No one does a better job bringing magic to education than Disney, and students from the Los Angeles-based Windward School experienced that firsthand this month.
The school won the nationwide “Imagine Big” sweepstakes presented by Scholastic, Inc., with the prize really being two prizes in one. The high school students spent a day at the Disneyland Resort experiencing Disney’s Approach to Leadership and Teamwork, which is part of the Disney Youth Education Series. Following that, our Disney team spent two days on the Windward campus hosting custom creativity workshops for high-school and middle-school students.
As one student said, the workshops provided a “powerful view into the inner workings of one of the most creative and successful corporations in the world and gave us the confidence and creativity to make our crazy ideas come true.”
See the images below or visit the school website for an inside look at the Windward School’s incredible experience.
With school back in session across the U.S., and fall right around the corner, it’s the perfect time for our Disney Youth Programs team to debut the second edition of Disney Extra Credit Magazine.
Designed for educators and students, it’s the source for exciting content that covers education and the performing arts. I’ll admit that I’m biased, but I think it’s really a “must read” for any Disney fan.
In the current issue you’ll see stories by Joe Rohde, Senior Vice President and Creative Executive for Walt Disney Imagineering, and Thomas Schumacher, Producer and President of Walt Disney Theatrical. Joe tells how Imagineering relies on research to create the fantastic worlds found in Disney Parks and Resorts. And Thomas’ “Career Spotlight” complements another story about talented Disney Performing Arts alumni who are lighting up the stage on Broadway. There’s also a fascinating story about Walt Disney the educator.
Of course, if you happen to be an educator, Disney Extra Credit Magazine includes lots of inspiring ideas for adding creativity to your classroom. It’s also full of in-depth education news, tips for student travel, and information about upcoming Disney events for aspiring performers everywhere. Click here to view the latest issue and get incredible insight to inspire the innovative educator.
If you’re an educator who would like to make sure your school is signed up to receive our next print edition of Disney’s Extra Credit Magazine, click here. For more information about all of our Disney Youth Programs, visit disneyyouth.com.
Last week at Disneyland Resort, students from across the country got the chance to hone their performances skills at the first ever Disney Performing Arts Conservatory. This five-day comprehensive series of workshops focused on select areas of the performing arts including: Acting, dancing, and vocals.
Led by entertainment professionals, students participated in master classes, went behind the scenes of beloved Disneyland Resort entertainment offerings, and learned what it’s like to have a career in the entertainment industry.
“I’ve grown up coming to Disneyland Resort, watching the dancers in the parades and on the Disney Channel,” said Shai Skrzynski of Juno, Alaska, “Disney has always been an inspiration for me. I’ve always wanted to work with Disney choreographers and the [conservatory] gives me that opportunity.”
The week of learning culminated with a live performance in front of an international audience of theme park guests. There was also a surprise visit by Disney Channel star Caroline Sunshine of “Shake It Up”. The actress, singer and dancer spent time answering students’ questions and talking about her career in the industry.
If you’re interested in being a part of this incredible new program for individual performers, the next Disney Performing Arts Conservatory week is scheduled July 29 – August 2 for students ages 15 to 19.
The Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade airs on December 25, but the holiday magic actually began back in September. That’s when Mickey Mouse and his friends from the Disney Performing Arts team travelled to Morehead City, N.C., to surprise 180 students at West Carteret High School.
What was the big news? The West Carteret Marching Patriots had been chosen to perform in the parade as the Disney Performing Arts guest marching band.
Out of the hundreds of bands who apply each year to participate in Disney Performing Arts workshops, festivals, and performance opportunities, West Carteret was selected to march down Main Street, U.S.A., in the biggest Disney parade of the year. Adding to the excitement, the Marching Patriots would march alongside Olympic gold medalist Gabrielle Douglas and perform The Olympic Fanfare.
The September announcement moment was a “wow” for the Marching Patriots, but then the hard work began. The band had less than three months to prepare for its moment in the spotlight. Students put in countless hours of practice, rain or shine, to perfect their music and marching routine. When the big day finally came, they turned the corner in front of Cinderella Castle and the crowd erupted in cheers from family, friends and other park guests thrilled to share in the moment.
Congratulations, West Carteret Marching Patriots, on all your hard work and achievements this year.
Check out the video to see the band’s parade journey from start to finish. The Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade airs December 25 on ABC. Check your local listings for air times.
For more on the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade, check out the posts below:
I have big news to share from the Disney Youth Programs team. We’ve just released our first edition of Disney Extra Credit Magazine, an exciting new publication designed specifically for students and educators who have a passion for performing. Disney Extra Credit Magazine puts Disney Performing Arts and Disney Youth Programs in the spotlight, showcasing behind-the-scenes looks inside some of Disney’s world-class entertainment.
This premiere issue has a little bit of everything. You’ll see what it takes to be a Disney Cruise Line dancer, read interviews with Broadway stars from Disney Theatrical Productions “The Lion King” and “Newsies,” and see how far Disney Performing Arts alumni have soared. Disney Extra Credit Magazine is full of in-depth education news, tips for student travel, and Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort events for aspiring performers everywhere.
Click here to view our first issue and get insights from professional performers as they encourage you to continue to shine.
Girl Scout troops and alumnae from all over the country gathered at Epcot and Disneyland park for the Bridging into the Next Century event. This symbolic ceremony marked Girl Scouts’ entry into its second century.
The events included recitations of the Girl Scout pledge, crafts exchanges, and displays of important Girl Scouts history and memorabilia. In Florida, Minnie Mouse received a special pin commemorating her 30 years as an honorary Girl Scout, while Daisy Duck helped kick off the celebration in California. Girls on both coasts were able to meet and connect with Girl Scouts from other backgrounds and communities.
In Florida, troops got the chance to explore Epcot using a special booklet designed to guide them through activities and attractions to help them earn badges, and many girls also took part in Many Cultures, One World, a special program created by the Disney Youth Education team. In California, scouts were able to participate in our popular field studies Disney Leadership in Action: Pursuit of Excellence and Disney’s Animation Magic.
Take a look at the video below for highlights of this special celebration.
For more information about the Disney Youth Education Series, click here.
Congratulations Girl Scouts on your first century. Here’s to the next one hundred years!
Recently, our Disney Youth Education Series and Walt Disney Imagineering teams added some Disney magic to the school day for 1,000 students at Brownsburg East Middle School in Brownsburg, Ind. The school was the winner in the nationwide “Imagine Big” sweepstakes presented by Scholastic, Inc. The winning prize was a visit to the school by Diego Parras, communications manager for Walt Disney Imagineering. Diego gave enthralled students an insider’s look at Imagineering’s creative process and how it takes a team of people with diverse talents to dream, design and create Disney theme parks, cruise ships and resorts.
Disney Youth Education Series, a part of Disney Youth Programs, uses fantastic settings created by Imagineering to introduce young people to unforgettable learning adventures. Students can study American history in Liberty Square at Magic Kingdom Park, learn about energy and waves with a behind-the-scenes look at The Haunted Mansion or examine scientific principles in action by riding a world-famous Disney thrill attraction. These are just some of the experiences offered in more than 26 programs available to student groups of 10 or more.
Diego brought some of that education excitement to Brownsburg last week. His interactive presentation showcased the history of Imagineering, the creative blend of imagination and engineering, and how Walt Disney himself conceived the concept and overcame challenges to bring it to fruition. Diego also drew on his own 22-year Disney career to inspire students to consider their own interests and how, with perseverance, their dreams can forge a career path.
See below for video highlights from Diego’s visit and the once-in-a-lifetime experience the Brownsburg East Middle School students had.
For a performer, there’s nothing like getting to practice your craft at Disneyland Resort or Walt Disney World Resort. That experience was even more special this week for the Decatur Central High School Choir from Indianapolis. Cast members from the national touring production of “The Lion King” made a surprise appearance for the school group, which was participating in a Disney Performing Arts workshop. This magic moment gave the students a chance to learn real-life career insights from veterans of Broadway and national tours.
The Indianapolis choir participated in the two-hour Disney’s Show Choir Magic workshop, which lets students experience what it’s like to rehearse for a Disney production. The program explores vocal and movement techniques for stage performance and teaches students choreography to accompany a vocal score that they prepared in advance.
Our Youth Programs team created a magic moment for the Indianapolis choir where they were able to perform their number in front of a Disney creative team. And, you guessed it, that team was made up of the four Lion King cast members – Nick Cordileone, who plays Timon, and ensemble dancers Electra Weston, Paul Sadler and Amyia Burrell. Amyia, by the way, began her professional journey as a Walt Disney World Entertainment cast member!
Check out the video of this exciting magical moment:
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 disneyyouth.com or visit us on Facebook.
We recently wrapped up another successful Disney Homeschool Days at the Walt Disney World Resort and this year’s spring event coincided with Florida Literacy Week. To commemorate this important topic, Ridley Pearson, author of the Kingdom Keepers and Peter and the Starcatchers book series, joined the Disney Youth Programs team to give a special presentation to participants.
Nearly 800 students from around the country gathered at the Premiere Theater at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to hear Ridley speak about his inspirations, writing process and literary career. Afterward, students participated in a Q&A with the author to dig deeper into his experiences as a writer. Participants were also able to take part in Kingdom Keepers Quest, our new self-guided quest through the Magic Kingdom Park that follows clues from the book series.
Twice each year, Disney Homeschool Days invites homeschoolers, virtual students and community groups to participate in career-building workshops and experiences, as well as take part in special Disney Youth Education Series programs. Disney Homeschool Days are just one of the many opportunities for learning and fun that you’ll find at our Disney theme parks. Students can also take advantage of special Disney Youth Education Series programs designed for small group and individual enrollment during select dates each year.
Stay tuned for details on our next event coming up this fall, and visit www.disneyyouth.com for more information on all of the Disney Youth Programs offerings.