Aspiring Stories: Dancer Takes Academic Leap to Make Disney Dreams Come True
Discipline and big dreams are the norm for Liane J. Walls, a Disneyland Resort cast member, performing arts professional, and 2022 Disney Aspire graduate.
Liane started her Disneyland Resort career in 2015 in the Disney College Program and has since leveraged her love for dance and the performing arts in roles in Entertainment, Parades, Guest Talent, and more. She completed her academic courses in March for her master’s degree in teaching from Purdue University and is already bringing some of her dreams to life. Liane recently joined the new Disney Imagination Campus (formerly known as the Youth Education Series or Y.E.S. program) on the West Coast as a coordinator and facilitator for its youth performing arts and education programs, where students learn from renowned clinicians and master teaching artists within their discipline.
Disneyland Resort Cast Member Liane Walls sits outside the Disney Imagination Campus wall.
“As coordinators, we host performing arts groups from school and community organizations, and also operate as facilitators of groups participating in our educational workshops,” Liane said. “I knew Disney Imagination Campus would be the perfect place to apply my background in performing arts and passion for education while contributing toward creating an experience that inspires the next generation of artists, leaders, and innovators.”
When she is not making magic for Disney Imagination Campus students, Liane teaches youth at a local dance academy. “Ballet absolutely has my heart. I believe it is the fundamental dance form,” she said. “The technique, the discipline, and the passion that you have in ballet is transferable to all other styles of dance.”
Liane knew she wanted to continue her higher education after receiving a bachelor’s degree in Theater in 2015, with the hope of one-day teaching performing arts at the college level.
Disneyland Resort Cast Member Liane Walls performs at Disneyland Park, poses with Mickey Mouse, and shows a ballet pose in a dance studio.
“When I was in undergrad, one of my professors asked me to be her teaching assistant for the 100-level dance classes, and that’s when I really decided that I wanted to be a dance teacher,” she said. Since the state of California did not offer a dance credential at the time, Liane jumped at the opportunity to apply for the online program offered by Disney Aspire, which pays full tuition upfront and reimburses fees for eligible hourly cast.
Liane is excited about bringing her passion for teaching dance to life in her new role and hopes to inspire performers, instructors, and choreographers like herself. In addition to her role at Disney Imagination Campus, she was also recently selected as a Traditions Orientation Facilitator where she will welcome new cast members to the Disneyland Resort.
“What I would say to anybody considering any Aspire program, especially a master’s, is ‘go for it,’” Liane shared. “We have a wonderful company that is willing to support our goals, and there’s something for everybody. If you have the interest, you have the passion.”
Disney Aspire is the most comprehensive education investment program of its kind, offering 125+ programs at a network of educational institutions nationwide. As part of The Walt Disney Company’s commitment to supporting its employees and cast members, Disney Aspire puts #DreamsWithinReach by removing key barriers to enrollment and inspiring career mobility. For more information about Disney Aspire, including the program’s recently added HBCU, North Carolina A&T, or to sign up, eligible Disney employees and cast members can visit aspire.disney.com.
by Krystal Rhaburn, Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort