Wonders of Life

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For the British television series, see Wonders of Life (TV series).
Wonders of Life
Epcot Wonders of Life logo.svg
EPCOT-WoL2.jpg
The pavilion in June 2007
Epcot
Area Future World
Status Closed
Cost US $100 million
Opening date October 19, 1989
Closing date January 1, 2007
Replaced by Festival Center
General statistics
Attraction type Simulator ride (Body Wars)
Theater (Cranium Command, Making of Me, Goofy About Health)
Exhibits (Fitness Fairgrounds & Frontiers of Medicine)
Designer Walt Disney Imagineering
Theme Life, body, health, and fitness
Height 75 ft (23 m)
Site area 100,000 sq ft (9,300 m2)
Geodesic dome size 65 ft (20 m) high and 250 ft (76 m) in diameter
Sponsor Metlife

The Wonders of Life pavilion was an attraction at Epcot at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. It was devoted to health and body related attractions. It is located inside a golden colored dome between Mission: SPACE and the Universe of Energy. It opened on October 19, 1989, and closed on January 1, 2007. Since that time, the pavilion has been used for seasonal special events. The original attractions within the building have been closed and partially removed.

History[edit]

The idea of a pavilion devoted to health and fitness dates back to the original concept of the EPCOT Center theme park, but no corporate sponsor could be found to cover the costs. It was not until MetLife signed on that the pavilion was finally constructed, and it featured two main attractions: Cranium Command and Body Wars, the first thrill ride located in EPCOT. Also featured was a theater (home to The Making of Me), restaurant and interactive attractions that evolved around the idea of health and wellness. MetLife ended its sponsorship in 2001, which led to the slow decline of the pavilion. On January 4, 2004, Disney made the decision to make it seasonal operation only. It reopened when the park was projected to hit near capacity during the high spring months and Christmas season. Its most recent operational phase was November 26, 2006, through January 1, 2007. In 2007, the pavilion closed permanently, with no official reason given. While it is not operational to the public, it is still commonly used for private and corporate events.

In 2007, temporary walls were placed around the existing attractions when Epcot hosted the Food and Wine festival in the pavilion. The "Body Wars" sign was removed in 2008, replaced by a temporary Garden Town sign while the imprints of the Body Wars sign left on the wall were painted over. By 2009 Body Wars was gone without a trace. The "Celebrate the Joy of Life" sign was removed following in 2009, while most of the exhibits left were removed. The pavilion also received a paint job inside using mute colors such as white and light green.

The pavilion is open seasonally as the center for the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival and the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival as the Festival Center. For these events, it hosts seminars, videos, presentations, and more.[1] It is used as a central merchandise location during the two festivals as well. All attractions are shut down and their signs have been removed. As of November 2014, the Body Wars ride simulators have been dismantled. The queue line still exists, but most of the lighting and other electronics have been removed. As of 2017, Cranium Command has had its queue line, pre-show and post-show gutted, but the theatre - including the animatronics, lighting, seats, and staging area - remains intact under scaffolding. The theater that was used for The Making of Me is still used for various movies and presentations during the events. The current state of the building is largely unknown as it has not reopened since the 2016 Food and Wine festival. There are currently no plans to reopen the building ever again.

On September 11, 2012, Walt Disney Imagineering filed a notice of commencement with the Orange County Comptroller’s office indicating the intentions for a "selective demolition" to take place at the pavilion, making a reopening even more unlikely. The notice came a few weeks prior to the theme park’s 30th anniversary. At this time the structure for Body Wars was torn down, leaving the empty simulator bays and queue line the only parts left intact.

Attractions[edit]

  • Cranium Command - A theater show with audio-animatronic actors and a movie. The show explained the functions of the brain and its interaction with the human body (included an animated pre-show segment).
  • Frontiers of Medicine - Listen to stories about medicine and the brain on small televisions, directed by New Wolf Creative.[2][3]
  • Body Wars - A motion simulator ride taking guests on a Fantastic Voyage-like trip through the bloodstream. 40 passengers could be accommodated in one of four, 26-ton simulators. The film shown was directed by Leonard Nimoy, and starred actors Tim Matheson, Elisabeth Shue, and Dakin Matthews. Often compared to Star Tours at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disneyland as its rougher counterpart.
  • Coach's Corner - Guests can swing a bat while a professional player gives tips (demolished January 16, 2009).
  • Goofy About Health - A multimedia show about healthy living hosted by Goofy, using clips from his cartoons.
  • Fitness Fairgrounds - Tested guests' athletic abilities
  • Sensory Funhouse - An interactive playground which tested guest's sensory abilities, including an Ames room
    • Audio Antics - A listening skill game which involved regular sounds and sounds that were out of place, which the listener had to figure out.
  • The Making of Me -A short movie about birth and life starring Martin Short.
  • Wonder Cycles - Stationary bicycles with a television attached. The faster riders pedaled, the faster the video played. The bicycles would take the rider on a short tour, with a selection of:
    • 100th Anniversary Rose Parade Pasadena, California
    • Disneyland in California - The rider could see that day's park patrons watching the camera pass and moving out of the way for the operator.
    • Take a Little Ride: Microworld Bigtown, U.S.A.
The pavilion at night in June 2009 
Inside the pavilion as of October 2007 
The pavilion being used as the Festival Center during the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival 
The pavilion while being used for the 2015 20th anniversary Food and Wine Festival 

Live entertainment[edit]

  • Anacomical Players - A live show that featured actors and actresses who performed improvisational skits on health and nutrition. This was cut in 2000.

Shops[edit]

  • Well and Goods Limited (Closed)

Food services[edit]

  • Pure & Simple - Various snack type foods (Closed)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Coordinates: 28°22′29.88″N 81°32′47.99″W / 28.3749667°N 81.5466639°W / 28.3749667; -81.5466639