EPCOT‘s Wonders of Life pavilion has a history that has fascinated guests for years. This pavilion, similar in style to EPCOT’s The Land pavilion, opened in 1989 and closed in 2007. The pavilion was used for festivals until 2009, where is sat vacant for an entire decade before it was announced that it would eventually become the Play! Pavilion. The pavilion sitting vacant for so long peaked guest interest and many guests wondered what was left inside. Many guests were fans of Wonders of Life and the attractions that resided within. And the closure brought sadness to its fanbase.
Imagineers had the idea for a pavilion dedicated to health and fitness. The idea wasn’t put into motion until a sponsor was found in the late eighties, MetLife. Many attractions within Epcot at the time were operating under a sponsor. Wonders of Life began construction in 1988 and opened to the public in October of 1989. Its featured attractions were to be Cranium Command and Body Wars. Body Wars was the first thrill ride in all of EPCOT.
The Wonders of Life pavilion featured several attractions which were dedicated to the idea of health and information about the human body.
This attraction was Epcot’s very first thrill ride. Body Wars was a motion simulator ride that shrunk guests down to the size of a white blood cell to investigate a splinter in the finger of a volunteer. The attraction had a good fan base, but some guests claimed the ride to be too rough and nauseating.
Cranium Command was an animated theatre show that explored the idea of the human brain. This show used a large theatre to represent the human head. Both audio animatronics and 2D animation were used to represent different aspects of the human brain, taking the audience through the typical day of their human host, a preteen named Bobby.
The Making of Me
The Making of Me was a short film dedicated to the idea of how we were born. The film was starring Martin Short who details how his parents met, married, and had their first child. The film includes an animated segment about conception. Although nothing explicit was mentioned onscreen and the film remained family-friendly, there was still a posted warning outside the theatre about the contents of the show due to its sensitive nature.
Several other small attractions and featured were operating within the Wonders of Life pavilion including Frontier’s of Medicine, Coach’s Corner, Goofy About Health, Fitness Fairgrounds, Sensory Funhouse, and Wonder Cycles.
The Decline And Closure
When MetLife ended their sponsorship in 2001, Wonders of Life began to find it difficult to stay open full-time. In 2004 the attraction began operating seasonally during Epcot’s peak seasons, until 2007 when the pavilion closed permanently. The building was still used for private events for several years but did not open to the public.
The Future Of The Pavilion
In 2019 it was announced that the vacant pavilion would be revamped into a Play! Pavilion. However, this project was delayed due to COVID-19 and its closures and no updates on the construction have been released since.
Featured Photo: Michael Gray