Walt Disney World will be letting kids live its signature magic instead of dream about it when the theme park returns its Disney Dreamers Academy in 2022 in Orlando, Florida. In addition to getting to learn from celebrities, business leaders, and authors, Disney-obsessed parents and their kids could get an all-expense-paid trip to Walt Disney World. Oh, and you could also have the opportunity to participate in a parade at Magic Kingdom.
Hosted by Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine, the academy will be in-person for the first time since 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic cut it short and made it completely virtual. Each year, Disney selects 100 high school students between 13 and 19 years old from across the country to participate in its weekend-long mentorship program. Those selected will participate in a series of sessions and workshops that are designed to help them envision brighter futures and teach them to put their goals into action. Students also learn communication, leadership, and personal networking skills.
“We’re excited to have our next class of Disney Dreamers back with us at Walt Disney World Resort,” Tracey D. Powell, Disney Signature Experiences vice president, and Disney Dreamers Academy executive champion, said in a press release. “The powerful life lessons, career guidance, and face-to-face connections the students and mentors share at Disney Dreamers Academy are so impactful. We have a lot to celebrate this year, so we’ll be adding extra touches of magic throughout the event.”
From March 3 to 6 next year, students will learn from both Disney cast members, industry leaders, and celebrities, who host the various workshops and come as motivational speakers. Past celebrity guests have included Marsai Martin, Tamera Mowry-Housley, singer NE-YO, Magic Johnson, the star of Disney’s upcoming live-action The Little Mermaid, Halle Bailey.
To be eligible for the Disney Dreamers Academy, students must be enrolled in a U.S. high school and be within the ages of 13 to 19. Applicants will be required to write three separate essays to answer the following questions: What celebrity, community leader, or social media influencer inspires you and why; If you could impact one social issue, what would it be and why; And what inspires your dream and what obstacles have been a challenge to achieving your dream?
Disney says it seeks students who have a “winning combination of attributes that reflect strong character, positive attitude, and persistence to take advantage of opportunities.”
Applications are open now and will close on Oct. 31, 2021. So kids who are interested can apply on the Disney Dreamers Academy website now. And if your teen is selected, they one parent or guardian will receive an all-expense-paid trip to Walt Disney World Resort “where they will engage in life-changing experiences and enjoy Disney's magical theme parks,” according to the program. So, dream big! Disney is paying attention!