Friday, April 2, 2010

Walt Disney World Trip Report part 3: The Remains of Old Attractions

So, did everyone have a fun April Fool's Annual Day The Internet Is Useless?
By far, the most interesting parts of our trip to Disney World were the parts where we went to see attractions that had been closed down for some reason or other. In one case, the attraction's building was at least still in use. In the other... well, you'll see.
Wonders of Life 1
Many EPCOT fans around my age lament the closing of the Wonders of Life Pavilion. Heaven on Earth for a biology geek like myself, the building opened in 1989 and focused on health and fitness on one hand and anatomy and physiology on the other. It contained three major attractions, including a multimedia show directed by Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale and the (at the time) most state-of-the-art motion simulator ride in the World. Walt Dated World, naturally, has many photographs of the building, attractions, and signage.
Normally, you cannot enter the Wonders of Life building as it has been shut down for almost five years now, hoping for a new sponsor. The building, thankfully, is still in use on very rare occasions. I noticed on EPCOT's special guide map for the Flower and Garden Festival that Wonders would be open under the name "Garden Town". It's only open on certain days, but I had to see it.
Wonders of Life 2
As you can see, the layout of the original building is mostly still intact, except that the murals along the rim of the dome have been painted over and most of the signage is gone -- but not all of it. The building was *just* similar enough to what I remembered that it was a little sad to explore it. I had some interesting conversations with the cast members working inside, that's for sure.
Wonders of Life 3
By far, the funniest was trying to convince the people who didn't remember this pavilion that this theater used to hold a film about the making of... something else. Rather, some-ONE else. Yes, there was an attraction in Walt Disney World where they discussed human reproduction. Still to be answered: Is the middle of an already overstimulating Disney World vacation
really the best time to have this subject brought up, maybe for the very first time for some kids?
Now when we booked our trip, we got a little booklet of vouchers for various little fun things (as if there isn't enough to do in the theme parks already). The most interesting was the discount on a boat rental. We took a boat out onto Bay Lake and took a cruise around for a different perspective. And then we saw this island:
Discovery Island 1
Pretty isn't it? Very lush and wild; not something you'd expect just a few minutes from Cinderella castle. It took us a minute to realize that what we were looking at was Discovery Island.
Discovery Island 2
Another little slice of Heaven for the nature nut, this little island was a cult favorite for many guests. Walt Dated World recounts the strange history of the Island. For us, it was just plain wild to see what happened to this abandoned Disney attraction.
Discovery Island 3
People, this is the real life Jurassic Park. (OK, Jurassic Park as depicted in the terrible sequels, but the point still stands.) Everything built by humans has been overtaken by the plants and the island is now ruled by dinosaurs (really). I didn't have any clear photographs of the various birds that have taken over the Island, but I did detect some smug smiles on the Black Vultures Condors...
Here's a sketch:
3.8.10 Sketchbook Page
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Bonus: Here are some old photos I scanned in a long time ago. And I'm willing to bet they're from Discovery Island in it's heyday. Click for... bigger, but still blurry.
Old Photo Blowout: Discovery Island? Old Photo Blowout: Florida Eagle Old Photo Blowout: Emo Emu? Old Photo Blowout: Falls Old Photo Blowout: More falls Old Photo Blowout: Yet more falls

And just recently, a photographer has posted on his blog about his adventure sneaking onto the Island late at night. The resulting photographs are like one part "Jurassic Park", two parts "Lost". Amazing!

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I found out -I literally just found out through a random website run by an exhibitor- that Anime Boston is happening... today (and, well, the rest of this weekend.) I don't think I can skip Easter to attend this event, but I figured I should give my readers a head's up. Also, attendees, don't take your nerd rage out on random people from New Hampshire, OK?
By the way, last weekend had PAX East (I didn't even realize and, frankly, that seemed more up my ally than this weekend's con), the FIRST Robotics competition, and the Flower Show; next weekend is Boston Comicon. There are going to be some exhausted nerds in the northeast. I'd never expect all these events to run all at the same time.
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Hey remember when I said that the promotional photo of the guy playing Aang in the not-exactly-hotly-anticipated live-action "Avatar" movie was everything anyone would ever have to say about film adaptations of animated series conveniently summed up by one picture? Yeah. I now have an even *better* promotional picture that will handily sum up everything
anyone would ever have to say about film adaptations of animated series. Here it is. I will warn you, I am linking it instead of embedding it because it at worst will make your eyes bleed and at best will make you just... just not care anymore. (Plus, it is bound to scare some children.)
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It's Easter Weekend! Celebrate with a three-part review of a thematically appropriate movie trilogy at The Realm!
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Feederwatch Friday!
Admit it, you're going to miss this.
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Downy Woodpecker 1
Blue Jay 1
American Crow 1
American Robin 1
Song Sparrow 2
House Sparrow 11

1 comment:

RabidLeroy said...

On the subject of what once was Wonders, I host a blog on some possible hypotheses that would have brought it back from the dead. Titled under WOL4EVA, if you're interested in reading. Excellent photos, and great artwork as well!