Disney Dreamers Academy – Here is the Truth

Posted on


Dreams definitely do come true. Last year I had the privilege of attending the 12th annual Disney Dreamers Academy 2019 event as a media guest of Walt Disney World.

Over the four days of covering the event, I learned more than I ever expected. Since I received a lot of questions about this unique Disney event, I wanted to share the truth about Disney Dreamers Academy

What is the Disney Dreamers Academy?

Before I tell you the truth, let me give you a little background first.

Disney Dreamers was founded in 2008 and is hosted by Walt Disney World, Steve Harvey and ESSENCE magazine.

One-hundred students between the ages of 13-19 (in grades 9-12) are selected out of many applicants.

Each student that is selected gets to bring along one parent or guardian for an all-expense-paid trip to Disney World, where they will participate in this life-changing event.

Throughout the 4 days, Dreamers get opportunities to meet Disney cast members, celebrities, industry experts, plus experience a whole lot of magic.

The purpose of this program is to inspire, motivate and encourage teens to pursue their dreams.

Of course, they also get to have some fun in the Disney Parks too, by experiencing all the Disney attractions, parades, scavenger hunts, bonding with new friends and much more!

12th annual Disney Dreamers Academy. (Todd Anderson, photographer)

Watch Steve Harvey share his thoughts and vision on the Disney Dreamers Academy. 

Disney Dreamers Academy – Here is the Truth

  • A Dreamer can be ANY teen, regardless of sex, race, income level or family makeup. The only requirements are that they must be a high school student between the ages of 13-19 and a legal resident of one of the 48 states. 
  • This event doesn’t only focus on the teens. As the mother of a teen, I was happy to see they actually separate the parents/guardians. Then they get to have real conversations with them about parenting and pursuing their own dreams (yes it’s never too late).
  • Teens not only receive educational, career and networking opportunities but also tips on how to dress and pitch ideas. The most sentimental part of this event for me was when the boys were given ties. It was so special because the male speakers and volunteers took time with each teen boy to show how to tie them. (I can’t promise you won’t tear up). 
  • The teens and parents/guardians meet new people while creating lifelong friendships and bonds. 
  • You will never receive more relatable as well as inspiring life lessons and quotes from an event. I was very impressed when I interviewed a 15-year boy and I asked what was his favorite part of the event so far. He recited a quote he heard on the very first day, which I also loved. “All the water in the world can not sink a ship until it gets inside.”
  • It is a very emotional event and I didn’t understand just how much so until I was actually in the room. Hearing some of these teens’ stories, both their hardships and achievements, was beyond touching. As Yolanda Adams said, “We need to keep pouring into the generation that will take over the world“. 
  • The Dreamers weren’t the only ones there to learn. The truth is their stories, perseverance and dreams inspired and taught many of the adults some life lessons. 
  • The event might only be 4 days, but the connections and inspiration have lasting impressions. 

Jacques Moye from Pittsburgh, Pa. practices tying a tie during the Disney Dreamers Image Makeover on Saturday, March 23, 2019. (Todd Anderson, photographer)

How To Apply For Disney Dreamers Academy?

Since this year’s class has already been chosen, the application period for Disney Dreamers Academy 2020 is closed.

In fact, on January 16, 2020, Walt Disney World Resort revealed the 100 extraordinary high school students from across the nation who are a part of the Disney Dreamers Academy 2020 winners.  

Unfortunately, due to the global pandemic and since it wasn’t safe to travel, this event had to be canceled. Recently the Disney Parks Blog announced they will host a virtual event this fall. Also, for the first time in Disney Dreamers history, they are offering career shadow externships to all 100 members of the 2020 class.

Make sure to keep checking the website for information on when applications for the class of 2021 will open and Disney Dreamers Academy dates. Please encourage your eligible teen and spread the word wherever you can that they can apply online or by mail to be considered for this amazing opportunity. 

Disney Dreamers Academy, Meet the 2019 Class:

Wishing a very big congratulations to the Disney Dreamers Academy 2019 class. I can’t wait to meet the Disney Dreamers Academy 2020 class next!

Check out the full list of all the winners to learn more about these incredible teens.  

The truth is, a wish is something you hope for but a dream is something you pursue. I will definitely be including that inspirational quote on my digital vision board

Disney Dreamers join Mickey Mouse, entertainer Steve Harvey, Vice President at Walt Disney World Resort Tracey Powell, Editor-at-Large at Essence Magazine Mikki Taylor and CEO of Essence Communications Michelle Ebanks (Gregg Newton, photographer).

Please make sure you never stop dreaming big!




You might also like these posts

Leave a Comment