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Japan Pavilion at Epcot

Are You A Disney Performing Arts Alumnus?

posted on February 21st, 2012 by Tim Hill, Director of Disney Youth Programs

What do television star Jennifer Morrison, “School of Rock’s” Caitlin Hale and renowned musicians Jessy J, Mike Scheuchzer of MercyMe and Jerry DePizzo of O.A.R. have in common?

The answer is easy. They all are part of the Disney Performing Arts family, having performed at a Disney park with a music, dance or theatre ensemble!

Today we’re launching a search for Disney Performing Arts Alumni who want to share how the experience affected their goals and helped them find success in the performing arts or other careers.

Disney Performing Arts played an important role in my career. I performed with The Central Davidson High School Band at Walt Disney World Resort back in 1979. I still have the newspaper story about our band’s trip and remember how that performance cemented my passion for music and education. I never dreamed back then that I would one day lead the team responsible for the Disney Performing Arts program. It’s proof that you never know how life-changing a single Disney experience can be!

Mine is one of countless stories from participants since the first student group performed at Disneyland park on opening day in 1955.

Since then, millions of student performers have marched, danced and made music in Disney parks around the world. They’ve come from every state in America and from six continents. If you or someone you know has a great story about how performing at a Disney park helped further a career or realize a dream, tell us about it at or visit us on Facebook.

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Filed: Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort



Steve on February 21st, 2012 at 9:36 am

I enjoy the DPA shows at Downtown Disney’s Waterside Stage. Is there any way to get a schedule online or a printed list from Guest Services?


Tim Hill on February 24th, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Steve – Thank you so much for being such a loyal fan of our performers at the Waterside Stage! Because groups and performance times are always subject to change, no list is available in advance at this time. The marquee at the stage will provide you with the day’s scheduled performing groups and their show times.


Parker from OH on February 21st, 2012 at 11:05 am

I played with my high school marching band in both 2006 and 2009. We marched before the Spectromagic Parade at Magic Kingdom. Going backstage was amazing, but seeing the crowd’s faces light up at the sound of our music was even better. It was by far one of the best experiences I’ve ever had at WDW!


Johanna on February 21st, 2012 at 12:39 pm

I played at the Magic Kingdom with my elementary school in 1999 for Disney’s Magic Music days. It was definitely a memorable experience and I loved every minute of it.
The best part was getting to see the backstage area and learning about the logistics of putting shows and performances together. It really piqued my interest and now I’m majoring in Arts Management.


Alyx on February 21st, 2012 at 5:15 pm

I’ve always wanted to play in WDW! I’d love to be a part of the jazz band in the Grand Floridian!


Courtney on February 21st, 2012 at 9:53 pm

I performed with my marching band in Epcot in 2000, when I was in 8th grade. At that time, I was too young to be in the high school jazz band, but I’ll never forget their show at Cosmic Ray’s! There’s a hidden stage directly beneath Sonny Eclipse, and it rose up from the Utilidor level to reveal them playing their opening number. That must have been amazing to experience!

In my senior year of high school, I performed in an evening parade in the Magic Kingdom. It was extra exciting because we were the first band in the parade, and I was at the very front with the colorguard. It was so much fun to wait just backstage (behind the huge doors near Pirates of the Caribbean, if I recall correctly), then burst out to the appreciation of the big crowd!

Though I never intended to make a career out of the performing arts, I will always treasure the memories of my two band trips to Disney. Also, whenever we see a lone marching band in the dreaded 10am “parade” slot in the Magic Kingdom, we make a point to stop, clap, and cheer loudly!


Colleen from TX on February 22nd, 2012 at 9:01 am

That was the first time I had been to WDW. Growing up in California, you didn’t travel to Florida. I was actually part of the drill team that marched with the band. Though my career as a dancer ended after high school, it was a special experience. It was one of the best weeks of my life that connects my friends and myself forever.


Melissa from OH on February 22nd, 2012 at 9:08 pm

I was an assistant director of a marching band that performed 8 times at Walt Disney World in the last 25 years. My very first trip to Disney World was with the Marching Band and I was 31 years old. I was more excited than the students. It was a wonderful experience. Then I was hooked. I have also performed 2 times with an adult concert band. My son performed in the “dreaded” 10am parade in 2010. It was great!! Many thanks to Disney for providing so many amazing performance opportunities through Magic Music Days and Disney Performing Arts.


Erich on February 22nd, 2012 at 10:01 pm

Well, where do I begin? It all started in 1977 with Mouseketeers and the group called Celebration later in the early/mid 80’s. Went to Disney World and went back and forth to CA. Coming from little York, PA I started @ an early age in photos-modeling 6 months and it took me on a journey as a young child into adolescence. I even toured between both Florida and California for OUTBURST performances in the parks come rain, shine, thunderstorms, hurricanes, torrential downpours, earthquakes, you get the idea. We wore clear PONCHOS over our “uniformed outfits” so that we could perform in the rain… the Jazz Lab would have to RUN if there was not enough room under tents… in the 80’s… were there tents on the water stages in Florida? Don’t think so! It is so different now. BUT my FAVORITE is tap dancing in the Plaza Garden Stage at Disneyland.


Craig on February 24th, 2012 at 11:23 pm

I performed in a parade before Spectromagic, and in concert in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Both were great experiences, the parade being my favorite. The judges that listened to us in concert worked with our group after our performance which was nice. Being backstage was fun, especially backstage Magic Kingdom.