Disney Dreamers Academy Archives

March 7, 2016

Disney Dreamers Academy students find ideal educational and inspirational playground at Walt Disney World Resort


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Each year, 100 teens are selected from among thousands across the country to come together to participate in an once-in-a-lifetime, innovative, educational and mentoring program.

The program is Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and ESSENCE Magazine. It was inspired by Walt Disney’s passion for motivating those around him to dream big.

The classroom is Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

Known as the place where dreams come true, Walt Disney World Resort is the perfect location for this four-day experience, designed to fuel the dreams of teens, help them discover a world of possibilities and help them prepare for the future.

Disney Dreamers Academy takes the same assets and resources that make vacation memories of a lifetime for travelers and uses them to inspire, teach and motivate this select group of students.

The teens receive the unique experience of observing a living laboratory and getting behind the scenes to explore firsthand how Disney turns dreams into reality.

The 40-square-mile resort with four theme parks, two water parks, 36 resort hotels, 200 restaurants and much more, offers an abundance of resources for career exploration.

During the program, Disney Dreamers Academy students participate in immersive, hands-on workshops with Disney Cast Members, representing the best in their fields. In virtually any career in which a student might be interested, whether accounting or zoology, the Walt Disney World Resort can pull from among its team of 66,000 to provide mentorship opportunities.

Since the program’s inception, Dreamers have gone into a laboratory with a veterinarian at Animal Kingdom, prepared a meal with hydroponic vegetables grown at Epcot, mixed music in a recording studio at Hollywood Studios and built a model roller coaster with Magic Kingdom engineers.

In addition to these behind-the-scenes moments, students have the chance to hear from some of the resort’s top level executives, celebrity partners, corporate sponsors and other affiliated professionals to learn what they do, how they do it, and how they got there.

The theme parks themselves provide their own inspirational and educational moments. Each park is full of opportunities that do more than just provide entertainment, but bring to life something that otherwise might seem distant or impossible.

At Disney Dreamers Academy, students have had the chance to engage with cultures from around the world at Epcot’s World Showcase, observe animals in their natural habitats on Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, hear from the country’s greatest leaders in the Hall of Presidents at Magic Kingdom and learn about how the entire company got started at Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

For students, just the experience of visiting the Walt Disney World Resort can end up being the ultimate lesson in the power of dreaming big.

“Walt Disney World exists because of one man’s dream,” said Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Vice President of Deluxe Resorts and Disney Dreamers Academy Executive Champion, Tracey D. Powell. “Our goal is to continue the legacy of making dreams come true at Disney Dreamers Academy.”

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February 5, 2016

High School Students Nationwide Chosen for 2016 Disney Dreamers Academy at Walt Disney World Resort


Approximately 100 “Dreamers’’ selected from thousands of applicants across the country for ninth-annual career and mentoring event taking place in March; Group includes more than 50 students from the Southeast and more than 10 from the Northeast, Southwest, West and Midwest regions

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Feb. 2, 2016 – Approximately 100 students from across America will soon pack their bags for a fabulous, fun-filled and educational trip to Walt Disney World Resort as part of this year’s Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and ESSENCE, March 3-6, 2016.

The teens, along with a parent or guardian, will take off on an all-expense-paid trip to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, where they will experience once-in-a-lifetime educational and mentoring program designed to inspire them to dream big and discover a world of possibilities that will help them prepare for their future.

The students, known as “Dreamers,” are taken on stage and behind the scenes, where Disney theme parks become vibrant ‘classrooms’ and students discover new careers and pursue their dreams while also creating fun memories that last a lifetime.

During Disney Dreamers Academy, students participate in hands-on, immersive career-oriented workshops, ranging from animation to zoology. Each student is given important tools such as effective communication techniques, leadership skills, and networking strategies.

Additionally, Dreamers are exposed to acclaimed motivational speakers and popular celebrities who share their stories and insight on achieving success and DREAMING BIG. Dreamers have the opportunity to cultivate relationships with other students from across the nation while gaining first-hand knowledge from Disney experts and renowned entrepreneurs and executives.

“Disney Dreamers Academy is a one-of-a-kind program that, since its inception, is helping more than 800 students achieve their dreams,” said Tracey D. Powell, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts vice president of deluxe resorts. Powell serves as Disney Dreamers Academy executive champion. “As we prepare for our ninth annual event, the greatest reward has been seeing so many of our previous Dreamers use their experience at Disney Dreamers Academy to expand their dreams and move even closer to making them a reality. After all, that is what the program is all about,” said Powell.

Walt Disney World Resort, along with syndicated television and radio personality Steve Harvey and ESSENCE Communications, will host the selected Dreamers during their magical four-day career and educational exploration.

“Disney Dreamers Academy provides an excellent learning environment to help young students with their aspirations and to dream even bigger,” said Harvey. “I can’t wait to meet this year’s new students and kick off the 2016 Disney Dreamers Academy at Walt Disney World Resort in March.”

Michelle Ebanks, president of ESSENCE Communications, added: “We are excited to once again join with Disney Parks and Steve Harvey to encourage our youth to dream big. Our expectation is that this group of remarkable teens will be the leaders of tomorrow and positively impact the world for years to come. It is our honor and commitment at ESSENCE to be part of that process.”

This year’s students were selected from thousands of applicants who answered a series of essay questions about their personal stories and dreams for the future. The students were chosen by a judging panel that included: gospel music legend Yolanda Adams; ESSENCE magazine editor-at-large Mikki Taylor; education advocate Dr. Steve Perry; The Sister Accord founder and author Sonia Jackson Myles; award-winning motivational speaker Jonathan Sprinkles; Simply Ellis Custom Clothier CEO Dr. Alex O. Ellis; Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation executive director Brandi Harvey; Steve Harvey Products creative director Karli Harvey; and professional speaker Princeton Parker and Disney Dreamers Academy alumnus.

For more information, visit Regular updates about Disney Dreamers Academy are also available on social media at Facebook/DisneyDreamersAcademy or Twitter/DreamersAcademy.

For a list of 2016 Dreamers and Bios, please visit

*Participation is subject to verification and return of the required documentation.

February 6, 2013

Disney Dreamers Academy announces 100 selected students for 2013 program

Students will engage in career and mentoring workshops at sixth-annual event in March

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Feb. 6, 2013) - Walt Disney World Resort has announced the 100 teens who will participate in the next Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine. The teens, along with a parent or guardian, will receive an all-expense-paid trip to the Walt Disney World Resort March 7-10, but they won't be vacationing. Instead, they will participate in a once-in-lifetime innovative outside-the-classroom educational and mentoring program.

Entering its sixth year, Disney Dreamers Academy continues to hold true to its mission to inspire and fuel the dreams of teens, help them discover a world of possibilities and help them prepare for the future. Each year, 100 students participate in hands-on, full-immersion workshops related to a bevy of career paths ranging from animation to zoology. Each participant learns important skills such as communication techniques and networking strategies.

It all takes place in a magical setting: The Walt Disney World theme parks. Both on stage and behind the scenes, the parks become vibrant 'classrooms' leading to career discoveries, the pursuit of dreams and fun memories to cherish for a lifetime.

Motivational speakers and celebrities share their stories and provide insight on how to achieve success and "DREAM BIG." Dreamers have the opportunity to cultivate relationships with other students from across the nation while they gain first-hand knowledge from Disney experts and world-renowned entrepreneurs and executives.

"Over the past five years, we have helped 500 Dreamers unlock their potential and get started on their journeys in life," said Disney Dreamers Academy Executive Champion Tracey D. Powell. "The sixth Disney Dreamers Academy marks another year of continued motivation, education and success. Steve Harvey and Essence Communications share in our vision of enriching lives. Everyone leaves this program inspired to live their best life."

Walt Disney World Resort along with Steve Harvey, syndicated radio and television personality, and Essence Magazine will host the selected Dreamers during their four-day power packed career and educational exploration. Harvey, speaking on the program, says, "Disney Dreamers Academy gives hope and inspiration and exposes youth to a world of possibilities. We are excited about another opportunity to transform lives and give students an inside look at what their future can hold."

Essence Communications President Michelle Ebanks added, "We are excited about the sixth Disney Dreamers Academy. This program transcends the normal classroom setting, taking learning to the next level. This year we plan to go above and beyond to encourage Dreamers. Our valued partnership with Disney Parks and Steve Harvey represents our commitment to the leaders of tomorrow."

This year's 100 students were selected from among more than 5,000 applicants by a panel of judges representing the best in their fields that included Powell, Harvey and Ebanks. Applicants answered a series of essay questions about their personal stories and life dreams.

The rest of the 2013 Disney Dreamers Academy judging panel was comprised of: Mikki Taylor (Editor-at-Large, ESSENCE Magazine); Yolanda Adams (gospel music legend); Terrence J (actor and host of E! News); Stephen A. Smith (broadcaster and sports analyst); Dr. Steve Perry (education advocate and CNN commentator); Sonia Jackson Myles (founder and author, The Sister Accord); Jonathan Sprinkles (award-winning motivational speaker); Chef Jeff Henderson (celebrity chef and motivational speaker); Alex O. Ellis (CEO, Simply Ellis Custom Clothier) Brandi Harvey (Corporate and Community Relations Director, the Steve Harvey World Group) and Karli Harvey (Hair Artesian, U Salon, Atlanta).

This accomplished group remains involved in Disney Dreamers Academy throughout the year serving as the program's ambassadors and advisory panel as part of the Disney Dreamers Academy's Speaker Resource Group.

Steve's message to those that did not get in this year.

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This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Disney and Florida Attractions News Blog in the Disney Dreamers Academy category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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