Sunset Over the Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Vintage Walt Disney World: A Journey Into Imagination

posted on March 6th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


The Journey Into Imagination attraction opened during this week in Epcot in 1983. As a treat, here’s a photo we’ve never released on the Disney Parks Blog before.

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Above, Figment is in the Literature section of the former attraction where, along with Dreamfinder, they demonstrate how the words on the pages of a book come to life with the help of your imagination!

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Filed: Disney History, Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

26 Comments Add Yours

1

Laurie on March 6th, 2014 at 9:50 am

The original version was my FAVORITE ride ever. I have had a figment stuffed animal since I was 3 or 4 years old. I still have him next to my bed (I’m 31 lol) I was extremely upset the first time they redid it, it barely had Figment in it. I was approached by a cast member that was taking surveys about the ride. I was Very honest with him on how I felt about the changes. A few weeks later I received a call from Disney asking me more questions and apologizing about me not liking the ride. I appreciated that a lot. I am still not as in love with this version as I will be with the very first. But having Figment a large part has made it all that much better. I still hope to find more Figgie merchandise ;) I am in love with that purple dragon :) <3

2

Adam on March 6th, 2014 at 9:50 am

Thank you for sharing! I miss this classic attraction.

3

Anthony on March 6th, 2014 at 10:08 am

I really miss the original Journey Into Imagination. This ride, Horizons, and World of Motion were amazing and thinking about them makes me long to ride them one more time. I love the animatronic rides!

4

Dan on March 6th, 2014 at 10:15 am

Man, I loved this ride so much and hope that it can regain its past glory at some point. I grew up in the ’80s, and early Future World was my favorite place in Walt Disney World. It’s still cool, but I have great nostalgia for the original line-up.

5

Anne from FL on March 6th, 2014 at 10:18 am

Will always miss figment and the dreamfinder. I can remember spending many summer vacations at the leaping fountains with my younger siblings playing in the water and meeting dreamfinder. The original ride was a classic. The new one, i only ride to sing the song.

6

Stacy from CA on March 6th, 2014 at 10:29 am

Figment is my favorite character! Happy birthday Figment!

7

Rowe on March 6th, 2014 at 10:35 am

I never got to visit EPCOT as a young child and so when I found out about Journey into Imagination, it frustrates me a heck of a lot because it seemed so fascinatingly arbitrary for anybody. It looked so different from the staple dark attractions like Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean and it’s a shame that it doesn’t exist anymore.

8

Philip on March 6th, 2014 at 11:00 am

I miss this one. While I never saw the second iteration of the ride, this third one, while cute, still misses the original. On our last visit we were in the One Man’s Dream attraction in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and they had a model of Dreamfinder’s flying contraption. I ended up explaining what it was to a few people who had never heard of it.

Figment is one of the best characters in the parks. It isn’t just his cuteness, but what he stands for- he represents where our imaginations can take us.

9

Heather on March 6th, 2014 at 11:02 am

So what’s the story on the current state of this attraction. Last I’d heard they were closing it either for an extensive referb to create Journey version 4.0 or for good. I really hope if anything it’s the former so long as Figment (and the theme song one little spark) don’t vanish like they did for most of 2.0 or as I like to call it the dark ages

10

Shannon on March 6th, 2014 at 11:23 am

My most favorite Disney World ride ever! The new one is okay, but nothing compared to the original Dreamfinder. I have a pewter Figment and my dad has a miniature purple figment. I love Figment!

11

Brent on March 6th, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Please, NEVER close this ride. And open the upper level again. My first time in Epcot was in 1983, I could not get enough Figment and Dreamfinder. I’m now 36 and still can’t get enough Figment. Journey Into Imagination meant so much to me and to this day helps me find new ways to open my mind and imagination. It may not be the most popular ride or have the most popular or known character, but this attraction embodies Disney magic and imagination.

12

Mark from RI on March 6th, 2014 at 1:08 pm

Please bring this attraction back to its former glory. I know it had its technical issues in the past but I’m sure the technology is there now to allow it to function properly.

13

Matthew from PA on March 6th, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Thanks for this photo. I loved the original attraction. Here’s to hoping that one day the Imagineers can re-look at this space and bring back a touch of what made this attraction so special.

14

Tommy from SC on March 6th, 2014 at 2:23 pm

My favorite attraction of all time at Walt Disney World! It would be fantastic to see the return of the original attraction but that’s not likely to happen.

15

Jim on March 6th, 2014 at 2:54 pm

I really hope the executives are reading these comments. The original ride was wonderful & complex like your imagination is. With todays technology the dreamfinder with his sidekick figment could come alive again. It was state of the art at the time.

While the chances of bringing the exact ride back i am sure is pretty slim, with todays tech i am sure imagineers have some incredible ideas that would make the imagination pavilion one of the shining jewels in future world at EPCOT.

16

Timothy on March 6th, 2014 at 4:48 pm

I loved the original ride, just went on the newer one last fall. Not as impressed. And future world really wasn’t as “must see” as it used to be.

17

Tammy from WI on March 6th, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Journey Into Imagination is only the best ride of all time! I remember going on it over-and-over. It was such a shame and loss when they redid it. Like many of you I still have many of my original Figment items and everytime I go expand upon that collection. Bringing back the original would be awesome or at least make Figment AND Dream Finder the focus again!

18

Jillian on March 6th, 2014 at 5:27 pm

Please tell me this post is a tease and Disney is going to surprise everyone by bringing the original Journey Into Imagination ride back!

19

Susanne from FL on March 6th, 2014 at 6:05 pm

Boy, if they could bring something akin to the quality of the original ride back, I’d get my tickets and head to WDW the second it opened. That would be something special.

I’ve unfortunately lost most of my interest in Future world (except for Spaceship Earth, Living with the Land, and the new Test Track). I miss everything that made EPCOT Center great like Horizons, the overall streamlined coherence of the park, and especially Journey Into Imagination.

I’m optimistic about the future though, so please please a thousand times please Disney: bring back Dreamfinder and create a spectacular new attraction and open the upstairs again. I have no doubt you can give us something great!

20

Jessica on March 6th, 2014 at 8:39 pm

My all time favorite attraction. I miss it all the time. It would be like living in a wonderful dream to get to ride the original just one more time!

21

Julie on March 6th, 2014 at 10:52 pm

This was my all time favorite ride I had the hat, key chains, stuffed animals and the Epcot record with the song on it. I was so traumatized after riding the newer version of the 1999 I was crying by the time the ride ended and the employees asked me what was wrong, I said said “you ruined Figment”. It might have been a little over dramatic but it was my birthday and all I had wanted for my birthday was to go to Epcot and ride the Journey Into the Imagination after it had been closed for remolding. The second redo was better than the late 90s version but still nothing compared to the original. I feel bad for kids at Epcot today who don’t get why all the older people talk about Figment with such found memories. I would love for Disney to bring this ride back it was such a treasure

22

Susie on March 7th, 2014 at 1:59 am

The 1st version of this attraction was my absolute favorite in all of WDW. I rode it every chance I got. I lucked out and got to be in the park the last week end it was open and rode it probably 15 times. Including the very last time it was opened to guests. (I’m sure the CMs got to ride one last time without all us guests….) That last time was bitter sweet :( I never got to ride version 2 and since it didn’t have Figment or Dreamfinder, that doesn’t bother me. I was ecstatic when version 3 opened but I definitely miss Dreamfinder and “One Little Spark” and would love to see both come back!!! Please don’t take Figment away, pretty please, with whip cream and a cherry on top!!!!

23

Brianne on March 7th, 2014 at 5:46 am

I think bringing back Figment to his glory would be a smart move. It was so heartbreaking this last time that I went to Disney World because my boyfriend, who had never been before and didn’t quite understand my obsession with Figment, will never get to fully understand why due to how different the ride is from the original. The first version was just so magical and I was so in awe the first time I rode it!

By the way, Laurie, I’m 28 and I still have my stuffed Figment next to my bed too! :)

24

Patricia from OH on March 7th, 2014 at 9:54 am

Thank you for the walk down memory lane. I have to agree. Bring back the original ride. 3.0 is ok, but it is not going to get you a whole lot of next generation figment fans. And please, please understand that if you take figment away completely you will need new phone lines.

25

Allison from WV on March 7th, 2014 at 11:30 am

I actually didn’t like Dreamfinder or Figment the first time in met them (in 1988) after emerging from this wonderful rid. Apparently, Figment asked Dreamfinder why my face was “dirty” and Dreamfinder corrected him and told him “that’s not dirt, those are freckles!” How could they know it was the feature I disliked most about myself? So I turned around and left, crying, but didn’t forget to bop Figment on the nose before I left (boy did I get in trouble and rightly so). I refused to ride the ride again until four years later, but didn’t see the characters outside the ride this time. Bottom line: I couldn’t apologize to Figment (one of my favorite “park” characters), until 2007 when he appeared again in the park. My Mom still shames me with the video of our encounter, and I still love the original ride as much as I did in 1988. And the freckles are ok now too!

26

Vanessa from NJ on March 28th, 2014 at 2:03 pm

I miss this attraction so much! It was the most beautiful, whimsical attraction I have ever seen. I wish there was more footage of it so I could relive it!

26 Comments

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