When Habit Heroes opened for previews in Innoventions in early 2012, it faced an immediate firestorm for its portrayal of fat people. The story went viral and became national news when the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance objected strenuously, and newsrooms everywhere reacted to the delicious story about the big bad tourist trap making visitors feel guilty while on vacation. So Habit Heroes closed down. It never got out of previews and never had its grand opening… until last week, when version 2.0 quietly opened. Verdict: greatly improved. Read on to find out what was changed…

There’s new artwork around the outside of Habit Heroes

Gone are the offensive characters that created the stink in the first place: Lead Bottom (who looked like Fat Bastard), Sweet Tooth, and the Snacker were the bad guys, while the heroes were the freakishly buff Callie Stenics and Will Power. Now, the characters are less memorable, but also more realistic. We have three heroes (named Quench, Dynamo, and Fuel) and three villains (Scorchers, Sappers, and Blocker Bots, each of which has a kryptonite-like weakness that one of each hero controls). There’s also a new main character–Director Jin, who gives us our charge.

Director Jin beckons. Are you up for the challenge?

Simply put, the goal is to eradicate the bad guys from our own health, from the city, and the from the world. These levels correspond with the rooms of the exhibit, which are unchanged physically from the first version. The big difference is that you now go through them in reverse order. First up is the disco dancing room, where you swing your arms to play an onscreen video game rather than dance. It’s much less embarrassing.

The more you swing your arms, the more your individual bar chart jumps… and the villain gets zapped.
No dancing required!

The second room, with cannons like Toy Story Mania, has us shooting bad guys in the digital cityscape. Each cannon has a color, and your ammo works on only ONE type of villain, so there’s definitely some teamwork necessary.

The pull-toy cannons are kind of fun no matter what.
Ready…aim… FIRE!

In the third room, we defend “the world”, which really means World Showcase apparently, since the same villains rain down the skies toward stylized World Showcase pavilions, and we attack them in a room-sized version of Missile Command. The actual mechanism is an RFID card we hold to stations under each digital city, the idea being that we have to run around the room activating our defenses from spot to spot. It’s meant to get you moving, and it works.

Call for backup if you’re missing a color!
Can you figure out which pavilion is which?
Do you see what I see?

There’s a final room for debriefing. Director Jin separates us into teams that roughly correspond to the villains we’ve been battling, and then charges us to take on a mission out in Epcot. My card had a map with a section cut out of it; we’re meant to look at the wall map in the room to see which Future World pavilion we go to. Below that on my card is the actual mission: go to this location and find out the missing word, and then return here to Innoventions to use the kiosk outside the exhibit to see the result.

I was very excited by the concept, but it only took me a moment to realize that the word I was looking up came at the end of the phrase “Universe of” and there was a picture of it on my card. It is no exaggeration to say that my five year old could have done this last year without being able to read and without leaving Innoventions. I would rather that they come up with something that requires an actual visit to be able to answer. That would have been neat! The onscreen reward for typing the answer (“energy”) was pretty minimal anyway, so perhaps it’s nothing to get so excited about.

Too easy, right?

Overall, the revised exhibit is a big improvement. The vibe is upbeat, friendly, inclusive, and fun. In short, everything the first version of the attraction should have been. The designers licked their wounds and came back with something that addresses all the problems of the first iteration. Instead of making people feel guilty, it helps them feel good about themselves (but still educates). Instead of asking them to perform embarrassing dance moves in front of strangers, it lets them perform less-stigmatizing maneuvers (but still gets them moving). Instead of pretending this exhibit exists in a vacuum, it recognizes its place in Epcot by including the World Showcase pavilions as a kind of Easter egg, since they aren’t labeled as such but are unmistakable once you make the connection.

One of the better do-overs in Disney history.

I doubt I’ll seek out the new Habit Heroes on every visit, but then again is that true of ANY attraction in Innoventions? Even my young boys don’t clamor for these exhibits all the time, though they do like to play each of them every so often. Habit Heroes will be on the list, too. It’s more fun than the Don’t Waste It exhibit about trash and landfills, and I’m glad they went out of their way to re-do this exhibit right.

More information and updates

Readers are invited to connect with Kevin online and face to face at the following locations:

  • FigmentJedi

    I feel the opposite. Original version and it’s “Captain Planet villainy as rendered in the style of The Incredibles” oozed goofy charm that this new version is really lacking in. It’s just so bland and generic looking now. Once again, an Epcot attraction is replaced by an inferior version of itself.

  • Trumpet

    Great Update Kevin.

    This version of the attraction is better that the original, but, is this really necessary for Innovention, and Epcot in general. Personally, I wont visit it, but they need to have World Class exhibits in these areas.

    Thanks Again Kevin


  • Mickey777

    Do I see what you see? Well I picked up on the Spaniard (Spanish color track suit and Spanish flag on his/her chest) running between what I assume is an Italian painter and the guy at the water fountain. Are they trying to tell us Spain is the next pavilion? Oh and there’s a blatant mickey on the coliseum.

  • Algernon

    The fat characters would not have been an issue back in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s. People were lot slimmer back then (look at old Disneyland photos), while eating real butter, roast beef, mashed potatoes with gravy, and chocolate cake for dinner; bacon, eggs and waffles and biscuits for breakfast; adults hardly exercising, never jogging, never riding bikes; nobody eating anything marked “lean””lite””lo-cal” or “smart.” What did they do differently than people today? It might be that they ate dinner earlier. Families began eating later when women moved into the work force. More traffic and longer commutes caused people to get home later, and eat later as well. People back then, for the most part, had dinner around 5 PM, and ate nothing later. Eating (a normal meal) at 4 PM may actually make you lose weight.

    • 9oldmen

      Back in those earlier decades, people weren’t as “fitness conscious” as they might be now, but they would have been more active just in their daily lives. Kids spent a LOT more time outdoors playing. If you skinned your knee, you would put a band aid on, rather than your parents trying to sue the maker of the playground equipment. Also, portion sizes were smaller then. There were WAY fewer T.V. channels, and the ones there were weren’t broadcasting 24/7. And of course, how many people would have had home computers that they sat in front of for hours back then? Also, here’s one other thing that’s contributing to the obesity problem, that didn’t exist back then: high fructose corn syrup.

    • kirbilicious

      The time you eat dinner rarely affects your weight. Europeans generally eat dinner quite late by American standards and they don’t have the same obesity problems as Americans. Eating dinner late only matters if waiting that long makes you hungrier and thus make poorer decisions about what you eat.

      Always good to read your updates, Kevin! I’m glad to see Disney actually made drastice changes to the attraction to improve it.

  • You’ve got to give Disney credit for trying. They had a dud of an attraction and closed it in previews to completely rework it. That takes guts and money.

    While I’d like to see more exciting things from Innoventions (or better yet, its total replacement), I think Disney did the right thing by retooling this mini-attraction.

  • eicarr

    It’s funny to have that attraction there since the main thing WDW visitors seem to be consumed with is “meal plans.” WDW should stop enticing guests to waddle over to get their full money’s worth out of every snack time and meal. Mandated eating combined with having to wait around for attraction fast pass plus times to come up is not healthy.

  • Timekeeper

    I think this exhibit ought to go back to the Wonders of- I mean the Festival Pavilion, but then again, will TDO ever consider reopening the pavilion as a Health & fitness Pavilion and doing regular refurbishments it?


  • JiminyCricketFan

    When you are on vacation, it is about indulging yourself the things you don’t get the rest of the year.

    Rather than be lectured at about health, I would like to explore real “Innovations” at innoventions. I want to be wowed about new technology or new inventions that might be soon available. That sounds fun. To me innoventions at Epcot is just a place to waste time when you have time to spare. Most people in Orlando don’t have time to spare. I say skip innoventions. There are many more fun things to do than that place.

  • SFDave

    People are fat in America, but I guess we aren’t allowed to talk about it. Maybe they should have had the pavilion sponsored by HoverRound . I am so tired of all this political correctness. Thanks for listening to me rant… lol