One of the most talked-about areas of the new Disneyland Park in Shanghai, “Tomorrowland,” features exciting attractions and future world Disney characters. However, according to supplier Scott Bader, none of it would have been possible without composites. Many sections of both the interior and exterior of the buildings and rides in Tomorrowland were constructed from fire retardant gel coated FRP composite molded parts.
The FRP composite parts supplied included facades, passenger sections of the “Tron” rollercoaster, parts of the Buzz Lightyear ride, the Lilo & Stitch Theatre, outdoor dining furniture and exterior cladding on the concourse and surrounding facilities.
As Scott Bader explains, all of the FRP components needed for Tomorrowland were made by hand lay-up and manufactured by composites fabricator E-Grow, which used a system containing Scott Bader’s Crestapol 1212 resin and Crystic 967 gelcoat products. Other Scott Bader woven rovings and glass fiber reinforcements were added as needed. The company adds that all FRP used in the park had to meet China’s fire safety standards for fully assembled composite parts, and Scott Bader’s products helped meet those requirements.
By using a 3D computer assisted manufacturing (CAM) file, E-Grow milled individual plugs directly from wax blocks to produce a “mold plug.” The plugs were used to cast large mold tools for the hand lay-up process. Once all the FRP parts were produced, the wax plug was melted down and reused. By recycling the wax, very large custom shaped FRP parts could be produced with very little waste at highly competitive prices. The production process is also more environmentally friendly since it includes material recycling.
Another Disney requirement was that all gelcoat be both fire-resistant and match the paint system so that should there be any damage to the paint surface the part would maintain its appearance. To meet these requirements E-Grow used eight custom colors of Crystic 967.