2017 Disney Dreamers Academy

May 07, 2017

2017 Disney Dreamers Academy

Reigna learned in December 2016 that she had been selected as 1 of 100 for the 2017 class of Disney Dreamers Academy (DDA). This is quite a feat considering that there were over 10,000 students who applied from across the country. Disney Dreamers Academy is a power-packed, 4-day event held annually at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. The Dreamers are given tools to cultivate their dreams through mentoring by celebrities, business and community leaders and Disney cast members. Each Dreamer learns how to network, dress for success and explore their areas of interest.

Reigna kicked off her experience with DDA by recording a promotional radio spot at Howard University's renowned radio station 96.3 WHUR. 

Once Reigna landed in Florida, she was greeted by her DDA Representative, Ms. Doravia McCrimon, who accompanied Reigna to every DDA event during her 4-day stay. 

Upon arrival, the first step was registration where Reigna was given magic bands for her Dad as her chaperone, her Mom as her guest and, herself, the Dreamer.  These bands were truly magical because they allowed each person unlimited entry to all 4 Disney theme parks and, access to the fast pass lane for all of the rides!

The 100 Dreamers were broken down into groups of 20, consisting of 5 teams that were each assigned a color.  Reigna was on the Orange team!


We spotted Reigna at Epcot being interviewed about being a Dreamer by a Disney World camera crew. 

Also at Epcot, the Dreamers participated in a special photo shoot where they formed the #10 to celebrate DDA's 10th Anniversary.

 On opening day of DDA, the Dreamers were escorted to Magic Kingdom, to participate in a parade down Main Street. Before the parade got underway, teammates on the Orange Team assembled for a fun group shot.

In the parade procession, the Dreamers marched with those from their home State. 

The Dreamers were followed by the Grand Marshall car that carried Steve Harvey, Mikki Taylor (Essence magazine Editor-at-Large), and Tracey Powell (Walt Disney World Executive).

Once the conference got under way, the Dreamers attended and participated in numerous information packed sessions. Below, while at Epcot, Reigna got an opportunity to do a "Deep Dive", customized-focus session in filmmaking at Disney University.  She said it was awesome to do such an intense study in filmmaking in a state-of-the-art facility and network with an experienced Disney filmmaker.

Reigna took copious notes overall at the various panel discussions that she attended with Dr. Steve Perry (world-renowned educator and creator of the Capital Prepatory schools in Connecticut); Brandi Harvey, Karli Harvey, Wynton Harvey & Christopher Gray (Scholly-app Creator); and, in a power-packed session for the female Dreamers only with Mikki Taylor, Yolanda Adams, Lisa Nichols (who appeared in "The Secret" and also a publisher), Sonia Jackson Myles (of the Sister Accord), & Patrice C Washington (the Money Maven).

The Dreamers were totally thrilled by the surprise star-studded guest panel that consisted of Cam Newton, Kim Fields, Taj Mowry, Bryshere Gray & DJ Nasty!

The Dreamers got an enlightening tour of the Kinsey Art collection in Epcot at Disney World. It is a huge collection of art owned by Mr. Bernard Kinsey, an African American businessman and philanthropist. 

 The commencement for the 10th Anniversary of the Disney Dreamers Academy 2017, was a dream in and of itself!  The Dreamers and their guests were ushered to the celebratory closing breakfast ceremony through one of Disney's special, exclusive entrances.


Before the festivities got underway, Reigna and her parents had the opportunity to take pictures with many of the special devoted staff who have been an integral and vital part of the annual Disney Dreamers Academy experience for years. Many of these professionals are Disney Dreamers alumni turned Disney cast members, and they help with preparing for the event as well as speaking to the Dreamers during the panel discussions hosted during the 4-day conference. 

Reigna and her parents enjoy a selfie with Bobby Gailes of 96.3, WHUR, who is the producer for the Steve Harvey Morning Show. 

Reigna's Mom is introduced to Jonathan Sprinkles, who is a Disney Dreamers Academy mentor and a powerful, motivational speaker for the DDA conferences. 

Reigna is happy to pose with Princeton Parker who is a Disney Dreamers Academy alumni and now a Disney Cast member who speaks at the Dreamers conferences.

Reigna enjoys a laugh with one of Steve Harvey's social media managers.

Reigna shares a fond moment with the powerful Dr. Steve Perry.

The menu for the breakfast offered a number of delectable dishes, topped off with a scrumptious chocolate chip muffin surprise in the shape of Mickey Mouse's head! 

T.J. Holmes opened the program as the keynote speaker and shared his personal journey before obtaining notoriety as an anchor for CNN News and now, his infamous appointment to Good Morning America.

Then what followed was the most festive and inspiring program of entertainment for all!  Patti La Belle serenaded and moved the crowd to tears with "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", while Yolanda Adams motivated the audience with "I Believe I Can Fly.

Throughout this ceremony, the bio pictures of the entire 2017 class of Disney Dreamers rotated through a video display. It was so exciting and surreal to see Reigna up on the big screen and, her fellow Orange Team member, William Williams, who so captured the hearts of the entire Dreamer class that they unanimously VOTED for him to receive the Courage Award.

Reigna's Dad who had the privilege and pleasure of serving as Reigna's chaperone throughout the DDA, was honored and proud to present Reigna with a surprise, customized DDA 2017 class ring!

Afterwards, Reigna enjoyed taking pictures with her friends that she established during her DDA experience.

It was a dynamic vision and an overwhelming
emotional rush to see the entire DDA 2017 class assemble one last time for their group portrait!

As the breakfast ceremony came to a close, the faces of the annual Disney Dreamers Academy presented an impactful, united front on stage! Steve Harvey, Tracey Powell of Walt Disney World, Mikki Taylor and Michelle Eubanks of Essence Magazine bid the Dreamer's and their guests an emotionally-charged, fond adieu as the cast from Animal Kingdom's  Lion King serenaded everyone with "Circle of Life"!

Reigna and another Dreamer from Maryland were interviewed one last time about their overall DDA experience before leaving the closing ceremony.  Reigna's Disney Representative, Doravia, who became her Disney Mom, secured Reigna's autograph before we separated.

Reigna was so incredibly and euphorically charged from her entire 4-day, whirlwind experience of a lifetime, that she decided to fly home dawning her Disney accessories and the memories of dreaming big!

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