Welcome to 40 Days to 40 Years. This is our countdown series that pays homage to the past 40 years of Epcot’s history. Today we are thrilled to welcome Manda. (You may remember her as co-host of our previous series 20 Days to 20 Years.) Get ready for EPCOT 1998.
1998 saw big changes for one of Epcots most famous attractions, ‘Journey into Imagination’. Having opened in 1983 in the Imagination! Pavilion, 1998 brought a major renovation for the attraction. Unfortunately, this involved the removal of a very famous purple dragon – Figment! As well as the Dreamfinder!
Journey Into Imagination
When the attraction reopened in October 1999 as ‘Journey into YOUR Imagination’, guests were shocked to find the Dreamfinder missing completely. Also, Figment’s appearances now only consisted of a few cameos. One small one was in the queue movies. Another was hidden in a constellation in the connection lab. And finally at the end of the ride where he is only heard, not seen.
There was an outcry! Guests felt Disney had simply tried to create a tie-in ride with ‘Honey, I Shrunk The Audience.’ Many were furious when they came across the downstairs Image Works, which appeared to be a huge advert for Kodak.
Fans of the original attraction, and Figment and Dreamfinder, took action and boycotted the new Imagination ride as well as Kodak Film. With support from both Kodak and Michael Eisner (CEO of The Walt Disney Company 1984-2005), the campaign was successful! Little over two years after reopening, the attraction was closed for yet another revamp.
Just in time for the ‘100 Years of Magic Celebration’, the attraction reopened in June 2002 as ‘Journey into Imagination with Figment’ … it’s well seeing they knew what the fans wanted!
Figment Disappears in EPCOT 1998
Now Figment appears all over the attraction, in the sound lab, the sight lab, and the smell lab, where Figment becomes a skunk and sprays guests with a stinky smell! … which actually turns out to be the smell of coffee … phew! Finally, in the touch and taste lab, the attractions host Dr Nigel Channing stops the tour after seeing the chaos Figment is causing.
Figment then takes riders to his own house, which he turns upside down with his carefree mind, helping guests to understand that Imagination should be set free! In the finale, guests see loads and loads of Figments everywhere! And Figment and Dr Channing sing the attractions famous theme song ‘One Little Spark’. Talk about bringing Figment back with style!
There have long been rumours of the return of the Dreamfinder too in a fourth version of the attraction. Figment and Dreamfinder were reunited last year at the D23 event Destination D: Walt Disney World 40th, for a live performance of ‘One Little Spark’. Check out the awesome reaction from the crowd!
If a fourth incarnation of this attraction does indeed go ahead, then maybe … just maybe … we can be treated to a more permanent reunion of Dreamfinder and his amazing creation … Figment!