Comparison between being a programmer at NASA and Disney

I spent the last 2 years as a programmer at Disney and 5 years before that as a programmer at NASA. Here is my comparison of the two.
  1. Similarity: Safety is paramount
    At both NASA and Disney safety is very important. We need to ensure the safety of guests on attractions as well as the lives of astronauts and mission hardware. (Disclosure: I only worked on the hardware side - never the astronauts)
  2. Difference: works vs looking good
    At NASA everything has to work and follow the laws of physics and work in the real universe. If it looks good while doing it so much the better. At Disney everything has to look good, but we can occasionally break some of the laws of reality 😉
  3. Difference: Coding security and standards
    Believe it or not, Disney has stricter standards of coding! We handle guest information (including payment info) so there is an extra level of vetting that needs to take place to ensure compliance.
  4. Difference: Testing and time to release
    Disney is constantly releasing new software. The testing timeline is condensed compared to NASA but a bug will get quick attention and be fixed asap.
  5. Similarity: Both follow a strict launch protocol
    I think Disney copied NASA on this one (or at least films involving space launches). Before a launch, everyone calls out "go" or "no-go" (the latter stops the launch). While supporting a launch for Disney I had the phone on speaker (and muted). My son (8) heard and asked if I was calling mission control.