In 2017, we were contacted by a customer in Florida regarding a very interesting project they were doing for Walt Disney World’s Epcot Theme Park. The project involved the large salt-water aquarium with material being exposed to the water therefor a corrosive resistant material was needed.
Epcot’s Caribbean Coral Reef Aquarium
Walt Disney’s Epcot Theme Park is home to the second largest salt-water tank aquarium in the world. The largest is the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia. This aquarium, formally named the Caribbean Coral Reef Aquarium, is located in the area known as Future World in Epcot where nature and technology come together. Many people know this area as the Living Seas but it is now known as The Seas with Nemo & Friends after the hit Disney movie Finding Nemo.
The aquarium itself combines several different tanks totaling 5.7 million gallons of water. The main tank is 200 feet by 27 feet deep and has 8-inch thick glass for the walls. The Sea Base is the main viewing area of the exhibit. Here you will see smaller tanks featuring a variety of creatures such as seahorses and eels that do not mix well with the larger fish and or people. Another tank is home to manatees, which are a protected species. Stainless Structurals has been involved in a manatee gate project to help manatees survive. The larger tank is home to the most popular sea creatures such as dolphins, stingrays, sharks, sea turtles and all kinds of exotic fish. In total, there are over 4,000 creatures and over 60 species at the Coral Reef Aquarium.
316/L Stainless Steel Laser Fused Beam for the Job
With such a variety of different sea creatures in the various tanks, occasionally Disney will need to transport certain ones from different tanks or to medical areas, feeding areas, etc. To accomplish this they wanted a monorail system that can stand up to the salt-water elements and built with materials that are strong enough to transport the larger creatures.
Our customer, DEC Metals was involved in the monorail fabrication and they reached out to us for some larger grade 12 inch 316/L beams both standard and a custom sizes. We were able to supply two of these beam sizes from stock in 20-foot sections and produce the custom 12-inch beam in just a few weeks to meet the project schedule. In total, we shipped 30,000 pounds of laser fused stainless steel beam to DEC for the monorail system.
Designing with Stainless; A New “Theme”
This project is just one example of how Stainless Structurals has been involved in theme park design and construction projects all over North America. Some of these include work for Disney Orlando, Disney Anaheim, SeaWorld Orlando, and SeaWorld San Diego. The designs for these adventurous parks are always unique and inspiring. The ability to use stainless steel structural or custom shapes in specific elements can help engineers and architects design for a specific theme. Even a highly corrosive environment like a salt-water aquarium theme is possible. When you think of these corrosive environments, there is no better material to design with than stainless steel. We can produce shapes in many different stainless alloys like 304/L, 316/L and Duplex stainless. The design guides and sections properties are also available. Let us help you on your next design adventure. Contact us today for more information.