On August 27, 2022, Disney California Adventure closed early to host the CHOC Adventure. This party with a purpose celebrated 30 years of the CHOC Walk. Thousands of CHOC (Children’s Hospital of Orange County) supporters showed up in the later afternoon/early evening at the Disneyland Resort to celebrate this milestone and magical event.
The night began with a mixer for guests that began at 5:00 PM. During this time, guests could enjoy all that Disney California Adventure has to offer. At 9:00 PM, the park officially closed and the party began. With the closure of the park, the lines were suddenly short, characters could be found everywhere, and celebratory light projections could be found throughout the park. Special CHOC Treats also could be found with some of the proceeds going to CHOC.
Midway through the evening, DJ Clark began to draw people into the Paradise Gardens area for a special moment and then a presentation of World of Color. The moment included Disneyland Ambassadors Mark Everett King Jr. and Nataly Guzman who shared the excitement of this night and milestone. Disneyland President Ken Potrock then came to the stage and shared about the impact of CHOC. Over the decades, the impact has totalled over $37 million. He also noted that the Disney VoluntEARs were on hand for this event and how this year’s return of the celebration of CHOC in the park was something to celebrate. Potrock also shared how deep the commitment the relationship between Disneyland and CHOC and it goes back all the way to Walt Disney himself. CHOC CEO Kimberly Chavalas Cripe was introduced by Potrock. She again reiterated how exciting it was that over 5,000 people were at the event that night. Cripe shared how incredible the event was and thanked Potrock and all the Disney Cast Members for all the ways they support CHOC. She also shared how nice it was to see so many families and patients and thanked them as well. She also thanked everyone for the ways they support and help raise money, noting there are ambitious plans for the future!
This year’s CHOC Ambassador Family was then welcomed to the stage. This year, this was Robby Gomez’s family, a former CHOC patient who sadly was not still around to be a part of this celebration. Robby’s mom Julie shared from their heart how honored they were to represent their son Robby as the CHOC Walk Ambassador. In an emotional moment, she shared how Robby spent time at NICU at CHOC and how grateful they were to everyone at CHOC. It was also shared how much they love to give back. She thanked both Disneyland for hosting the event. She thanked the CHOC staff for “facing each day with us” and for all they do. She also thanked the teams and volunteers for all the fundraising and encouragement. “You all have a story of hope, a special child that we remember and that we walk for and that we are here for tonight and we all celebrate each and every one of those children.” Julie shared. She wrapped things up by asking everyone to say Robby’s name together, which they did. This was followed by a hearty round of applause for the CHOC Foundation.
Following Julie sharing, Mickey Mouse came to the stage for hugs and photos in a joyful moment. As the photos were taken DJ Clark encouraged guests to yell “We love you, Mickey!” Following the photos, the party left the stage and the magic of World of Color came to life. This was the first time that the Gomez family had seen the show, which was dedicated to them and to Robby Gomez.
Following the presentation of World of Color, the park still was open until 12:00 AM. This provided plenty of opportunities for treats, attractions, meeting with characters, and meeting with other supporters of CHOC. Perhaps this was the most magical part of the night, getting to spend time with other people who love CHOC and its mission to improve “the health and well-being of children through clinical expertise, advocacy, outreach, education and research.”
As the night wrapped up, Mickey Mouse and friends could be found in the PJs in Carthay Circle waving to guests. They were joined by Cast Members who lined the street and wished guests goodnight as they made their way out of the park. It was a beautiful ending to a beautiful night.
While the CHOC Adventure is over, the opportunity to make a difference has not. Fundraising continues through September 27, 2022, for the CHOC Adventure! Go to chocwalk.org/dapsmagic to support CHOC today and continue to help make a bigger difference.
What do you think of the CHOC Adventure? What was your favorite part of it? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!