With the Epcot International Festival of the Arts fully underway we are seeing a lot of images of food, concerts, activities and exclusive merchandise! Featured throughout the festival is the mascot of Epcot, Figment, who is also featured in the popular ride Journey into Imagination with Figment! But, who exactly is that lovable little purple….dragon? What is he exactly? And why is there a ride about him?
Journey into Imagination with Figment wasn’t always the ride we know it as today! The ride originally made its debut as Journey Into Imagination opening on March 5, 1983. Imagineer and Designer, Tony Baxter, led the project focusing on characters from Disneyland’s Discovery Bay project that never came to life. Baxter created his idea from one of the attractions to be featured in Discovery Bay, Professor Marvel’s House of Illusions, which featured a bearded scientist who had a hobby of breeding dragons. Baxter then created the famous Dreamfinder and Figment, the purple dragon, from this concept also with a little help from Magnum P.I.. But why is Figment purple? Story has it that green, the usual color of dragons, was already associated with Fuji Films. Baxter decided a neutral color was purple, so there you have it, Figment became a purple dragon!
The original attractions storyline began with Dreamfinder gathering materials to inspire new ideas. Enter Figment! Dreamfinder created Figment from his imagination by creating a companion named Figment who is described as having: “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- a Figment of Imagination!” From then on, Dreamfinder took figment, and guests, along on an exploration of the Dreamport where they tried out new ideas in arts, literature, technology and more through a journey into imagination!
When Journey into Imagination first started its journey in 1983, it operated as an Omnimover system through the imagination of Dreamfinder and Figment. The two hosts guide guests through four areas of the imagination. The Sherman Brothers, who also created the famous songs “There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow” for the Carousel of Progress and the “Tiki, tiki, tiki room” for Enchanted Tiki Room, also created the theme song “One Little Spark”. Fun Fact! The original theme song is still used in the current ride, but with a few slight differences, such as new verses. However, if you still want to hear the original version, there is a restroom inside the Imagination Pavilion that still plays the background music of the 1983 ride version.
The original Journey Into Imagination closed its doors in 1998 but reopened the following year as a newly revamped ride, Journey into Your Imagination, which came with a lot of changes. The most notable change is the disappearance of Dreamfinder. Another notable change is the ride was no longer an omnimover through the four areas of the imagination, but instead switched to a ride system, using vehicles, that took guests through exploring color, dimension, gravity, illusion and sound. Fun Fact! Dr. Neil Channing made his first appearance as a host on this version of the ride. Sadly, this version of the ride also closed down in 2001.
Don’t worry though. As you know, since the ride is still in existence, the ride reopened as the current attraction, Journey Into Imagination With Figment!, on June 1 2002. During the revamping of the popular attraction for the third time, the imagineers added Figment back into the attraction, but still no Dreamfinder. However, there is a slight nod to Dreamfinder in the current version. When entering the sound lab, take a look at the office door, the door says “Dean Finder”.
During the newest version guests follow along as Figment guides guest through exploring the five senses on a hilarious, joyous ride! The end has an awesome ending! If you haven’t tried this ride before, the ending makes everything worth it. And hey, if you didn’t like it, at least your were in air-condition for a little while. My family and I personally loved this ride and we think you will too! There must be a reason this attraction will be turning 36 this March, right?!
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