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

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Disney Dreamers join (behind Mickey Mouse L-R) Mikki Taylor, editor-at-large for Essence Magazine, Michelle Ebanks, president of Essence Communications, Inc., radio and TV personality Steve Harvey, Tracey D. Powell, executive champion of Disney Dreamers Academy, and Mickey Mouse on March 6, 2016 to celebrate the commencement of the ninth Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The annual event is a career-inspiration program for distinguished high school students from across the U.S. (Gregg Newton, photographer)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.

(MARCH 4, 2016): High school students Ellxis Hinton of Summerville, SC. (left) and Nicole Hood of Camden, NJ. (right) prepare a special dessert with Chef Adrian Mandry of Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort March 4, 2016, during a culinary workshop at Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine at Epcot in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The ninth annual event March 3-6, 2016, is a career-inspiration program for distinguished high school students from across the U.S. (Chloe Rice, photographer) Sense 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.

(Clockwise from top left) Mikki Taylor, editor-at-large for Essence Magazine, gospel singer Yolanda Adams, Tracey D. Powell, executive champion for Disney Dreamers Academy, Rushion McDonald, executive producer of Steve Harvey Morning Show and Disney Dreamer Alanna Wall of Dayton, OH, join Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse March 3, 2016 as grand marshals in a special parade saluting Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine at Magic Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The ninth annual event, taking place March 3-6, 2016 at Walt Disney World Resort, is a career-inspiration program for distinguished high school students from across the U.S. (Ryan Wendler, photographer)“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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