"Braddock, you've used too much power - you can't beam out!"

Basic

Wonders of Life (1989-2004) was the last pavilion to receive a symbol and open without replacing an older pavilion. It revolved around the concepts of life, health, and the human body. Opening on October 19, 1989, it housed many attractions, a shop, and a restaurant.

After closing in 2004, Wonders of Life would continue to operate seasonally for awhile, until it became the new showcase building for Epcot's festivals. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. (MetLife) was its sponsor from 1989-2000.

Exterior & Inside Area

The Wonders of Life pavilion is a gold-colored dome back amidst many trees between Universe of Energy and Horizons (now Mission: SPACE). The dome opens up into two back building unseen by guests. The pathway to the pavilion first passes two overflowing fountains. It then curves up around a shallow pool where a giant 72-foot DNA strand towers over guests trekking up to the entrance.

The pavilion orignally had an arched entrance sign with "Metropolitan Life" spelled out underneath the words "Wonders of Life." The arch sign was taken down and a newer vertical sign was put in its place with "Metropolitan Life" being shortened to "MetLife."

The inside of the pavilion had a lot of walking area to get to and from the various attractions, with windows in the ceiling that let light in. The area had many indoor trees and bushes bordering the attractions, shop, and restaurant. During MetLife's time as sponsor, a MetLife remote-controlled Snoopy blimp would float around the pavilion.

Body Wars

Body Wars was Epcot's first height required thrill ride at 40 inches. It was a motion simulator very similar to Star Tours.

The queue for Body Wars began underneath a giant mural showing the inside of a body. You then traveled through a series of Dermatopic Purification Stations, discovering that you are in some kind of research facility. Along the way you can watch overhead monitors to learn about the company running the facility, called MET (Miniaturized Exploration Technologies). MET has created a ship called an LGS-250 Body Probe Vehicle that can be miniaturized and beamed into the body. Calls being made and subtle machine noises were heard, making it seem like you were in a busy research facility.

After going through the queue, you would see a preshow with your control officer. The control officer explained that Dr. Cynthia Lair was just beamed into the body of a volunteer ten minutes ago to study the immune system's response to a splinter. Your objective was to board body probe ship Bravo 229 and retrieve Dr. Lair. Your pilot was Captain Braddock. After the preshow, safety information was given as you boarded the simulator.

After boarding, your body probe was zapped with the miniaturizer and beamed into the body just under the skin. You find Dr. Lair with the splinter and white blood cells. Before you can get Dr. Lair aboard, she gets sucked into a capillary. Your ship flies into the vein, following her into the heart. You then follow her getting sucked into the lungs. The control officer makes constant reminders to Braddock that the ship is running low on power. Dr. Lair gets attacked by a white blood cell. Braddock stuns the cell with the ship's lasers and we finally get Dr. Lair aboard.

The control officer tells Braddock that he's used up too much power to beam out of the body. To get an energy boost, you start racing towards the brain because it works on electrical impulse as Dr. Lair explains. To get there, you pass through the heart again. With only five percent power, you use a heart beat to propel out. Your ship makes it up to the cerebral artery, which takes you just above the brain in the spinal fluid.

With only two percent power, your ship crosses the blood brain barrier and enters the cerebral cortex inside the brain. Braddock deploys the fuel cell shield to act as a lightning rod and grab power from neurons shooting impulses back and forth. It works, your ship gains power, and you beam out.

Cranium Command

Cranium Command was a show about Buzzy, an Audio-Animatronics Cranium Commando recruit.

Guests were first shown an animated preshow with Buzzy and his commanding officer General Knowledge (voiced by Corey Burton). The General is giving a briefing about brains to the new recruits. He whips through many slides, including one of a brain success (Albert Einstein) and one of a brain failure (Ernest P. Worrell). Buzzy is late to the briefing. The General gives everyone else assignments to pilot brains, leaving just Buzzy left. The General tells Buzzy that "some genius at HQ has picked you to pilot the most unstable craft in the fleet" - the brain of a 12-year-old adolescent boy.

After the preshow, guests were seated in the command center/brain's cortex, which was a tiered theater wrapping around the area with the Buzzy Animatronic. The theater was meant to look like the inside of a mechanical brain. Two round video screens showed a view through the 12-year-old's eyes. More video screens showed the different brain and body parts who talked to Buzzy. The parts were played by actors (many of which were from Saturday Night Live): Jon Lovitz as the right brain, Charles Grodin as the left brain, Dana Carvey as the heart's right ventricle, Kevin Nealson as the heart's left ventricle, George Wendt as the stomach, and Bobcat Goldthwait as the adrenal gland.

Guests saw Buzzy trying to pilot the brain while talking to the body parts inside of the 12-year-old boy, Bobby. Buzzy tried his best to maneuver Bobby through the typical day of a 12-year-old, incuding running late in the morning, falling in love with the new girl, dealing with bullies, and facing the principal.

Fitness Fairgrounds

Fitness Fairgrounds was the main central area of Wonders of Life. Many of the attractions here were housed in tent-style theaters with seats that were tiered downwards to the stage or screen. The attractions were Goofy About Health, The Making of Me, AnaComical Players, the Wondercycles, Coach's Corner, Met Lifestyle Review, Frontiers in Medicine, and the Sensory Funhouse. Well & Goods, Limited (shop) and Pure & Simple (restaurant) were also within the Fitness Fairgrounds.

Goofy About Health

Goofy About Health was a small open theater near the front of the pavilion. The stage was a cartoon city backdrop with a series of video screens displaying clips of old Goofy shorts. The clips followed patterns of Goofy exercising or eating healthy. Guests could walk in and out of the theater whenever they wanted.

The Making of Me

The Making of Me premiered on October 30, 1989, shortly after the rest of the pavilion opened. It was housed in Birth Theater. Making of Me was a lighthearted 14-minute film about conception and childbirth, starring Martin Short. Due to the sensitive nature of the film, there was a warning at the entrance to advise parents.

The film begins with Short wondering how he was created by his parents. It then shows how his parents got together and them enjoying life as young adults (Short played his own dad). The film goes on to an animated segment showing cartoon eggs and sperm in a comical fashion. The next part of the film shows actual fetal development. It goes on to show a live-action birth taking place, viewed from over the shoulder of the mother.

AnaComical Players

Housed in the open AnaComical Theatre, the AnaComical Players were actors and actresses who performed improvisational skits about health, exercise, and nutrition.

Wondercycles

The Wondercylces were simulated bike machines. Guests would sit on the bike and pedal to "move" through the course on the monitor directly in front of them. The faster you pedaled, the more rapidly you moved through the video course. The courses included a micro course (where you seemed shrunken down), a Disneyland course, and a course through the Rose Bowl Parade. The machines would display your speed and distance.

Coach's Corner

Coach's Corner was an area where you could go into a batting cage area and swing either a baseball bat, golf club, or tennis racquet. A video was then displayed for you. The video was of a professional athlete - either Gary Carter, Chris Evert, or Nancy Lopez - giving you taped advise on how to improve your form.

Met Lifestyle Review

This was a series of video consolses that allowed guests to fill out a survey based on their health habits, including whether they exercise, smoke, have a lot of stress, etc. They also fill out their age, weight, and height. It would then tell you what to do to improve your health.

Frontiers in Medicine

Located in the back between the restrooms and Body Wars, Frontiers in Medicine was an exhibit displaying research and achievements in medicine. The flat displays were kept up to date with current research.

Sensory Funhouse

The Sensory Funhouse was an area dedicated to the senses (mainly touch, sight, and sound). In itself it had many small attractions, including:

    Optical Illusions - The sign for the Sensory Funhouse was on top of a large column that displayed many optical illusions with swirly patterns. Near the column was a wall with more optical illusions, including one of a tiger stripes illusion.

    Perplexion Pipes - The Perplexion Pipes was a set of verticle metal pipes. One pipe was hot, another one was cold. By grabbing both the hot and cold pipes, your sense of touch was thrown off in your hands. There was also a pipe between the two that was both hot and cold that would also throw off your sense of touch.

    Audio Antics - Audio Antics was a a series of headphone-shaped booths. Guests could sit down, pick up a set of headphones, and listen. The headphones let you hear sound illusions. One illusion was what sounded like rain pouring outside. It was revealed that the sound was really bacon frying.

    Touchy Subjects - There was an area with many touch boxes. The boxes were long, allowing many guests to use them. The boxes had thick black bristles in the front. You would stick your hand through the bristles to feel the object on the other side and guess what it is. Of the many objects one was a car, while another was a dinosaur.

    A bigger touch area circled around a large column with many touch holes. Like the other boxes, you would stick your hands in the holes, trying to figure out what the object was in the column. You would finally figure out that it was the Statue of Liberty.

    Reading Brail - There was an area with many brail readings (the bumps that the blind use to read). There were also a few large circles here with many bumps that could be pressed in with your hands.

    Crooked Room - There was a crooked room with video cameras and screens so you could watch yourself inside it. The room had a crooked floor with items that were twisted out of perspective. The idea was to test your senses and balance inside the room.

Well & Goods, Limited

Well & Goods, Limited was the pavilion's shop located near Coach's Corner. It sold athletic merchadise, such as sports shirts and hats. It also sold some Disney-themed sports gear and figurines.

Pure & Simple

Pure & Simple was the pavilion's quick-service restaurant located near the AnaComical Players. The menu emphasized low fat and nutritious items. Items included sandwiches, salads, and yogurt. Fresh fruit cups with optional yogurt toppings were also offered. Breakfast items included breakfast pizza, bagel sandwiches, and breakfast wraps. There were also breakfast items that were served throughout the whole day, including low fat muffins, bagels, cereal with milk, and the Wonder Waffle.

The Wonder Waffle was shaped in a pentagon of hearts. Originally, there was a hot toppings bar to load up your waffle, which included hot strawberry and blueberry toppings among others. The hot toppings bar gave way to a cold toppings bar. Eventually, the bar was taken away and cups of toppings were served with the waffles.

Wonders of Life Post Closure

After closing in early 2004, Wonders of Life continued to operate seasonally. It eventually closed down permanently. By 2007, the pavilion was gutted of many of the attractions and became the new showcase center for Epcot's festivals. The giant DNA strand was also removed along with any Wonders of Life signage.

Epcot's International Food & Wine Festival and Flower & Garden Festival now use the pavilion for displays and to shop and eat. Pure & Simple reopens with the festivals as the "Wonders Bar" for the Food & Wine, and as the "Garden Town Cafe" for the Flower & Garden. The area along the inner border of the pavilion near the old Body Wars queue is used for storage as of the 2008 Flower & Garden Festival.
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  • The Imagineering Field Guide to Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • The Imagineering Field Guide to Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World
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Created April 2001
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