Disney Aspire: A Dream is a Wish Your Hard Work Makes

Molly McGranahan

by , Sr. Communications Manager, Disney Aspire

Bellevue, Nebraska, is approximately 1,414 miles from Orlando, Florida and 1,544 miles from Anaheim, California, but that didn’t stop this amazing group of Disney Aspire graduates from making the cross-country trip to walk in their recent commencement ceremony at Bellevue University.

Bellevue is just one of more than ten in-network universities and learning partners available through Disney Aspire, which empowers hourly part-time and full-time employees and cast members across the U.S. to return to school as working adults. The majority of Disney Aspire programs are conveniently accessed online in order to offer maximum flexibility—but, occasionally, our students take the magic to campus to celebrate.

“It’s still so surreal,” said Rachel Nygaard, an attractions hostess at Disneyland Resort who is now the proud recipient of a Master of Science in Accounting degree and among those who traveled to Bellevue. “I can’t believe I worked full-time while completing a master’s degree. I even had to take a corporate tax class, which made me so nervous because I had a bad experience with a similar class in my undergrad… but I found a new appreciation for it and now I’m studying for my CPA!”

Rachel Nygaard

Rachel now dreams of putting her newly earned degree and eventual CPA to use by transitioning into a corporate role with Disney. And, with the help of the recently-introduced Disney Aspire Alumni Association, Rachel joins the ranks of more than 2,500 Disney Aspire alumni who we are committed to helping get to where they want to go—whether at Disney or beyond.

“The Disney Aspire journey doesn’t end at graduation. It’s really just the beginning,” said Chris Trout, vice president of learning and development for Disney. “Seeing—and helping—these employees grow to their fullest potential is what this program is all about.”

You can learn more about Disney Aspire at aspire.disney.com. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for even more exciting news about where we’re taking Disney Aspire in 2022.