The group of performers from Massachusetts was surprised during their weekend trip by actress Ashley Brown, star of the original Broadway production of “Mary Poppins”. Brown, who was also starred as Belle in Disney’s Broadway production of “Beauty and the Beast”, spent time interacting with the students, answering questions and imparting wisdom from her long career on the big stage.
The real treat came when Brown delivered a special performance of “Feed the Birds” from the hit musical “Mary Poppins.”
The unexpected appearance by Brown was just another example of the types of magical moments experienced by groups participating in Disney Performing Arts programs, which unlock student potential and help young people make their own dreams come true. Those dreams can involve performing in front of an international audience of thousands at Disney theme parks and resorts or honing their craft in enriching workshops taught by entertainment professionals.
The Disney Performing Arts programs are open to a variety of youth groups who can sign up for a workshop or a performance opportunity at www.disneyyouth.com.
Disney Youth Programs recently concluded another exciting Disney Student Seminars at Walt Disney World Resort. This event honored Black History Month with a special presentation from Khalil Kinsey, curator of The Kinsey Collection. Khalil shared his passion for the contributions and achievements of African Americans and inspired the audience to appreciate their own heritage and family history.
Over 500 students, parents and educators gathered inside The American Adventure pavilion at Epcot to engage in Khalil’s story. Among the audience were students of U.B. Kinsey Elementary School of the Arts from West Palm Beach, FL — a school named after Khalil’s grandfather. These students had the opportunity to experience a piece of history for themselves, by meeting Khalil and discovering the roots of their school.
The Kinsey Collection is a national touring museum exhibit of rare African American art and history. It is showcased around the country in a variety of museums. We are honored to have pieces of this incredible collection currently on display as part of “Re-Discovering America: Family Treasures from the Kinsey Collection” at Walt Disney World at The American Adventure pavilion, where guests can explore and appreciate all aspects of American history.
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.
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.
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.
“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.