In Memoriam: Body Wars at Epcot
Epcot has a strong history of classic attraction retirements at Walt Disney World, as its educational focus continues to be eroded (especially with the news of a new Frozen ride at the Norway Pavilion). Whilst slow moving dark rides are the norm for many of Epcot’s former inhabitants, this edition of In Memoriam turns to Epcot’s first thrill ride, Body Wars.
Based on Disney’s modified Advanced Technology Leisure Application Simulator (ATLAS), Body Wars took riders on a trip through the Human Body aboard Bravo 229, a vessel designed to be shrunk down and enter a Human body. Following Dr. Cynthia Lair, who had been miniaturized and had entered the Human test subject to observe a splinter, riders desperately try to save the good Dr. as she is accidentally sucked into a capillary.
The ATLAS system, also used for Star Tours, used six hydraulic actuators to provide a wide range of motion, and riders inside the 40 person vehicles would be thrown around by hydraulic movement, timed to react to the ride film.
The Fantastic Voyage inspired ride starred a young Elizabeth Shue, Tim Matheson, and was the ride film was directed by Leonard Nimoy.
The ride was a favourite for thrill fans, and added a much needed thrill element to Epcot to attract more than just the educationally-minded guest. Part of the Wonders of Life Pavilion, the ride ride remained popular throughout its existence.
However, in 2007, the Wonders of Life Pavilion closed permanently, after three years of a seasonal opening schedule. No official reason was given for the closure, and the building was re-purposed for use as the Merchandise and exhibition hub of the Flower and Garden and Food and Wine festivals.
Some fans had hoped the ride would eventually reopen, however, in 2012, Disney filed notice for selective demolition of parts of the building, and it now transpires that Body Wars has been removed from the structure. A sad end indeed for a truly unique thrill attraction. Body Wars, we miss your quirky storyline and jarring motion.
What did you think of Body Wars at Epcot? Let us know in the comments!