The Crabs on the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage at Disneyland Park in California were recently sent for a rebuild, which included a full bearing assessment. The Crabs play a small but memorable part in the 2003 Disney-Pixar hit film by the same name.
Finding Nemo’s theme park version is a journey in an actual underwater environment. Since crabs are integral to the ride, they have to deal with significant physical stressors.
“We have dozens of figures that operate underwater in this fashion and routinely come into our overhaul shop every 6 months to a year for refurbishment,” explains Animation Service Manager Mike Morrison.
“The chemically treated water typically causes aggressive corrosion in materials that would normally be suitable for use on land,” he says.
Disneyland’s solution was to use corrosion-resistant, no-swell Vesconite Hilube, a polymer that does not require any lubrication.
“As much of our animated figure structures are fabricated from stainless steel, we have found Vesconite Hilube performs better than metal materials in the underwater environment,” says Morrison. “Unlike other materials, Hilube will not absorb or swell in water.”
Bushings on these engineering mechanisms are essential to propel the crabs forward and backwards.
Morrison informs that other exhibit sea creatures with moving appendages also have Vesconite Hilube bushings, including the lobsters, turtles, scuba divers and Darla, a fish-killing female character from the story.
As one theme park visitor put it, “Buy into the setting, let yourself get lost undersea, and enjoy this solid and unusual ride experience.” Vesconite is pleased to be part of this fun script.