By Whitney Hughes
In March 2022, Disney will be celebrating the 15-year anniversary of the Disney Dreamers Academy.
Each year the Dreamers Academy offers the opportunity for 100 13- to 19-year-olds to spend four days at Walt Disney World Resorts. The program is dedicated to helping young adults develop their dreams through mentorship and building lifelong connections with peers and professionals.
Disney cast member and Dreamers Academy alumnus Princeton Parker had a transformative experience when he attended the program during his senior year of high school in 2011.
“My dream was to continue in ministry and to continue speaking, and Disney changed all of that,” Parker said. “It enhanced my dream to say maybe that there were more ways than one that my gift can serve the world.”
The Disney Dreamers Academy looks for people like Parker who have a story to tell, and it encourages them to dream bigger than they ever thought possible.
The program pushed Parker beyond the walls of his church to being a blogger for the Huffington Post, interning with Essence Magazine and traveling the country to speak on behalf of the Walt Disney Company.
Being a full-time Disney cast member was a dream that Parker says he did not know he had before the academy.
Those who are accepted to the Dreamers Academy are placed alongside mentors, many of whom are professionals in the Walt Disney Company.
“It’s not just Disney cast members,” Parker said. “You also get to make connections with phenomenal celebrities.”
Some celebrities over the years to appear at the Dreamers Academy include Magic Johnson, the cast of “Grownish” and stars from Disney Channel.
Although the program was hosted virtually last year, the Disney Dreamers Academy expects to have participants back at Walt Disney World Resorts for its 15th year anniversary.
Any storyteller who is 13-19 years old and interested in being a 2022 Disney Dreamer should apply on the Disney Dreamers Academy website. Applications are open until Oct. 31.