One little spark, of inspiration. Is the heart, of all creation.
Today I am going to be doing a post about the original Journey into Imagination, and the legacy of the Imagination Pavilion. The imagination pavilion opened up to the public back in 1982 and was the last pavilion designed for future world, when it opened it only had one attraction a film known as Magic Journey 3d playing for guests in the theater. The rest of the pavilion remained in construction and really a mystery for park goers! The pavilion itself was dedicated to the main message of future world, as without imagination how can we progress into the future! In front of the pavilion was an abstract statue that inspired the idea of imagination, and jumping fountains, which to this day still amaze me! The pavilion had a logo much like the rest of the old future world, one that represented the idea of imagination. With Horizions soon on the way and The imagination Pavilion it seemed like Epcot’s future world was starting to round about. The ride that in question that was coming, was Journey into imagination. The ride opened about a year after the pavilion and was a huge hit for Epcot. The ride featured an omnimover system that was modified, for example you would load like an omnimover ride, then once on the ride started the vehicles would separate onto different tracks something that surprised a lot of guests.
The ride’s story included guests meeting a man named Dreamfinder, and his Dream mobile (or Dream catcher among fans) to create a figment of his imagination and go on a quest to see what gives us that spark. Soon a lovable hybrid of thoughts is born in front of the guests, with the color of royal purple pigment, ITS FIGMENT! After that you journey into the variations of imagination and all the dimensions you could use with it! Art, Film, Nightmares, Poetry, this ride devoted itself to creation and all the abstract ideas that came with it! This ride really was a perfect complimentary flavor to the rest of future world and helped mold aesthetic along with Horizons and the rest of future world that unfortunately today is no longer present in Epcot’s current version. The ride was truly amazing and something to be seen, and long too! Clocking in at about 11 minutes! To see the original ride follow the link! (x) Skip to about 11 minutes in for the ride!
The ride was a piece of art, and really one of its kind, the second story of the pavilion back then known as Image works, the creative playground of the future. To say image works was amazing is an understatement, Image works was by all means a playground of imagination and art, add a sense of childlike wonder and 80’s color schemes and you had image works. From the stepping tones, which was a room filled with padded floor that lit up with various colors and music when stepped on. To the coloring room where guests could virtually paint the mural’s located high above on the walls, not to mention the beautiful view that the upstairs windows gave of the rest of the park. Also included in image works was the famous Rainbow tunnel of Sensory Maze, which was one of Micheal Jackson’s favorite places in all of Disney world (He was photographed there quite often!) To see image works skip to 29:28 (x)
This pavilion was a huge fan favorite, so much so that Figment become a sort of celebrity and mascot of EPCOT itself. The fact that he is still here today is testament to that. Its no wonder either with such an amazing pavilion that was really the brainchild of legendary Imagineer Tony Baxter it was to be expected that this place would be so great. Add an amazing song by the sherman brothers (If you don’t know who they are google em they gave you your childhood) that song can be found here (x). Soon Magic Journey’s was replaced by something that captured the zany and weird spirit of the pavilion, Captain EO. A cool piece of 80’s tropes all combined into one film, and to put the icing on the rainbow cake Micheal Jackson was the star. To see that follow the link (x). (WERE GONNA CHANNGGEE THE WORLD HEHHHHHH)
So after all that awesome you would think things would stay that way or only get better right? Sadly wrong, so very,very, very wrong. See as the 1990’s were starting to begin so were the cheap management tactics at Walt Disney World. Where things became about the bottom dollar rather than the quality of the show and experience. So since the ride was reportedly very expensive to maintain, as was the rest of the pavilion they decided to “refurb” it. They decided to close down the entire pavilion and give it a redo. Essentially they gutted the ride and made the whole new experience cheaper to maintain, they removed the old track and made the entire ride much shorter the new version is about 5 minutes (Compared to the old 11). What guests ended up with was a steaming pile of value engineered dung known as Journey into your imagination! To see the parts of the actual track the ride used that they cut out take a look at this link. (x)
Gone were the beloved characters Figment and Dreamfinder, instead in their place a Dr who no one knew nor really cared about considering how boring/bad the attraction was. Don’t believe me? Check here (x) Just compare that to the original. Also gone was imageworks as the entire second floor was shut down and gutted, to see what remains of the second floor today follow the link, I warn you though its sad and abandoned (x). The ride was so hated by fans because of figments removal that this version only lasted a year and a half before becoming the just as bad Journey into your Imagination with Figment! While we got figment back (in a much less desirable form) We still lost Dreamfinder. And the replacement for image works the Kodak Experiment labs, was really just a chuckie cheese playground, with absolutely no real themeing or artistic value. To see the current ride and image works click here (x). Next time you are there if you visit should you choose to ride the ride make sure upon exiting when you are at the gift shop look at the stairs.
This is the only reminder left that the pavilion even had a second story to begin with, walk up it and you would see the skeleton of image works and what it once was (You’re not allowed to go upstairs, so don’t actually try). One thing that is still there however is Captain EO. Hopefully one day this pavilion will get the love it deserves, until then. A dream, can be a dream come true. With just that spark, in me and you.