Kim Masi

Kim Masi

Title
Mechanical Engineer
Organization
The Walt Disney Company
Location
Orlando, FL, United States
Kim Masi
Ask a Question:
Required field
Please note
Due to the unexpectedly large volume of questions being submitted to the Ask an Engineer program, it may take as many as 3 months or more for a response to your question to be posted. Please review previous questions and answers to see if your question may have already been addressed.
Enter the code shown: (only upper case)

Biography
My name is Kim Masi and I've been working for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts for about 2 and a half years now. I started as an intern in Engineering Services Resorts, where I learned a lot about how maintenance works on large scale resort hotels. For the last 2 years I've been working as an Engineer for the Design & Engineering department, which supports all of the attractions, entertainment infastructures, parades, transportation, and just about anything you can imagine here at Walt Disney World. One of my biggest projects has been working on the opening of the brand new Festival Of Fantasy Parade, which features lots of new exciting floats and technological advances. I recently started a position within the Ride Engineering team, where I work on updating attractions such as the Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain Rail Road, and the Kilimanjaro Safari over at Animal Kingdom. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University in Boston, MA. While there I worked at two different medical device companies.
Education
Bachelor of Science, Northeastern University
  • I am willing to be contacted by educators for possible speaking engagements in schools or in after school programs or summer camps.
  • I am willing to be interviewed by interested students via email.
Answers by Miss Kim Masi

Hi Dena,

Being an engineer at Disney can mean a lot of different things. We work on projects and rides that span across our property, both old and new. 

Typically we get work requests from our partners out in the park, who need to come up with solutions for issues they are having with a specific ride, parade float or other system. This could be due to the fact that the techonology behind the ride is very old (The park is over 40 years old), or standards or processes have changed. We then work with these partners, along with input from maintenance and facilities engineering to deliver solutions.  Right now I am working on projects for about 5 different rides.  There is a lot of design work but there is also a lot of installation work. In December, Haunted Mansion will be closed for a refurbishment and I will be the Lead Engineer on the project. That means I will be out in the field every day with my hard hat on, working with the construction workers on the ride.  It is a great balance of field and computer work.

The other side of the job deals with installing new rides.  The creative brainstorming that you refer to happens at a very high level, and we as the engineers dont usually see it until the idea is flushed out at a much higher level. Typically the "Imagineers" are the creative people behind the rides, and we the engineering departmnet bring the ride to life. I had the unique opportunity to do this for the Festival of Fantasy Parade at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. We were given artist sketches and renderings of what they visioned, and we had to provide concept developments and work with vendors to bring the floats to life. 

Having artistic talent is definitely a plus for engineers here, but is not a requirement. 

If you have any other questions don't hesitate to ask!

-Kim

Hi Dena,

Having a strong background in the engineering fundamentals will help you in a career in the entertainment industry, and having an additional art background will never hurt. Working at Disney I know some engineers with fine arts minors and lots of artistic skills, but it is certainly not a requirement. Most people have focused on their engineering and business degrees. Typically as engineers our focus is guest safety and overall functionality of a ride, and we leave the creative part to the visionary folks or the artists.

Some schools have specific programs in "entertainment technology" which focus on entertainment themed projects that spread accross a variety of disciplines within engineering. For example Carnegie Mellon has a fantastic program in this. 

The key to being an engineer in the entertainment industry is having a very wide background and knowing a lot about a bunch of different types of systems.  One saying we have here is "be profficent and sufficent". This means we should be profficient in our field of choice (I am mechanical, for example), and we should have a sufficient background in other forms of engineering as well. I know a lot about electrical systems, controls and structural engineering.

Hi Chavi!

I would be the first to admit that I am not the best at math, either. But I do understand the fundamentals that I can build off of and that eventually helped me earn my degree.  I wouldnt focus too much on what your grades are, but instead focus on your development of concepts and learning.  If you have all the basics down, the rest will come easier. What is most important is the passion, and it sounds like you really like chemistry. 

Having great communication skills is really important for engineers, and a great asset to have. I suggest looking at the different jobs that the chemical engineer women have on this site to see what different career paths they have.  Chemical engineers can do anything from pharmaceuticals  to clean energy, fire protection and many more. 

As far as the exams it would depend on your country, the University and what field you want to get into.