Going the Distance with Disney Aspire

Lina Toledo

by , Manager, Employee Branding & Communications

Accomplishing a long-sought-after goal can be one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences in a person’s life–and for Carey Wheeler, a food and beverage host at Disneyland Resort, his educational journey through Disney Aspire has been just that.

Carey joined the Disneyland Resort Food and Beverage team back in 2009, never expecting that he’d still be with the company 14 years later. Something else he didn’t expect? Finally earning his Bachelor’s degree — at no cost to him.

However, the journey to put his #DreamsWithinReach didn’t come without challenges. In 2012, Carey was promoted to a leadership role, but personal circumstances led him to step down from the position a few years later. “In my heart, I knew I needed this, but I had a tough time accepting it,” said Carey. “However, my work ethic and commitment to Disney would eventually allow me to have a second chance at being a leader, and eventually lead me to Disney Aspire.” 

Carey always loved school but spent years finding the drive to finish. “When I first heard about Disney Aspire, I brushed it off. I didn’t think it would help, and I was already attending a community college. But that didn’t work out, and something kept reminding me that I could do much more.” 

Finally, Carey took a leap of faith and decided to explore Disney Aspire—The Walt Disney Company’s education investment program that offers 100% paid tuition up front at a variety of network schools. It didn’t take long for him to apply and be accepted to Bellevue University’s Human Resources Management program. From day one, Carey felt the Disney difference and found himself surrounded with support for his educational goals that he hadn’t experienced before. 

“I believe everyone in your life plays a part in your story, and my Guild Coach encouraged me to apply at Bellevue University,” said Carey. “From that day on, we have kept in touch, and I continued my education with confidence and dedication.” 

Carey is currently in the last semester of his Bachelor’s program and plans to continue his journey after graduation — he has his eyes set on earning a Master’s degree through Disney Aspire next.

“Persevere. No matter the challenge, find a way,” he said. “I’ve dreamed and thought about this day for a long time, and seeing the finish line ahead, along with earning my degree, brings me tears of joy.” 

To learn more about how Disney Aspire is helping make dreams come true, visit aspire.disney.com.

Disney Aspire is the most comprehensive education investment program of its kind, offering 150+ programs at a network of educational institutions nationwide. As part of The Walt Disney Company’s commitment to investing in its employees and cast members, Disney Aspire puts #DreamsWithinReach by removing key barriers to pursuing education and inspiring career mobility.


  • Inspirational and Aspirational story. What a great opp for employees. 🙂

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