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EPCOT Retrospective – The Wonders of Life Pavilion

Hello and welcome to The WDW Radio Show – Your Walt Disney World Information Station. I am your host, Lou Mongello, and this is show #227 for the week of June 19, 2011.

In our continuing Epcot Retrospective series, we’re going to step back in time, and inside the gold dome of the Wonders of Life pavilion. We’ll explore its origins, original concepts that never came to be, and changes through the years. We’ll also take a closer look at not only the exhibits inside, but also its attractions, such as Body Wars, Cranium Command and the Making of Me. It’s a look back in time, and forward, as we explore what may become of the Future World venue.

I’ll have some announcements, and then play some of your voicemails at the end of the show. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this week’s episode of the WDW Radio Show

Thanks for listening! Be sure to tune in next week!

Information and Links from This Week’s Show:



15 thoughts on “WDW Radio Show #227 – EPCOT Retrospective – The Wonders of Life Pavilion”

  1. Dave W says:


    It is great how you show where WDW is now by taking us to where WDW has been in the past. Keep up the great work!

  2. RabidLeroy says:

    Heard this podcast and I am utterly surprised to hear lots of interesting trivia on this now gone health pavilion. Although I have not set foot into this pavilion in my life EVER, I am still very interested in the pavilion and how it dedicates itself to health and fitness.
    If I were to do something with WOL, I might consider giving the interior a change in look and feel (confetti out, please) but I might stay true to the classic attractions, but I might be able to give some hands on exhibits some extensions. I have so much ideas that they might clog up the comments box even. Still, excellent episode on the podcast ;3

  3. Tammy says:

    Hey there everyone!

    Just wanted to say that Lou & Ryan were correct when saying the man who sang ‘Unhealthy Living Blues’ sounded like Sonny Eclipse, because indeed the man (Kal David, did also voice Sonny Eclipse.

    We had a wonderful interview with him on the 6th episode of the Tiara Talk Show which he talks about the recording session for the song as well as recording for Sonny Eclipse (

    Hope this information has been of some help!

    Host of the Tiara Talk Show

  4. Freddyfreak1999 says:

    An indoor toontown

  5. James says:

    I loved the Wonders of Life pavilion. It did such a great job of educating without seeming like it was. Not only were the attractions inside the pavilion fun, the exhibits were eye-opening! I will never forget the hot and cold coils — you felt the 6 warm coils, you felt 6 chilled coils, but when you felt 6 coils that alternated (chilled-warm-chilled-warm, etc) you would “feel” that it was burning hot and pull your hand back. There was also a great frozen yogurt bar, iic.

    As for the question of what to do with this pavilion, I don’t have any great ideas. If you look at the other pavilions in Future World, it would seem logical to make it into something that has to do with air planes. We’ve already got the sea, the land, and space. We also have automobiles and a space ship. Why not add air travel? I’m sure they could find a sponsor for that and I’m sure people of all ages would be interested in the subject matter. The existing motion simulator could be put to good use, too.

  6. Joel says:

    I had a chance to visit the pavilion when it was in soft opening. Making of Me was not opened and Cranium Command didn’t have the final film (Several scenes were the draft drawings). One aspect that dated the pavilion horribly was the use of hip stars of the moment. Bobcat Goldthwait, Hanz and Franz, etc I think was a bad idea. Just like putting in Ellen over at Energy, it removes the timelessness of an attraction. The next time I visited 17 years later, it was seasonally closed and then permanently closed a few months after.

    At the same time when it lost Met Life as a sponsor, it became apparent that Disney didn’t believe in the pavilion. They weren’t willing to take on the cost of running the attractions or to really upgrade them to keep the crowds coming.

  7. Lou and Ryan, this was a great in depth review of this now missing pavilion. I wanted to let you (and any of your listeners/readers) know that I shared some binaural audio from the last time I got to see this pavilion in action back on Memory 014 of the WDW-Memories Podcast. I also wanted to thank you and Ryan for the hard work pulling together all the information you shared. The depth of knowledge was just awe inspiring. Thanks for all you do.

  8. Jr. Imagineer says:

    Hey Lou! After listening to this weeks podcast about the Wonders of Life pavilion and ideas for its future, I was reminded of a concept I began working on years ago in my post-imagi-nations efforts to get a job with Imagineering (I was an Imagi-Nations finalist in 2005). The idea was this: an Incredibles themed attraction that was fun and exciting but still allowed guests to learn about the aspects of life. I called it “Super Human”. I only got through some ideas and sketches, but I think the idea of a life-based attraction supported by the superhero abilities from the Incredibles is an excellent fit. The existing architecture could be easily re-themed to look like the 60s modern-style building featured in the film, and a really great E-ticket, state-of-the-art attraction could be developed for the inside. The visual possibilities are endless (imagine walking through that lava hallway). The pavilion could also feature many additional exhibits that would showcase the super abilities of the human body. A long, long, long time ago I started a blog to document my process. Unfortunately, real life took over. Check it out at:

    Thanks for the great podcasts.

  9. Jenn says:

    Lou and Ryan,
    Thank you so much for this trip in the Wayback machine! Wonders of Life used to be one of my favorite Epcot pavilions -especially to see Cranium Command and The Making of Me. I still have a couple of items that I purchased from this pavilion, and remember getting some great smoothies from Pure & Simple. Great work on these podcasts – keep it up!

  10. John King says:

    Great episode, guys! Your attention to detail is fantabulous.

    I think the Wonders of Life, if re-opened, should focus on breakthroughs in wellness, by encouraging exercise using, say, Kinect or Wii technology on a large, fun scale with games unique to Walt Disney World—sort of an aerobic version of the old Imageworks. Of course, the bikes that simulated riding through WDW never go out of style! Nutrition and exercise shows, featuring animatronics, could be a plus (there’s room for Kitchen Kabaret there, I think).

    Potential sponsors could include athletic product manufacturers (ones that value good health more than image [as in, not Nike]), videogame people, or maybe even Whole Foods, unless a food sponsor would conflict with sponsorship deals in The Land.

    Cranium Command still played well when I last saw it in December of 2006, but maybe the film could be updated showing kids with iPhones and a replacement for Hans and Franz could be found. The premise was so classic!

  11. Casey Jo says:

    Thank you so much for doing a show on The Wonders of Life Pavilion! I loved it growing up and my family would spend hours in there. I really loved the baseball netted area as a child. So much fun. I show my friends youtube videos of Cranium Command to give them an idea of what they missed out on and we all agree that it’s truly missed.

    Thanks for a blast from the past!

  12. Casey Jo says:

    Oh and I forgot, as something I”d love to see at the Wonders of Life Pavilion….I’d love to see just an updated remake of it. With where technology is now, I can only imagine how they can revisit Body Wars. Whether they keep it as a simulation or actually make it into a thrill ride. The interactivity of the cycles, large headphones to sit in with the sounds are missed. Cranium Command was such a cute idea and it was so funny that they could possibly make it more interactive with the audience and have a choose your own adventure ride.

    I’ve always felt the Wonders of Life just needed an update and it’d keep interest. Miss it a lot!

  13. Kristina says:

    Would love to see Cranium Command updated. That’s the attraction I miss the most in this pavilion.

  14. Chuck Zitta says:

    I miss the Wonders of Life Pavilion. Particularly, the 2 main attractions; Body Wars and Cranium Command. Hopefully Disney has plans in the future to fill this area with something special. Futurerworld seems incomplete to me without this pavilion being an active part of the magic. Thanks once again for another terrific show, Lou and Ryan!!!

  15. William Bragg says:

    An Inside Out attraction would seem like it would be a good fit…along with a meet and greet of characters.