Journey Into Imagination

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Journey Into Imagination
Dreamfinder flying the Dreamcatcher in the attraction's Flight to Imagination scene.
Land Future World
Theme Imagination
Opening date March 5, 1983
Closing date 1998
Hosted by The Dreamfinder
Vehicle type Train
Number of vehicles 93
Ride duration 13:00 minutes
Theme Song One Little Spark

Journey Into Imagination was an attraction located in the Journey Into Imagination pavilion in EPCOT Center. The attraction was operational from 1983 until 1999. If you are looking for the second and third version of the attraction see: Journey Into Imagination With Figment. If you are looking for the pavilion in which the attraction is located see: Imagination!

Attraction History

The genesis of the Journey Into Imagination attraction began when Imagineer Tony Baxter was tasked with working on creating a pavilion for Kodak in EPCOT Center. Although the company had agreed to sponsor a pavilion in the developing theme park, a suitable topic had not yet been decided on. When giving Baxter instructions for the pavilion, Kodak's only request was that it be "very imaginative" [1]. Taking these words to heart, Tony began to work on a pavilion based on imagination.

After thinking about the intangible subject, Tony came to conclusion that all imagination, no matter the subject, happens when you, "gather, store and re-combine" [1]. To portray this concept, Tony created The Dreamcatcher (as its unofficially known), which Imagineer (and attraction art director) Steve Kirk described as "a giant vacuum cleaner floating through space" [1]. The Dreamcatcher would essentially would collect sparks of imagination and store them. Later, they could be recombined into something new.

When looking to create a host for the new attraction, Tony turned to an old idea that he had developed for the unbuilt Discovery Bay expansion of Disneyland. One of the attractions for this new land was to be the Gallery of Illusion, hosted by Professor Marvel [1]. The older gentleman was somewhat based on the Wizard of Oz [2], and in one of the scenes he was to show he domesticated dragons, even holding a baby one. As the imagination attraction developed, Professor Marvel was transformed into Dreamfinder, who Baxter described as "A Santa Claus-type who is wise and older and knows all the great things, a great thinker. [3]" According to Imagineer Steve Kirk:

Steve Kirk's model of Professor Marvel and his dragon. The duo would evolve into Dreamfinder and Figment
Tony (Baxter) was in with the Kodak folks as being potential sponsors for some kind of pavilion. He ran into my office in the middle of this meeting and said, 'Can I borrow Marvel and the dragon?' And he grabbed the model and took it in to them to show it to them [4] .

Kodak liked the idea of Dreamfinder and the imagination concept, but they wanted to know if they got the dragon too [4]. This request, led Baxter and his team develop a second character for the attraction- Figment.

The formation of Figment began when Tony Baxter was watching an episode of Magnum P.I. [1]. In the episode, Magnum had hidden a goat in Higgins’ yard, and the animal had predictably torn up the vegetation. When Higgins suggested that a goat was ruining his yard, Magnum replied that it was all just a figment of his imagination. Higgins’ response that “Figments don’t eat grass!” gave Baxter the inspiration for his new character, named Figment [1]. Tony would later explain that Figment was a character that everyone knows about, but has never been visualized[1].

Taking some inspiration from the dragon in the Gallery of Illusion attraction, Figment was initially sketched by Steve Kirk, who turned in a rough drawing of the character [5]. Imagineer X Atencio then slightly altered the drawing to, "make the character lovable, in a way that kids could relate to" [5]. With their two main characters designed, Imagineers set about finding voices for the duo. Although finding a voice for Dreamfinder was relatively simple (with actor Chuck McCann filling the role [6]) finding a voice for Figment proved to be much more difficult. Disney had men, women, boys and girls all audition for the role, but no voice was deemed suitable [5]. Eventually, they found Figment's voice in veteran voice actor Billy Barty, who was deemed perfect for the role [5]. When talking about the role of Figment, Tony Baxter said:

Gallery of Illusion concept art featuring Professor Marvel and his dragon
"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 [7]."

The plot of the attraction itself would have guests meeting Dreamfinder in the opening Flight to Imagination scene. This would be followed by a trip to the Dreamport. After this second scene, guests would explore the power of imagination with Dreamfinder and Figment. Subsequent scenes would include: The Arts, Literature, Performing Arts, Science (included after being requested by Kodak [8]), and then the attractions finale.

Of these scenes, the one that went through the most drastic change was the attraction's finale. According to Tony Baxter in the original planned ending:

There were two roller coasters segments that never happened because the ride system wouldn't behave. One was down into the monster dungeon, and the second one was into the spiral of film in the finale. And because you were thrilled and excited and screaming, that was where we would take that picture [8]

This ending was eventually deemed unfeasible, after problems with the attractions ride system[8]. Furthermore, Imagineers initially wanted to give guests the options of buying their photograph by using a digital camera to print out the photo right after the ride ended[8]. Kodak bristled at the idea of using digital as opposed to chemical photography, and the idea was dropped.

Journey Into Imagination concept art. Note the green Figment.

Of all the Future World pavilion's Journey Into Imagination was the last to begin construction [9]. Although the pavilion was ready for EPCOT Center's opening day, technical issues with the attraction's turntable, and loading and unloading mechanisms, caused the attraction to be delayed [9]. Tony Baxter has since asserted that the attraction was up and running, yet Disney executives did not think it would be reliable enough, and they were concerned that a ride breakdown would cause a bad impression, thus the opening was delayed [10].

Finally, on March 5, 1983, the Journey Into Imagination attraction opened to the public [11]. At the attraction's opening, Kodak CEO Colby Chandler stated:

We knew from the very beginning it would be a challenge to create a journey that would capture the imagination of everyone. But we also knew that if anyone could do it, Disney could...Epcot Center itself is a tribute to the reach of human imagination [12]

From the time it opened until it closed for a massive refurbishment in 1998, Journey Into Imagination did not see any major changes.

Attraction Plot

The original Journey Into Imagination was a dark rides which focused on human imagination.

After making their way through the queue, guests would board their ride vehicles. The vehicles were trains consisting of four cars. As the vehicles began to move, guests could hear a voice singing the attractions theme song, "One Little Spark". In the clouds to their left, the shadow of a flying contraption could be seen sucking up various objects. As the song continued, the clouds would part revealing Dreamfinder as the pilot of the flying contraption known as the Dreamcatcher. Dreamfinder and guests would then fly together at the same speed as he introduced himself:

Oh, hello there. So glad you could come along. I am the Dreamfinder. Ah, ha, ha. Musical notes! What delightful melodies those will make. I love these flights of fancy. Searching the universe for sounds, colors, ideas, anything that sparks the imagination.

As Dreamfinder continued to sing, "One Little Spark" the objects that he talked about would be projected in the background. The machine that he was flying would also suck up various objects, which would end up in his bag. Dreamfinder would then create a dragon like creature called Figment. He explained how he was creating Figment in song.

Dreamfinder flying in his Dreamcatcher.
Two tiny wings

Eyes big and yellow
Horns of a steer
But a lovable fellow!
From head to tail
He's royal purple pigment
And there, Voila!
You've got a Figment
A figment of imagination!

Figment would then appear alongside Dreamfinder, telling him that (Figment) was perfect. Dreamfinder would respond that Figment still needed a "dash of childish delight". Dreamfinder would then show Figment the "guests" that had joined them. Together they discussed how everybody could use their imagination. As the Dreamfinder and Figment began to sing about various things, the objects of their imagination would appear. They would then begin to imagine all kinds of things. Dreamfinder imagined a stormy night, and lightning combined with ghostly shivers and a full moon.He then told Figment they could "turn them into a tale of fright!" (as menacing laughter was heard).

Figment then imagined a rainbow, that he could color with. He continued imagining:

"Numbers, letters, papers for writing. Costumes, make-up, stages for lighting. Teardrops, laughter..."

Dreamfinder would then ask Figment about science, to which he would respond:

"Science! We'll need electron beams and crystal prisms, gyroscopes and magnetisms, holograms in three dimensions"

While he talked about science, projections of the equation E=MC², an atom and the elemental symbol CO2 appeared. While Figment was imagining science, Dreamfinder had to cut him off. On the flying machine, the world "full" lit up and Dreamfinder had to inform Figment that the bag could not hold any more ideas. He then told both Figment and the guests that, "We must store these ideas with the others in the Dreamport." When Figment asked how far away the Dreamport was, Dreamfinder told him that it was never far away, when they used their imagination.

Guests would then travel with Dreamfinder and Figment to the Dreamport. Here, they would see various objects, ideas, and thoughts covered with gears and cogs. The Dreamport was the place where Dreamfinder and Figment stored all of their ideas. At this point, guests could see Dreamfinder's bag, hooked up to a machine known as the Imaginometer, which sorted through the ideas, grouping them together. The groups that the Imaginometer sorted included: dreams, sights, words, sounds, colors and ideas. The machine also had a meter which read how full the machine was. To the left of the device, was gold container labeled, "Deep Thoughts". Guests could see inside the container, through a window. Inside the Dreamport guests would also see:

The Imaginometer which could be found in the middle of the Dreamport.
  • A giant coffee pot pouring coffee right above guest's heads
  • A chest labeled "Fog Bank"
  • A box, which opened to reveal numerous clapping hands
  • Rainbow colored cylinders
  • Mini lightning bolts and a tornado which created a "brain storm"
  • A neon sign which read "Neon"
  • Molecular structures
  • Bags which held the warm North Wind and the cold South Wind. They would blast guests when the ride vehicles went by.
  • Barrels with the word "laugh" written on them (get it- a barrel of laughs).
  • A bird cage containing musical notes, sitting on perches.
  • A File cabinet which was labeled "Buzzes", "Groans", "Barks", "Oohs" and "Aahs". Guests could also hear these noises.
  • A bottle of Morning Miss perfume, which sprayed guests and made the room smell like fresh flowers.

After exiting the Dreamport, guests would enter the Arts scene. Here, spouts poured "Sun Rays," "Molten Lava," and "Gem Stones", which Dreamfinder would paint with. He then used his paintbrush (which changed colors depending on what he was painting) to create a river, flowers, and animals. In this scene, Dreamfinder would sing:

"Mix red and gold

From autumn flowers
Purple and blue
From twilight hours
Green summer hills
And rainbows play a part, ha, ha
A painter's brush,
A work of art"

As guests continued on, they could see various 3D animals and flowers, which were all colored white and appeared to made out of paper. The objects were lit with colorful lights, and serine music could be heard. Guests could see a large fish, lion, ostrich, unicorn and camel rotating under a giant flower. Figment could also be seen, sitting at the base of a group of flowers wearing a beret and tie. He was painting the rainbow that he had mentioned earlier, while sitting next to a pot of gold

The scene then shifted to the "Tales of Terror" segment. As the clouds, which lined the top of the room, turned grey and angry, Dreamfinder could be seen playing a haunting tune on a volcano shaped organ. The organ was unique, in that it had a typewriter for a keyboard, instead of the standard musical keyboard. As Dreamfinder played, lava and smoke would erupt from the top of the volcano. The smoke would then turn into words such as, "Horror," "Danger," and "Thrill". In this room, Dreamfinder sang:

The words "Once Upon a Time" led guests to a haunted castle.
One chilling word

Like shriek or killer
Can spark the mind
To start a thriller
Add some more sparks
Like dagger, blood, and gory
And then,
A mystery story!

Figment could then once again be seen. He would be holding three blocks which spelled out the world "CAT". Behind him, a shadow of cat could be seen. Figment would then turn the "C" to a "B", to create the word "BAT". When he turned the block, the shadow would change into one of a bat. At this point, guests would would enter another room with large rock words. Words here included, "Avalanche," "Tumble," "Sway," and "Shake". The words would perform the action that they depicted (ie. the word "Avalanche" would look like it was about to fall over). Guests would then see the word "Surprise" light up on the wall, before a room full of fireworks was revealed. The tub of fireworks shells on guests right, would explode in the area above them. The fireworks would spell out words such as "Twinkle", "Flash", and "Sparkle. The crackling fireworks would then give way to a star-field where a red genie would appear and disappear.

At this point, the scene once again shifted, now showing a magical library. Here, books with names such as "Serpents", "Trolls", "Giants", "Leprechauns", "Knights", "Dragons", and "Eyes" could be found. The phrase "Once Upon a Time" could also be seen here, leading guests towards a castle. Lightning would then strike, as the word "lightning" appeared to guests. Figment could then be seen holding a flickering candle. The candle cast a shadow of the word "Shadow" onto an open book behind him.

On guests left, they could read the word "Dungeon", as red eyes of monsters peered at them. Figment could then be seen hanging from chains on the ceiling, and holding a book entitled, "Nightmare". At this point, guests could hear a Raven cawing, and see its shadow on an open book. The book was actually Edgar Allen Poe's poem the Raven, with the page reading, "Quoth the raven, nevermore." A book titled vampires could then be seen along with a book titled, "Monsters", which Figment was trying to keep closed.

As guests moved out of the scary literature scene, they entered a scene depicting the backstage of a theater. A large marquee reading, "World Premiere Performance" could be seen, along with three rotating signs which read words such as, "Dance", "Music", "Tears", "Laughter". On their left, guests could see Figment dressed in a tuxedo and standing in front of a make-up mirror. In his hand was a mask of Dreamfinder's face. A sign above him read, "A Brand New Show!". Dreamfinder (unseen) and Figment then began to sing again:

Dreamfinder: Some happy songs

Figment: Some snappy dances

Together: with laughs and footlights all aglow

Dreamfinder: The sparks ignite, ha!

Figment: A Brand new show!

Dreamfinder (with Figment echoing): Some happy songs

Some snappy dances
Costumes and sets
Spoofs and romances
With laughs and tears

Together: And footlights all aglow
The sparks ignite

Dreamfinder: Ha! A brand new show

Figment: Yes sir!

Guests would then see Dreamfinder conducting a laser light show. Guests could see musical notes, various shapes, and a top hat and cane projected onto the wall. Guests would then see Figment, now in a astronaut suit, hitchhiking his way to the next scene, science. At this point, the ride vehicles entered a tunnel where various shapes were reflected onto the walls and ceiling. The shapes seemed to be constantly moving away from guests as they passed through. Inside the tunnel guests could hear Dreamfinder repeating:

What about science, science, science, science... And what about science, science, science, science...?

On the other side of the tunnel, guests could see Dreamfinder wearing a white lab coat and turning a large microscope. Dreamfinder showed guests a view of Earth from space, in this view the Earth looked like from space. Earth then morphed into a single drop of rain, which fell into a pond of water. Dreamfinder then spoke saying:

"Technology, like a newfound potion

Allows us to marvel at mysteries of motion
Water dances where visions begin
Science reveals a life within

At this point the microscope was used to show all of the living organisms within the water. Dreamfinder then continued, "I'll wind this dial and time escapes, Watch minerals change to crystal shapes". The microscope then zoomed in to show enlarged crystals. He then said, "Let's look at nature at this speed, From germination, then back to seed". A time lapse film was then shown, in which a flower is shown growing from seed to a full flower. Dreamfinder then concluded:

"Skyrockets soar towards outer space

Imagine yourself in an infinite place"

Figment hitchhiking in his astronaut suit.

After Dreamfinder said this, fireworks exploded. The film restarted, showing Earth from space once again. In a window behind the screen, guests could see Figment doing various tricks. Continuing on, guests could see signs reading, "World's Beyond", "The Known and the Unknown", "Destiny", and "Dreams", all pointed in different directions. Straight ahead, guests could see Dreamfinder wearing a sorcerer's costume with a turban and cape. He was waving his arms over his crystal ball, while Figment watched intently. He and Figment were discussing the nature of imagination, while guests pictures were taken. Figment and Dreamfinder would then once talk.

Figment: Oh, there are so many places to dream about.

Dreamfinder: We can visit worlds that were, that could be, and those of fantasy and reality.

Figment: What's next Dreamfinder?

Dreamfinder: Why, imagination can take us over the rainbow and to worlds beyond.

Figment: Boy, I wish I could be an astronaut! I bet I can use imagination to discover all kinds of new things.

Dreamfinder: Of course! It's your key to unlock the hidden wonders of our world

Guests then passed through a giant star and into the attractions final scene. In the final room, guests could see Figment sitting on a film role surrounded by 8 screens. The screens showed Figment:

  • Dancing
  • Flying as a superhero
  • Weight lifting
  • As a scientist
  • Mountain climbing
  • Riding a wooden horse
  • Sailing
  • Sitting on a treasure chest dressed as a pirate

Continuing on, guests then saw Dreamfinder rolling a movie camera. Although he was supposedly filming the the movie on the screen behind him. Instead of the movie however, guests would see the ride photos taken earlier in the attraction. Dreamfinder would then give one final speech as guests disembarked, reminding them to visit the ImageWorks.

And what about you folks? Imagination is something that belongs to all of us. So, join us now in a magical playground, where technology and your creativity combine to make dazzling new images. Next stop, the Image Works!

Figment and I have certainly enjoyed our Journey Into Imagination with you. And in just a few moments, you'll get a chance to use your sparks of inspiration in the Image Works! The creative playground of the future.


Dreamfinder- Chuck McCann (speaking) and Ron Schneider (singing)

Figment- Billy Barty

Fun Facts and Trivia

  • In the scene where Figment sat with the blocks that spell out "CAT", other words could be found. One set of blocks spelled out "WED" for Walter Elias Disney (or WED Enterprises) and another spelled "TB" for Imagineer Tony Baxter [5].
  • The laser show that the Dreamfinder conducts, was actually the test program that came with the laser equipment. Originally, the scene was to have featured Figment dancing and chasing a ballerina around the stage [13]
  • When the attraction first opened, guests would have to step out of the moving vehicles and onto a moving ramp. Because the transition was difficult, the belt was eventually removed [13].
  • Across from where Figment held onto the "Nightmare" book, guests could see a large book spine which read "Something Wicked." This was a reference to Disney's 1982 Halloween movie "Something Wicked [14].
  • In 2011, Dreamfinder and Figment appeared on stage together at the Destination D: Walt Disney World 40th event. It was the first time Dreamfinder had been seen since Journey Into Imagination closed in 1998 [15].
  • There were 78 special effects in Journey Into Imagination, more than were used in all of Walt Disney World on opening day [14].
  • In the Science and Technology scene, guests could see a "Hidden Mickey" island off the coast of Argentina [14]
  • Dreamfinder was originally going to have white hair, but this was changed when it was decided that he looked too much like Santa Clause [16].

References to the Closed Attraction

  • The Dreamcatcher can be found on the west wall in Epcot's Mouse Gear store [18].
  • Figment currently appears in Journey Into Imagination with Figment, the newest incarnation of the attraction.

See The Attraction!

To see the original Journey Into Imagination click play below:


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6
  4. 4.0 4.1
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3
  9. 9.0 9.1
  10. Koenig, David. Realityland: True-life Adventures at Walt Disney World. Irvine, CA: Bonaventure, 2007. Print.
  12. Sklar, Marty. Dream It! Do It!: My Half-century Creating Disney's Magic Kingdoms. Disney Editions, 2013. Print.
  13. 13.0 13.1
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2