Epcot was originally imagined by Walt Disney himself as what would be an urban city center, residential areas, and a series of mass transportation systems that would connect the community. However the concept of Epcot changed gears following Disney’s death in 1966 and it eventually morphed into a place to showcase different countries (a’la a world’s fair. It’s called World Showcase), as well as modern innovation through “edutainment” (education + entertainment) attractions. Each pavilion in the “Future World” area of Epcot focused on something different…space, farming, technology, etc.
Less than 2 years after the opening of Epcot in 1981, The Imagination pavilion, a pavilion that celebrated imagination, opened in early 1983. Its main attraction, a ride called Journey Into Imagination, was said to be the favorite of MANY Disney fans, partially because of its catchy theme song, but mainly because of a cute little guy named Figment, who, along with a man named Dreamfinder were the pavilion’s main characters.
Figment looked like a cross between a dragon and a dinosaur. As described in the song that played in the pavilion (and sung by Dreamfinder):
Two tiny wing,
Eyes big and yellow,
Horns of a steer,
But a lovable fellow!
From head to tail,
He’s royal purple pigment
And there, voila!
You’ve got a Figment!
I could go into a description of the entire attraction, but fortunately, that’s already been done by many. The best one I’ve found to date is this one, by Theme Park Tourist (as is often the case with Theme Park Tourist, their articles are long but OH, SO GOOD!). If you want to skip the background information and get straight to the original attraction’s description, start at Page 3.
Sadly, Journey Into Imagination closed in 1998. The attraction they put in its place was called Journey Into YOUR Imagination and beside cutting the ride length nearly in half, they removed not only the catchy song, but nearly all mention of the well-loved Figment (Dreamfinder was gone entirely). It was so awful that it closed again only 2 years later and was replaced with Journey Into Imagination With Figment, which was nearly the same attraction as Journey Into YOUR Imagination, but with lots of Figment characters thrown in (Dreamfinder is gone). That’s what’s been there ever since (since 2002, to be exact), and although it’s slightly better than Journey Into YOUR Imagination, it has nothing of the charm of the original Journey Into Imagination attraction.
But don’t take my word for it.
This tribute video to Journey Into Imagination was obviously a labor of love for its maker, Martin Smith. It includes background information on the making of the attraction, full video of the original attraction, as well as video footage of the other aspects of the pavilion (including Imageworks, which was the original indoor playground at the pavilion, and the original short film also housed in the pavilion, Magic Journeys).
*** Sincere thanks to Jeff J. who made us aware of the amazing video above!
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary