Journey Into Imagination with Figment, Orlando

2.3
#128 of 157 in Fun & Games in Orlando
Journey Into Imagination With Figment is an attraction which is contained within The Imagination! Pavilion at the Epcot theme park at Walt Disney World and opened on March 5, 1983. It has been through three incarnations over the years, two of them featuring Figment, a small purple dragon, as a character. The ride features the song One Little Spark, composed by the Sherman Brothers.

* 1983-1998 - Journey into Imagination

The original attraction opened on March 5, 1983. It began with the omnimover vehicles “floating” in the clouds and seeing the silhouette of a strange blimp mixed with a vacuum cleaner and hearing the humming and singing of its pilot. In the next scene the riders come right next to this vessel and the pilot, an old man with a red beard dressed in a blue suit and top hat, introduces himself as the Dreamfinder (Chuck McCann) and saying that he uses his vehicle (called the Dream Mobile or Dream Catcher by some fans) to collect dreams and ideas to create all sorts of new things. Soon he creates a figment of his imagination: "Two tiny wings, eyes big and yellow, horns of a steer, but a loveable fellow! From head to tail, he's royal purple pigment, and there, Voila! You've got a Figment!" (usually thought to be a dragon or winged alligator) named Figment (Billy Barty). Both of them come up with ideas to fill the "idea bag". When the idea bag is full, Dreamfinder declares that the ideas need to be emptied in the "Dreamport" which, as he says, is "never far away when you use your imagination".

The omnimovers leave the side of the Dream Mobile and enter the Dreamport’s storage room, which includes a massive contraption for sorting ideas. Also in the room there are numerous objects including boxed applause, a plasma ball, and a birdcage of musical notes.

After leaving the storage room, the ride continued through several rooms representing Art, Literature, the Performing Arts and Science.

The Art room was mostly white colored, and had a large painting Dreamfinder was making using a large fiber optic paint brush, a carousel with giant carousel animals, and a pot of rainbows held by Figment.

The Literature room was mostly focused on suspenseful tales and had Dreamfinder playing a massive organ with words coming out of it, words that turned into their meanings, a massive book featuring the raven from Edgar Allan Poe’s poem cawing menacingly, and books of horrible monsters Figment tried to keep closed.

The Performing Arts had Figment trying on costumes backstage while Dreamfinder conducted a laser light show in the manner of an orchestra conductor.

The last of the rooms, Science, featured a large machine that Dreamfinder was operating that took a closer look at the workings of nature such as the growth of plants, the formation of crystals from minerals and looking into space.

At the end, Dreamfinder tells Figment and the audience that Imagination is the key to unlocking the hidden wonders of the world. The ride then enter the final show scene. As the rider's pictures are taken, they see Figment surrounded by several movie screens of him being a scientist, a mountain climber, a pirate, a superhero, a tap dancer, a ship captain, a cowboy, and an athlete. Dreamfinder, who is behind a movie camera, gives the riders one last inspiring message and tells them to use their newly found sparks of imagination in the ImageWorks and the on-ride photo is shown on a screen next to the camera.

The original Journey into Imagination attraction was the creation of Tony Baxter and Steve Kirk.

The ride closed on October 10, 1998 in order to begin a major renovation of the attraction.

* 1999-2001 - Journey into YOUR Imagination

The attraction reopened on October 1, 1999 as Journey Into YOUR Imagination and featured an updated theme based on the 3-D movie Honey, I Shrunk the Audience (1994). Now guests would take a tour of the Imagination Institute and be test subjects for the new invention, the Imagination Scanner. Dr. Nigel Channing, who was played by Eric Idle, hosted this version.

The ride began with guests going through the scanner and saying that the riders have no imagination. Then Channing decides to send us through the numerous labs throughout the Institute including Sound, Illusion, Color, Gravity and Connections.

In the first room, Sound, the room starts out in total silence and complete darkness. Slowly, one can hear the sounds of cricket chirping, distant city noises, and an approaching train that comes closer and closer until it seems to pass over the audience’s heads.

In the second room, Illusion, there is a fish swimming in and out of its tank and an empty cage with a butterfly that seems to materialize as riders go by (The trick was created by putting a mirror between two halves of a swing, one of them with the butterfly on it).

In the third room, the Color lab, there are sounds of jungle animals and cities that cause two large light screens to change colors matching the sounds.

In the next room, Connections lab, the room is covered with numerous stars that soon form into constellations.

Finally, in the Gravity lab, the riders enter an upside down house.

For the finale, riders go through the Scanner again and find that their minds have been supercharged with ideas. The machine then "explodes" and you see a light show. The riders exit to an updated version of the ImageWorks.

Figment’s appearances in the experience were reduced to a few cameos in the queue movies, a constellation in the connection lab and at the end of the ride, where he is only heard, but is shooed off by Channing ("Figment!!!"). Dreamfinder was not present at all in this version. The attraction closed on October 8, 2001 and again, went through another rehab.

* 2002-present - Journey into Imagination with Figment

The attraction reopened again on June 2, 2002, now as Journey into Imagination with Figment. Figment returned with a larger role and appears in every show scene. The song "One Little Spark" also returned with new verses.

This time, the Institute has five labs based on the five human senses: Sight, Sound, Smell, Touch and Taste. Dr. Nigel Channing returned as well and invited the riders to the Institute’s open house. Figment (Dave Goelz) tags along to Channing’s dismay and causes mischief along the way.

-- In Sound, Figment interrupts the experiment and comes up with a telephone and the train sound from the previous version is now a “Train of Thought”.

-- In Sight, Figment knocks the letters off the room’s eye chart and begins a sing along to "One Little Spark". The materializing butterfly from the old version was carried over from the previous version, but rather than appearing in the cage, the effect is now reversed so that the butterfly disappears.

-- In Smell, Figment becomes a skunk which sprays the riders with a foul odor (which is actually a coffee smell).

Channing, after seeing the chaos Figment has been causing, stops the tour outside the Touch and Taste lab and gives up on the tour and Figment takes the riders to his own open house, which he literally turns upside down with his carefree mind. Channing soon learns from Figment that Imagination should be set free ("If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!") and the riders go into the finale with numerous Figments in various situations while Figment and Channing sing the song together and the riders disembark for the ImageWorks.

An homage to the initial incarnation of this attraction can be found on an office door in the initial show room under the name "Dean Finder" instead of "DreamFinder".

Both the 1999 version and the current version were created by Tom Fitzgerald.

In August 2010, the Kodak company ended its sponsorship of the pavilion after nearly 28 years.
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Journey Into Imagination with Figment Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 3.0
107 reviews
Google
3.9
TripAdvisor
  • This ride is so cute! As you go through the different senses, figment is always wreaking havoc until finally it is realized that you can't do anything without an imagination!  more »
  • This was one of the biggest disappointments i’ve ever felt at Walt Disney World. I didn’t feel any ‘imagination’ from the creators of this ride. The concept of going through the different senses whils...  more »
Google
  • Journey into Imagination with Figment is a sad shadow of the mind-blowing dark ride it used to be. Disney knows this ride is lost, and won't even put on a fresh coat of paint. It's an unfortunate mulligan of a refit that took place in the '90s, when executives believed everything had to be "wild" and "zany" (which, of course, really translates to grating and cloying) to attract kids' attention. It's bewildering that this attraction--if it can be called that--continues to take up valuable real estate in EPCOT, especially when the rest of the park is getting a much-needed facelift. Go on the ride--but remember to take ear plugs--if you want to get into the air conditioning. There's no other reason.
  • This is one of my favorite rides. We all have to ride it at least once. It's still so much fun and we all love it. It's a simple rides that brings back memories. I cant wait to get back and ride again, 5his time I'm gonna do it theee or four times.
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