Many thought that the pandemic meant that this unique theme park project would be canceled.
Looks like the redevelopment of one of Disney’s Future World attractions at EPCOT will finally get its long overdue debut.
Disney‘s (DIS) – Get The Walt Disney Company Report Wonders of Life attraction, which was originally sponsored by Metropolitan Life (MET) – Get MetLife Inc. Report in the 1980’s, had been visited by millions of people. The purpose of the attraction was to educate theme park goers on the importance of taking care of your body and how the inner workings of your health and body work.
In 2000, the Met Life sponsorship contract was up, and they decided not to renew. Met Life sited their decision to not renew was based on putting their money elsewhere. This left Disney with the entire upkeep bill and the decision on what to do next with the Wonders of Life. Do they update and maintain an already aging attraction or put their Imagineers to work on something entirely new?
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Temporary Use of Wonders of Life Became Seasonal
Wonders of Life officially closed in 2007 after it was long overdue for an overhaul. It ran for roughly 13 years and sat unused or partially used for 14 years. The facility was partially used for storage, very expensive storage. They reused parts from the attractions to make other profitable attractions work.
The fault lay on Disney for not maintaining the facility, but also in part on how difficult it would be to keep it updated with the number and quality improvements not just in technology from 2000 until today, but also in health and science. The main reason to have the Wonders of Life was to educate people on these topics, and they evolved so much from the late 1990’s until today. It was an impossible task to keep it updated with the latest information and be entertaining.
Wonders of Life closed all of its attractions, and then the facility was abandoned until Disney decided to use the space to host their seasonal festivals like the Annual Food and Wine Festival. Hosting their festivals was a decent use of the space, but Disney didn’t bother to remove the signage or animatronics from the Wonders of Life.
Redevelopment of the Wonders of Life has been in the works really since 2000, when Met Life pulled out. Disney finally made an announcement that an update was in the works in 2017.
New Disney Attraction Announced in 2019
Not much news has been released since the announcement in 2019 when Disney set an opening date of 2021. This massive project was sidelined by the covid-19 pandemic and put on hold. The uncertainty pushed the opening date from 2021 to 2022. Now in 2022, the permits have finally been filed to start work on the reimagined 100,000 square feet facility. The new Play! Pavilion at EPCOT will be an interactive and immersive experience.
Instead of one massive attraction, the Play! Pavillion will be home to several smaller attractions within one facility. The theme park guests will be able to interact with Disney characters and play a Disney escape game, with the rise of escape rooms, but keeping it very kid friendly and Disney themed. Kids will be able to be on the good side of a hotel heist working alongside Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde, the main characters from Zootopia.
Play! Guests will also get to learn how to be a Disney cartoon artist. Disney will empower kids by teaching them about different skills and jobs with Edna Mode, E, from the Incredibles, while attending the Animation Academy.
Other attractions are going to be an arcade possibly with meet and greets from the Disney films “Wreck-It Ralph,” “Inside Out” and “Big Hero 6.” Construction has started and Disney has set its sights on opening Play! Pavillion by late 2024.