Today is a magical day indeed. We have the chief Disney historian, Werner from Yesterland blog,with us. He shares EPCOT 2004 for our 40 Days to 40 Years.
When I was invited to write the 2004 entry for “30 Days to 30 Years,” (NOW 40 Days to 40 Years!) I offered to put together something in the spirit of my website, Yesterland. Primarily, I write about Disney Park attractions that are no longer operating. Call them defunct, discontinued, extinct, retired, or simply gone.
At Epcot, there are a number of notable “Yester” attractions, including Horizons (1983-1999). Given that my entry would be about 2004, I suppose I should have written about Food Rocks, which closed forever on January 3, 2004. Alas, I don’t have good photos of that show.
The Wonders of Life pavilion held the biggest collection of “Yester” attractions at Epcot. But Wonders of Life nether premiered nor shut down in 2004.
The Wonders of Life Pavilion
It turns out that 2004 was a fateful year for Wonders of Life. That’s the year it became seasonal-open only during busy periods when Epcot needed additional guest capacity. Just as large trees often take several years to die, Wonders of Life died slowly. It began when Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. (MetLife) dropped its sponsorship by June 2001—although you could also say it began when crowds under the golden dome began dwindling just a few years after its October 1989 opening. Despite being without a sponsor, the pavilion remained open daily for the rest of 2001, as well as 2002 and 2003. When Wonders of Life became seasonal in 2004, it disappeared from Epcot Guidemaps. Each time a busy season ended, Epcot guests and cast members wondered if the pavilion would ever reopen. It always did—for a few years.
As usual after a busy Christmas season, Wonders of Life locked its doors on January 1, 2007. This time, however, Wonders of Life would never again reopen.
The golden domed pavilion became a facility for special events. When it welcomed guests in Fall 2007 for the wine seminars of the 2007 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival as the Festival Center, there was still plenty of evidence of its former use. Over the years, that evidence has been largely erased.
Wonders of Life originally included a collection of attractions, interactive exhibits, a restaurant, and a shop.
Body Wars was a simulator like Star Tours, but with a higher queasiness factor.
The brilliant Cranium Command was a very clever show about the functions of the human brain.
This pavilion’s Sensory Funhouse was a group of interactive kiosks about touch, sight, and sound.
The Making of Me
That controversial The Making of Me was a film that answered the age-old question, “Where do babies come from?” honestly, yet in a way that was suitable for all ages.
Goofy About Health
Goofy About Health was a multi-screen presentation, promoting health using clips from old Goofy cartoons.
AnaComical Players Theater was a live improvisational comedy show. Pure & Simple was a healthy counter service restaurant. Well and Goods Limited was the pavilion’s shop.
Good bye, Wonders of Life. You are missed.
After reading Werner’s post, you must be as intrigued as I about other retired Disney attractions and projects. Yesterland is a virtual Disney history book. It’s every fan’s destination! Be sure to “Like” his Facebook page too.
Be sure to return tomorrow for the year 2003. (Have you seen our EPCOT countdown?!) What did EPCOT look like at the beginning of the 21st Century?!