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Best Hospitiality/Commercial Project

Pop Century Resort, Walt Disney World

Project Team
Owner: Walt Disney Imagineering.
Construction Manager: Centex Rooney Construction Co., Orlando.

The Orlando office of Centex Rooney Construction Co. oversaw the Phase 1 contract of Walt Disney's Pop Century Resort project. The resort is one of the largest in the world, with 2,880 guest rooms. Located on 235 acres, Phase 1 totals nearly 1.1 million gross sq. ft., and includes 10 lodge buildings, six pool buildings, three pools, a kiddie pool, an interactive water feature and a lake promenade.

As with all Disney projects, Pop Century's defining feature is its theming, which reflects American pop culture from 1950 through 1990. The lodge buildings feature over 70 themed icons - such as a Big Wheel, a giant Rubik's Cube, Mickey Mouse, Roger Rabbit and a Sony Walkman - some of which stand taller than the top of the four-story guest buildings. Also, gigantic aluminum parapet letters on top of the buildings reflect phrases specific to each decade.

Centex Rooney self-performed 20 percent of the work, handling the concrete structural work and also the hardscape theming placement of over 9,000 cu. yds. of concrete. The concrete placement resulted in over 450,000 sq. ft. of concrete flatwork.

The installation of the roughly 70 icons was a major focus of construction. The uniqueness and magnitude of these structures presented the contractor with numerous challenges. From their unconventional shapes and special constructability requirements, to the design logistics and engineering, these items required a great deal of coordination and attention to detail.

For example, nine bowling pins, each 65 ft. tall, were fabricated of aluminum alloy tubing. A group of six yo-yos stand more than 37 ft. tall, and are made of composite fiberglass materials. As Centex Rooney's entry read: "All of these icons posed challenges which were truly unique. How often in this industry does someone get to build a really big Big Wheel or an enormous Rubik's Cube?"

The fabricators of these icons were as varied as the themes themselves. Materials and completed designs came from all over the country, including California, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania. The logistics of long-distance coordination and transport were challenges in and of themselves.


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