• 2018 HENAAC Luminary •


Controls Engineer

Ride Controls Group

Walt Disney World Parks and Resorts

Growing up in Venezuela, Vanessa Venetta could barely imagine that one day she would have a job that children around the world dream of having: working for Walt Disney World Parks and Resorts to create the rides and attractions that bring joy into so many people‘s lives.

As a Controls Engineer in the Ride Controls Group at Disney, Ms. Vanetta designs, implements, and tests hardware and software systems for attractions such as Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, and Downhill Double Dipper. While the position involves creating exciting, joyful experiences, her role in the design of the electrical and electronic systems that provide the motion control of ride vehicles and animation is a serious job that requires extensive knowledge of electrical hardware and software design and implementation.

Ms. Vanetta’s path to Disney started after she came to the U.S. to study English at the Georgia Institute of Technology. While initially planning to attend college in Venezuela, political instability led her to earn her B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa instead. After graduation, she worked briefly as a Field Electrical Engineer for The Industrial Company before returning to USF to attain her M.S. in Electrical Engineering.

During her graduate studies, Ms. Vanetta helped pay her tuition through research and teaching assistant positions before getting an internship at The Walt Disney Company in her final semesters. Within a year she was hired as a full-time cast member at the company.

In her eight years at Disney, Ms. Vanetta has developed a reputation as a highly self-motivated individual capable of achieving any goal she sets her mind to. In addition to her role as a Controls Engineer, she spent two years on the Sustaining Team at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. During her time there, she was in charge of ensuring the sustainment and reliability of the park’s attraction and shows.

The busy mother of a two-year-old, Ms. Vanetta also volunteers to interpret Spanish at media events for Disney, coordinates Cast Member participation for Cast Appreciation, and represents her department and company at college career fairs.