I’ve always been a Disney girl – through and through. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been twirling and dancing and singing along to my favorite tunes from films like “The Little Mermaid”, “Beauty & The Beast” and “Aladdin”. I’ve always fancied myself as special as the princesses in those movies and I have always dreamed big. My parents played a very integral part in allowing me to dream beyond my current circumstances by encouraging me to work hard to accomplish my dreams.

It wasn’t until I was much older and really into studying the success stories of great men and women that I discovered just how visionary and thought-leading Walt Disney was during his time. The same mastermind behind all my favorite childhood films was the true definition of a dreamer and he laid a foundation for hundreds of thousands to be employed, and millions more to be incredibly entertained and inspired – from amusement parks to films to cultural experiences and philanthropic efforts.

One of my goals as a parent to my baby girl Cadence and expecting parent to my baby boy (coming in just a few weeks!) is to give them the space to dream big and to create their own realities, based on their passions and skills. I think it’s SO important to allow children from a young age and into adulthood the support and encouragement they need to live what they love. I always want to be supportive and provide guidance for my children but I want them to have the space to dream, beyond my reality and also beyond theirs. There are so many ways to do this from verbal affirmations to tapping into their talents by encouraging extra-curricular activities.

Cadence loves to dance and as soon as I realized that, I put her in ballet, tap and jazz classes. I’ve now noticed Cadence loves to act out the scenes of her favorite movies so I’m exploring theatre classes for her as well. Anything that she loves, when I pick up on it, I try my best to encourage her to keep doing it. This summer I had the opportunity to have dinner with the Disney Social Media Moms team in Philadelphia to discuss all the awesome things in store for Disney Parks and initiatives in 2017.

One of the initiatives that immediately caught my attention was the Disney Dreamers Academy. This is a special program specifically for 100 talented high school students with big dreams. The DDA requires high school students to submit an application explaining why they want to be part of the Academy and once selected, participants and their family members are flown to Walt Disney World (free of charge) to participate in a 4 day weekend of inspiration and empowerment with top celebrities, industry leaders and experts. I mean, this program is the real deal. It sounded so awesome, I wanted to apply myself and I’m 30 years old (seriously!) 

Programs like this, in tandem with proper parenting and guidance, really and truly make the difference for our young leaders of tomorrow. If anything, hearing from some of the past DDA alumni helped solidify how powerful programs like Disney Dreamers Academy are.  Definitely something I would encourage Cadence to apply to when she gets older. If you have a youngster in your family between the ages of 13-19 who has big dreams that deserve to be heard and nurtured, you should definitely encourage them to apply. The deadline for applying to the Academy is October 31, 2017.  

Huge thank you to Disney Social Media Moms for inviting me out to dinner and reminding me how important it is to push my baby girl (and my future baby boy) to dream big at every single stage of life. I truly can’t wait to see their dreams come true.

Click here to find out more information about Disney Dreamers Academy