Body Wars was a motion simulator ride that took guests through the human body. It stood inside the indoor Wonders of Life pavilion at Epcot. “MET Observation Team Members”, also known as park guests, were new employees at the “MET company” about to embark on their first mission. The name of this fictional company was inspired by the Wonders of Life sponsor, MetLife.

During their planned mission, they and their ship would be shrunken down in size to observe a splinter which had gotten stuck in the subject’s skin. But of course, as all theme park attractions with planned missions go, things don’t work out the way we planned.

Observation specialist, Dr. Cynthia Lair is accidentally pulled into a capillary while observing the splinter, and the ship’s captain races after her with our ship into an unauthorized area. Along the way, guests pass the heart and lungs, save the doctor from an attacking white blood cell, and then discover they are very low on power. Brilliantly, Dr. Cynthia Lair suggested they use the brain’s energy to recharge enough to get out safely and become normal size again. This plan works and the ride ends.

Body Wars Ride

History, George Lucas, and Star Tours

Body Wars was a motion simulator ride, inspired by Star Tours. If you are not familiar with the history of Star Tours, here is some backstory. When Michael Eisner first became President of the Walt Disney Company, his teenage son said that the Disney Parks were only for kids. So, Eisner wanted to add more thrilling attractions to the parks to attract more teens and adults. In 1986, Disney partnered with Star Wars creator George Lucas who was already a massive Disney fan. In fact, he visited the park during its early opening days as an eleven-year-old boy and has loved the park ever since.

At first, George Lucas helped Disney create Captain EO, a Tomorrowland show at Disneyland Park starring Michael Jackson. Soon after, Imagineers proposed the idea of a motion-simulator ride based on the Star Wars films to George Lucas. It is important to note that a motion simulator ride like this had never been done before. Of course, George Lucas approved. Then, The Walt Disney Company purchased four military-grade flight simulators, with a total cost of around $2 million. Imagineers designed the attraction around the flight simulators. While Imagineers worked hard on the ride itself, Lucas and his filmmaking team created the first-person film that would play in accompaniment to the flight simulation.

Needless to say, Star Tours was an immediate hit. Guests dressed as their favourite Star Wars characters proudly endured the long lines for the enjoyment of the new attraction.

Star Tours to Body Wars

With the huge success of Star Tours in Disneyland Park in California, creating another motion simulator ride for the East Coast was the most obvious next step.

The idea for a ride through the human body that both educated and entertained guests was an idea from Epcot’s early days. Unfortunately, though, the complicated set pieces that Imagineers thought they needed–like giant moving lungs–would have been impossible to find or build. With the technology for Star Tours being implemented with such success, Imagineers knew their Body Wars dream could finally become a reality.

When it was first built, the simulator ride technology was still pretty new and a little rough. It often made many guests feel sick. Imagineers eventually toned down the most intense moments of the ride to help alleviate feelings of motion sickness.

Body Wars being used for storage.

Closure and Aftermath

Body Wars was a very popular ride; It was thrilling, fun, educational and a perfect ride for Epcot. Unfortunately, when MetLife ended their sponsorship of the Wonders of Life pavilion, the cost was too much for Disney to handle alone. Many say it was like the Wonders of Life pavilion had frozen in time, with no upgrades and little maintenance. Slowly and gradually, the pavilion started to shut down. This of course eventually meant the end of Body Wars for good.

The show building where the old ride once was, is now used for storage. At D23 in 2019,  The Walt Disney Company announced that the old Wonders of Life pavilion would transform into the new Play! pavilion by 2021. Although, there were no specifics given about what might happen to the ride itself.