This past Sunday on October thirteenth, I participated in the 23rd annual CHOC Walk. All proceeds went to the Children’s Hospital of Orange County. It was a great cause to fundraise for and in return, each person that reached his or her minimum goal of fifty dollars was able to walk a 5k though the Disneyland resort. A couple months back, Mr. DAPs asked if I would like to join the walking team, and I jumped right on the wagon. I have always seen photos of the CHOC Walk but was never sure on how to join. After signing up on the Daps Magic team page on the CHOC walk website, I registered and started spreading the word. I had asked my family and friends to help the team and I reach our goals. My cousin Mia also joined the team and she too helped with the cause. She was so excited to help. By spreading the word of the walk, it also brought to attention to the wonderful work that the Children’s Hospital of Orange County does. I was thrilled when I reached my goal and I was officially able to walk.
As time grew near the big event, each walker had to check-in to receive his or her t-shirts and wristbands. I fell in love with the design on the shirts. Mickey Mouse shaped balloons of all colors! The location of the check-in was very convenient and just minutes away from Disneyland itself. While waiting in line for the check-in, it felt like everyone knew each other. People were smiling in line and were talking about their past ideas of fundraising for the walk and for the coming weeks. Also all the volunteers that were working at the check-in were extremely nice and friendly. I was so happy to see all the people that were supporting this great cause. The positive motivation really brightened my day.
On the day of the walk, I was super excited. Mr. DAPs mentioned that the team traditionally wears crazy hats the day of the walk, so I wore a pair of ears that I made inspired by Princess Aurora. I had pink and blue colors on so that I could match the hat. The Mickey and Friends Parking structure opened at five in the morning but I was so excited that I got there at 4:30 am. I showed the parking attendant my wristband and parked for free. I also noticed that many people and I had the same idea of getting there super early. The cool brisk early morning air had made me even more happy that I was about to walk a 5k though the Disneyland Resort. Who else can really say that they were able to walk in the parks before it opened to the public for the day? Since the trams were not running, each walker walked down the tram route. It was pretty neat to see all the Halloween decorations so close up. Many people stopped for photos and conti
nued to walk to bag check. Once I got into the esplanade, I was a little lost because there were so many people. On the bright side, everything was very organized and people formed lines to get into the park.
As I entered the turnstiles, I heard music that was pumping up the crowd. Walking down Main Street, I saw so many teams and each were walking for a specific reason. It was an emotional sight for me, to see all the loving support from the community. Each team proudly displayed their signs and were decked out in matching attire. My cousin and I found the Daps Magic team along Main Street and we were all set for the walk to begin. This was my first time meeting everyone on the team and I felt accepted right away. Everyone was cheery and thrilled to do the walk. It was also so cool to see everyone and their crazy hats.
There was an opening ceremony with guest speakers, Disney characters, and fireworks. It was so exciting! The walk had begun and the announcer kept the energy up with each team that passed. Mickey and Minnie waved at us as we crossed the starting line. We walked around Disneyland and it felt like it was my first time there. So many things were happening all around. People laughing and many memories were being created. As we proceeded through the park, I enjoyed seeing the characters along the path. Chip and Dale were out in their cowboy attire and Buzz Light-year was out in Tomorrowland with his space cadets. My favorite sight along the route was the Princess float from the Mickey’s Soundsational parade. Standing so close to a parade float was so surreal.
As we exited Disneyland, we walked through the esplanade to get to California Adventure. In that short little span, there were many people out cheering all the walkers. Woody even sent out his green army men to cheer on the walkers. I did notice that as we walked through that area, there were still many people entering the turnstiles at Disneyland. We arrived at California Adventure and were greeted by the Red Car News Boys. All the talented acts were out along Buena Vista Street. Our team was still cheery as ever. We did an occasional happy sprint on the walking paths. Along with keeping up the spirit, the team decided to spread that cheer to the castmembers that were working the event. The team as a whole ran up to the castmembers cheering and posed for pictures. As we walked away, the workers could not stop laughing. This went on several times and it was so fun.
As the walk was near completion, we entered the Downtown Disney District. The pathway was filled with many school kids and adults cheering on the walkers. In the distance, I saw the finish line and we ran by giving high fives to the kids at the end as we crossed the finish line. The walk and everything leading up to that day was all worth it. Not only did I have so much fun and met so many people, I was helping raise awareness and fundraise for a good cause. It was such a great experience and I recommend that everyone participate in an event of this type at least once in his or her lifetime. It was great to make so many memories and I was glad I was able to share it with the Daps Magic team. This is something that I will always remember and I am still smiling from the event.
Amanda walked with Team DAPs Magic at the 2013 CHOC Walk. She is an avid Disney fan, full-time student, and also works. She has an incredibly sweet personality and always has a smile on her face and we are thrilled that she wrote this post for us. Thank you Amanda!