Imagination! is a pavilion in Epcot. The pavilion was known as the Journey Into Imagination pavilion from 1983-1999.
|The exterior of the Imagination! pavilion.|
|Opening date||October 1, 1982|
|Number of Attractions||3|
|Formally Known As||Journey Into Imagination (1983-1999)|
|Sponsored by||Kodak (1982-2010)|
What would one day be known as the Imagination! Pavilion opened with the rest of EPCOT Center on October 1, 1982. The pavilion itself was a large, glass, triangular building, which had a very unique architectural design. Outside of the building, guests could find “jumping fountains” and an upside down waterfall. When the pavilion initially opened, it was sponsored by Kodak and it housed the 3D show Magic Journeys (specifically located within the "Magic Eye Theater"). On March 3, 1983, the attraction Journey Into Imagination opened in Kodak’s pavilion. The dark ride was hosted by Dreamfinder, who explored imagination with his creation, Figment (a purple dragon). The attraction proved to be extremely popular, often outdrawing the parks icon Spaceship Earth. When Journey Into Imagination opened, a tie-in attraction known as ImageWorks opened with it. Image Works was an interactive area located on the second floor of the pavilion, which allowed guests to experiment with their Imagination by playing at interactive kiosks. The only shop located within the pavilion was known as the Kodak Cameras & Film Shop, which sold film and Figment merchandise. Following the addition of Journey Into Imagination, the entire pavilion was named the Journey Into Imagination Pavilion.
The Journey Into Imagination Pavilion remained essentially the same until 1986, when Magic Journeys closed. The attraction (which was moved to Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom) was replaced with a new 3D show, Captain EO. Captain EO was created in partnership with Lucasfilms, and stared pop icon Michael Jackson as the title character, who was a space captain charged with saving the universe. The new show was much more technologically advanced then its predecessor, using in-theater special effects such as laser and smoke, as well as traditional 3D effects. In fact, many consider Captain EO to be one of the first “4D” shows ever created. Captain EO ran in the Journey Into Imagination pavilion for eight years, before it was finally replaced with a new show in 1994. Replacing Captain EO, was a new 3D show- Honey, I Shrunk the Audience. A spin off of the popular Honey, I Shrunk the Kids film series, Honey, I Shrunk the Audience once again used 4D effects including water and small fans to immerse guests in the film. Due to the new film taking place in the fictional Imagination Institute (where Professor Wayne Szalinski was receiving the inventor of the Year award), the Magic Eye Theater was renamed the “Imagination Institute” at this time.
In 1998, with Kodak's sponsorship ending shortly, Fujifilm approached Disney with an offer to sponsor the Journey Into Imagination Pavilion. Their sponsorship would have included a complete restructuring of the pavilion, including getting rid of the Journey Into Imagination attraction. Although the attraction was popular, it cost a lot of money for Disney to maintain. Fujifilm told Disney that they would replace the attraction with an "E-Ticket" thrill ride, that would be just as popular as Journey Into Imagination, yet cheaper to maintain. Kodak, not wanting to lose their sponsorship of the pavilion (especially not to rival Fujifilm) pitched their own idea to Disney. They told Disney that they would make Journey Into Imagination more scientific, and use cheaper special effects. Although their proposal may not have seemed as glamorous as the FujiFilm proposal, Disney has concerns about turning the attraction into a thrill ride (as such a ride would still be costly to maintain). With this in mind, Disney accepted Kodak's proposal and Journey Into Imagination closed for renovations on October 10, 1998.
When the Journey Into Imagination Pavilion reopened on October 1, 1999, its name was changed to the Imagination! Pavilion. Following the refurbishment, the pavilion featured a drastically different layout. For starters, the jumping fountains located outside of the pavilion were significantly reduced in size, in order to accommodate the addition of a new gift shop. The color scheme and signage on the exterior of the pavilion were also changed dramatically, as they now reflected Kodak's company colors of red and orange. Furthermore, the ImageWorks, which had originally been located on the second floor of the pavilion, was moved to the first floor and reduced in size. At this time, the attraction was also renamed the “Kodak What If Labs". Although its basic premise remained essentially the same, many guests complained that the new What If Labs were simply one big advertisement for Kodak. After exiting the What if Labs, guests were funneled into a new gift shop, where they could buy photos, Epcot souvenirs, and Journey Into Your Imagination merchandise.
While many things changed both outside and within the Imagination! Pavilion in 1998, there was no bigger change then the new Journey Into Imagination attraction. Now titled Journey Into Your Imagination, the attraction was rethemed as a tie-in to Honey, I Shrunk the Audience. Taking place inside the Imagination Institute, Dr. Nigel Channing (Eric Idle) now gave guests a tour of the institute, using them as test subjects for a new invention, the Imagination Scanner. To the surprise of many guests, Dreamfinder was completely removed from the attraction, and Figment (once the mascot of Epcot) was reduced to only a brief cameo.
The new Journey Into Your Imagination attraction proved to be extremely unpopular with guests and many decided to boycott the attraction (as well as Kodak) to protest the changes. This campaign proved to be quite successful, as guest complaints (along with pressure from Kodak and Michael Eisner) led to the attraction getting another overhaul in 2001. Journey Into Your Imagination closed on October 8, 2001, before reopening on June 2, 2002 as "Journey Into Your Imagination with Figment" (although the your was dropped in 2003). Following the refurbishment, the attraction now focused on Dr. Nigel Channing once again giving guest a tour of the Imagination Institute. Instead of testing out his Imagination Scanner however, Dr. Channing now explained how the five senses can trigger human imagination. Figment returned in this version of the attraction, disrupting the doctor’s tour, and showing guests his imagination. Although the focus of the attraction was changed, the basic premise and the track structure remained basically the same. Also of note, The Kodak What if Labs remained essentially the same, however Figment was added to many of the exhibits.
In 2010, following the death of Michael Jackson, Disney mulled over the idea of bringing Captain EO back as a tribute to the late singer. Sure enough on July 2, 2010, Captain EO returned to the Imagination! Pavilion, replacing Honey, I Shrunk the Audience. In August of 2010, Kodak ended its 28 year sponsorship of the pavilion, and all references to the company were removed. Following the end of Kodak's sponsorship, The What If Labs have returned to their original name ImageWorks.
Captain EO- A 4D Space Adventure starring Michael Jackson. This show follows the heroic Captain EO and his rag tag team, as they try to save the universe. Captain EO originally ran from 1986 until 1994. The show reopened in 2010.
Journey Into Imagination With Figment- This dark ride lets guests take a tour of the Imagination Institute with Dr. Nigel Channing and Figment. Along the way they learn how the five senses relate to imagination.
ImageWorks- After exiting Journey Into Imagination With Figment, guests can further their exploration of imagination in ImageWorks. Here, they can use interactive kiosks to play three different Figment themed games.
Magic Journeys- This 3D attraction showed guests what the world looked like through the eyes of a child. The show was the first attraction open in the Imagination! pavilion, where it ran from 1982 until 1986.
Honey, I Shrunk the Audience- This 4D show was based on the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids film series. While attending the Imagination Institute's awards ceremony, guests would accidentally be shrunk down to the size of an ant. Honey, I Shrunk the Audience ran from 1994 until 2010.
Journey Into Imagination- The original Journey Into Imagination was a dark ride, which allowed guests to explorer their imagination with Dreamfinder and his creation Figment. The attraction opened and 1983, and remained popular until it closed in 1998.
Journey Into Your Imagination- The short lived second version of Journey Into Imagination, this attraction allowed guests to tour the Imagination Institute with Dr. Nigel Channing. Along the way, they tested out the institute's newest invention- the Imagination Scanner. Journey Into Your Imagination ran from 1999 until 2001.
Imagination! Gift Shop- Located just outside of ImageWorks, the gift shop features Epcot and Figment merchandise.
Kodak Cameras & Film shop- This shop sold Kodak products as well as Figment merchandise. The Kodak Cameras and Film Shop closed in 1998.
Fun Facts and Trivia
- Initially, there were concerns that Magic Journeys would not be ready for opening day. As a backup plan, Disney created the 70 second film "Dreamfinder Run" which would have been used to introduce clips of the unfinished Magic Journeys. Starring Ron Schneider and directed by Mike Jittlov, Dreamfinder Run was never shown to guests, as Magic Journeys opened on time.
- Although Dreamfinder Run was never released, it can be seen in Martin's video about the original ImageWorks (http://vimeo.com/6976422).
- Parts of the original ImageWorks attraction are still located on the second floor of the Imagination! pavilion.
- In the early years of the pavilion, guests could see a Figment topiary in the Magic Garden (which was located just outside of the pavilion). Figment would spin on a turntable there, the topiary was removed in the mid 2000s.
- From 1982 until 1998 Dreamfinder would walk around outside of the pavilion with Figment resting on his shoulder.
- Following Figment's return to the attraction in 2002, a large walk around Figment could be found outside of the pavilion, however he has since been retired.
- Mark Fuller, a Walt Disney Imagineer, was responsible for the design of the Imagination Fountains.
- In the summer of 2006 the upstairs of the Imagination! Pavilion was used for the finale of the Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure, however at the time it was only being tested. When the World Showcase Adventure officially opened in 2009, the Imagination! Pavilion was not used.