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My Fixit List: Part I

We all have our lists. I have one I'm about to share with you. It's my Walt Disney World Fixit list. This list is comprised of things I'd like "fixed." Now in some cases I may not be mentioning something that is broken per se but let's say, it needs attention. Bear with me as I start my countdown:

#10 Wonders of Life Pavilion - What's up?

For those of us who remember when this pavilion was in its hey day, we found it to be very entertaining. Whether it was that film, "The Making of Me", or Body Wars, my favorite "Cranium Command" or learning about health, this pavilion could easily hold onto guests for an hour or so on every visit. Some people felt that Body Wars was a bit too rough at times but other than that, this pavilion had something for everyone. Since losing its

WOL_dome.jpeg

sponsorship in 2001 (MetLife was the sponsor), the pavilion's fate was pretty much set to eventually close down. Starting in 2004 the pavilion opened only during the peak times of the year which was usually late spring through summer and then around the Christmas holidays. If memory serves me correct the pavilion closed for good in 2007. Now it has been relegated to being the hosting center for both the International Flower and Garden Show every spring and the International Food & Wine Festival every fall.

That's all well and good but it is sad that a part of EPCOT and Future World that brought science, education, and entertainment together, was brought to a close. but I would love to see some health organization or insurance company pick up on the sponsorship and revive this pavilion and make it serve the purpose for which it was originally built, to provide Epcot guests with everything they need to know about living healthy lives. So this pavilion is not broke but it's been on my mind a lot these past few years and every time I see a shooting star I wish that the Wonders of Life would be revived...for the health of it.

#9 Imagination Pavilion - It's Time!

Imagine if we had left it alone. I'm really not picking on EPCOT. This pavilion was fine in it's original state. In 1998, after some 15 years in operation, the pavilion closed; reopened in 1999 and for two years, had a rough time with guests who found they preferred the original version.

Imagination_Pav2.jpg

Closure came again and what we have today has been around since 2002. The original ImageWorks was outstanding and there were so many interesting things to do....not so anymore. Bringing back Captain EO last year gave a little boost to the pavilion but surely not enough to interest the masses. It's all too painful to see that this piece of EPCOT has two options in its future. One option is a complete "wipe and load" of the pavilion and the possibility of bringing back Journey to Your Imagination V1.0 which would make many a guest happy. There's something about having a lot of hands on exhibits that make museums real popular. Perhaps that's a formula worth looking at. The other option is tied to the very strong rumor, just a rumor mind you, that there have been plans in the works for over a year to do a complete demolition of this pavilion to make way for a new and exciting addition to Future World. Is there any way to tell if and when this will happen? I don't know. I can tell you this, the next time I'm in MouseGear I will be checking to see just how many pieces of Figment merchandise is on sale. If there is next to none then my imagination will go wild.

#8 Magic Kingdom's Noodle Station Enigma

To Noodle or Not to Noodle...that's what seems to be the question these days. What many of us still refer to as the Tomorrowland Terrace in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, has been going by the moniker of Noodle Station for about six years now. Noodle_Station_sign.jpgIt's been a rocky six years.
I've had the opportunity to eat there maybe twice since then and it's not because I rarely go to Walt Disney World…I'm there quite often....please check my references. It's just that as much as I have spent some 210 days in Walt Disney World between 2005 and July 2011 I can count on one hand the number of days The Noodle Station has been open for business in those 210 days. Could it be coincidence? Could it be bad luck? Maybe I was not there during the peak crowd times? Is that what you are thinking? Hmmm. Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall. I've been all those seasons. So why is it rarely open? I've asked questions and have gotten back several answers...or what I think are more like theories. One thought is that there is not enough interest in the food offerings to justify keeping the counter open. Well, there is a lot of traffic that flows through there so traffic is would not an issue. Plus if guests KNOW the eatery is going to be open than perhaps they will visit more often. Again, just a theory. The second theory is that that it's hard to keep quick-service staff. Not buying that one because there are many, many counter-service locations around Walt Disney World and doing very well thank you. That leaves us with the third theory that says that preparation of the different offerings at this location is kind of tricky and preparing the food becomes a challenge to offer the guests good quality...hence closure comes because after a while the food preparation runs into problems. I'm still not clear about this last one because aren't there Asian counter service locations in EPCOT's World Showcase? Well, whatever the reason it would be nice to see The Noodle Station either remain open all the time or at least give the guests an idea of what operating schedule the counter will be following. That's what needs fixing. Now should I say the same for Tortuga Tavern or save it for another time?

Well, that's numbers 10, 9, and 8. The countdown continues in a few days.

The previous post in this blog was The Best Thing That Ever Happened to Walt Disney World.

The next post in this blog is My Fixit List: Part 2.

Comments (22)

Susan Cole:

Good to see a new column from you. I've missed them. Looking forward to part 2.

Sue

Hi Sue,

I've been very tardy with blogs but hope to get back on track immediately.

Mike

Craig:

Hi, Mike. I was in MK on Sunday 7/17 and ate at the Plaza Restaurant. Had to check out the Noodle Station, of course. Couldn't find any "Noodles" anyplace -- on the signs or the menus. Looks like it's just the Tomorrowland Terrace again, with more standard fare.

****

Hi Craig,

I will be doing an update on The ?noodle Station.

Regards,

Mike

Erica:

I concur... I really miss the Wonders of Life Pavilion. I have a fond memory of playing with the hot and cold coil display and being amazed at how it would trick my brain into thinking my hand was burning.

Great list can't wait to see how it plays out!

Megan:

Hey! Finally a new post!
I"m a big fan of wdwtoday and allears and of course Figment.
I would be devastated if they ever demolished figment. In my opinion I think they should change it back to the original figment version and if that doesn't bring people back then i would demolish it for new changes.

marie:

Completely agree!!

Mike Venere:

I say you say the same for Tortuga Tavern times 10. I mean who does not like tacos?? Lots of traffic there, you have the Pirates ride you can mingle in with food offerings....why is that place never open when I am there?

****

Mike, I will have an update soon on TT.

Marc Gillespie:

In regards to Wonders of Life, I have always wondered why pavilions needs sponsors? Does Disney give the companies a kickback? Why would a company want to pay for a sponsorship if they get nothing in return? I cannot tell you who any of the pavilions are sponsored by. Maybe most people know, but I see little value to the sponsoring company. What a sales job Disney must do to get these companies to pay them a sponsorship fee. I was really shocked to recently find out that countries had to pay a fee to have a pavilion in World Showcase.

I would love to see Journey Into Imagination go back to version 1.0. It is really kind of lame right now. I remember the first time I went in back in 1988 and was just blown away by how cool it was a rode a few times. Don’t want to see it go, just back to what it was with Figment and Dreamfinder.

Look forward to the rest of the countdown

*****

Marc,

Basically it's Disney charging these companies to "advertise" and defrays some of the cost of running the pavilions.

Mike

Jeff Finger:

Hi Mike,

I have to say I agree completely with your thoughts on the Wonders of Life pavilion. My first trip to Epcot was in 1994, and this was one of my favorite locations. I never made it back until 2005 and was disappointed to see it shut down. Something should be done to revive this wonderful part of Future world. I don't remember going into the original Imagination Pavilion in 1994 so I don't know if I ever saw it in it's original state, but from what I hear, I would be nice to see the original. I too have never see the noodle station open when I've been there; it really seems they could make better use of this space.

Can't wait to see the rest of your list!

Emily OP:

Totally agree with all 3! I have been to the Noodle Station twice and both times it was disappointing. :/ Stressed staff and 'meh' food. Great location, shame they haven't figured out something that works here ...

Heather Macdonald:

I'd love to see the Wonders of Life Pavilion be given some actual life after all these years. I hate standing buildings being unused--the Odyssey feels the same way to me.

While the original Figment Journey into Imagination was my favorite ride as a child, I just don't see them going back to it--so I think I'd like to see a whole new direction for that Pavilion. I love Captain EO, but that's a hold over from my childhood--I hate the Honey I . . . attraction that used to be there.

I spent something like 45 days at WDW this year and I have yet to see the Noodle Station open for business. I wish they would do something with this space!

Barbara:

I agree with you on all three. I have never been to the Magic Kingdom when the Noodle Station has been open, but it seems like a great location that needs some attention. I loved Body Wars and Cranium Command and loved the original Imagination ride and the "Fun Area" (as I called it).

A. D. Johnson:

Very insightful and interesting, Mike, looking forward to your next installment. I really hope they don't tear down the Imagination building - it's so beautiful. Surely they can come up with some way to save Imagination!!

A.D. Johnson
-Littleton, CO

Rebecca:

I agree with all of the above!! I miss the WOL pavillion and always had a fond spot for the original Journey Into Imagination ride with Figment.

Andrew Carrieri:

In my opinion, Epcot as a whole needs fixing more than any other WDW park. The problem with Epcot in my book is that there is no real cohesive plan. What is the park's main goal? Is it to educate, provide thrills one cannot experience elsewhere, or provide worldclass cuisine? Even with DHS and AK, which get slammed frequently, one can at least get a sense of a central theme. Not so, IMO at Epcot.
On the education angle, it does this all right but there are major problems:1)Universe of Energy is totally outdated (it is stuck in 1996),2)Wonders of Life is dormant as Mike alluded too, 3)The Living Seas has been dumbed down with the Nemo theme, 4) Spaceship Earth has been dumbed down with the rehab, and 5) While the World Showcase movies are interesting I can just watch most of them on youtube and get the same basic experience.
As far as the thrills go, they are few and far between in my book. It seems like Disney just threw in a few mediocre rides to appeal to the masses. Soarin' is the most overrated ride I have ever been on (the view from above on Peter Pan at MK and ET at USF are far more well done in my book). Mission Space did nothing for me except making me sick. Test Track, while a good ride breaks down too frequently. To be fair, I have not experienced Sum of all Thrills.
On the dining aspect, the restaurants are pretty well done although overpriced. Personally, when I go to a theme park, I want to experience attractions, not eat a fancy dinner.
Finally, World Showcase rivals Dinoland as my least favorite area of any WDW park. American Adventure is the only thing that does anything for me there. The dining and shopping may be good but that is not why I come to a theme park. Frankly,if I want to experience a park concerning world cultures I'll go to Busch Gardens WIlliamsburg
Sorry for the rant, but I am just really down on Epcot at the moment. I feel it could be amazing but it needs a cohesive plan and more upkeep.

Shirley :

I agree wholeheartedly with the Noodle Station. I don't frequent WDW as often as you, but I have never seen it open. Such a shame.

Lis:

Oh how I WISH that they would return the Imagination Pavilion back to it's former glory. As a child I spent hours in that area playing with all of the different interactive games, laughing with Dreamfinder and Figment, and imagining I was in far off places (while in front of a green screen). The original ride was the best, and I think that attendance to the pavilion would soar if they restored it back to perhaps a more modern version of what it used to be.

Kelley:

It is sad to see whole buildings go by the wayside. Tortuga may start to be open more often, though. We were there the first week of June, which is still a lower capacity time of year and it was already open. I never have understood why either one of them would be closed so often.

Kellyjeanne:

I agree with your lists part 1 and 2. I'd like to see them change Wonders of Life to in an updated version of Horizons.

Pat:

Speaking as someone in the health sciences field, I too miss Wonders of Life.

Epcot in general needs to be brought into the 21st century, but done so with the Disney touch. The interactive end of Spaceship Earth was an attempt, but missing the Disney originality (don't tell me sticking one's head on a cartoon body hasn't been done before). As a child, the technology in ImageWorks was impressive and, dare I say, magical. With the exception of some Innoventions areas, Epcot no longer strives to exhibit future technology for the WOW factor but saves a buck with present technology. (Just my opinion.)

Additionally, I will always love World Showcase but it had much more meaning in the pre-internet days. The "countries" need to be updated to offer information/attractions that cannot be found via Wikipedia or online shopping. Showcasing less than a dozen countries is out-of-date for the same reason; I wish Millennium Village had stuck around for that reason.

Sarah:

Hi Mike,

I'm catching up on blogs and I really hope the rumors are wrong about Figment. My husband, even though he never thought he would be a WDW fan, he did grow up a Figment fan due to a souvenir hat he was given when he was younger. I finally talked him into going (or I should say my parents did) when we were just dating in 2008. He fell in love with WDW and his love for Figment intensified. We came back last year for our honeymoon and we are planning a whole family trip for next fall. It will break his heart if Figment is gone! Please keep blogging about anything you may hear!

Thanks for the blog!
Sarah

* * *

Sarah,

There was a rumor some two years ago that WDW had filed demolition plans to level the Imagination Pavilion...the last time I was there the pavilion looked tired so I'm wondering if something will possibly be announced within the next year or so.

Mike

I would love to see the Imagination Pavilion turned into something like a Disney World museum. Props from movies, scenes from extinct rides, old uniforms, etc. The lobby in the Pop Century gets so much attention because people can relate to those items from their eras. Wouldn't the typical Disney fan enjoy these items as well?

* * *

Someone has been peeking into my brain.

Mike

Rob Dickinson:

Hey Mike,
Love your list so far. I'm a devoted follower of Jack and his blog led me here. As I was with his list I am so far with yours. I'm 100% in especially regarding the Wonders of Life pavilion! I have been waiting for Wonders of Life to open back up for years. Its sad and very difficult to understand hwy they can not seem to find a sponsor. With the way Healthcare is going and how hospitals are having to shifts its focus to operating like any other business and thus competing for "customers" I don't see why a Hospital system hasn't jumped at the chance to get its name out there and sponsor Wonders of life. If I was a president or CEO of a Healthcare system I certainly would be looking at sponsoring Wonders of Life as part of my marketing budget.

Better yet since "Government Motors" is already sponsoring Test Track perhaps we can get the Government to sponsor Wonders of Life as well :)

* * * *

I am puzzled too Rob....it seems that you would think companies would be fighting over each other to gain a sponsorship of an EPCOT pavilion.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 23, 2011 5:00 AM.

The previous post in this blog was The Best Thing That Ever Happened to Walt Disney World.

The next post in this blog is My Fixit List: Part 2.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.