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DisneyHand Ride-A-Thon mixes fun with fund-raising

DisneyHand Ride-A-Thon mixes fun with fund-raising

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It sounds like every Disney Dweeb's dream: A chance to repeatedly ride your favorite Fantasyland ride ... without ever having to actually exit that particular attraction. And it's all being done in the name of charity.


Photo by Jeff Lange

Ah, but it's no dream, folks. It's the DisneyHand Helping Kids Shine Ride-A-Thon, a Greater Orlando Children's Miracle Network charity event that's annually held after-hours at the Magic Kingdom. All in an effort to raise funds for Orlando's own Shands Children's Hospital & the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children & Women.

The evening's events started -- appropriately enough -- out in front of Cinderella Castle. Where the evening's 5,500 participants were all welcomed. And then Nsync's Joey Fatone helped lead the crowd in singing "Happy Birthday" to Mickey Mouse (Who officially turn 77 this past Friday).

Then -- with an explosion of fireworks -- this year's Ride-A-Thon was officially underway ...


Photo by Jeff Lange

... and people quickly began queuing up at their favorite Fantasyland attractions, determined to meet their 5K goal.


Photo by Jeff Lange

To explain: In order to meet the fund-raising goal that they'd set, each participant had to ride a particular attraction until they traveled a distance equivalent of 5 kilometers. And -- as you can see by the chart below -- that could sometime represent a pretty large commitment of time.


Photo by Jeff Lange

Luckily, the Disney characters were all on hand to help make the time go faster. And what could be better than to experience "Snow White's Scary Adventure" while you're riding along with one of the dwarfs. Or -- better yet -- playing with Minnie & Pluto in line while you wait for your chance to ride with Mickey's pals on "Dumbo the Flying Elephant."


Photo by Jeff Lange

Yeah, the Disney characters really added to the fun this past Friday night. Here you see Tweedle Dee still feeling kind of queasy after one too many trips on the Mad Tea Party ...


Photo by Jeff Lange

And ... Whoops! See what happens when you spin your teacup too fast?


Photo by Jeff Lange

Anyway ... By the time the Ride-A-Thon had wrapped up at 11:30 p.m., this after-hours charity event had raised over $100,000 for the Greater Orlando Children's Miracle Network. And participants left the theme park that night with a great feeling of personal accomplishment. Not to mention a really snazzy souvenir t-shirt!


Photo by Jeff Lange

If you'd like to learn more about the Children's Miracle Network (or perhaps even make a pledge), then I suggest you follow this link.

Jeff Lange is the staff photographer / archivist here at JHM. He recently launched his own series of unofficial Disney theme park DVDs. Which include "Jeff Lange's Holiday Treat." Which offers full coverage of last year's "Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party" at WDW's Magic Kingdom. If you'd like to learn more about this or any other of the entertaining recordings that Mr. Lange has produced, we suggest that you follow this link.

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