Recently I had the privilege of attending the 12th annual Disney Dreamers Academy event as a media guest of Walt Disney World. Over the four days of covering the event (see highlights here), I learned more than I ever expected. Since I received a lot of questions, I wanted to share the truth about Disney Dreamers Academy.
Are you familiar with 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. 100 students between the ages of 13-19 (in grades 9-12) are selected out of many applicants. The students plus one parent or guardian receive an all expense paid trip to Disney World so they can participate in this life-changing event.
Throughout the 4 days Dreamers get opportunities to meet Disney cast members, celebrities, industry experts and experience lots 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.
Watch as Steve Harvey shares his thoughts and vision in this video.
Now that you know more about this incredible event, here is the truth about Disney Dreamers Academy:
- 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 be a legal resident of one of the 48 states.
- Disney Dreamers Academy doesn’t only focus on the teens. As the mother of a teen I was happy to see they actually separate the parents/guardians so they can have real conversations with them about parenting and pursuing their own dreams (yes its never too late).
- Teens not only receive educational, career and networking opportunities, but also tips on how to dress and pitch ideas. One of the most sentimental moments of this event for me was when the boys were given ties. The most special part was when the male speakers and volunteers took time with each teen boy to show them how to tie a tie. You can watch a video of this happening by clicking here (I can’t promise you won’t tear up).
- The teens and parents/guardians meet people and create 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 that he heard on the very first day, which I also loved as well. “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 actually attended. 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 don’t stop there.
How Do You Apply To Be A Dreamer?
Congratulations to the Disney Dreamers Academy class of 2019. The truth is, a wish is something you hope for but a dream is something you pursue.