Journey Into Imagination With Figment
Journey Into Imagination With Figment is an attraction located in the Imagination! pavilion, in Epcot. If you are looking for the attraction that was housed in the pavilion from 1983 until 1999 see Journey Into Imagination
The Original Journey Into Imagination Attraction (1983-1998)
The basic idea for the Journey Into Imagination attraction came from Disney Imagineer, Tony Baxter. The idea for the character figment came to him while watching an episode of the television series Magnum P.I. In the episode Magnum had hidden a goat in Higgins' yard, and the goat had predictably tore the garden up. When Higgins suggested that a goat was ruining his yard. Magnum replied that it was all just a figment of his imagination, to which Higgins countered "Figments don't eat grass!". This line, gave Tony Baxter the idea to create a character "that everyone knows about and has never been visualized.
Figment was first sketched by Disney artist Steve Kirk who turned in a rough drawing of the characters. Imagineer X Atencio then slightly altered the drawing to, "make the character lovable, in a way that kids could relate to". The Dreamfinder, Figments creator was designed after Imagineer Joe Rhode, who would later be lead designer of Disney's Animal Kingdom. The Dreamfinder's voice was performed by actors Chuck McCann and Ron Schneider. Finding a voice for Figment proved to be much more difficult however. Disney had men, women, boys and girls all try out for the role, but no voice was deemed suitable. Eventually, they found Figment's voice in veteran voice actor Billy Barty, who was perfect for the role.
It took Disney nearly six months to come up with an idea for the Journey Into Imagination attraction. To help them with their understanding of imagination, Disney brought in various scientist and artists. Eventually they came to the conclusion that while every bodies imagination was different, how people get their imagination is the same. Tony Baxter said:
"The story needed to describe the complex process in an engaging, interactive way without seeming like a lecture. A persona was needed to give the process personality, but having a human character seemed too selective. A friendly imaginary being that could delight in the wonders of imagination would be more inclusive."
Journey Into Imagination With Figment finally opened as simply Journey Into Imagination on March 5, 1983. Although the Kodak sponsored pavilion that housed the attraction had been open since Epcot's opening day, the pavilion remained nameless until Journey Into Imagination gave it it's namesake. The original attraction was a dark ride, which helped guests explore their imagination. The ride was hosted by the popular characters Dreamfinder and Figment. 71 different special effects were created for the original Journey Into Imagination, more then tall of the effects created for the opening of the Magic Kingdom. The ride remained essentially the same from 1983 until 1998.
Journey Into Your Imagination (1999-2001)
Following a decrease in popularity, Kodak decided that it was not getting enough bang for their buck, when it came to the Journey Into Imagination attraction. Disney told them that to increase attendance, the attraction would need to be updated. A new ride was pitched, a "must see" attraction, which was sure to renew the pavilions popularity. The attraction was pitched as a special effects based experience, which would challenge and confuse guests senses. After hearing the pitch, one executive said:
“if you were in that room hearing the pitch you would have been blown away. You'll be in this dark room and not be able to tell up from down. You will be surrounded by sound and not know the direction. It was all amazing, sounded state of the art and more importantly guaranteed to give the guests a terrific experience. We saw this concept art and they spoke so enthusiastically..."
The new attraction was eventually given the blessing of both Kodak and Disney. Journey Into Your Imagination's was produced by Imagineer Orrin Shively (who also produced Test Track), who gave the show a minimal plot in order to allow them to explore their own imagination. The entire devolopment and construction of the attraction took only two years, making it one of the quickest built modern attractions in Disney World. The ride reopened in 1999 as Journey Into Your Imagination, a much smaller and less expensive ride. Popular characters, the Dreamfinder and Figment were removed from the attraction, along with many of the special effects. The dark ride was now hosed by Dr. Nigel Channing, head of the Imagination Institute. Nigel now gave guests a tour of the Imagination Institute, which was referenced in the other Imagination! (the new name of the pavilion) attraction, Honey, I Shrunk the Audience. Critics panned the new attraction,and fans began to call for a boycott of both the attraction, and it's sponsor, Kodak. Guest complaints bombarded Epcot, as more and more people rode the new attraction. The boycott proved successful, as guests complaints (along with pressure from Michael Eisner and Kodak) led to yet another (quick) refurbishment in 2001.
Journey Into Imagination with Figment (2001-Present)
By mid 2001, Disney and Kodak decided that they needed to fix the Journey Into Your Imagination attraction and on October 8th, 2001 the attraction closed. Kodak however, was unwilling to provide more funds for a new attraction, after the disappointment of the previous renovation. Due to this, and the crippling economic effects of the 9/11 attacks, the budget for the new Journey Into Imagination was extremely low. In fact, Imagineers were only given 8 million dollars to renovate the ride. The main goal of the new attraction, was to reinsert Figment into the ride. Guests complaints had made it clear that Figment still had a strong following, and his presence was missed on Journey Into Your Imagination. Due to both time and budge complaints, the attraction was not replaced, but simply updated. The plot of the ride still focused on guests getting a tour of the Imagination Institute, however now Figment intervened causing havoc on the doctors tour. The original attractions theme song "One Little Spark" was also returned, although it had to be slightly rearranged and given new verses, to fit into the new attraction. The renovation was complete in only 236 days and on June 2, 2002, the attraction reopened as Journey Into Imagination with Figment.
All three versions of Journey Into Imagination have been dark rides which focused on human imagination.
Journey Into Imagination (1983-1999)
Main Article: Journey Into Imagination.
The original Journey Into Imagination attraction, was a dark ride hosted by the Dreamfinder and his creation Figment. On the attraction guests would explore various aspects of Imagination. Scenes on Journey Into Imagination included, the Dreamport, an art scene, a nightmare scene, a theater scene and a finale. The ride ran from 1983-1998. For a more detailed plot summary visit the Journey Into Imagination page.
Journey Into Your Imagination (1999-2001)
The second version of Journey Into Imagination was known as Journey Into Your Imagination. The focus of the ride was to allow guests to explore their own imagination. Due to this concept, the attraction had minimal plot and the popular characters the Dreamfinder and Figment were almost completely removed.
The attraction's plot began in the queue, where guests could see signs for the Imagination Institute. A directory showed that the institute was made up of six different departments: color, dimensions, gravity, illusions, sound, and the ImageWorks. Dr. Nigel Channing then appeared on the monitors in the queue, to inform guests that besides just touring the lab, they would also be test subjects for the new Imagination Scanner experiment. This video, was one of the few places in the attraction where guests could still see Figment.
After entering their ride vehicles, guests moved forward and stopped in front of a large mirror. Here the Imagination Scanner would scan them, to determine what they were imagining. Dr. Nigel Channing would then inform guests that there was, "Not much going on" in their imagination, which was perfect for the experiment. The tour of the labs then began in the sound room. Here, guests were challenged to "see what you hear". The room was almost completely dark, but inside guests could hear various noises such as: a baby crying, a trumpet, a toilet flushing and a train roaring by. After exiting the sound room, guests entered the illusion lab. Here Nigel informed them, that when you defy the laws of physics, imagination takes place. In the illusion lab, guests could see a giant cage which appeared to be empty. After further inspection however, guests could see a camouflage giant butterfly. Another illusion in the lab was a fish who seemed to by swimming out of water, although this was not actually the case.
The next room guests entered was the Color of Sound room. Here large screens showed how imagination relates colors to sound. When the screen was red, guests would hear something cooking, when it was green they could hear rainforest sounds, and finally a metallic color allowed guests to hear a space ship blasting off. After exiting the color room, guests would enter the connection room. Here, guests were surrounded by stars, which when connected properly could create images of animals. The final room in the tour was the gravity room. Here everything that was supposed to be down was up. Guests could look on the ceiling to see upside down rooms, including a bathroom and a kitchen. There also upside down mirrors, which showed guests upside down.
After completing their tour, guests were once again scanned by the Imagination Scanner. This time however, their imagination was so strong that they broke the machine. After the machine had malfunctioned, the lights would go out in the room, and projects of all the objects in guests imagination could be seen. Dr. Nigel Channing would then invite guests to visit the ImageWorks concluding the attraction.
Journey Into Imagination With Figment(2002-Present)
Like Journey Into Your Imagination, Journey Into Imagination With Figment begins with guests entering the Imagination Institute. Here, guests see the five departments of the institute: smell, sight, sound, taste, and touch. In the queue, guests can see potraits of the the Inventor of the Year award winners. They include, Dr. Nigel Channing, Wayne Szalinski (from the Honey, I Shrunk series) and Professor Philip Brainard (from the movie Flubber). Guests can also see the labs of the three scientists as they they wait ing line. After boarding their ride vehicles, Dr. Nigel Channing introduces himself, and welcomes guests to the institute. He informs them that they will be taking a moving open house, which will show how the five senses affect Imagination. Figment then appears, and tells the doctor that he wants to go on the tour too. When Dr. Channing tells him he doesn't want the purple dragon out of his sight, Figment disappears and guests begin their tour.
The first room that the ride vehicles enter is the sound lab. The professor begins his demonstration by playing a series of tones. All of the sudden, guests here a phone ringing, and Figment appears holding a phone. The doctor then declares that he has "completely lost my train of thought". Figment then replies that he found it, as guests hear a train go roaring by. Figment then begins to sing a new verse to the song "One Little Spark"
"For every sound
your ears are hearing
a thousand thoughts
can start appearing
and each of us imagines different things
from just a sound
your mind has wings"
After exiting the sound lab, guests enter the sight lab, here Dr. Nigel Channing alerts guests to a large eye chart in the room. While guests read it, they can see the silhouette of Figment creeping across the screen. Soon, Figment gets rid of all the other letters, and he spells out the word "Figment". Figment says that people sight is a lot more fun when they use their imagnation instead of their eyes. He then sings another new verse of "One Little Spark"
One spark of light
Can light your fancy
Your mind sees more
Then what your eyes see
Your sense of sight
Can make your fancy fly
There's more to sight
Then meets the eye!
The next room in the tour is the smell lab. As guests enter it, Figment and Dr. Nigel Channing argue about whether Imagination should be controlled or set free. Here, guests can see a giant butterfly which seems to appear out of nowhere. Inside the smell room, Figment takes control and sets off a slot machine. The machine comes up with three skunks, leading guests to get sprayed. Different containers in the room hold other smells, including one for a rose. Figment then begins to sing "One Little Spark" again.
One awful whiff
Can send you reeling
One lovely sniff
Can be appealing
Your mind defines
What enters through your nose
That's how you tell
A skunk is not a rose!
After this catastrophic, Dr. Channing decides to skip the touch and taste labs. He also questions whether or not to end the tour altogether. Figment says they, should, but he decides to take everybody on a tour of his house. Guests then move off the normal track, as they head towards Figment's house. Nigel then says that everything has been turned upside down, which gives Figment an idea. He decides that upside down sounds like a great idea! Before guests enter his house, they see all kinds of upside down signs pointing them in the right direction. Figment can be hear singing "One Little Spark" again.
"With just a spark,
I made my house
Imagination really comes around
Makes downside up
and upside down!
When guests finally reach Figments house everything is upside down. The rooms are located on the ceiling where , guests can see his kitchen, living room and bathroom. Audio Animatronic Figments can be seen here, eating in front of the TV, in the bath, and looking into the refrigerator. Nigel eventually decides that imagination should be set free, and he says, "if you can't beat em', join em'. He and Figment then decided to go back to the Imagination Institute as they sing another verse of "One Little Spark".
"We all have sparks
That's how our minds
We set them free
And oh, what they can do
Our magic sparks
From me and you!"
Following their tour, guests enter the attractions final scene. Here Nigel Channing informs them that he has learned it's best to let imagination go free. Figment replies, "yeah imaginations a bang!". At this point, a loud popping sound is heard, and guests enter a room with many Audio Animatronic Figments celebrating, as they sing "One Little Spark". Inside the room, guests can see Figment flying, by a rainbow and hitchhiking on a planet. Dr. Nigel's face can be seen singing on the moon. After going through this scene, guests are invited to explore the ImageWorks to further their study of imagination. The final verses to "One Little Spark" are:
A dream (A dream)
Can be (Can be)
A dream come true
With just that spark
From me and you
One little spark, of inspiration Imagination
Is at the heart, of all creation
Right at the start (The start) of everything that's new
One little spark, lights up for you!
Dave Goelz- Figment
Eric Idel- Dr. Nigel Channing
Fun Facts and Trivia
- When Figment was restored to the attraction in 2002, many of the old Figment Audio Animatronics from the original Journey Into Imagination attraction were reused.
- When the attraction was changed to Journey Into Imagination With Figment, songwriters Richard and Robert Sherman were asked to write new verses to their song "One Little Spark".
- Figment used to appear around the pavilion as a meet and greet character, however he has not been seen since 2008.
- When guests were scanned by the Imagination Scanner on Journey Into Your Imagination, they would have a vacancy sign or cobwebs in their brain.
- Three bubbles rising out of Figments bath, create a hidden Mickey.
- Many of the props from Journey Into Your Imagination were reused in Journey Into Imagination with Figment.