Dozens of eager teens in the Disney Dreamers Academy got a warm welcome as they paraded through the Magic Kingdom on Thursday.
"Everybody's just looking out for you, and wants you to do the best that you can," said 15-year-old Tavis Sanders.
Sanders is one of the 100 people selected for the program, which brought them to Walt Disney World Resorts in Orlando, Florida.
Sanders is from Philadelphia's Wynnefield section and experiences what many teens in the city do when it comes to pursuing the right path.
"Just because of the violence that goes on in Philadelphia, you can get a mixed signal of who really has your best interest in mind," he said.
One refuge is his school, Episcopal Academy in Newtown Square. It's where 6abc first met Sanders in January, after he was surprised by the news he was selected for the Disney Dreamers Academy.
The four-day workshop focuses on Black students and other teens from under-represented communities. They're here for encouragement to dream big when it comes to their futures.
"They are so inspiring just thinking about what they want to be. Neurosurgeons, poets, lawyers, doctors," said Tracey Powell, the Executive Champion of the Disney Dreamers Academy.
Another message of encouragement came from The Little Mermaid herself, Halle Bailey, who was there as a celebrity ambassador to welcome the participants as part of the opening program.
"They are truly so passionate, so talented, so amazing. And I'm happy to be here with them," said Bailey.
Sanders is one of three teens selected from Pennsylvania. Two teens were also selected from New Jersey.
He says he's already connected with kids from across the country, drawing inspiration from many of them.
"The people I'm surrounded by are all driven by their passions," he said.
He and all of the participants will spend the weekend connecting with the top thinkers at Disney. Sanders is hopeful that it'll lead him down a path to pursue his passions of engineering and photography.
"I've been talking to some of the media people about the different cameras they have," he said. "Just being able to talk to them, even after the program is over, is something I cherish."
But it's not all about the work. Students also get to tour the theme park and ride the attractions, including the new Tron ride.
His mom was brave enough to ride another ride with him.
"It was one picture. She looked so scared, it was hilarious," he said.
All of the students are accompanied by a parent or guardian on the trip, with expenses paid by the program. It's an honor that Sadners' mom doesn't take lightly.
"Every day, she tells me she's so proud of me," he said.
Those accolades of pride are something he's sure to hear many times this weekend as he's inspired to dream big.
"Everybody wants to succeed," he said "And I feel like that drives you to want to succeed too."