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Beloved Disney characters join 100 Disney Dreamers Academy students and 10 alumni Friday, March 10, 2017, to celebrate the program’s tenth anniversary with an epic photo moment at Epcot in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The event, taking place March 9-12, 2017 at Walt Disney World Resort, is a career-inspiration program for distinguished high school students from across the U.S. (David Roark, photographer)

This past weekend, 100 students from across the country were invited to Orlando, Florida, for an all-expenses paid experience of true Disney magic. Not just the kind of magic that’s found in the resort’s many theme parks, the kind that comes from planting the seed of possibility in a child’s mind and giving them the tools to make their dreams a reality.

The event is known as the Disney Dreamers Academy and this was the 10th such year bright high school students with aspirations most of us didn’t even have the capacity to dream when we were their age spent four days in the Florida sun learning how to bring their plans of starting businesses, becoming journalists, and running non-profits to fruition. At the same time, their parents were being taught how to support their dreamers and find the courage to pursue dreams of their own that they may have put off to raise their child.

The lessons came from entertainers like Steve Harvey and his daughters Karli and Brandi, Yolanda Adams, Kim Fields, and Cam Newton; as well as entrepreneurs like Money Maven Patrice Washington, Transformational Coach Lisa Nichols, 18-year-old Jaylen Bledsoe, CEO, President, and Founder of the $3.5 million company Bledsoe Technologies, LLC, Christopher Gray, who won $1.3 million in college scholarships and is Founder & CEO of Scholly, an app that has helped students raise $70 million in scholarship money to date, and Dreamers Academy Alumnus Princeton Parker who is now a member of the Disney team.

It was hard not to wish you could have a do-over watching an albino teen stand up to his bullies in a moving spoken word piece, or see a jewelry maker turning her mentors into customers right on the spot, and hearing phenomenal plans to truly change the world. But doing so would’ve gone against the most basic principle of the Dreamers Academy which is that anyone can dream. And so, in the spirit of that mantra, here are 9 takeaways to inspire the adult dreamer in you.

  • “Nothing is bigger than your dream.” – Steve Harvey
  • “No one gets handed a dream. It starts with how you see yourself.” — Mikki Taylor
  • “When I’m not operating in my gifts, when I’m not living out my purpose, when [my daughter] doesn’t get to see me be her first example of a woman who can maintain a family and still go out and serve as she was called to serve then I’m doing her a disservice because I’m telling her that she can’t do it and she has to choose.” –Patrice Washington
  • “A Conviction without inconvenience is just a great idea.” — Lisa Nichols
  • “If the people around you don’t get your vision, it’s because God didn’t give your vision to them.” — Lisa Nichols
  • “People only see your success…If you work for someone else and you haven’t been fired or your company doesn’t have zero in the bank, you’re still moving, you’re still in the running…When you’re getting those ‘nos’ recognize that that’s a part of the grind; that’s a part of entrepreneurship.” –Christopher Gray
  • “When someone tells you no, work so hard you make them wish they would’ve said yes.” — Jaylen Bledsoe

  • “We are sending the wrong message with these filtered lives. Do not judge your life and success by someone else’s timeline and someone else’s success.” — T.J. Holmes

  • “Don’t get caught up on the fact that something’s already been done. It hasn’t been done by you.” — Kim Fields

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