Journey Into Imagination With Figment

Ride
Watch the on-ride POV
Journey Into Imagination with Figment
Formerly called Journey Into Imagination (1983-1998) Journey Into YOUR Imagination (1999-2001)
Epcot
Location Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA
Coordinates 28°22′22″N 81°33′06″W / 28.372639°N 81.551604°W / 28.372639; -81.551604
Showman / operator Eastman Kodak Company (1982-1998, 1999-2001, 2002-2010)
Park section World Celebration (Future World West)
Status Operating since March 5, 1983
Soundtrack "One Little Spark" By Richard and Robert Sherman
Theme Imagination, the five senses
Statistics
Manufactured 1982
Designer / calculations WED Enterprises
Type
Capacity 16 cars, seating 7 guests each, 4 in the back row, 3 in the front row
Animatronics 2
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Journey Into Imagination with Figment is a Dark Ride located in the Epcot theme park in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, United States. The ride is the second incarnation of the original Journey into Imagination dark ride that operated from March 5, 1983, to October 9, 1998. The ride is located in the World Celebration section of the park. All 3 incarnations were sponsored by the Eastman Kodak Company, with them sponsoring the current ride until 2010. The ride is hosted by Figment, a purple cartoonish dragon.

History

When Epcot was in its developmental stage, an idea was brought up to incorporate an Imaginative / Art pavilion to be included in the Future area in the park. Kodak was the company that chose to sponsor the pavilion after GE picked the Health and Fitness pavilion before them. Kodak asked for the pavilion to be "Imaginative", including detailed sets and animatronics throughout the ride. Kodak officially became the sponsor for the pavilion in 1980.

Around the same time, in 1979, an area for Disneyland was being proposed, in the form of a land called Discovery Bay. This area contained a carousel-type show with a professor named Marvel, and his pet dragon. The signature structure in the land was an abstract glass structure the towered over the land. When this land was scrapped, many of the ideas were transferred to Epcot, including an also scrapped Land and Minerals pavilion. Eventually, the structure was repurposed for the Imagination pavilion, but it was redesigned to be of two glass pyramids with tilted points at the top. The ride's dark ride was planned to be similar to Spaceship Earth, in that it was a slow, large ride with a rotating platform that guests used to board the ride vehicles. The rotating platform was also the same speed as the vehicles.

The pavilion would continue to be refined and redeveloped, an example being the facade's balconies being scrapped, and only having one level inside the building. The idea of Professor Marvel and his pet dragon were redefined into two new characters, Dreamfinder, and his dragon Figment. Another idea that remained was having a theatre next to the ride. It was reworked into the Magic Eye Theater, which would play a special 4D film inside. The pyramids would function as an atrium, with a staircase leading up to the interactive Imageworks area of the pavilion. The show scenes were also developed, examples being Art, Performance arts, Literature, etc. Figment was also recolored to be purple, instead of green.

The imagination pavilion was finalized, and a near year after Epcot construction started, the aptly named Journey into Imagination pavilion would being construction in full gear. The structure was one of the last to fully emerge at Epcot, but despite this, the structure was completed for the park's opening day. Due to the hasty deadline, the ride was not ready, and only Imageworks was able to operate at this time.

Imageworks, the Magic Journeys movie, and the rest of the pavilion opened on October 1,1982 with no dedication or acknowledgement, as Disney wanted to continue working on the main ride before truly opening the pavilion. Due to the hasty deadline, the ride could not be finished on time, and so, it wouldn't be until March 5, 1983, that the dark ride, Journey into Imagination, would open. The ride sees guests join Dreamfinder and Figment on a journey to collect sights, color, sounds and anything that sparks the imagination. The ride was one of the most advanced rides Disney had ever developed at the time, containing fluid animatronics, very detailed sets, high-capacity vehicles, and the ability for them to rotate to face certain scenes. The original Journey into Imagination dark ride would see very little changes, aside from Captain EO opening in 1987, and closing in 1993, and Honey, I shrunk the Audience replacing it in 1994, and in so the ride would remain at the park for a long time to come.

During the middle of the 1990s, Epcot was gearing up for a massive makeover, that would fundamentally change the park's offerings and lineups heading into the 21st century. The Journey into Imagination was starting to look tired, along with Captain EO and Magic journeys replaced by Honey, I shrunk the Audience, but the pavilion, and Imageworks as a whole were still getting regular updates as a whole due to Kodak still being the sponsor all this time. The ride would operate through the 1995, 1996, 1997 seasons, and a large majority of the 1998 season. In late 1998, it was announced by Disney and Kodak that the pavilion, except for the Magic Eye theatre, would be shut down for a year for a refurbishment to the overall look and design of the pavilion. The ride would close on October 8, 1998, and over the course of 1 year, things would be changed for reasons. Kodak was struggling due to advancements in photography and cameras / phones hurting their business, and in turn, this caused the ride to be slammed with budgetary changes. For a start, Figment and Dreamfinder would both be relegated to cameos, and more than half of the ride's length would be slashed, resulting in a 6-minute ride time. Dr. Nigel Channing, a character from the Honey, I Shrunk the Audience show next door, would be the ride's new host. The ride's cars would also be halved, with all of them being repainted to a bright red, instead of a periwinkle blue color. Imageworks would be relocated down to the first level, with the original Imageworks left abandoned. All of these changes would change up the ride, and Disney announced the ride's opening to be on October 1, 1999, just in time for the park's Millennium Celebration. The ride was finished in less than a year.

Journey into YOUR Imagination opened on October 1, 1999. The ride would take guests on a test to see how creative they were, as they were called "unimaginative". By the end, they would test their skills on how to properly use their imagination. The ride was absolutely slammed by guests, and even Kodak themselves, as it was heavily bombed for its boring plot, low budget, being insulting to guests, and being a low-quality experience. and this terrible reception was why the ride closed forever on October 8, 2001. The ride would get a quick fix up for a planned bigger refurbishment to the pavilion itself. The Imageworks and theater would remain the same, but the ride would bring back Figment, and the iconic One Little Spark song. Dr. Nigel would remain in the ride, as a secondary host. The ride would get new show-scenes and reskins and increased budget of existing ones. The ride-time was extended by nearly 2 minutes, in a 7 minute-40 second ride time. After less than a year, on June 8, 2002, the ride would reopen in its current state, as Journey into Imagination with Figment. The ride followed guests as Figment and Dr. Nigel show guests how to best use the imagination. The ride would receive little to no change, and as for the pavilion, Kodak would finally decline their sponsorship in 2010, and in 2011, Honey, I Shrunk the Audience would be removed permanently for a Captain EO revival, and then that would become a Pixar Short festival in 2016. The ride still operates in this form today.

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