Since its inception, CHOC Walk in the Park has raised nearly $23 million for CHOC Children’s, supporting a variety of patient and family programs, as well as education, research, and the development of the latest technologies to advance the health of CHOC patients.
Here are the top three ways you can help support CHOC Walk this year:
1. Sleep in and make a difference as a “sleeping bear”
Registering as a “sleeping bear” is a great way to raise funds and earn CHOC Walk rewards all while sleeping in on Sunday morning.
2. Party with your ‘ohana at the CHOC Walk Ambassador’s Luau at the Disneyland Hotel on Saturday, Oct. 10
Have you practiced your hula dancing lately? This new event is hosted by the CHOC Ambassadors, six courageous children who represent all the other children at CHOC and their medical journeys. Enjoy live Polynesian entertainment, luau-inspired food, face painting, a silent auction and more. The CHOC Walk Ambassador’s Luau will take place from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Grand Ballroom in the Disneyland Hotel.
3. Put on your walking shoes and join us at the CHOC Walk on Sunday, Oct. 11
The walk covers three miles through Disneyland park and Disney California Adventure park, where you’ll get a special peek at the magic of the Disneyland Resort before the parks open to the general public.
Tickets and registration for these events are available at CHOCWalk.org. If you are joining us for these events, share your experience with #CHOCWalk!
Last weekend, I joined our Million Dollar Dazzle Crew as we pulled off a textbook surprise by announcing the Literacy Project Foundation as the latest recipient of a $60,000 Million Dollar Dazzle gift from the Disneyland Resort. The nonprofit organization offers a reading program at no cost in many Orange County, Calif., elementary schools and after-school programs that helps disadvantaged youth improve their reading skills.
We were scheduled to present Disneyland Resort tickets to once-struggling readers at the nonprofit’s annual gala when we made the exciting announcement.
“This gift enables us to reach even more at-risk youth,” said Sue Grant, executive director of Literacy Project Foundation. “For many years, the Disneyland Resort has supported us with ticket donations and materials for our participants, and this donation is certainly one for the books!”
The Million Dollar Dazzle Crew will continue to surprise local nonprofits with $60,000 each month of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration. I look forward to sharing the next recipient soon on the Disney Parks Blog!
Over the last 10 years, runDisney events in Anaheim have generated approximately $900 million in economic impact for the local area.
More than 400 “legacy” runners ran this weekend, completing all 10 Disneyland Half Marathons since the inaugural race.
Momoko Tanaka from Urayasu-shi, Japan, came in first place for the women, finishing in 1:21:30 and marking the first time in the race’s history that an international runner has won.
Runners celebrated with a specially-ticketed 10th anniversary party, where they experienced select attractions and entertainment in Disneyland park including the “Paint the Night” parade.
Ten members of Project S.A.Y. (Support Anaheim’s Youth) participated in the Disneyland 5K. Project S.A.Y. is one of many free programs for Anaheim youth in middle and high school made possible through ACF.
Last year’s female champion, Jennifer Berry from Denver, Co., beat her prior year’s time by 12 seconds, finishing in 1:23:21.
In the coming years, the four runDisney race weekends in Anaheim are expected to generate an estimated $250 million annually in economic activity for Orange County, Calif.
As I mentioned earlier this summer, Disneyland Resort is looking for exemplary Orange County, Calif., high school students driving positive change in their homes, schools or communities to represent our very first class of Dreamers & Doers this fall. Walt Disney World Resort has been recognizing Dreamers & Doers in Central Florida for more than 30 years. We are thrilled to now bring this recognition to the Disneyland Resort community in celebration of our 60th anniversary.
This new program inspired us to seek out some of these influential students who captured their stories in action. From stuffed animal drives for homeless children to clogging classes for the disabled, I was overwhelmed by the amazing things these young people are accomplishing. Take a look at this video and find out what they DREAM about and what they DO to make their dreams come to life!
If you or someone you know is making a difference by conserving nature, inspiring others to be creative, live healthfully or bring hope and happiness to the community, apply now to be a Dreamer & Doer by submitting a completed application to your high school’s main office through November 20. Each Orange County high school will have the opportunity to select up to two Dreamers & Doers.
With the summer heat, we wanted to spotlight Tiki Juice Bar Hostess Jenn Pitoniak, who helps serve more than 960,000 Dole Whips each year at the Disneyland Resort! Learn more about Jenn’s role in this “Every Role a Starring Role.”
You may remember that on July 17 we announced a special philanthropic program in honor of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration called Million Dollar Dazzle. Once a month during the celebration, our Million Dollar Dazzle Crew is surprising local nonprofits with $60,000, amounting to more than $1 million.
Last weekend, the Million Dollar Dazzle Crew showed up to a regularly scheduled Disney VoluntEARS event at the Orange County Food Bank with the surprise $60,000 for the nonprofit that runs the food bank, Community Action Partnership of Orange County (CAPOC).
Disney VoluntEARS were in place packing food boxes when Disney Ambassador Allie Kawamoto and the Million Dollar Dazzle Crew came in and announced that our second Million Dollar Dazzle gift was to benefit CAPOC’s Family Resource Centers, offering services from homework assistance for children to free lunches for senior citizens.
“We have a really difficult time fundraising for our Family Resource Centers,” said Buddy Ray, executive director of CAPOC. “It’s easier to raise funds for the food bank because everyone understands what that is. This makes a world of difference for our entire nonprofit. Families are getting quality services that make a difference in their lives.”
Disney VoluntEARS from the Disneyland Resort have supported CAPOC since the early 1990s with quarterly food packing events. This gift represents a new way in which the Disneyland Resort is supporting CAPOC. Keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog to see which local nonprofit will be surprised next by our Million Dollar Dazzle Crew!
Julie Reihm Casaletto, who was selected to be Disney’s first Ambassador in 1965, was honored as a 2015 Disney Legend at the D23 EXPO, along with eight other beloved contributors to the Disney Legacy. Julie was one of five finalists in the fall of 1964 competing to become Miss Disneyland Tencennial for the park’s 10th anniversary, when the Disney Ambassador program was introduced to help Walt Disney represent Disneyland park throughout the world.
During her tenure, Julie was featured in a special 1965 TV episode of “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color,” in which she appeared alongside Walt Disney as he showed viewers upcoming concepts for Disneyland attractions. “Working with Walt was a super learning experience,” Julie shared. “His creative genius often came with a boy-like excitement of discovery.”
When it came time to decide whether the Disney Ambassador program would continue, Julie shared her thoughts with Walt. Both agreed the program was a special opportunity for future emissaries of goodwill to share the joy and magic of Disneyland with the world. Today, the Disney Ambassador program has been introduced across Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, and Julie has become the model upon which decades of Disney Ambassadors have patterned themselves.
“My purpose was to share the joy, hope and happiness of Disneyland to communities around the world,” Julie said. “Those unforgettable experiences have continued to influence my life and career. For decades, Disneyland has been the pixie dust of my life. I consider Disneyland and all of its wonder to be home.”
Adam says while his role can be challenging, he is lucky enough to experience these shows nearly every night, and one of his favorite parts is watching the reactions of guests. Now it’s your turn to watch Adam in this “Every Role a Starring Role!”
Through August 15, the Diamond Mine Cart, a specially wrapped van covered in magnets, is traveling around backstage areas for cast members to pull a magnet and discover giveaways including games and movie tickets.
Cast members are experiencing “Random Acts of Magic” by having their lunch and coffee tabs picked up at cast dining locations periodically. Often, this is done for 60 cast members at a time.
Fun photo opportunities, daily treats and commemorative items rounded out “cast appreciation week” for the 60th anniversary.
Nearly 3,000 cast members were picked up from their parking location in a Cast Cab, presented by Alamo, and driven to work while being treated to snacks along the way. Their drivers were dressed in chauffeur attire!
“Our cast members create happiness every day for our guests,” said John Van Winkle, cast activities programs and operations manager. “This is our way of creating some magic for them during the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration and letting them know how much they are truly appreciated for all they do.”
We surprised dozens of Girl Scouts at a special breakfast at The Golden Horseshoe with a check presented by Disneyland Resort President Michael Colglazier, Disney Ambassador Jessica Bernard and, of course, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse! The funds will support the organization’s Comadres outreach program which helps the Girl Scout experience transcend language and cultural barriers for girls in low-income neighborhoods.
“Girl Scouts of Orange County is thrilled to receive the first $60,000 gift,” said Nancy Nygren, CEO of Girl Scouts of Orange County. “The funds will be used to recruit and train volunteers who can facilitate the Girl Scout experience for girls in low-income areas while strengthening families.”
Stay tuned in the coming months for updates about other nonprofit organizations that will be surprised as part of Million Dollar Dazzle!