Thursday, May 31, 2012

STOP PRESS: An interesting Link for a Next Gen Wonders...

Hello there, readers! After stumbling on this post on Tumblr, this one is a rather interesting link to do with a possible idea for a next generation Wonders of Life, and one which well fits in Future World, as quoted below:
"My idea: The Future of Humans Sure, lets consider this. I believe (don’t quote me on this) that the infrastructure for Body Wars still remains in that building. Why not instead of looking at how human life currently operates, why not theme the pavilion around the future of human existence? "
You can have a peek at one of the interesting ideas at this link: Resuming normal transmission in three, two...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Possibility 7: Topiaries? I'd Dig That.

Dear readers, while this year's Flower and Garden festival has drawn to a close a few weeks ago over at EPCOT Center, there is a rather interesting story behind a particular and possible topiary that for some of us, we really wish it exists right now.

Of course, for those who do not know the back story of how Wonders was pitched to become the convention center, let us spare a moment in the 2000s when the death clock was due to be scheduled for the Wonders of Life pavilion, with its drop in attendance rates, and the seasonal operation schedules put in place. Increasing obscurity led to the final nail in the coffin for its previous incarnation in 2007 (lest we forget), and sparked its destiny for a refurbishment (of surgical proportions) into a conventions hall for the festivals.

There has got to be a reason why I am writing about this little issue when very few people matter about it nowadays (nope, this is not the sound of forgetting and giving up, guys!) Over in Epcot nowadays, it is not uncommon to come face to face with topiaries of common Disney characters, but it is eyebrow raising to not find those bearing historical meaning to them (after all, before Epcot allowed Mickey and pals to greet guests after the mid 80s (give or take), they did have a few iconic characters - Figment, SMRT-1, and who could forget the "Boid" and Tiger the Robot?), let alone homage 'monuments' for attractions gone by. But since this blog is exclusive for a specific pavilion, this kind of limits my discussion of ideas to some potential 'bright ideas' that could serve as possible 'homage' topiary monuments to the pavilion's former incarnation...

Monday, May 21, 2012

Footsteps - You! The Experience

Welcome back, readers, and in another issue of Footsteps, we focus on another state of the art exhibit, already mentioned a little way back in this blog as an exhibit of interest, and even for its release a couple of years ago, it still has the inspirational appeal of what Wonders would have jumped for if it was given another chance.
You! The Experience is a successful interactive exhibit, as hosted by the Museum of Science and Industry Chicago, and  focuses on the concept of life and health in an expansive take - ranging from the mind and body, through to healthy choices, through to medical innovations, and even in depth to a personal level. Again, because the exhibit is continentally away from my main blogging quarters (*SIGH*), I shall start with a brief summary of the exhibits primary highlights:

  • Your Mind - portraying the mind as the "...main generator of the thoughts, emotions and decisions that can affect your health in big and subtle ways", this part of the exhibit covers the self-portrait (how we see ourselves), as well as techniques to attract our attention (for instance, in advertising), and even an interactive 'brain exploration' game under augmented reality.

    More written information on this technological exhibit of the brain: Augmented Reality - Brain Interactive

  • Your Appetite - encouraging people to be concious of what they feed their bodies, this exhibit is hands-on, especially in fields on comparing different common snack choices (which one is healthier?) and even what's really in their snacks.

  • Your Heart - Considered the most iconic exhibit landmark of the Museum, it is a 13-foot tall 3D interactive animation, and shows many views of the heart, inside and out. Guests can interact by sending over their pulse - the heart on display will beat in time with theirs. Here's a brief video from their official website:

  • Your Beginning - In my humble opinion, if 'The Making of Me' had its own interactive exhibit, but with more artistic merit - this exhibit consists of an interactive display following a mother adjusting to a growing baby during pregnancy, through to a collection of preserved human embryo/fetuses, each per stage of development.

  • Your Vitality - they say that overall health is closely linked to quality of life, so this section is to do with the little things that can help your overall health. The iconic Laugh Garden is the cornerstone of the exhibit (and the epitome of laughter as the best medicine), as well as an engaging game of mindball, in which guests compete against each other trying to move the ball the furthest - the more relaxed the person, the higher chance of succeeding.

  • Your Movement - this section inspires guests to be more physically active in life, regardless of their age or state of health - this ranges through to the assisting (a "sports personality quiz" to help pick which activity you'll enjoy), through to the interactive (the 'hamster wheel' and the motion-capture screen installations)

  • Medical Innovations (ft. iStan®) - the name says it all, this section focuses on the high tech aspects of medical developments (which would have filled the niche for what Frontiers in Medicine), from the bionic, through to medical imaging, and even to some life-changing high tech procedures. Also featuring iStan®, a Human Patient Simulator unit, capable of exhibiting realistic symptoms of medical crises.

  • Your Future - now this part of the exhibit takes an intrapersonal look at how we see ourselves, whether physically (the interactive 'aging' simulation portraits), through to the mental (the interests, hopes and dreams, organised into your very own online bucket-list) and even the experiences of others (from the experiences of centenerians through to your opportunity to contribute a fragment of your life story)

The reason why I cite this exhibit in this blog article is due to its innovative nature; you may recall much earlier in the blog that there is mention of the exhibit as a primary source of inspiration for hypothesising what Wonders would have strived to be had it remained alive and nurtured, rather than shuttered and sentenced into oblivion. In fact, comparing the aesthetics of the Wonders of Life as it was presented since 1989, as well as that of You! The Experience, it seems that the latter has more aesthetic updated potential that Wonders would have pled for (but nobody listened.) Even some components of the exhibit would have inspired me to organize Wonders attractions by group (see Operation Imagineer for a little more understanding), among a few more things.

But honestly, being the distant blogger I am, I do not have the access to try the exhibit in person, so I am inviting you bloggers to leave a comment with regards to You! The Experience, and how it would have helped Wonders of Life still into visitors eyes.

Noting that this summary article is only a page in the book, here are some resources and external blog articles if you would like some more information, or some more pictorial evidence on each of the featured attractions and their technologies.
If you have any information or experiences with the above exhibit (what do you think of it?) or have a request for an externally based human body/health/wellbeing centered exhibit that you would like WOL4EVA to cover, feel free to leave a comment below.

Until next time, readers!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Gift - The Making of Me

As a salutation to everyone on the planet, I cannot stress this enough on Wonders of Life's involvement on presenting how we entered this world – how we developed and how we are born – all I can say is that there is one person we can as well thank for all the memories, our upbringing, and making our existence possible – and it's definitely as close as your mother. (Or probably even as far as your grandmother, and down the matriarchal side of the family tree). So, WOL4EVA would like to present a small gift in the form of a view-thru video covering this aspect of our lives...

I mean, all the good times and the hard times, it is probably time to bless her this Mothers Day, give her a break, even spend some time together. Love her back; you'll never know just how much she felt treasuring you way back, even as young as in her womb (seriously, just ask her! You'll be surprised at some of those interesting anecdotes, not all the while worth hearing, but fascinating.)

In part, Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

From Well and Goods: A Rare Literary Find

Readers, it is an interesting and surprising moment during the blog's history, that evidence of any promotional or memorial for the Wonders of Life pavilion is existent. What started with another lazy-headed eBay search has landed me into an eBay listing for a souvenir book, titled "Experience the Wonders of Life", a promotional souvenir book.

This book has been sold over on eBay, accessible right here.

According to the listing details, it reads as follows
Pictures and descriptions of all the attractions in the Yesterland "Wonders of Life" pavilion at Epcot, including: Body Wars, Cranium Command, The Making of Me, Goofy About Health, The Sensory Funhouse, Anacomical Players and more. 32 pages, 11"x 9"
While the item has been sold, the listing contains a few sample pages and excerpts, but in appeal to how the book is composed, there are some spectacular photography work done by Wayne Eastep, and wonderful biological illustration work by Charles Bentz.

What's more, apart from a textual brief description of the attractions, exhibits and facilities, there are some informative aspects of the body covered in focus by the attraction itself - some top-notch illustrations, such as the brain and blood cells. have been included to give readers a little understanding of what's covered. Three of the pages, for preview purposes, are shown below, this time covering the attractions, as well as the contents of the pavilion souvenir guide:

I must say that this book is rather rare by today's standards, and is obviously/very likely to be out-of-print. However, given the adequate sample preview pages of the aforementioned book, this souvenir guide provides some relevant information, as well as a few attraction and prop photos never before seen (also, they are able to trigger some memories as well).

In my personal aspects, it could be plausible to do a resurrection of a book of this time, but given the Wonders of Life pavilion has been shut for five years counting, consider this:

  • health issues and problems have been largely different now compared to then - while stress and health habits are still relevant, childhood obesity and health problems are reportedly on the rise within the population; even now, health remains a topic of interest.
  • medical innovations have skyrocketed in progress, so it is useful to document them in reference to the attractions.
  • the graphics design done in the early 90s is now a step off by today's standards - the fonts and colour schemes deserve a change.

This means not just an informational update, but there is a whole lot of interest (yes, interest) of the historical aspect behind the attractions - concept art and photographs, as well as backstories and legends behind the attractions. Add to the graphics design, as well as a growing need to introduce a young audience to this little piece of history, we'll definitely need an extra edition.

Anywho, with this find out of the way, we return to normal transmission...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Attractions Toolkit - Sensory Overhaul

Welcome to the first issue of Attractions Toolkit, where we select one of the pavilion's existing attraction and list a few possible addons, subtractions or even replacement options to attract the next generation. This would tie in with the Potential WoL Resurrection ideas sections covered in Operation: Imagineer on this blog.

Here we look back at the playground of the senses in which we faithfully know as the Sensory Funhouse. While we know that the five senses are the primary tools of exploring the world around us, bear in mind that the sensory playground has practically become a part of every competing science museum's attraction belt (well, make that a selection of those in which would soon be covered in the Footsteps section of the blog).
To be honest, compared to a given handful of state-of-the-art technological attractions that once were the superiority of areas outside Epcot's border, it appears that the Sensory Funhouse has had a crisis of attempting to catch up. Some of the critics would have seen Sensory Funhouse as, by current standards, comparable to what other science museums have on offer (plus not to mention how it would have trodden on the pawprints of the original ImageWorks upstairs playground once existent in days gone by).

And also by current knowledge, it is no doubt that all parts of the Sensory Funhouse are uprooted and buried from public view, but thanks to a vast array of photographs capturing parts and highlights of the exhibit, it would prove helpful to explain what you'd find in the exhibit:
  • Touchy Subjects - a gallery of physical objects (including an interactive guessing game on selecting the right object without peeking)
  • Perplexion Pipes/Curious Coils - a thermo-interactive exhibit famed for its warm-to-cold temperatures of the pipes. (Remember, after handling both pipes, when you handled the pipe in the middle?)
  • Audio Antics - binaural auditory guessing games, delivered to you by your headphones.
  • Optical Illusions (name says it all)
  • Crooked/Illusion Room - or commonly known as the Ames room exhibit, this played around with your perspective - the further occupants went into the room, the smaller they appeared, yet the room appears to stay the same.
(more information and photos present on LOST "Sensory Funhouse" gallery)

Sure most of them are long gone, but suppose that it was possible to bring this kind of exhibit back, it would require an extensive overhaul to literally bring it back into speed, but this would mean taking advantage of any aesthetics, topics and even technological elements to further the experience. This means looking over the highlights of the past Sensory Funhouse, and even going as far as figuring out the missing gaps of what it might possibly have, after the jump...