Answering Important Questions About Disney Dreamers Academy

in Disney, Events

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Credit: Disney Dreamers Academy

For many teens, the start of a new school year sparks a renewed interest in considering one’s life goals, ambitions, motivations, and—in true Disney spirit—big dreams about how to positively impact the future.

Regardless of race, gender, or life situation, the future should hold boundless opportunities for all promising minds. Disney knows and understands this well, which is why the Company pioneers many innovative educational opportunities for folks of all ages designed to cultivate creativity and foster enthusiasm for learning. From engaging animation interests via the Disney Art Academy video game to offering business leaders team-building opportunities via the Disney Institute, the Walt Disney Company has always been about encouraging everyone to do the seemingly impossible and make their dreams come true. That’s where the Disney Dreamers Academy comes into play for young, promising teenagers aspiring to create a “great big beautiful tomorrow” for themselves and the world.

So, what is Disney Dreamers Academy exactly, and how does one get in? We at Inside the Magic are answering all these questions and more you may have about this esoteric offering and the select number of teens chosen to participate.

Mickey Mouse on Stage at the Disney Dreamers Academy opening
Credit: Disney

Related: Disney Dreamers Academy Returns for 16th Year in a Row

What Is Disney Dreamers Academy?

Disney Dreamers Academy is an annual four-day educational/mentoring event hosted at Walt Disney World Resort in Bay Lake, Florida (near Orlando). It is designed for high school teens between the ages of 13 and 19, many of whom are minority students or those from underrepresented communities. Having been established in 2008, the founding initiative behind Disney Dreamers Academy draws on Walt Disney’s own inspirational example of starting out with nothing but big dreams yet never letting the odds stacked against him prevent him from achieving his full potential.

Disney Dreamers Academy events are presented as a series of motivational programs and unique opportunities over the course of the four days. These include inspirational talks, immersive career activities, networking opportunities, gaining valuable interviewing experience, and much more. Participants get to interact personally with Disney Cast Members, industry experts, community leaders, and even a special celebrity ambassador.

Disney Dreamers Academy students in front of Cinderella Castle
Credit: Disney Dreamers Academy

What Are the Disney Dreamers Academy Requirements?

To qualify for Disney Dreamers Academy, you must be a current high school student (grades 9 through 12) between the ages of 13 and 19 at the time of the event. Only those residing in the 48 contiguous United States or the District of Columbia may enter. Prior attendees to past Disney Dreamers Academy sessions may not enter a second time, although previous prospective entrants who were not selected may continue to apply every new year.

Pluto leading a procession of Disney Dreamers Academy teens displaying signs for where they come from.
Credit: Walt Disney Company

What Is the Application Process?

The window to apply for each year’s Disney Dreamers Academy event opens in July and remains open through the end of October. After getting the consent of a parent or legal guardian, participant hopefuls may visit the Disney Dreamers Academy website to register and then complete a downloadable application form. You may resubmit online or via mail-in registration by following the instructions on the form. Applicants must complete a series of three essays and three rapid-fire questions by providing their own answers and responses. Mentors or guardians may not assist teens or complete the form for them. The contest permits only one application per prospective participant and requires no entry fee. Click here for a complete list of applicant rules and requirements.

Related: Disney Dreamers Academy Creates Four Groundbreaking Entrepreneurs

How Are Students Selected?

The Disney Dreamers Academy acceptance rate is admittedly rigorous, to say the least. Just 100 entrants are selected each year out of thousands. There are a lot of factors that play into the initial end decision. Not only are each applicant’s essays and responses taken into account, but also their personal stories and specific dreams and long-term goals for the future.

Curtain logo projection of Disney Dreamers Academy
Credit: Ashley Carter

When Are Disney Dreamers Academy Events Held?

Every year’s new Disney Dreamers Academy class is revealed in January, with the official event following later that spring (typically by the end of March). All programs are held directly onsite at Walt Disney World Resort during the course of a four-day extended weekend.

Disney Dreamers Academy at Magic Kingdom Park
Credit: Disney Dreamers Academy

Related: VIDEO: Mickey Mouse surprises Disney Dreamers Academy selections live on “Good Morning America”

What Activities Are Included in the Program?

Upon arrival at the Disney Dreamers Academy, you’re in for four days of non-stop engaging activities and interactive experiences designed to motivate and encourage dreamers to keep dreaming and to turn those dreams into an obtainable reality. As mentioned, the activity lineup comprises inspirational talks, immersive career awareness activities, and onsite networking and interviewing events. You’ll also enjoy hands-on behind-the-scenes Park magic, learn from industry experts, connect one-on-one with Cast Members, and meet celebrity ambassadors and community leaders.

Students meeting with a Cast Member for a Private Behind the Seeds Tour
Credit: Disney Dreamers Academy

Each day has its own set schedule of events, kicking off with a scrumptious breakfast buffet to start it all. The first three days of the program cover all the main events, with day four being the commencement ceremony, complete with awards, honors, closing remarks, and even class rings! Even with so much intertwined into the four-day program, teens and attending parents/guardians will still have opportunities to enjoy time in the Parks!

Disney Dreamers Teens enjoying Slinky Dog Dash
Credit: Disney Dreamers Academy

Does Participation in Disney Dreamers Academy Cost Anything?

The great news about being selected for Disney Dreamers Academy is that all expenses for attending are completely paid for. This includes airfare, hotel accommodations, food, and even Park tickets. The all-inclusive paid-for costs cover each participating teen and one accompanying parent or legal guardian.

Proud mother and son at the Disney Dreamers ring ceremony
Credit: Walt Disney Company

Related: Disney Dreamers Academy bringing high school students to Walt Disney World for unique mentoring program

Upcoming Disney Dreamers Academy

Disney Dreamers Academy 2023 wrapped up another successful year this past March. And the future looks just as bright and promising for the coming 2024 Disney Dreamers Academy. The signup window for interested teens is currently open and will remain open until October 31, 2023. So, if you or someone you know is interested and qualifies, there’s still time to apply by visiting www.DisneyDreamersAcademy.com.

Have you or someone you know ever participated in a past Disney Dreamers Academy event? We’d love to have you share your experiences with us in the comments below.

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