Innovators of the Imagination Institute – Week of Imagination!

Imagination Institute Inventors of the Year Winners

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.

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Finding Future World – Spaceship Earth

Epcot Dedication

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.

Walt’s Dream

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

Welcome

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.

– E. Cardon Walker, Chariman and Chief Executive Office, Walt Disney Productions, October 24, 1982

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Disney Kingdoms: Seekers of the Weird

When Disney acquired Marvel in 2009, there was a lot of question about how the two brands would mesh together. In 2014, we were given our first glimpse with the first installment of the Disney Kingdoms line of comics. Comic creators worked directly with Disney Imagineering to give new and exciting stories to Disney Parks attractions. Each story consisted of a 5-issue run and focused on an individual attraction. But the story tellers delved a bit further than the rides we all know and love. For their first entry into the Disney Kingdoms universe, Seekers of the Weird, Marvel and Disney Imagineers brought a new life to an attraction that never made it into any of the parks.

Seekers of the Weird

Seekers of the WeirdAccording to the My Disney Experience app, the Magic Kingdom has 38 attractions. When Marvel decided to launch a comic line based on Disney Parks attractions that one park alone would provide a deep pool of ideas. So, it might seem a little strange that they decided to use an idea that never made it into the parks. Disney Kingdoms: Seekers of the Weird actually delves into the story of a forgotten attraction developed by Disney Legend Rolly Crump called the Museum of the Weird.

The attraction was born out of ideas originally intended to give a creepier feel to the Haunted Mansion and was spun into its own companion attraction at the suggestion of Walt Disney himself. In fact, Walt even showed it to the world as part of the 10th anniversary of Disneyland when he introduced Crump and some of the early model work for the items meant to fill the museum. But Walt’s death caused a lot of projects to be put on hold and when the Haunted Mansion eventually went back in to production the Museum of the Weird had been abandoned. Some of Crump’s concepts made it into the eventual Haunted Mansion but most lived on only in the archives.

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Aurora – Disney Princesses: Origins

AuroraAurora appeared in the 1959 Walt Disney production of Sleeping Beauty. A tale of a young girl cursed upon her sixteenth birthday, only to be awoken by love’s first kiss. Sleeping Beauty flopped in theatres and another Disney fairytale was not created for another 30 years! Where did Walt Disney find inspiration for this tale? Today we look at the original tale told by Brothers Grimm (Little Brier Rose), and Charles Perrault.

The Sleeping Beauty by Charles Perrault and Brothers Grimm

The story begins much the same. Seven good fairies (instead of 3) are asked to be the godmothers of the baby Princess. An evil fairy (Maleficent?) enters the palace. Everyone thought this evil fairy was dead because she had been living within a tower for years. The baby is gifted beauty, wit, grace, dance, song, and music by the first six fairies. The evil fairy is so mad that she is being overlooked that she enchants the Princess so that she will prick her hand on a spindle and die. The final good fairy tries to do damage control. Rather than dying, the Princess will go into a deep sleep for 100 years unless awakened by a kiss from a Prince.

Sleeping Beauty

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Cinderella – Disney Princesses: Origins

Cinderella artOur next Disney Princess is Cinderella. The Walt Disney version of Cinderella tells a tale about a girl who is living with her step-mother and her step-sisters. As tradition with most Disney princesses, she is also able to communicate with animals in a unique way. It seems that Cinderella’s only friends are these mice that live in her house. But, how did the Cinderella that we know so well develop from her original tale?

Cinderella – Early Tales

The story of Cinderella can be traced back as far as 7 BC, to the Egyptians and their version of the tale titled “Rhodopis.” In this tale, an eagle steals a woman’s shoe and drops it in the lap of a King. Once he finds the owner of the shoe, he marries her.

Cinderella fishIn versions of Cinderella from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam, the fairy godmother is depicted as a fish that gets cooked. In some versions, the fish represents Cinderella’s mother’s spirit. When the fish is cooked, Cinderella seeks out the bones. When the bones are found and buried, a beautiful swing appears in the spot, which serves as Cinderella’s “glass slipper” because she is the only one who can make the swing move with her singing. In the version from Vietnam, Cinderella cooks her step-sister as revenge, and forces her step-mother to eat her. Dinner is served!

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