Disney Rides of Change: Through The Years of Journey Into Imagination

Journey Into ImaginationThere are a number of attraction locations throughout Walt Disney World that have seen ride changes from to the other to another. One prime example is If You Had Wings to Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, but that’s another story. As for some attractions though, such as Journey Into Imagination, it’s been different versions of the same attraction…sort of.

Yes, the easiest way to look at it and say things is that the Imagination Pavilion (the glass pyramids) have stayed the same, but the guts have changed.

SEE: List of “Lost” Walt Disney World Attractions, Parades, Shows, Restaurants, and More

There have officially been three variations of Journey Into Imagination, but many Disney fans would like to easily forget one of them. Let’s take a look at all of them.

Journey Into Imagination: 1983 – 1998

While not in action for opening day of Epcot, it did come into place about a year later as it opened on March 5, 1983. Needless to say, but this “dark ride” was absolutely and positively phenomenal. It introduced the world to both Figment and the Dreamfinder.

Sitting in your omnimovers, you floated through the different worlds of imagination from science to fantasy to art to entertainment and more.

Journey Into Imagination

The “Dreamport” was never far away if you used your imagination, and you could sing “IMMMAAGGIINNAATIIOOONN” to your heart’s content.

Let me just tell you that this was and still is one of my favorite Walt Disney World attractions of all time. Don’t forget the original ImageWorks upstairs complete with rainbow tunnel, pins and needles tables, and electronic coloring books.

My favorite room was the Literature room with the “Mystery story,” but as of Oct. 10, 1998, it was gone for good.

Journey Into YOUR Imagination: 1999 – 2001

Now…this. This is what caused a serious stir in the Disney community, and as you can tell by the fact that it only lasted two years, Disney listened. Somewhat.

On Oct. 1, 1999, the attraction reopened with a theme based on the accompanying 3-D film “Honey, I Shrunk the Audience” which opened in 1994. This brought about the introduction of Dr. Nigel Channing (Eric Idle) and he brought guests through rooms full of senses to give them a better imagination.

Sounds sort of like the current attraction of today, right?

Well, Figment was barely there at all. He was shown once or twice in the queue line. During the attraction itself, you only saw Figment in a constellation of stars and at the end. People were angry.

Oh yeah, and Dreamfinder was gone completely. On Oct. 8, 2001, the Imagination Pavilion closed again.

Journey Into Imagination with Figment: 2002 – Present

Journey Into ImaginationOn June 2, 2002, Journey Into Imagination opened again, but this time…with more Figment. Much of the attraction is the same general idea from the second version, but Figment is now everywhere. That’s what people wanted, and that is what they got.

“One Little Spark” is again the theme song, but Dreamfinder is still nowhere to be found. There are small tributes to him here and there, such as the office door for “Dean Finder,” but that’s about it.

If you head over to MouseGear, you’ll also find one half of the Dreamfinder’s zeppelin (Dream Mobile/Dream Catcher) high up on the wall.

Fans still aren’t overly thrilled with the latest version of the attraction, but it’s not nearly as bad as the second one.

The second version of Journey Into Imagination just demolished dreams and shunned imagination. There was none left to be had and the attraction became almost abandoned as far as guests were concerned.

Journey Into Imagination will always be one of my favorite attractions, and that won’t ever change.

It’s been almost 16 years since the original closed, yet I can still remember the awesome smell of the attraction without a single problem. Each room is burned into my brain, and my memories of the old ImageWorks will never go away.

No matter what…I’ll always be able to relive the original attraction by simply using…my imagination.

Figment Disney e-card


  1. John Berggren says:

    I wish the rumors of a return to the original that were floating last year had come true. Figment is an absolute favorite, but the current show is badly in need of replacing.

  2. TX Figment says:

    The smell of the white room was my favorite. I would be so happy if the original came back. I watch the original ride on YouTube often just to relive it.

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