suggest forming a team. One of the first year I learned about CHOC Walk, I registered to walk and fundraised but did not have a committed person to walk with me so I ended up not walking that year because I talked myself out of it closer to the date. It's just really early in the morning and I think I had a toddler at the time too. This is my third year walking and I love it!

  1. Personalize Team Shirts because it's fun to match. Pick a color that no one else will have (don't pick white). You'll also need a design, time to print them, and collect funds if needed. An online spreadsheet will help collect and keep track of orders. Schedule time to distribute shirts ahead of time. 
  2. Wear comfortable running or walking shoes.
  3. Bring balloons. It's crowded and members might wonder off taking pictures but it might be easier to spot that McQueen or Moana balloon. Pick your favorite character. 
  4. Agree on a Meeting Spot at the entrance of the park and if you have constant late arrivers, give them an earlier time. Hint: It always takes about 30 minutes to walk from Downtown Disney to the entrance. Plus don't forget security now too. 
  5. Consider staying the night before at the Disneyland Resort or at a nearby hotel. Traffic from LA will be unpredictable. 
  6. Send out itineraries and always communicate with your Team Members. Be as detailed as possible. Don't forget to add a meeting point at Downtown Disney. Maybe add a place for breakfast to celebrate your accomplishments. 
  7. If you are a Team Leader, it might be helpful to keep a team roster with cell phone numbers in case someone gets split up from the group. Do a headcount at the beginning, during, and end if you have too. 
  8. Remind everyone to keep an eye out for their own children. 
  9. You don't have to pack water because they hand out water bottles but pack a light snack in case some did not eat breakfast before the walk. 
  10. Make note of the restrooms and if you have a large group, stop to give everyone a break. 
  11. Be a cheerleader! Your team will be hungry, tired, and maybe annoyed. Stop and take photos but be mindful of others in the group. Keep it at a good pace. Rest if needed. 
  12. Have Fun! It takes about one hour to speed walk through both parks but you'll want to stop and take photos of the park and characters. The walk will be over before you know it. Remind yourself you're doing it for a good cause. 

CHOC Children's Hospital Orange County

1201 W La Veta Ave
Orange, CA 92868
(714) 509-4000
www.choc.org
www.chocwalk.org