The Crusader Newspaper Group

Last Call for Applications for Disney Dreamers Academy Teen Mentorship Program

Application period closes Oct. 31 for a mentoring experience of a lifetime provided by Walt Disney World  

The deadline to apply for Disney Dreamers Academy, an inspiring and transformational mentorship program for high school students, is fast approaching. The application period closes October 31, 2021, as planners continue to set the stage for the popular program to return to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida March 3-6, 2022. 

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TWO STUDENTS PARTICIPATE in an Engineering immersive seminar during a previous DDA weekend.

Program applicants must answer essay questions about their personal journeys and dreams for the future. Students are selected based on a combination of attributes, including strong character, a positive attitude and determination to achieve their dreams. Students must be enrolled in high school in the continental United States and from ages 13-19 to be eligible for consideration. A parent or guardian accompanies each student on the trip. 

This ever-popular, outside-the-classroom program is designed to inspire young leaders to dream beyond their imaginations and jump-start their life goals. One hundred high school students will be selected to receive the trip to Walt Disney World to take part in the mentoring program. 

Disney Dreamers Academy returns in-person just in time for its 15th anniversary year. The 2020 program was cut short due to the pandemic and transitioned to a very successful virtual program series in 2021.

Remaining consistent for the 100 students selected for the 2022 class is the opportunity to learn in the vibrant setting of Walt Disney World. 

“We’re looking forward to hosting our next class of Disney Dreamers again,” said Tracey D. Powell, Disney Signature Experiences vice president and Disney Dreamers Academy executive champion. “The powerful life lessons, career guidance and face-to-face connections the students enjoy at Disney Dreamers Academy can be career-defining and even life-changing,” she added. To celebrate our return, we’ll be adding extra touches of magic throughout the event.” 

For 15 years, Disney Dreamers Academy has inspired more than 1,300 students from across the country by fueling their dreams and showing them a world of possibilities as they prepare for their futures. Students participate in hands-on, immersive career seminars in a wide range of disciplines found at Walt Disney World. Participants learn how to improve their communication, leadership and networking along with other valuable personal and professional development skills. 

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2019 ACADEMY AWARD winner for Best Costume Design for ‘Black Panther’ Ruth E. Carter holds a golden Mickey presented to her during the 2018 Disney Dreamers Academy.

Students also participate in a series of sessions and workshops designed to help them imagine bright futures, make exciting discoveries and learn how to put their goals into action. Disney Dreamers engage in a wide variety of experiences at Walt Disney World, while working side-by-side and hearing inspirational stories from celebrities, community and industry leaders, Disney cast members, and other special guests. 

Past celebrity participants have included stars from the big screen and television, noted sports figures, popular musicians, as well as personalities and cast members from across the Disney corporate family including “Good Morning America,’’ ESPN, Disney Channel and the TV series “black-ish” and “grown-ish.” The exciting line-up of participants for the 2022 event will be announced at a later date.

Disney Dreamers Academy is focused on challenging young people to relentlessly pursue their dreams through the “Be 100” campaign – to be positive, to be “all in” and to apply lessons from their experience to help relentlessly pursue their dreams and make a difference in the lives of others. This motto is inspired by the powerful impact Disney Dreamers Academy has made on graduates who have gone on to become doctors, nurses, engineers, pilots, journalists and more. 

About Disney Dreamers Academy:

Established by Walt Disney World in 2008, Disney Dreamers Academy’s mission is to inspire young leaders to dream beyond imagination by providing life-long access to personalized support for the Disney Dreamer, their caregivers and community through insightful content and uplifting experts, mentors and sponsors. Each year, 100 high school students are awarded a trip to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida to experience the immersive and transformational program. For more information, visit

TREVOR JACKSON, ACTOR and musician, poses for a photo with Crusader Entertainment Editor, Elaine Hegwood Bowen, during a breakout session held during the 2019 Disney Dreamers Academy. The Crusader has covered this event since 2014, and the wealth of information and life-changing experiences that the students receive are invaluable.

Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., is the Entertainment Editor for the Chicago Crusader. She is a National Newspaper Publishers Association ‘Entertainment Writing’ award winner, contributor to “Rust Belt Chicago” and the author of “Old School Adventures from Englewood: South Side of Chicago.” For info, search for title online or Old School Adventures from Englewood—South Side of Chicago ( or email: [email protected].

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