At Walt Disney World Resort, we make magic happen everyday for kids. Today Mickey Mouse, Goofy and some of our cast members got to spread even more magic to dozens of non-profit organizations that serve children in Central Florida.
As part of Disney Helping Kids Shine Grants program, we awarded more than $1.5 million to 59 local organizations and school districts that have a positive impact on approximately 70,000 thousand children in our community. They do that through programs that inspire creativity, encourage compassion and promote the health and well-being of families.
During the event, Walt Disney World Resort President George Kalogridis also presented the Orange County Public Library System with the Bob Allen Outstanding Community Service Award. The grant is given each year to recognize a local social service, environmental or humanitarian organization for outstanding work in Central Florida. The library system plans to use the grant for its Summer Reading program.
Hats off to all 59 organizations for their dedication to Central Florida’s youth.
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.
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.
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.
“Yes! Walt Disney World Resort was educational!” Thousands of children return from trips to Disney Parks each year and many say this to their teachers. I’m imagining the faces of those teachers looking much like they do when they hear the words, “dog” and “homework.” But in reality, those children are telling the truth! At Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts, kids can have fun and receive a top notch educational program.
Earlier this year, one of our Walt Disney World Moms Panelists, Jill Cooper, experienced two of Walt Disney World Resort’s Youth Education Series (Y.E.S.) programs. As a teacher of American history from New Jersey, Jill and a group of high school seniors enjoyed the programs “American Story” at Magic Kingdom Park and “Leadership Excellence” at Epcot during their stay. Jill shares part of their adventure with us.
“As a teacher of American history, I loved the prospect of exploring the myriad of ways in which Walt Disney Imagineers incorporated the story of our nation’s past into Magic Kingdom Park through the “American Story” Y.E.S. program. This program was a lovely complement to the student’s recent courses in U.S. history and American Government.
After having experienced the Disney Y.E.S. programs, I couldn’t wait to share with fellow educators how valuable these experiences can be for their students. I am always delighted when a fellow parent or educator asks me about these programs on the Walt Disney World Moms Panel site.”
Disney Youth Education Series uses the fun and excitement of Disney Parks to engage participants and immerse them in subjects related to science, reading, history and the performing arts. For more information regarding Disney Youth Programs, visit www.disneyyouth.com or call 877-939-6884.
Recently, Disney Youth Programs hosted a press event for student journalists from throughout the state of Florida. More than 170 middle and high school newspaper columnists, yearbook editors, closed-circuit broadcast producers and aspiring news men and women of all disciplines got a sneak peek at new and upcoming Disney Youth and Disney Parks product.
From the moment these young members of the Florida Scholastic Press Association arrived at the Walt Disney World Resort and were given their media credentials, they were shown what a press event looks and feels like. Students enjoyed exciting entertainment, engaged with speakers from such prominent news outlets as the Orlando Sentinel, learned about new park updates and relevant journalism content from Walt Disney Imagineers and posed hard-hitting questions to Disney leaders in the areas of journalism, media relations, sports, social media and photography. These aspiring reporters also learned about the importance of thinking to “pause before you post” from one of our corporate partners, Jostens.
This event stressed a continued emphasis on the importance of journalist integrity, while showcasing new technologies that allow news to reach its audience at ever increasing speeds. Nurturing an interest in a career in journalism helps build a strong foundation for the reporters of the future.
Here is a look at the event:
To stay up-to-date with other Disney Youth Programs happenings, please visit our Facebook page.
Every two years, Disney Youth Programs hosts a music festival at the Walt Disney World Resort that challenges performers to reach new musical heights. This festival, known as The Disney Honors, is a non-competitive experience for middle and high school choirs, concert bands and orchestras ensembles that focuses solely on education and artistic growth. I am excited to announce that The Disney Honors will be held on February 28 – March 3, 2013. It will be held again at the Walt Disney World Resort. We had a magical time this year watching the talented ensembles take part in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and can’t wait to see what kind of excitement the next festival holds. Here is a look at the event:
To stay up-to-date with The Disney Honors and other Disney Youth Programs music festivals, please visit our Facebook page.
If you have ever participated in The Disney Honors, please tell us your story in the comments below.
Each year Disney Youth Programs has the privilege of hosting the Disney Jazz Celebration, a festival for middle and high school instrumental and vocal ensembles focusing on jazz education, artist interaction and featuring spectacular evening performances. For the past three years, this magical showcase of talent has been held at the Walt Disney World Resort. I am excited to announce that next year the event will be held at the Disneyland Resort from Feb. 24-26, 2012. We are enthusiastic about the change in location and can’t wait to see what excitement next year’s festival holds. Here is a look at this amazing event:
To stay up-to-date with Disney Jazz Celebration and other Disney Youth Programs music festivals, please visit our Facebook page.
If you have ever participated in Disney Jazz Celebration, please tell us your story in the comments below.
Here’s a look at more upcoming Disney Youth Program events at Disney Parks:
I am excited to announce the addition of a new Disney Youth Programs self-guided learning opportunity for youth groups of 10 or more – the Kingdom Keepers Quest! The program, which was developed around the Kingdom Keepers book series and was written by author Ridley Pearson himself, involves problem solving, visualization, observation, creativity, math skills, language arts and critical thinking. Students will have the opportunity to work together to solve puzzles throughout Magic Kingdom Park at the Walt Disney World Resort — just as the Keepers do in the first book, Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark. Do you have what it takes to be a Keeper?
Here is a look at the program:
To stay up-to-date with Kingdom Keepers Quest and other Disney Youth Programs opportunities, please visit our Facebook page.
Have you read any of the Kingdom Keepers series? Let us know in the comments below!
I am pleased to announce that Disney Youth Programs has the privilege of hosting Disney’s Gospel Choir Fest for the second year on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011, at Epcot in Walt Disney World Resort. Participating choirs receive valuable feedback from EMI Gospel record-label representatives and the winning ensemble will have the opportunity to take center stage and perform during Saturday evening’s Night of Joy at the Magic Kingdom Park. Night of Joy is a contemporary Christian music festival featuring live performances by today’s top bands in contemporary Christian rock, pop and gospel. The video below highlights the University of Oregon’s Gospel Singers, last year’s winners of the event. Here’s what they had to say about this special festival.
To stay up-to-date with Disney’s Gospel Choir Fest and other Disney Youth Programs music festivals, please visit our Facebook page.
If you have participated in Disney’s Gospel Choir Fest, please tell us your story in the comments below.