Disney Dreamers Academy Celebrates 15 Years

In 2007, Disney began an educational mentor program to encourage and inspire teenagers to do the one thing Walt Disney himself encouraged us all to do – dream! This year marks 15 years since the first-ever Disney Dreamers Academy, inviting 100 teens to an all-expense paid trip to Walt Disney World. This year, Disney Dreamers Academy returns as in-person event, and will take place March 3-6. The 2020 Dreamers Academy was cut short due to closures associated with the onset of Covid-19 and the 2021 Disney Dreamers Academy was a virtual event.

Who Can Apply To Be In Disney Dreamers Academy?

In order to be eligible, you must be a resident of the United States, between the ages of 13 and 19, and currently enrolled in high school. Application reviewers are looking for those who demonstrate the courage to overcome obstacles, intellectual curiosity, care, compassion, and an optimistic outlook for the present and future. If selected, the teen and one parent/guardian will travel to Walt Disney World in March to attend the summit!

The application period normally runs between August and October each year. Should applicants not be accepted on the first try, they are encouraged to try in a subsequent year. Thousands of young people apply for this program each year, but only 100 will be chosen!

Disney Dreamers Academy
Disney Dreamers Academy will help young people explore a variety of career opportunities during the 4-day weekend. Photo courtesy of Disney

What Happens At Disney Dreamers Academy?

During this unforgettable weekend, the selected teens will visit all four parks and participate in interactive workshops and presentations intended to improve leadership skills and explore career paths both “on stage” and behind the scenes. During these sessions, cast members, mentors, business owners, authors, and celebrities offer tips on communication, networking, and professionalism, transforming the teens from dreamers to doers that are prepared to make a positive impact. By the end of the experience, the leaders of tomorrow leave with the inspiration, motivation, and necessary tools to go after the dreams dearest to their hearts. Previous guest appearances include Ne-Yo, Halle Barry, and Magic Johnson. Among this year’s special guest speakers are Terrence J, Yolanda Adams, and Brandi & Karli Harvey.

Disney Dreamers Academy
Disney Dreamers Academy participants may have the opportunity to learn directly from one of the many chefs at Walt Disney World! Photo courtesy of Disney

A part of the program debuting this year will send 11 students home with a big surprise. Thanks to a collaboration with ESPN’s The Undefeated and GRAMMY-nominated rap artist Cordae, Disney Dreamers Academy will award college scholarships to 11 students from underrepresented communities who plan to attend Historically Black Colleges and Universities(HBCUs). Which 11 students from this year’s class of dreamers will win a scholarship?

Disney Dreamers Academy ride Slinky Dog Dash
Disney Dreamers Academy participants not only have a weekend full of educational opportunities, they also have time for fun! Photo courtesy of Disney

Disney Dreamers Alumni

Disney Dreamers Academy has had an effective impact on over 1,300 attendees overs its 15-year duration. Some graduates have gone on to be advocates, physicians, and even Disney cast members! If you’re interested in learning more about the program, you are able to contact a previous attendee in order to ask questions about the application process and learn more details about the experience.

Disney Dreamers Academy in parade
Disney Dreamers participate in a parade along Main Street U.S.A. Photo courtesy of Disney

If you know someone that should apply to be a part of the Disney Dreamers Academy, be sure to let them know about this amazing experience and stay tuned to DVC Shop for more updates on this yearly opportunity for teenagers!

Written by

Shelley Wehler

Contributing Writer

Shelley is a stay-at-home mother of two girls living outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. Her love of all things Disney has grown even more as she sees the magic come alive through the lens of her young daughters. She spends her free time keeping up with the latest in Disney news and daydreaming of her next trip to the parks!

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