Rolling Down Disney Springs at Paddlefish

For almost 30 years, Entech Innovative Engineering has exceeded expectations when providing complex iconic structures for several different applications and venues. When the Barton Malow Company was selected by the Disney Company as the general contractor for building out the new Paddlefish restaurant in Disney Springs, just outside the entrance to Walt Disney World, they contacted Entech Innovative to build the iconic paddlewheel and smokestack structures – considered by some to be the central architectural features of an old steam-driven paddle wheeler.

As is common with all our collaborative projects, we were given architectural renderings to construct our proposal, and ultimately, to develop into engineering and construction drawings. After those steps are collaborated, Entech Innovative begins to fabricate and install the elements themselves.

Part of the work involved interaction with the Disney design team, who are most interested in the aesthetic details of the icons. Another part of the work involved collaboration with the architect and engineer of the base building, the actual boat, as well as the building department, making it a permitted construction job.

The paddlewheel itself is a static structure wherein the primary shaft is a reinforced hot-dipped galvanized 12-inch schedule 40 pipe to which we elected to bolt 4 x 4 aluminum tube as spokes welded flange plates. The paddles themselves are fabricated of aluminum box tube to which we elected to bond and rivet aluminum skin panels for essentially a stressed-skin nature of construction.

The stiffness of these panels was important as we obtained the wood graining with the use of a press molded epoxy overlay, which we then scenically painted and washed. By reducing the amount of flexibility in these panels, we mitigate the propensity for cracking and water ingress. While it is true that there are no freeze/thaw concerns in central Florida, the longevity of the scene treatment benefits from a reduction in propensity to crack.

The entire structure utilizes either aluminum, stainless steel, or hot dipped galvanized carbon steel to reduce any propensity for corrosion. The primary loading on the paddlewheel is that induced by the combination of wind load and dead load. The wind load in that area of central Florida is required to be 135 miles per hour.

As is obvious from the photos, the work was over water and required extensive safety protocol. Although Entech does not specialize in marine work, our extensive background in all kinds of environments provide us with the knowledge to navigate the wide variety of challenges we encounter.

We also design engineered, fabricated and installed the faux twin smokestacks for the steamboat. We elected to fabricate these out of molded fiberglass construction reinforced as necessary with aluminum and stainless steel. Each stack is guyed with half-inch diameter galvanized steel wire rope at several locations to resist the design load of hurricane force winds.