Thursday, January 5, 2012

Potential WOL Resurrection Ideas, part 5

To the readers staving off their post-holiday blues, here I am again, ready to delve into some more possibilities for bringing back Wonders to a whole new generation. I'm sure you've cried off the tears (or hopefully some steam) with regards to your views on things the way they were. Since the last update, here's the list of things that you may have missed prior to the last update:
  1. The Interior (Design, Structure at a Glance)
  2. Music Playlist
  3. Floorplan, Attraction Categories
  4. Colour and Design Schemes 

Now, to start the new year, we might as well suck in that gut and hit two little issues with the same stress ball in one throw...and trust me, they're a lot more controversial than you would think.

2. Pavilion Image

a. Sponsorship

Now before we pull the short straw on a potential sponsor as part of the pavilion's balanced regime, we may need to investigate a little about Wonders and its quest for a sponsor. Now in my second blog post from way back when, I may have included a sample of the below news article for your interest, as accessible below:
New Epcot exhibit (now) healthy Disney's $90 million Wonders of Life pavilion almost died at birth [Orlando Sentinel News Article, written on Nov 12, 1989; SUBSCRIPTION REQUIRED for FULL ACCESS]
With regards to the information provided, if you can go as far as the early development plans for EPCOT Center, from drawing board to real attraction-and-monument structures today, you may be surprised that the original sponsor to the pavilion (again, Life and Health) was going to be Humana, Inc. which was a " and health-insurance company in Louisville, [Kentucky]". Apparently, with regards to the failed deal, it would raise a few eyebrows to figure out what the goal of the Life and Health pavilion would have been if Humana accepted the sponsorship deal:
...Humana wanted to stress medical technology instead of health. Humana wanted "heart transplant kind of stuff," Braverman said. Disney didn't feel that would be as entertaining.

...which would have been ironically in tune with the EPCOT Center of the early 80's (and the prime according to some who have grown up during this time). Sure, medical technology would have been what you'd expect to find in Innoventions, but there are those who are thankful that Wonders of Life had chosen to expand to a broader take on living and health. Only drawback? A whole lot of planning and editing and brainstorming amongst the Imagineers and the ranks, to get the Wonders of Life pavilion to where it once were in 1989 and further (a little more appropriate than 'to the way it is today' if you think about it), and from there, they chose Metropolitan Life as their sponsor.
As found over in LOST EPCOT's WoL Photo Gallery
Click on the above image to view contents
Of course, it's a case of  'world's apart' if you compare a typically Disney environment with how MetLife had managed to promote itself within pavilion boundaries... first of all, as seen above, you may recall the MetLife blimp with its mascot, Snoopy. Also, a brochure that went on eBay in late 2011, would have featured Snoopy and friends at parts of the promotional brochure (no joke, click on the brochure cover for what I'm talking about). That seemed a little eyebrow raising if you're looking at it, but on the plus side, according to MetLife's Company Highlights brochure, at least it did give Wonders a functionally, if not a positive back-then name:
The company's "Wonders of Life" pavilion opened at Walt Disney World's Epcot Center in Florida. The pavilion uses the latest animation and simulation technology to make learning about health fun for the entire family.
But let's not forget, that when sponsorship was dropped in the month of May in 2001, it was surprisingly unexpected that Wonders had managed to carry on for 2 and a half years full schedule, as well as for two more annual seasons, until getting its grave in 2007, five years ago from now. For some reason, while it was handy for a health and life insurance company to support a life and health pavilion, it was acceptable that very few were interested in actually seeking the importance of health and life insurance. (Because, how in EPCOT Center would insurance fit in Future World?)

So let's consider some potential sponsors - however, this does NOT mean that I am endorsing them (full stop). For instance, if you're thinking medical technology, we could think of a high end medical equipment and technology company to sponsor it (my head would center to General Electric, but big problem - first it already sponsored Horizons, but now it's literally become a competitor against the Mouse, so I'm not the only one shaking.) Maybe from the full-on pharmaceutical and chemical companies (again, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Monsanto...), but again, it could be TOO risky, and it also would make me shake deep inside. Sometimes, it would be tempting to use a fitness icon for a sponsor, but what's the use in that? Smack, maybe POM might needle up for catering, especially for the audience practically on the other side of the US. But I have no idea, and having any makes me shake inside. So it'll take a sound mind and a sounder consideration if we are to actually figure out the answer.

A potential idea that would be of good use in a multi-attraction pavilion would be, in the style of Innoventions (or Communicore way back when), to have multiple sponsors splitting the bill. Sure it'll be a practically useful idea, but it might be much more complicated than it actually sounds. But on the plus side, it might be a perfect solution in case the Wonders of Life follows the 'multiple attraction route' as before. So let's leave it as inconclusive, and we'll leave it up to you to leave behind a plausible, yet straightforward potential candidate for the pavilion. Moving on...

b. Character Involvement

Love it or loathe it, it seems that parts of Disney World of today are an inch closer to '...visiting the stars homes'. Epcot is face-palmingly no exception - not everyone in the adult crowd would have warmed up to the idea compared to ages past, but some say that this would be an effective way to reach for the younger crowd (either the kid by age, or the kid-at-heart). However, I bet you didn't know that in common memory, Wonders of Life might as well been the first pavilion to lean towards character endorsement by (you guessed it) Goofy, and compare it to further into the future (for instance, Nemo), it's no big deal.

But supposedly if we were to choose another character to side on for the ressurection of the pavilion, we might have to think about it a little carefully. And while I might have bumped up against the answer, I must warn you, refrain from throwing your computer monitor or laptop against the walls or windows... in fact, not everyone in Florida is convinced of having this familiar face in pavilion grounds... ready... you're asking: "How on this forsaken planet will you allow a blue furred monster to have the keys to the pavilion's attractions and interior? I mean, look what he did over there to X-S labs in Tomorrowland..." That's an entirely different story, but there could be a potential reason why Stitch could be a possible candidate for the pavilion. But we need to handle it with caution, or else things would go a little wrong, or out of paw. Does the thought of the following make your hair (erm, coat) stand on end?
...I'd rather see "Stitch's Cranium Command", "The making of the intergalactic federation", and "Experiment Wars"

Put all those together, move SGE there, then let THAT be the place for stitch to be at the theme parks and not let him invade anymore of the parks!

...The new pavilion, sponsored by nobody because it'll be a fail, will be named: "Stitch's Wonders of Human life-forms".

WondersofLife, "Wonders of Life???" at post #36
Then if so, don't worry. If inviting the blue furred alien experiment into the pavilion was done the right way, then it would be made sure that it's the loveable, blue-furred kind that Lilo (or wait, Yuuna) would appreciate to be by her side. Also, as much as Goofy had his own place within the pavilion, then Stitch would likely claim a certain region of the pavilion, a bit like Buzzy being given his own room back then (but to my imagination, hopefully not being roommates!)

But now you're asking, How would Stitch fit into the Wonders of Life pavilion? Yet, how would he have anything to do with it somewhat? Less than a decade on growing up, remember these?

Back then, when Toon Disney had a few more hits on their hands...

These screenshots are from the TV series episode, titled 'Poxy', which for some reason picked up the same plotline as Fantastic Voyage... or even Body Wars, much rather. Still, that makes for some interesting inspiration for an innerspace ride, but that would defeat the purpose altogether. However, suppose that Dr. Jumba Jookiba were to invite us into his genetic experimentation lab, as a means to showcase the medical technology that '...Earth scientists and physicians might be using in the near future...' then I guess it would prove sufficient. In my head, if Body Wars or parts of the body-system related exhibit areas were to be earmarked for takeover, then perhaps the Jumba's lab look and feel might be of good use.

I mean, would you be interested to learn the human body in the laboratory of the evil genius?
Perhaps, if the alien experiments were to be involved somehow, don't just train them as extras, at least involve them a little in the story. Also, it's better to do away with the 'mischief' element that'd repel the crowds, and use them to attract. Some of them might be comical fodder in some demonstrations, perhaps develop some human personality to them. Sure not everyone likes the experiments, but they do have the non-human ability to attract using the element of cute, right?

Your mileage may vary. If you haven't grown with the above experiment pack in the mid 2000's, something's bothering you...
Alright, alright, enough with focusing on Stitch's extended family. In fact, I'm sorry if I dragged you down along the floor with this conversation. But moving on... on the subject of character involvement, there's also a possible candidate that could serve as the potential mascot for Wonders, and for some apparent reason, it's appropriate if the aim is to reflect on a little on EPCOT's history. And this time, let's start off by retaining (or perhaps slightly updating) a classic holed up backstage...

Yes, I know Buzzy is already mentioned in this blog close to several times, but it's apt to mention that he is as EPCOT as Figment is to the Journey into Imagination pavilion. For reasons that both characters have in common, it's the historical significance to what was of EPCOT past. Apparently, it'll be safe to assume that practically nobody (well, outside those with fond past memories of Wonders) would have heard of Buzzy, so it'll be wise to slowly introduce him to the public. (I suspect it's the stage fright the head honchos will have to cope with any stage now!)

Some considerations I must reveal now, with regards to handling characters from bygone days (for instance, Figment), and I have revealed in a previous article (Battle of the Cotrexes) that Buzzy would be someone the next generation might relate to (after all, kids were likely to relate to Buzzy at the time); however, it should be that Buzzy should remain, well, 'in character', for the sake of his previous fans. Okay, so it's acceptable to have him a little experienced with a few things in particular (but let him 'fail' a little now and again).

So, leaving the considerations aside, let's just fixate on two character candidates that would best work hand-in-hand (paw-in-paw perhaps?) with promoting or representing the newly refurbished Wonders of Life pavilion for now... Stitch and Buzzy... in my head it could sound logical, but to other people, they may have entirely different views on having character involvement to invite visitors into the pavilion. Also, a few of us may not really approve of character-centering a pavilion area at all. Of course, the character involvement date is still a very strong brawling one, even in an Imagineering project. All in all, there's one thing in common with sponsorship and character involvement... you either love it or loathe it. Depending on who we're after.

So now we're done with this part, feel free to tell me what you might think of these takes in presenting the pavilion... or perhaps representatives behind it. Sure it's a particularly long article, but a comment would certainly be of great appreciation. Also, don't forget to stop by on the What's Next for WoL survey if you have anything else of what you thing about Wonders in general. Until next time!


  1. Personally, I never would have considered Stitch as a good fit for Wonders of Life. However I really enjoyed your concept idea for a "Stitches Innerspace" type re-vamping of Body Wars. You could even go a slight step further and say "Stitch got inside Lilo and we've got to get him out before it causes more chaos!" or something along the lines of Stitch taking on the form on a 'germ'.

    I believe the reason Goofy was so prominent in the pavilion was because of the old health and active cartoons he was in. While it does work most people under the age of 25 will have never seen them since they're no longer shown on any of the Disney Channels.
    The downside of Buzzy is simply most people no longer remember the show much less the main character. So it's going to be hard to update while keeping him in place unless done properly. Perhaps the cartoon route, he could be the commander of a known Disney character? With the 'mistakes' Buzzy made perhaps this is how you could keep Goofy within the pavilion.

    As for a pavilion sponsor I've played with several ideas myself. However has you said, many of them come with risk. Probably a health food company, something along the lines of Whole Foods or even Kashi would be the safest route to go. Very little "risk" and it would still have the "Healthy and Active" point upfront where it really needs to be. Also they could even be brought in to help sponsor the Disney Marathon, which (if this ever where to happen) would sweeten Disney's outlook on getting the pavilion back open again.

    Just a few ideas and some input from a fellow supporter!

  2. cool idea! i think bringing buzzy back would be totaly great, maby a re-boot would great. stich, though he's a bit over used... and not realy the Human body info type. but its still cool. for a sponcer, i would go with a medical distributer.-Lulu


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