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Vintage Walt Disney World: The Tower of Life Debuts at Epcot

Nate Rasmussen

by , Librarian, Walt Disney Archives

Today, back in 1989, the Tower of Life was put in to place at the former Wonders of Life Pavilion at Epcot.


This 75-foot-tall, colorful landmark was a replica of DNA weighing in at 25 metric tons in shades of turquoise, magenta, gold and silver and greeted guests as they entered the Wonders of Life.


So just how tall would a human being have to be to have that DNA molecule inside of their body? Considering that the average DNA strand would stretch six inches end to end, they would need to be six million miles tall. Whoa.

To read more from the Vintage Walt Disney World series, check out the posts below:


  • I really miss Cranium Command. We vacationed at Disney almost yearly and never missed this at Epcot. I believe Disney should update and reopen this pavilion.

  • Aww… I miss this place! It’s always bittersweet when it is used as the Food and Wine Festival showplace. I’m happy I can go back in the building, but sad I can’t go on Body Wars or Cranium Command! I miss seeing Hanz and Franz pumping the heart!

  • I loved this pavilion! With all of the focus on health today I’m surprised Disney hasn’t jumped to bring this place back.

  • Pure & Simple was the name of the restaurant in Wonders of Life.
    Used to go in for breakfast. Loved the waffles with the toppings. They still play the “theme song” here and there through Epcot.
    Great memories.
    Have a video from ’87 I think, taken of the building as it was going up. Took it from the front of the monorail… When you could still ride there.

  • Wow. This takes me back to my childhood. One of my favorites for sure.

  • When my kids were little they love Cranium Command. Going on Body Wars left me with a nauseous feeling but good side I got ice cream after to help. They do need to open this again it seems too many things are closed.

  • I remember when they were building this pavillon. I worked for metlife and my son was 3 years old. We looked at it in 1989 while it was under construction and in 1990 we returned when it after it opened. The great thing for us with the pavillion was that we had a special card that got us into a Metlife lounge area that had refreshments, a place to rest and a carousel horse to take a photograph on.
    The Body Wars ride was great, and the Cranium Command center was fun. Especially the celebrities that were the different parts of the body.

  • I remember this pavilion very clearly. It was a blast! Hopefully they have something cool planned for it in the future other than making it another place to buy things during the festivals. I think young and old would like to know more about the amazing human body!

  • I really miss Wonders of Life. I give it at least partial credit for sparking my interest in the life sciences–I ended up with a degree in biology and have spent my entire career in the life sciences. Body Wars was AMAZING to me.

  • Thats’s a cool blog entry! Now reopen the pavilion for year round enjoyment please :)

  • I have so many fond memories of this pavillion. From Body Wars to Cranium Command to Making of Me, and including that crazy optical illusion house! I can still taste the Strawberry Smoothie!

  • Has anyone heard on the future of the Wonders of Life pavillion? I’ve heard rumors of a new pavillion, based on the weather. I miss that pavillion and the wonderful Cranium Command.

  • Oh Wonders of Life, how I miss you. :)

  • “The Making of me” was fantastic fun and thoughtful learning. Cranium Command was Epcot at it’s best: innovative, creative, fun and full of information. Body Wars always provided a thrill or at least some good dizziness. So much of the original spirit of Epcot was captured in this pavilion even when it open long after the park did.
    I hope they can recapture that spirit in future projects.

  • Any chance this pavilion will make a return in the future?

  • Wow! This brings back memories of my family’s first trip to WDW in 2003. I remember the really cool Goofy Excercise Bikes where you rode through one of the Disney Parks. Body Wars & Cranium Command was awesome as well.

    I really wish the Wonders of Life pavilion would open again, in its former glory. Especially since everyone is going health conscience again. I guess one can only dream!

  • Man I miss this pavilion. Specifically, Cranium Command, which was spectacular. Also the low fat cheesecake they used to serve at the quick service there. Even Body Wars and the bikes where you could bike through Disneyland by video.

  • Thanks Nate. I always love looking at pictures of Disney past. However, I wish this pavilion had more to offer in the present.

    • You’re welcome.

  • Some of my fondest memories of my first trip to WDW revolve around this pavilion.

    I remember being blown away by the Body Wars, Cranium Command and the bicycles with a TV attached to them. I had so much fun in there.

    I also remember using a video phone to talk with an agent who took down my information and a couple of weeks later I received a “newspaper” talking about my visit to WDW.

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