Disney Aspire

Disney Highlights Five Cast Members As It Celebrates Five Years of Disney Aspire

The Disney Aspire program is celebrating five years of helping Cast Members achieve educational goals and to better themselves. Since 2018, Disney Aspire has been providing 100% of tuition for eligible employees across the company. The catalog of program and degree offerings continues to grow and evolve as time moves on. Currently it includes over 150+ programs at a network of educational institutions throughout the country.

Through the last five years, over 3,800 Disney cast members and employees have graduated thanks to Disney Aspire. Currently 15,000 Disney cast members and employee are enrolled in programs. Originally, Disney Aspire was launched with a commitment of $150 million in five years. This goal was exceeded in half of that time. At the time the program was launched, Disney CEO Bob Iger said that he “always believed that education is the key to opportunity” and “it opens doors and creates new possibilities.”

There are often many challenges that can hinder the pursuit of education. “Growing up in an immigrant family, I didn’t think attending college was possible,” Disney CM Daniela shared. “The financial burden was always subconsciously there. But when I came to work for Disney that was no longer an issue.” Daniela also shared how Disney Aspire changed her life saying, “it opened doors of opportunity for me to grow both academically and professionally.”

As Disney Aspire celebrates five years of empowering Disney cast members and employees to pursue education, the Disneyland Resort shared five success stories of the program with Daps Magic. Check them out here:

Disney Aspire Graduate – Fran Melendez

  • Role: Merchandise Hostess on Main Street, U.S.A.
  • Program: B.A. in Liberal Studies from University of Massachusetts Global
  • At 78-years-old, Fran Melendez finally received her Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies with the help of Disney Aspire – a dream that she never thought would become a reality. When she joined Disneyland Resort in 2015 after a decades-long career with the U.S. Postal Service, she went from delivering mail to delivering a passionate dissertation on what she calls “The Best Workplace in the World.”

Disney Aspire Graduate – Daniel “Duke” Brown

  • Role: Chef at Disney California Adventure park
  • Program: B.S. in Human Resources Management from Wilmington University
  • Even when your path in life has led you down one route, it doesn’t mean that it can’t branch off to new things. Daniel “Duke” Brown has been in the culinary arts field since the start of his career at Disneyland Resort in 2016. Upon learning about Disney Aspire, he took the opportunity to pursue a degree in human resources and has since served in multiple positions where he can use his learnings to improve his work area. Along with his dreams of culinary management, Daniel hopes to use his degree to connect with leaders while advocating for the Food and Beverage department.

Disney Aspire Graduate – Theodore “Teddo” Corbin

  • Role: Disney Photopass Photographer
  • Program: B.A. in Digital Photography from Southern New Hampshire University
  • After earning his associate degree, Theodore “Teddo” Corbin never saw himself going back to school for a bachelor’s degree – much less being a first-generation graduate. When he did go back, a year before Disney Aspire launched, he struggled with high out-of-state tuition fees; however, with support from Disney Aspire, he was able to continue his goal of earning a bachelor’s degree and achieve his dream role of photographer for Disneyland Resort Special Events.

Disney Aspire Graduate – Donovan Marcotte

  • Role: Character Training Specialist
  • Program: B.A. in Industry and Organizational Psychology from University of Massachusetts Global
  • What a magical surprise when two passions can come together. With his passion for psychology and a little help from Disney Aspire, Donovan Marcotte was able to pursue an education in psychology, which helped him in landing his dream job with the resort’s learning and development team. After experiencing the growth opportunities provided through Disney Aspire, Donovan plans to continue his development with an interest in marriage & family therapy and professional clinical counseling.

Disney Aspire Graduate – Carey Wheeler

  • Role: Food and Beverage Host at Rancho Del Zocalo
  • Program: B.S. Human Resources Management from Bellevue University
  • When pursuing education on your own, it can feel daunting; but with Disney Aspire, support is with every cast member, every step of the way. Carey Wheeler first 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. With support from Disney Aspire, Carey overcame his past challenges in his education journey to earn his bachelor’s degree with further sights set on additional opportunities in the future.

On Wednesday, Disney CEO Bob Iger stopped by the Disneyland Resort and surprised some Disney employees and cast members who are currently a part of Disney Aspire. This followed the commemoration of Disney Aspire’s anniversary earlier in the week.

About Disney Aspire

Disney Aspire is an education and career investment program for hourly part-time and full-time cast members and employees of The Walt Disney Company in the United States. The program covers 100% of tuition upfront for a wide range of degree and certificate programs, from high school diplomas to master’s degrees. It also provides various resources to help cast members succeed, including academic advising, career coaching and online learning tools.

To be eligible for Disney Aspire, one must be a full-time or part-time hourly cast member or employee of The Walt Disney Company in the United States. They must also have been employed by the company for at least 90 days. Currently there are 90,000 eligible cast members and employees. The program is available through Guild Education, a leading education technology company that partners with employers to provide education and career advancement opportunities to their employees. Guild Education offers a variety of resources to help Disney Aspire participants succeed, including:

  • Academic advising: Guild Advisors can help students choose the right program, develop a study plan, and stay on track.
  • Career coaching: Guild Coaches can help students with your resume, cover letter, and interview skills.
  • Online learning tools: Guild provides access to online learning tools, such as textbooks, videos, and quizzes.

Disney Aspire is a great way to pursue educational goals and advance one’s career at Disney. Here are some of the benefits of Disney Aspire:

  • 100% tuition coverage upfront
  • Reimbursement for required books and fees
  • Access to a wide range of degree and certificate programs
  • Individual student success coaching
  • Career mobility support
  • Networking opportunities with other Disney Aspire participants

More information about Disney Aspire can be found here.

What do you think about Disney Aspire? Join us in wishing the Disney Aspire congratulations as this program celebrates five years of helping employees and cast members further their education.