Disney Dreamers Academy 2019 Recap
We had the pleasure of covering (and enjoying) the 2019 Disney Dreamers Academy (with excited partners Steve Harvey & ESSENCE Magazine) that brought together 100 extraordinary young people from across the nation for an immersive, transformational, all-expenses-paid experience at the most magical place on Earth: Walt Disney World.
Yes, you read that right: ALL-EXPENSES-PAID Disney World experience where handpicked students (“Dreamers”) are treated like VIPs at all four parks (Magical Kingdom, Epcot Center, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom), fed like kings and queens (the food is AMAZING) and housed at the luxurious resort in sunny Orlando.
But wait, of course there’s more: Dreamers are welcomed by Mickey himself before serving as honorary grand marshals in the iconic Magic Kingdom parade. And this is only Day 1 of 4. By the second day, they’re eased into the program that offers career-oriented workshops, mentoring by high-level professionals, networking and dress-for-success sessions, celebrity panels and much, MUCH more.
This year, Chloe & Halle (“Grown-ish”), Trevor Jackson (“Superfly”), Marcus Scribner (“Black-ish”), Ruth E. Carter (Academy Award-winning costume designer for “Black Panther”), Miles Brown (“Black-ish”), and JD McCrary (voice of young Simba in Disney’s “The Lion King” opening July 19) offered helpful millennial-to-millennial advice with a smile.
Past celeb guests include Soul icon Patti LaBelle and Ne-Yo, NBA legend and business mogul Magic Johnson, NFL star Cam Newton, Gospel star Yolanda Adams, TV personalities like celebrity chef Carla Hall and “Good Morning America’’ co-anchor Michael Strahan.
There’s also a healthy dose of program co-founder Steve Harvey who pops in and out with hilarious Harvey-isms, timeless wisdom and priceless words of encouragement for the Dreamers (and their parents).
Oh, and we can’t forget the many surprises along the way that included a Dumbo-themed dinner and special advance screening of the recently released film at Disney Springs.
“These students are in for a life-changing experience,” said Tracey D. Powell, Walt Disney World Resort vice president and Disney Dreamers Academy executive champion. “Our goal is to help them see the unlimited possibilities and to inspire them to achieve their full purpose- to become the heroes of their own stories.”
For the past 11 years, this amazing program has evolved into an important part of Disney’s commitment to inspiring the next generation at a critical time in their development. The theme is “Be100″ which encourages teens to be positive–“all in”–and to carry what they learn back with them so they can better pursue their dreams while making a difference in the lives of others.
“Having a dream is one of the most important things in life. My success is a direct result of dreaming big,” said Harvey. “It is my passion to help others dream bigger and to give them the tools to achieve those dreams. That is why I enjoy partnering with Disney on this program every year.”
Since 2008, Walt Disney World Resort has provided all-expenses-paid trips to over 1,100 Dreamers (plus a parent or guardian) who stood out from thousands of applicants. And after four days watching this class pour themselves into every aspect of the program, it’s clear why they were selected.
*Applications are now open for the 2020 event next March at Walt Disney World. We strongly encourage high school students ages 13-19 to apply here. Alllll they have to do is answer a series of essay questions about their personal stories, the influential people in their lives and their dreams for the future. The final 100 participants are selected by a panel of judges.