Articles from a By Gone Site

Wonders of Life Eterna is committed to presenting not just armchair Imagineering hypotheses, but also articles of informational interest. Websites come and go, but a particularly notable website of a bygone era is D-Troops, a former organisation comitted to preserving some attractions from a by-gone Disney legacy facing complete oblivion by the past Eisner era. While in present, Wonders of Life is no longer with us, there are reasons which could have saved the Wonders of Life pavilion, or even called to action about a piece of Epcot history destined to vanish from guest eyes.

Please note that these external pieces of information are not written by the blogmaster; attribution is provided with the links to the archived sites whenever possible. Also, please note that these are only historical articles written by the users who are no longer online with us (give or take accuracy). Please take this history with a grain of salt as there could be more information that could be difficult to salvage from the sites (images, for instance). If you have any historical information on the pavilion and its closure, please contact.

Humpty Dumpty was Pushed! (should that be Buzzy who got pushed?)

December 2003

In December, rumors first circulated on the Internet concerning the potential closure of Wonders of Life. It was earlier in this month that the distribution of Surprise Fastpass for Body Wars had ceased. (Although Body Wars did not have Fastpass machines, some of those guests getting Fastpass tickets for Test Track would receive a front-of-line pass for Body Wars). Surprise Fastpass had increased attendance in Wonders of Life so much that food and merchandise sales grew by over 35% in the pavilion, according to employees. One “Wonders” fan explained, “I believe Fastpass at Body Wars would have saved the pavilion.” Even Walt Disney World “higher-ups” are reported to have said that the Fastpasses were removed as an “act of sabotage.”

Remember, this is only a theory. You see, it’s also reported that there were complaints about the Surprise Fastpasses from those Wonders of Life guests who didn’t have them, wondering why Fastpass machines were not installed in the pavilion. (Remember, Body Wars Fastpasses were only distributed at Test Track). But in an economic sense, wouldn’t it have made sense to simply install Fastpass machines in Body Wars? If sales were on the rise so much with food and merchandise, Disney could have benefited from Body Wars Fastpass as Wonders of Life attendance and sales could have increased.

January 2004

Wonders of Life closed to become “seasonal” on January 5th, 2004. Epcot guests and fans were left to wonder when the pavilion would come back to life. Some Wonders of Life Cast Members and managers cried when they heard this news. I guess losing an inspiring pavilion could do that to you.
The Wonders of Life waited months for the next guests to visit.

January-April 2004 

The Well and Goods, Ltd. gift shop and Pure and Simple restaurant were dismantled during this time. Many Disney fans found this strange; why would Disney close down a profitable restaurant and gift shop? Some might point out that Disney may not have wanted to pay the wages of these Cast Members. But Pure and Simple was the only dining location in Future World East, and, with Surprise Fastpass increasing its sales, Disney could have continued its food and merchandise operations. And why not throw in (and advertise) a little ESPN in the sports-related Well and Goods store? Marketing that would surely have increased “Wonders” attendance. Did Disney want to close Wonders of Life so much that they were willing to dismantle the gift shop?

Pure and Simple was Future World East’s only dining area. Both it and the Well and Goods, Limited store were dismantled by April.

April 2004

Wonders of Life reopened for a few weeks for Easter and Spring Break. Attendance was, well, see for yourself:

Families sunbathing outside of Mission Space, waiting for their thrill-seekers to return, finally had something to do in April. Attendance was very fair in Body Wars, Cranium Command (center photos), and Goofy About Health (right).

May 2004

Although closed during the day, Wonders of Life reopened for one evening for an “Extra Magic Hour” night. It has been reported that the pavilion ranked in the top four attended Future World attractions that evening. Still, Cast Members were ordered to close the pavilion an hour early based on upper management reports of “low attendance.” One Cast Member described that evening's attendance as “booming,” until they had to close up shop at 11 pm instead of midnight. Could this be the sabotage they're talking about?
This sign, on the right hand side of the pavilion, was removed by August. Wouldn’t this have attracted even more seasonal guests?

May-December 2004

Wonders of Life once again closed to guests after that May evening. Even during the crowded Fourth of July Holiday, guests were not allowed to cool down in the Wonders of Life’s airy atmosphere; this would surely have added to the “courtesy” Key of the Kingdom, increasing guest satisfaction – especially if soft serve yogurt were still served in the pavilion.

But Wonders of Life was never completely lifeless. You see, inside of the pavilion, conventions and Cast Member socials allowed the pavilion to operate daily. Lights, area music, and even some of the attractions operated nearly every day, even though the entire pavilion was closed to guests; Goofy About Health is even reported to have been running on many days at random times.

Even from the outside, guests could see that Wonders of Life was operating; yet, they could not enter. How would this influence their outlook on Epcot?

One report says that Disney receives a “financial incentive” for keeping the pavilion closed to guests under the seasonal name. The attraction even remained closed during the Thanksgiving holiday.

December 2004

Wonders of Life reopened on the 18th to guests after seven months. Although many visitors found the audiences of “Body Wars” and “Cranium Command” quite full, reports hold that the pavilion was sinking slightly in attendance. With the gift shop and food services removed, however, this could only be expected. One guest remarked, “People would come into the pavilion, then just say ‘Oh, Body Wars is closed,’ literally 2 feet from the entrance with no sign or anything to confirm their statement. Then they turned around and left.” Therefore, the poor attendance could be a result of the pavilion’s more empty appearance and its prior closure.

Although reports say that Wonders of Life’s December attendance was falling, the attraction was visibly well-visited.

Friends, the future of Wonders of Life is uncertain. If management did “sabotage” the pavilion, the intent may be to close down the pavilion and use it as convention space.

Sourced from

Reflecting on Life

As you may have read in our first Wonders of Life article, “Humpty Dumpty was Pushed!”, and on our theater page, the Future World attraction has been closed to Epcot guests for most of the past year. However, because the attraction is now open (through February 26th) in order to accommodate the President’s Day weekend crowds, we thought we'd take a quick break from Stitch and reflect on "Life". . .

Because the ultimate fate of the pavilion is unknown. As we reported in our Newsbriefs, Imagineering has been reported to have already gone through the pavilion, taking note of what was salvageable. And, according to rumor, once the Wonders of Life pavilion shuts down, it could remain unused for quite some time.

Which isn’t pleasing many Epcot guests. Those guests who have lost their magical experiences at Imagination’s original “Image Works,” the upstairs playground that was truly ahead of its time. Or the “World Showplace,” which originally presented the Millennium Village. And don’t forget the Odyssey restaurant, which is now only used for private functions. These are all areas that were once open to guests – but then closed and used as convention and storage space. Wonders of Life may join their ranks in the near future.

The Wonders of Life reopened in mid-December 2004 after months of being closed to guests. “In the know” Epcot experts have reported that Disney receives a tax write-off by keeping the attraction listed as seasonal.

So this week, we encourage all locals to make their trip to Epcot and pay a visit to Captain Buzzy, General Knowledge, and the Wonders of Life attractions, because this may be one of the last times that the pavilion (as we know it) may open to guests. Unfortunately, the importance of health technologies and the necessity of having a family attraction in Future World East may not stop Disney from shuttering the Wonders of Life. And, think ahead: what will there be for families to do while the Universe of Energy is closed for its possible 2006 rehab should the Wonders of Life be closed? The pavilion is the last family-friendly attraction in Future World East, next to Energy.
The “Frontiers of Medicine” are expanding in today’s world, but don’t look for the progress of health to be reflected in the Wonders of Life should the pavilion close for good.

And this is why we are encouraging all D-Troops guests to write in to Disney. If you aren’t even a fanatic of the Wonders of Life, Cranium Command, or Body Wars, you could still suggest to Disney management that they make the necessary upgrades to the pavilion. Or at least keep it open to offer an experience to those guests who can’t ride its next-door thrills. We appreciate the time you took to write in for the Disney-MGM artists, and we have seen results. Now, it’s time to contact Disney, requesting that the Wonders of Life continue to give Epcot guests the experience they paid for rather than to sit and collect dust. (Contact information is just ahead).

But first, while the Wonders of Life is open, let us pay tribute to the attraction. D-Troops forum member dxwwf3 is on hand to describe his favorite memories of the pavilion:

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In October of 1989, Epcot opened up a new pavilion in Future World that dealt with the topic of health and fitness. The Wonders of Life pavilion truly is a pavilion in every sense of the word. At its opening, it featured Epcot’s first big thrill ride, “Body Wars,” and it still has plenty of other activities and attractions to keep the whole family interested. The hilarious “Cranium Command” has been considered an Epcot hidden gem ever since its opening. And don’t forget “The Making of Me,” the film that helps teach children the story of human development. The pavilion also features a Sensory Funhouse, Coach’s Corner, and a Goofy About Health show, which is geared toward the younger crowd that Epcot previously had so little for. To me, the best part about the Wonders of Life is that almost everyone can enjoy everything this pavilion has to offer; the pavilion is home to a major attraction for the young adult and thrill-seeking crowd but also caters to families through entertaining shows and exhibits. Now, this pavilion is in danger of being closed for good, and I fear that it will stay there, unused, for years. So I figured I would share with you some great memories that I have of the pavilion, and hopefully, this will rekindle some special memories of your own.

Bet you didn’t know that. You’ll learn something new each visit at the Wonders of Life.
I can vividly remember the first time I ever entered the Wonders of Life pavilion. I was 5 years old at the time, excited about experiencing all that the Wonders of Life had to offer. The thing that stuck out in my mind was the picture I saw of “Body Wars.” I had never been on a motion simulator before, and I was excited to see what one was like. So, naturally, on the first day of our trip, we headed out to Epcot to see this new pavilion. I’m sure all of you remember how long the lines were at this place. I believe we waited quite a few minutes just to even walk in the front entrance of the pavilion. Wonders of Life truly was the place to be at Walt Disney World during the early 1990’s. The wait time for Body Wars was an unbelievable 100 minutes, but I didn’t really care. The thing I remember most about this first trip aboard the Bravo Two-Two-Niner was how realistic the movements felt to me. All I knew after this first ride was that I couldn’t wait until the next year (when I would get to see it again). Body Wars was probably the first thrill ride I ever experienced, so it will always have that special place for me. To this day it is still my favorite thrill ride at Epcot.

Another great childhood memory of Wonders of Life comes from the same first trip. I have always been a big sports fan, so of course I couldn’t wait to go over to the “Coach’s Corner” and see what it was all about. At that age I was amazed that Gary Carter was actually giving me advice on my swing. I didn’t know how it worked, but it sure felt neat to have a great major league player tell me that I had a nice swing! My parents told me a couple years ago that I talked about my first trip to the “Coach’s Corner” for the rest of our Disney trip. It’s amazing that such little things can leave the biggest impressions on guests. Throughout the rest of my trips to Epcot during my youth, we always made a point to wait in the long lines at Coach’s Corner to get some new sports advice.

I do have one final story that I would like to share with you. As I mentioned earlier, the Wonders of Life pavilion has plenty of attractions to experience – one could easily spend half of their day inside! And some of the other “little” things that fascinated me were the Wondercycles. These were the video exercise cycles that had various films guests watched while pedaling on the exercise bike. My favorite film to pedal to was the Disneyland video. To this day I have never had the chance to make the cross-country trip over to Walt’s original park, so Disneyland has always been of special interest to me. This was really the best view I had of the park. (Keep in mind, this was long before you could easily download videos on your computer). So I was amazed when I could finally see what it looked like walking – or pedaling – around Disneyland. And when the video was over the machine would report how many calories guests burned along with how fast guests pedaled. This was one of the first times that I had ever thought of exercise as being fun! I couldn’t believe that I actually had a small workout while I was having fun. And that can have a fairly large impact on a child that is fairly inactive during his or her childhood.

The Wonder Cycles offer Wonders of Life visitors the chance to burn calories while having fun. Although the cycles are outdated, imagine the technological possibilities that Disney’s Imagineers could think up if given the opportunity to update the pavilion.

In conclusion, I hope that these memories will resemble – or remind you of – the experiences that you’ve had in this great pavilion. But I do feel that the Wonders of Life deserves to be treated better. The pavilion can still charm and entertain the masses with some updates. Just think – the exhibits can feature novel technologies and the attractions can be updated with new versions of Body Wars and Cranium Command, for example. I believe that these ideas are too good to throw away. (Plus, it doesn’t sound like too hard of a rehab for Disney!) Walt Disney World, and especially Epcot, has had a history of entertaining and educating at the same time, and I think that the Wonders of Life has accomplished this more than any other experience at Epcot.

“Goofy About Health” has educated and entertained Wonders of Life visitors since 1989. Goofy teaches us that “living the healthy way makes us feel better every single day.” (Photo by MKT)

The points made by the pavilion are not old fashioned; health and health technology are just as important today as they were when the pavilion first opened. Plus, it would be great to have a place where guests could easily spend 3 or 4 hours under one roof. This helps crowd control out tremendously because next to the pavilion are two of the most popular attractions in Walt Disney World: Test Track and Mission: SPACE. Guests who take their Fastpasses from either attraction – or are unable to experience these rides – are offered a great deal of attractions to see and participate in while waiting.

There’s plenty to do at the Wonders of Life pavilion as it stands. But what’s more exciting are the ways Disney’s Imagineers could create the latest sensory tricks and implement them into a refurbished pavilion – while keeping the focus.

The Wonders of Life is an Epcot classic and could continue to be one with the update it needs. Why demolish the building and start from scratch when there is a wonderful and relevant foundation in place? Don’t you think that Disney should know how we feel about this pavilion and the message that it gives? Hopefully, all of us who support will let Disney know that there is still a lot of potential in this pavilion and that it should never just sit around and collect dust.

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Reasons Given for Wonders of Life to be Protected

  1. Pure and Simple The only dining location in Future World East, Pure and Simple once offered healthy snacks to guests. Grabbing a soft-serve yogurt or turkey dog while watching families pass by and listening to the classic area music is a fond memory of many Epcot guests. 
  2. Loyalty to Epcot’s Roots In more recent years, Epcot’s Future World has slowly drifted away from its original core concept: the future. Although Wonders of Life offers many present-day (or timeless) stories, the Frontiers exhibit explains the future of medical treatments, while Body Wars speculates on methods of exploring the human body. 
  3. A Serene Atmosphere With the growing number of thrill attractions at Epcot, relaxing areas are only becoming more and more needed. Such areas can be found in the currently closed Land pavilion and in exterior areas of Future World West. Otherwise, the Wonders of Life is the only area dedicated to peacefulness, delivered by the bright and open nature of the pavilion. 
  4. A Smorgasbord of Activities While being a serene pavilion, Wonders of Life still offers a thrill attraction that doesn’t disrupt the calm of the experience; thus, variety is key in the pavilion. Wonders tells its stories through many means of showmanship (from films to funhouses to powercycles), offering guests much to do – and much to come back for. 
  5. Body Wars Just as Mission Space is Epcot’s most popular attraction today, Body Wars was the thrill craze of the late eighties. While satisfying the need for thrill fans, the ride also educates in its realistic portrayal of the parts of the body while telling a compelling story. 
  6. Family Friendly With Wonders of Life closed, families can only experience a third of all Future World East pavilions. Unlike Test Track and Mission Space (which feature little in their post-shows, also), Wonders offers attractions for people of all ages. Wonders would be an ideal destination for those crowds that sunbathe in front of Mission Space, waiting for their fellow thrill-seekers to return. 
  7. The Making of Me The miracle of life has never been told in a more entertaining or more sensitive way. The film is an emotion-grabbing story about childbirth that enchants guests of all ages (with a delightful score by Bruce Broughton). 
  8. Cranium Command Perhaps the most classic aspect of the Wonders of Life pavilion, Cranium Command is one of the funniest attractions in Disney theme park history. At the same time, it is one of the most educational. Children and adults can simultaneously enjoy the story, which features original characters (another aspect fading from more recent Epcot attractions). 
  9. Education and Inspiration No attraction in Future World is more celebratory and uplifting than the Wonders of Life. Abundantly filled with the promise of better living, Wonders of Life inspires guests with new knowledge to live life to its fullest. Guests need to learn to exercise, eat right, and relax, and at Wonders they can have a blast doing it! 
  10. The Promise of Updating The Wonders of Life pavilion is almost too easy to update. By sprucing up the Sensory Funhouse and Fitness Fairgrounds with the latest Disney magic, along with a general update of attraction content, Imagineers can allow Wonders of Life to continue telling its story in the same timeless way but with better attendance!

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Investigator Statistics

  • According to WDW employees, Wonders of Life has operated nearly every day since its January 2004 closure -- except guests haven’t been allowed in. Because Disney has a financial incentive to make the attraction “seasonal,” they run the attraction for conventions, Cast Member socials, and to keep the plants alive. Where is the Company’s focus? 
  • According to sources, on an Extra Magic evening in May, upper management ordered the closure of the pavilion an hour early. This closure was based on a false claim of “poor attendance.”
  • According to statistics from Epcot experts, on an average day over 45% of Epcot guests visited the Wonders of Life pavilion (before it was closed seasonally), with over 30% of Epcot guests experiencing Body Wars. As of recent, attendance has slipped at the pavilion, but this could only be expected with the lack of maintenance in certain areas as well as the dismantling of the food service. 
  • After Body Wars “Surprise Fastpass” increased pavilion merchandise and food sales by 35%, these Fastpasses were removed from the park, according to "in the know" fans. The next year, the merchandise and food service areas were dismantled. Some have referred to this specific action as "sabotage." The world may never know.

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Please note that these articles have been written during time periods of 2003-2005 before the website was taken offline. If you have any enquiries pertaining to the possible history behind Wonders of Life's closure, or if you have any memories or anecdotes pertianing to the pavilion's final moments, please either leave a comment using the comments field below, or simply feel free to email your enquiries here (in case your enquiry or story requires to be kept confidential)

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