Located in Orange, California, just minutes from Disneyland, is one of the most state of the art children’s hospitals in the nation. CHOC Children’s Hospital and Disney have an amazing relationship that dates back to February of 1960. At that time, Walt Disney himself joined a committee dedicated to fundraising in hopes of developing a much needed hospital that specialized in children’s medicine. Four years later, The Children’s Hospital of Orange County opened its doors. Since day one, Disney has supported this amazing place, and each year their historic relationship grows stronger.
The annual CHOC Walk in the Park Presented by Disneyland is the hospital’s biggest fundraising event of the year. Patients, family, friends, caregivers, and more participate in this amazing 5K event that takes you on a stroll through the Disneyland Resort. Unfortunately, many of the patients at CHOC are too ill to attend the walk at Disneyland, so this year, Disneyland brought the walk to them. I was fortunate enough to attend the Minnie Walk on the second floor of the hospital’s new Bill Holmes Tower. Scroll through the photos below to see this heartwarming event.
The Minnie Walk 1 of 11
Minnie Mouse brings smiles and cheer as she visits young patients who are too ill to attend the hospital's annual CHOC Walk in the Park at Disneyland.
1. Minnie’s Here! 2 of 11
Minnie stepped out looking especially fabulous in her signature polka dot dress and yellow shoes.
2. Stars on Parade 3 of 11
Minnie led patients around the 2nd floor of the Bill Holmes Tower. As they walked, they were cheered on by CHOC staff, volunteers, and sponsors of the CHOC Walk. Sponsors had tables set up where the children could play simple games and collect fun items and treats as they made their rounds.
3. Friendly Staff Members 4 of 11
Staff members got in on the fun too!
4. The Smile Behind the Mask 5 of 11
I was overwhelmed with joy to see the smiles in the eyes of these little ones as Minnie brightened their day.
5. Blu & Berkeley 6 of 11
Meet Blu and Berkeley! These friendly pups are regulars at CHOC Children's Hospital. They spend their Saturdays visiting patients. They spread joy while accepting snuggles and belly rubs. For the first time in CHOC Walk history, these furry friends will be allowed to participate in the Walk in the Park. If you're walking, keep an eye out for them and their other therapy dog pals.
6. Blu’s Friends 7 of 11
Even teen patients came out to participate. You're never to old to walk with Minnie, and besides, who wouldn't want to hang with Blu the handsome therapy dog? I, too, snuck in some cuddles with him for myself!
7. The Disney Atmosphere at CHOC 8 of 11
It's hard not to smile when the elevator at CHOC opens on the 2nd floor. This lobby area has been designed with the help of Disney Imagineers. A festive Nemo mobile hangs from the center of the floor, a hidden "CHOCY" bear reminiscent of the Hidden Mickey in the Dream Suite at Disneyland can be found on the ceiling, and they even have their very own Turtle Talk with Crush attraction that shows twice daily!
8. Disney VoluntEARS 9 of 11
A wonderful group of Disney VoluntEARS were on hand to help cheer on the children.
9. Time with Minnie 10 of 11
I was beyond impressed that Minnie took the time to visit with each and every little one that wanted her attention. This little girl stole my heart.
10. CHOC & Disney: Forever Friends 11 of 11
It was an honor to be a part of the Minnie Walk. I commend both Disney and CHOC for their amazing relationship that helps to better the lives of every single child they encounter. Even grown up ones, like me.
The 23rd Annual CHOC Walk in the Park will take place on October 13th & it’s not too late to walk. More information on walking and supporting this great event can be found on their webpage.