Dreams Within Reach: Disney Store Cast Member Aims to Better Her Community with Disney Aspire

Thomas Smith

by , Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

Some educational dreams take you beyond the classroom, and for Kristina Brandt, a part-time Lead cast member at the Disney store in Garden City, NY, that’s exactly the case. After a few twists and turns, Kristina is on her way to making her passion for people and volunteering the focus of her desire to work in communications. With the help of Disney Aspire, a groundbreaking 100 percent tuition-paid educational program, Kristina is making her dreams come true and we’re thrilled to watch them unfold.

After beginning a career in marketing, Kristina was inspired to go back to school for her Master’s in Public Relations to combine her professional passion for marketing and public relations with her personal passion for contributing to a greater good. However, after graduation when the company where she was working unexpectedly closed, Kristina was left looking for her next career opportunity. This is where her journey with The Walt Disney Company began as she joined as a cast member at the Disney Store, and unknowingly, where her educational pursuits would continue.

Kristina advanced her passion for learning by joining the company’s Ambassador program, as well as taking on lead positions for her team. But Kristina’s dream to work in a communications or marketing role that allows her to focus on those around her only continued to flourish as she began working at the Disney store. An avid volunteer for many years, she’s passionate about creating and fostering a positive community and inspiring teams to look for new and creative solutions for a variety of problems. As she looks ahead to the next stage of her professional life, Kristina is hoping to utilize her professional skills “to bring people together – to inspire and motivate them to connect and bring about positive change.” 

As she began to search for her next professional step, Kristina noticed that many positions she was interested in required graphic design skills, something that was not covered in her Master’s program. Through Disney Aspire, she is now working towards a certificate in graphic design that will expand her professional skills and allow her to be even more prepared for the future aspirations she’s stepping towards achieving.

“Through this program, I can be even more prepared and ready for the next opportunity to do good through communication and community building,” Kristina said. “I’m grateful to Disney for giving me the opportunity to keep learning and pushing me to what I’m capable of.” 

Disney Aspire launched in 2018 to help hourly cast members reach their educational goals by equipping them with programs, coaching and job skills, with the cost of tuition and books covered by Disney. From professional skills like the ones Kristina is pursuing to graduate degrees, cast members can enroll in a variety of programs to help them achieve their goals. Cast members can even study English or Spanish through Rosetta Stone courses!

We’re so excited that Kristina is now able to take the next step in her journey. And we’re looking forward to continuing our #DreamsWithinReach series in the coming months, bringing you more inspiring stories of cast members achieving their goals with Disney Aspire!

Learn more about Disney Aspire and apply by visiting aspire.disney.com.

Dreams Within Reach


  • Thank you for including Disney Store cast members in this series! We have so many in our Tampa neighborhood that are in the program, and it’s very much appreciated that you are sharing our stories as well.

  • Sounds like a great program. It’s so important to help with the costs of education.

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