Journey into Imagination is another fan favorite gone astray. This attraction opened in 1983, a year after EPCOT's opening. I remember seeing Figment everywhere and also remember thinking that Disney must be positioning him as the main character of EPCOT. Figment would be the image associated with the brand that was Disney's EPCOT. The character who embodied that spark of imagination that
fueled exploratory learning. But, then again, I was only 10, so what did I know?
In 1998, Disney decided to retire the Dreamfinder, and gave the job to Dr. Nigel Channing (introduced previously in the Honey, I Shrunk the Audience attraction.) I can imagine how that meeting went down. Eisner and other Disney executives called the Dreamfinder in for a meeting. The Dreamfinder entered the room and noticed Dr. Nigel Channing sitting at the table with them already. Dr. Channing, it seemed, had formulated a different idea of how the attraction should move forward into the next millennium. Suddenly, the Dreamfinder found himself ousted from the attraction that he helped found. In short, it was a Disney version of what happened to Steve Jobs in 1984.
Nevertheless, this change called for a major overhaul of the storyline. It was also at this time that ImageWorks was closed in the upstairs portion of the pavilion.
Once reopened, the attraction was titled, simply, Imagination. Unfortunately, fans were upset (irate maybe a better assessment) to find the Dreamfinder gone and that Figment had been reduced to a very small role. It seemed that this change caused nothing more than one little spark of exacerbation! (I know, but I couldn't resist!)
Finally, in 2001, Disney decided to refurbish the attraction once more and brought Figment back as the star and central character. Though this has appeased many fans, it seems that there are many who will remain discontent until the Dreamfinder returns to his original job. Who knows, the re-emergence of the Dreamfinder may be like Steve Jobs returning to Apple, setting the ship straight again. Once more igniting the creative spark of imagination of all who pass through it's doors in order to produce a long-lasting, and highly desirable product. Though one drawback to that would be an attraction with an actual line or a wait once more.
Until then, maybe we can look forward to the Sequel to Roger Rabbit entitled "Who Framed the Dreamfinder?" It could show in the theater once occupied by Captain EO, or Honey, I Shrunk the Audience. But alas, we must be satisfied with the subtle reference to the Dreamfinder's contributions to EPCOT's early years by seeing the name "Dean Finder" on a door in the Imagination Institute.
Let us know what you think in the comments section below. Do you think this attraction was "plussed" or "subtracted"? Would you change it back to the original version? Would you bring the Dreamfinder back?
Don't remember the original? Watch these two videos to compare:
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