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Disney enlists Princess Tiana and Pastor Mike to share the inclusive power of dreams at ESSENCE 2023
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Disney enlists Princess Tiana and Pastor Mike to share the inclusive power of dreams at ESSENCE 2023

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Disneyworld and Disney land are referred to as the most magical places on earth but this summer Disney brought a little magic to New Orleans for the 2023 Essence Festival of Culture. Fans realize New Orleans is the birthplace of the first Black Disney Princess Tiana, so it was no surprise that Tiana showed up at Essence festival to spread a little zydeco magic. In addition to Tiana’s presence, Disney partnered with Gospel singing Pastor Mike to announce the opening of applications and nominations for the 2024 Disney Dreamers Academy. The transformational program includes a four-day annual event in March at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and is designed to broaden career and personal development for a select group of 100 Black and underrepresented communities across America.

Students looking to achieve their dreams can apply and, for the first time this year, be nominated for the program at The application process opens Monday and runs through October. The 100 selected students will receive an all-expense-paid trip along with one parent or guardian to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida to experience a combination of inspiration, education and fun at The Most Magical Place on Earth.  

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Pastor Mike was excited to partner with Disney to encourage families to submit their teens for a once in a lifetime opportunity to chase their dreams. The 11-time Stellar Award Gospel Artist is best known for his songs, “I Got It” and “So Good”.  He attended last year’s Disney Dreamer Academy and was moved by the opportunity to influence young people through his music and real-life experiences. “Inspiring others is my passion, and it is also the core of the Disney Dreamers Academy, which is why I’m so proud to affiliate myself with this program, “ says Pastor Mike Jr. I’ve seen how passionate these students are and I would encourage all students to apply or nominate a fellow Disney Dreamer for this once-in-a-lifetime transformative event.  

The Disney Dreamers academy has inspired more than 1500 students from across the country. Each year, graduates have gone on to become doctors, engineers, performing artists, entrepreneurs and even Disney cast members. Singer/actress Haile Bailey who starred as ‘Ariel’ in the live-action remake of ‘The Little Mermaid’ was a part of this year’s activities, sharing with students her personal experiences and even hosting two aspiring filmmakers from the class to be her personal guests at the world premiere of ‘The Little Mermaid’. 

 “We’re seeking the next generation of big dreamers to bring to Walt Disney World for the 17th year of this life-changing program says Disney Signature Experiences Vice President Tracey D. Powell who is also the program’s executive champion.  “Any teen in your life who aspires to achieve their goals should apply. You never know where it could take them!”

For more information, visit 

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Disney Dreamers Academy

Disney Dreamers Academy continues its dedicated mission to providing youth with an opportunity to learn how they can harness the power of their dreams

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