Disney Dreamers Academy Alum Makes Her Mark in Technology

Jenna Tsakas

by , Communications & Experience Manager, Technology & Digital

If you’ve heard of the Disney Dreamers Academy, you know that each year, 100 exceptional young people – Dreamers – are selected to attend a 4-day event at Walt Disney World. The event is full of motivation, guidance and skills training to help make dreams come true.

Students between the ages of 13-19 come to Orlando from around the country to participate in the Disney Dreamers Academy and return home after the event ready to bring their dreams to life. Disney Dreamers are activists, philanthropists, business owners, change-makers and more. Over the years, many of them have even returned to Disney as cast members…including April!

Meet April, a Disney Dreamers Academy alum turned professional intern with the Technology and Digital organization! April participated in the Disney Dreamers Academy in 2019 during her senior year of high school.

Growing up, April always enjoyed math and science classes and had considered pursuing a career in technology. When she attended the Disney Dreamers Academy in 2019, her interest in working in tech at Disney was piqued after hearing D’Yanna Craighead, Senior Manager of Technology for Disney Cruise Line, give a deep dive presentation on Disney Tech. She ended up meeting D’Yanna and a few other Disney technologists after the presentation and stayed in touch ever since.

“It was really cool to see another Black woman in a position I could see myself in. Seeing her working in tech and being a leader, and seeing all the projects she was working on at Disney – it was inspiring to me, and I wanted to keep in touch with her,” said April.

Now, April’s back at Walt Disney World, still a Dreamer, but also a professional intern focused on software engineering. In her internship, she’s currently focused on building an internal tool to use for testing functionality for technology and digital products, like MagicBand+ and the My Disney Experience app. Once complete, this tool will make the testing process faster, smoother and more efficient as our technologists continue to test and adjust new products.

“I like working in tech because I’ve always been a problem solver, so I like working on a problem where something needs to be fixed or could be made more efficient. You also need to be very detail-oriented, because the smallest mistake can throw off an entire program. And I like being able to use my creativity. I’m not very artistic, but it takes creativity to think outside the box and solve technology problems,” said April.

In addition to her technology work, April has also returned to the Disney Dreamers Academy as an alum to inspire the next generation of Dreamers. She even participated in the technology deep dive – the very session that inspired her to become a technologist at Disney!

“It was so cool to be in the deep dive and take on more of a mentor role. When I first went through the Disney Dreamers Academy, I kind of felt like I didn’t deserve to be there. I was intimidated seeing where everyone was in their journeys, and I felt like I was behind. But I’ve learned there’s no such thing as being behind in life – everyone is on their own path and should take their own time,” April explained.

In May 2023, April will add “College Graduate” to her list of titles, and there’s no telling what she’ll accomplish after. However, it’s safe to say she will continue inspiring young people around the country to follow their dreams, as well as providing an example for the next generation of women in technology. Go, April, go!

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