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Wonders of Life

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Wonders of Life

Wonders of Life
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. The pavilion was devoted to health and body related attractions. It is located inside a golden colored dome between Mission: SPACE and the Universe of Energy. The pavilion opened on October 19, 1989, and closed on January 1, 2007. Today, the pavilion is currently used for seasonal special events. The original attractions within the building have been closed and partially removed.

History

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 of Wonders of Life in 2001, which led to the slow decline of the pavilion. On January 4, 2004, Disney made the decision to make the pavilion seasonal operation only. It reopened when the park was projected to hit near capacity during the high spring months and Christmas season. The pavilion's most recent operational phase was November 26, 2006, through January 1, 2007. In 2007, the pavilion closed permanently, with no official reason given for the closure. While the pavilion 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 Wonders of Life building. The "Celebrate the Joy of Life" and "Body Wars" signs were removed in 2009, and most of the exhibits had been removed. The pavilion also received a paint job inside, which made it to be more mute colors, such as white and light green.

Currently, the pavilion is open seasonally as the center for the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival and the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. For these events, the pavilion hosts seminars, videos, presentations, and more.[1] The pavilion is used as a central merchandise location during the two festivals as well. Presently, all attractions are shut down and their signs removed, and the state of Body Wars is unknown, but Cranium Command still exists. The theater that was formerly used for The Making of Me is still used for various movies and presentations during the events.

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 the theory of reopening even more unlikely. The notice came a few weeks prior to the theme park’s 30th anniversary. There were no specifics given on what was going to be demolished at the pavilion.

Attractions

  • Cranium Command - A theater show with audio-animatronic actors and a movie. The show explained the functions of the human 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 - Epcot's first thrill ride, a motion simulator ride taking guests on a Fantastic Voyage-like trip through the blood stream. 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 Park 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 - 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 - 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

Live entertainment

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

Shops

  • Well and Goods Limited (Closed)

Food services

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

See also

References

  1. ^ 2008 Flower & Garden Festival
  2. ^ http://www.anet.net/users/newwolf/web/frontiers.html
  3. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20050213023555/http://www.anet.net/~newwolf/frontiers.html

Further reading

  • "Wonders of Life". WDWHistory.com. Retrieved June 5, 2006. 
  • Erasing" Former Wonders of Life""". YESTERLAND.com. Retrieved December 11, 2012. 

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