Disney Dreamers and Doers Accepting Student Self-Nominations

The Disney Dreamers and Doers Program, now in its 30th year, is once again open for students throughout Central Florida who serve as role models at school, at home and in their community. Approximately 400 students were selected by principals in 2012 to represent their school as a Disney Dreamer and Doer.

Students are asked to self-nominate for something they are doing at school, at home, or in their community that inspires others and makes their world, and our world a better place. Examples could include helping younger siblings to excel in school, serving as a role model to others, involvement in a community effort, or committing to a healthier and more active lifestyle with their families.

Once students are chosen as their school’s Dreamer and Doer, a panel of Disney judges will select 18 Shining Stars from elementary, middle and high schools in Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake and Polk counties, as well as the Florida Virtual School. These students are considered the best of the best, by consistently demonstrating outstanding character, leading by example, and having a caring spirit.

“The Disney Dreamers and Doers program is just one way we demonstrate our commitment to the children of Central Florida,” said Nancy Gidusko, director of Community Relations for Walt Disney World Resort. “We are so proud of all of these students, especially the Shining Stars. They offer bright hope for the future as each of them has a special spark. They truly are making a difference in our community and inspiring others to do the same.”

Disney Dreamers and Doers receive an honorary certificate, medallion, and four park passes. Those later selected as Shining Stars will receive a Mickey Mouse statue known as a “Mousecar” (Disney’s version of the Oscar), Walt Disney World annual theme park passes for themselves and their immediate family, a gold medallion and be celebrated at their respective schools.

Since the program’s inception more than 12,000 students have been recognized as Disney Dreamers and Doers. In the past year, Disney’s involvement in education has included Disney Helping Kids Shine grants for five school districts and early learning coalitions, sponsorship of A Gift For Teaching and A Gift For Music, donations of clothing, and more than 2.1 million school supplies donated to students at the start of the school year

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Spring into Adventures

Spring is in the air. Hopefully the pollen and my allergies will clear up soon and it is heating up and starting to feel like summer here in Florida. I thought I’d take this opportunity to share some of the things I’m most looking forward to over the next couple of months instead of doing that spring cleaning that I probably should be doing. Now that I’ve found out my schedule for the rest of the spring and beginning of summer, I thought I’d start planning some weekend adventures. The parks across the area have some fantastic special events this time of year, and before the kids are out of school it is a great time to get away while the crowds are lower.

Spring in bloom at Epcot's International Flower & Garden Festival
Spring in bloom at Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival

At Epcot we are already more than halfway through the International Flower & Garden Festival. I love this event each year and have been attending since 1998! I dearly miss Davy Jones of the Monkees, as his was always my go to concert for the Flower Power Concert Series. The thing I think I am most excited about (aside from the newly added food and beverage kiosks) is that my favorite HGTV celebrity, David Bromstad, is going to be hosting presentations May 17 – 19 and I’m now off that weekend!

Star Wars Weekends
Star Wars Weekends

Another of my favorite things that I will get to do for the third year in a row is Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This fabulous event has quickly become a must do for me! I still have so many things I haven’t done yet that are on my to do list. I need to get up early enough and get to the park to see the Stormtroopers on top of the entrance to the park above the turnstiles. Also, I really want to get my picture taken with as many of the characters as possible and go to some of the presentations and shows. And then, of course, there is Hyperspace Hoopla, my favorite of all! My apologies to anyone who now has that song stuck in their head (Hoooooooopla, Hyperspace Hoopla…).

Viva la Música
Viva la Música

Busch Gardens and Sea World are playing host to an awesome special event that I got to experience last year for the first time: Viva la Mύsica! This great offering is one that features Latin American food, merchandise, cuture, and of course, music. I got to go just for an hour or so to Busch Gardens after work last year and got to try to some amazing food, but was too late for the concert. This year I was hoping to catch at least one weekend at Busch Gardens and Sea World each. I was so excited when I found out that my favorite salsa band, El Gran Combo, was going to be playing at both parks. I know where I’ll be that weekend!

One of the greatest things about these three events is that they are all included in park admission. Food and beverages of course are extra, but the entertainment and most of the presentations are free of charge with your ticket. These add tremendous value to your vacation or even just a day in the park for us locals.

Water parks are definitely on my list for the next few months. I’ve lived in Florida for almost 20 years and I’ve only been to Typhoon Lagoon for a couple hours and did the lazy river and snorkled with the sharks before the park closed due to weather. This needs to be rectified. I’ve visited Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach for functions, but haven’t done a single water slide. This is a travesty! I also would love to check out some of the other area water parks like Sea World’s Aquatica and Adventure Island in Tampa.

Now we all know that sometimes with the spring come those showers that we need for those pretty flowers. What to do when it isn’t exactly park weather? Why not catch a film? Two movies I am ridiculously excited to see this spring are Marvel’s Iron Man 3 and Disney/Pixar’s Monsters University (visit this site if you haven’t already – it is hilarious!). I am a huge Avengers fan and loved the first Iron Man movie, enjoyed the second one, and adored the Avengers, so I cannot wait to see what they have in store for Tony Stark in this next installment. Monsters Inc was a great, feel good family flick and I think that this will be very entertaining to see some of Mike and Sulley’s adventures before they were best buds.

What are you looking forward to this spring? Did I miss any of your favorite spring special events? Have you been to any of these before? What are some of your favorite things to do in spring when the weather doesn’t cooperate? Hit us up and let us know.

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