In 2007 the Walt Disney Corporation, Essence Magazine and Steve Harvey instituted a learning and leadership program called the Disney Dreamers Academy. The DDA takes 100 high school students from diverse backgrounds and situations and brings them to Disney World for an exciting 4 days of immersive learning, leadership and Disney fun. This year’s group of scholars was selected from an applicant pool of ten thousand making their selection very special. For many of these kids, selection to the DDA represents the first time they have been acknowledged for their determination and intelligence.
The students are exposed to a dedicated group of businessmen and woman such as Magic Johnson, Steve Harvey, Dr. Steve Perry, Mikki Taylor, Yolanda Adams, Jonathan Sprinkles and many others. During the DDA the students hear real talk about being a responsible young man or woman, as well as participate in intense informative learning sessions called Deep Dives. These Deep Dives are the highlight of the event. Students get to work one-on-one with experts in chosen fields that include forensic investigation, journalism, law, culinary arts, neurosurgery, entrepreneurship, engineering/imagineering, leadership, zoology and the performing arts. Making it even more special is that a parent is also in attendance to see their son or daughter excel. The DDA pays for air travel, meals, admission to all the Disney parks and four days at the Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort. Rolling out was there to follow the students and parents.