Long before FastPass lines, Soarin’, or TestTrack were in place, lines used to pour out of the Journey Into Imagination pavilion. The pavilion housed 3 distinct attractions that were incredibly popular through the 80s and mid-90s. Over the course of the 90s, the pavilion has taken on a radical shift and its once robust popularity has wained. Sadly, what lead to this unfortunate downturn highlights one of the biggest issues of Epcot’s model. Join me as we rush to the first pavilion on my childhood visits, Imagination!
Anything That Sparks The Imagination!
Walt Disney’s original idea for EPCOT was born out of his work on the World’s Fair. After his passing, the remaining project ended up finding itself back to those roots. Much of the park was to be built around sponsored attractions. When film giant Kodak had come on board later in the planning stages, the result was the Journey Into Imagination pavilion.
While the changes to the Journey Into Imagination ride have had their share of controversy, the changes allowed Imagineers to sneak in some fun references to some of the more inventive characters from Disney’s live action films. In fact, with the queue themed to match the Imagination Institute introduced in the Magic Eye Theater year earlier, many of these nods are given before ever boarding the ride. Today, we continue our Week of Imagination!, and discuss some of the Disney innovators referenced in the Imagination! Pavilion.
Inventors of the Imagination Institute!
Once you walk into the queue for Journey Into Imagination, you’re surrounded by the colorful styling of the Imagination Institute. There are a few items in cases near the entrance but once you’re past the reception desk, the focus becomes about Dr. Nigel Channing and his fellow scientists. We’ll start with the gentleman featured in the giant portraits and move on to those a bit more hidden.
When starting a new line of comics about Disney Parks attractions, Marvel took a chance starting with an attraction that was never built. But, as I discussed in my review, this allowed them to create unique characters and introduce a new world to audiences. A whole new set of challenges can come with taking beloved characters and translating them into a new medium. Disney Kingdoms decided to face that challenge with a story inspired by Epcot’s beloved mascot, Figment.
One Little Spark Of Inspiration
By the time the first issue of Figment hit shelves, the playful dragon had been entertaining audiences in Epcot for over 30 years. His companion in the Disney Kingdoms series, however, had been removed from the pavilion in 1998. But before that the Dreamfinder was actually the star and our real guide as we took a Journey into Imagination!
Most Disney Parks follow the formula created by Disneyland in 1955 with the pathway up to a hub and the park’s icon where you can then enter all the different lands offered through the park. Epcot bucks this trend by placing the most recognizable part of its park right up front, towering over the entryway. Every guest entering the main gate will be in awe of the giant sphere that is Spaceship Earth. This also presents the first “pavilion” of Future World. Join me today as we walk through the gates together and into our time machines.
Prior to the main gate of Epcot, just as you exit the monorail, is a dedication plaque featuring a quote from the park’s opening. The dedication, given in 1982 by then-Disney CEO Card Walker, echoes the Disneyland dedication given by Walt Disney nearly 30 years earlier.
To all who come to this Place of Joy, Hope and Friendship
Epcot is inspired by Walt Disney’s creative vision. Here, human achievements are celebrated through imagination, wonders of enterprise and concepts of a future that promises new and exciting benefits for all.
May EPCOT Center entertain, inform and inspire and above all, may it instill a new sense of belief and pride in man’s ability to shape a world that offers hope to people everywhere.
For many planning a Walt Disney World vacation, a single park visit can take up an entire day. But for some of us, that can be just part of our day. Whether you have a dining reservation, need to go cool off from the Florida heat, or have a flight to catch, sometimes you just want to fit in as much park magic as you can in a short day trip. Today, I’m going to discuss experiences and tips for Day Tripping to Epcot’s Future World!
Day Tripping Future World
For a short day trip, Epcot can be quite wonderful. Because the park opens in sections, crowds tend to be a bit smaller to start the day. Also, there is currently only one ride in the World Showcase area, so you can knock out most (if not all) of the Future World rides by lunch! With the compact size of Future World, you could fit in quite a bit of magic before having to move on to your location. But if you’re not aware of some factors, your trip could be more frustrating than fun.