What is the Disney Dreamers Academy?

by | Mar 17, 2023 | News Outside the Parks, WDW Blog

Learn about this exclusive Walt Disney World Resort event designed to provide mentoring and help in fostering the dreams of Black students and teens from underrepresented communities across the United States. 

Never heard of the Disney Dreamers Academy before? It might not be a widely well-known event for many Disney fans, but it’s one that’s particularly special. The Disney Dreamers Academy is an annual educational mentoring program hosted at Walt Disney World Resort. Competition for the program is tough – only 100 outstanding students from across the country are invited to participate!

So, how does one become a Disney Dreamer? What opportunities do students have as part of the program? We’re covering this incredible event and the amazingly talented individuals who are welcomed into its ranks. 

The Disney Dreamers Academy Welcomes a New Class of Students Each Year

Disney Dreamers Academy classroom

High school student Lucas Davis from Cibolo, Texas engages in an Imagineering/engineering workshop during the 2019 Disney Dreamers Academy at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Photo courtesy of Disney

The Disney Dreamers Academy first began in 2008, when the program welcomed its first class of students. In the years since, over 1,500 students have been able to participate. As part of Disney’s commitment to support diverse communities, the Disney Dreamers program helps to encourage the next generation of leaders to think big and act on their dreams. 

It’s quite an honor to become a member of this special academy – not only do the students and teens receive mentorships, but they get to have the experience of a lifetime!

Here’s how it works: Each January, Disney announces its newest class of Disney Dreamers, highlighting the 100 Black students and teens from underrepresented communities who will participate in the year’s academy. This small and special group of individuals is selected from thousands of applicants, all of whom answer essay questions about their personal stories and dreams for the future. Students come from a variety of cities and states, all with the shared goal of fueling their futures and discovering new possibilities.

The academy itself takes place in the spring and is a multi-day event held at Walt Disney World Resort. Each student (along with a parent or guardian) enjoys an all-expenses paid trip to Disney World. Throughout the event, the Disney Dreamers explore both the theme parks and the behind-the-scenes work that brings their magic to life. 

Disney Dreamers Learn Firsthand From a Variety of Professionals

Disney Dreamers Academy workshops

High school students learn about the art of storytelling during a filmmaking workshop as part of the 2017 Disney Dreamers Academy at Walt Disney World Resort. Photo courtesy of Disney

One of the most exciting aspects of the Disney Dreamers Academy is the opportunity to learn and interact with a whole host of professionals and experts across a wide variety of fields. The teens and students who participate aren’t just seeing Disney World in action; they’re also learning about new career opportunities and possibilities, discovering the steps needed to pursue their dreams, and listening to and learning from Disney executives, educators, business leaders, and motivational speakers.

It’s quite the exciting “classroom” to learn within! While at the multi-day event, the Dreamers participate in immersive, career-oriented workshops that cover a range of different possibilities. In addition to learning about different career paths, the Dreamers also learn and practice essential skills, like effective communication techniques, leadership, and networking strategies.

After completing the Disney Dreamers Academy, participants have gone on to see incredible futures. Past Dreamers have become storytellers, artists, engineers, innovators, and journalists. Many have even become mentors within the Dreamers Academy themselves!

How to Apply for the Disney Dreamers Academy

If you’re interested in potentially becoming a member of a future class of the Disney Dreamers Academy, you can apply! Just visit DisneyDreamersAcademy.com to learn more about what’s required during the application process, when the next round of applications will become available, and more. 

Posts by Heather Adams

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Heather is a lifelong Disney fan who grew up at Disneyland and loves spending as much time as possible in the parks. As WDW Magazine’s Content Operations Manager, Heather is a content creator and strategist with experience at a wide variety of different outlets. She’s written for publications including Clean Eating Magazine, Fatherly, The Drive, Task and Purpose, Healthversed, Nation.com, and Car Bibles. Heather also authored the book Fidget!: 101 Ways to Boost Your Creativity and Decrease Stress.
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Authored by
Heather Adams

Heather is a lifelong Disney fan who grew up at Disneyland and loves spending as much time as possible in the parks. As WDW Magazine’s Content Operations Manager, Heather is a content creator and strategist with experience at a wide variety of different outlets. She’s written for publications including Clean Eating Magazine, Fatherly, The Drive, Task and Purpose, Healthversed, Nation.com, and Car Bibles. Heather also authored the book Fidget!: 101 Ways to Boost Your Creativity and Decrease Stress.
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