The Wonders of Life Pavilion was a large, indoor dome area in Epcot dedicated to educating guests all about health and fitness. The exterior of the dome was painted gold, and was 100,000 square feet, stretching 250 feet in diameter and towering six stories high. Outside the pavilion stood a seventy-two-foot-high statue replicating human DNA, with red, blue, and purple colours. A statue was twelve feet taller than the dome itself!

Wonders of Life Pavilion's Dome, Sign and DNA Statue

Inside the dome were several attractions including shows, rides, and even a restaurant. Guests entered through the main entrance to see the Pure and Simple restaurant and eating area on their right-hand side, a restaurant that served “healthy food” options, such as salads, sandwiches, and wraps. Right next door was the Sensory Funhouse, which was a playground featuring miniature attractions that let guests and children explore their five senses. There were elements included in the Funhouse, such as optical illusions and guests could also try reading Brail.

Inside the Sensory Funhouse, there was a sow called Cranium Command, which follows an animatronic called Buzzy that commands a ship that is travelling around the brain of a twelve-year-old boy named Bobby. Along the way, guests learn new things about the human brain.

Buzzy on Cranium Command

Circling around to the other side of the dome, guests would find Coach’s Corner, where they went to a virtual batting cage/tennis court/golf course to practice their form. Gary Carter, Chris Evert, or Nancy Lopez would then appear on the screen and tell guests how they could improve.

Right next door was the Met Lifestyle Review. Here, guests would take a health survey with questions ranging from sleep to exercise habits. After, it would give them personalized tips on how to make your life better by being healthier.

If guests kept walking, they would find Epcot’s first thrill ride – Body Wars, which was a Star Tours-style ride through the human body. Surrounding the entrance to Body Wars were the Wondercycles. These were stationary bicycles with television screens in front of each. Guests could imagine they are riding through the Rose Bowl Parade, a micro-course where they could become super small, or ride around Disneyland Park. The nearby shop – Well and Goods, Limited – sold merchandise like sports jerseys, gear, figurines, and hats with a Disney twist.

Coach's Corner

There were three shows that took place in the centre of the Pavilion. First, Goofy About Health was in a small theatre, that could fit around one hundred guests, where they would sit and watch short cartoons of Goofy learning how-to and the importance of exercising. The funniest part about these cartoons was that they had been made over about 20-30 years, so the animation was different for each and sometimes even Goofy looked completely different!

Next, there was AnaComical Players, which was a live-action show where cast members would perform interactive, humorous skits that educate and entertain viewers. Of course, these skits were all about fitness, nutrition, and overall health.

Lastly, there was The Making of Me. Have you ever had a child ask you the question, “Where do babies come from?” Well, instead of stressing about what to tell them, you could have just taken them to see this show inside the Birth Theatre. This lighthearted cartoon taught kids how babies are made; without all of the messy details of course. Even though it was PG and left out the most adult details of the process, it was still a relatively controversial show since baby-making is pretty taboo.

Wonders of Life Pavilion's shows

The 1980s saw a surge in interest in fitness. Imagineers saw this health-craze and that is when the idea for the Wonders of Life was born. However, it would take several years to find a sponsor to pay for the pavilion. It wasn’t until years later that MetLife Insurance agreed to help with the project that the pavilion was made possible. After over a decade run, though, MetLife pulled out of their sponsorship in 2001.

Once Disney lost their partnership with MetLife, it could not afford the upkeep of the pavilion. This is when it all started to go downhill. Without regular maintenance on the attractions and shows, things began to appear run down. Slowly, several attractions started to shut down and eventually, in 2007, the Wonders of Life closed permanently – or so most thought; it reopened again only nine months later as a Festival Centre. Guests who visited the centre probably noticed that none of the signs or structures were taken down. The dome functioned as a Festival Center for several years and the old Wonders of Life structures and signs were removed.