EPCOT Center Vintage Character Photos

scan0001-001 - Jessica


Since opening day on October 1, 1982, EPCOT Center had walk-around meet & greet characters. The most famous of these were Figment & Dreamfinder, who are still sorely missed by Epcot fans (for more photos of them, check out our Vintage Journey into Imagination Photos page). There were also some other bizarre and short-lived characters, such as the World Showcase dolls and various robots, such as SMRT-1. In more recent years, Disney has reprised odd characters with “Figzilla” a giant walk-around Figment character that met guests outside the third version of Journey into Imagination.

When EPCOT Center opened, there were not walk around characters, with that ‘void’ instead being filled by the above aforementioned odd characters, as well as Figment & Dreamfinder. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending upon how creepy you find those other characters), only Figment & Dreamfinder caught on. The other unique characters were abandoned relatively quickly, and by the late 1980s, Disney characters made appearances in EPCOT Center.

These characters consisted of Disney characters in World Showcase clothed in attire representative of their host countries and also random characters that rode around the double-decker World Showcase buses. Neither these country-specific costumes nor the double decker buses are currently used. Instead, characters from stories set in the various countries do meet and greets in those countries. For example, you’ll often find Marie of Aristocats or Belle of Beauty and the Beast in France.

As EPCOT Center fans continue to celebrate the park’s 30th Anniversary until October 1, 2013, we will continue to share these vintage reader-submitted EPCOT Center photos from time to time. If you have EPCOT Center photos you’d like to share with our readers, please click here for details on submitting them! We *NEED* more photos to complete the series!

For photographer attribution and other information, hover your cursor over each photo. Also, be sure to check out our photo credits page. If you haven’t caught the other installments in this EPCOT30 tribute series, check them out here

EPCOT 1989_IsaB (3) - Isabelle Boivin

Epcot 97

Epcot 12 - Caitlin Corsello

Epcot 9 - Caitlin Corsello

Epcot 7 - Caitlin Corsello

Epcot 1 - Caitlin Corsello

DISNEY_005 - Caitlin Corsello

DISNEY_003 - Caitlin Corsello

DISNEY(1) - Caitlin Corsello

sharonpluto19861 - Sharon Blickensderfer

sharonpluto19862 - Sharon Blickensderfer

world showcase- Jessica Durfee

032 - KatyBeth Schmid

094 - KatyBeth Schmid

116 - KatyBeth Schmid

201103100073-L - Heather Harvey

Canada Character 3-83 - Patricia Brown

Christine Costello

sharonminniejapan19862 - Sharon Blickensderfer

sharonminniejapan1986 - Sharon Blickensderfer

sharonmickey1986 - Sharon Blickensderfer

sharonfigment1986 - Sharon Blickensderfer

sharonchip19862 - Sharon Blickensderfer

sharonchip1986 - Sharon Blickensderfer

scan0338 - Katie Bray

scan0293 - Katie Bray

scan0292 - Katie Bray

Old School Epcot - Danielle Magnuson

photo2

Santa

scan 25 - Jeff Lipack

scan 28 - Jeff Lipack

scan0001-001 - Jessica

scan0253 - Katie Bray

scan0254 - Katie Bray

scan0291 - Katie Bray

Moroccan Character 3-83 - Patricia Brown

Minnie in Future World 10-85 - Patricia Brown

Mickey's Express 10-85 - Patricia Brown

Mexico Characters 3-83 - Patricia Brown

i-ZH5bFZN-L - Heather Harvey

i-z8JqbMm-L - Heather Harvey

i-XfmkvMS-L - Heather Harvey

i-VHVM8bg-L - Heather Harvey

i-t3P8rJC-L - Heather Harvey

img729

img031

img004 - Sarah Vineyard

img003 - Sarah Vineyard

img001 -- Sarah Vineyard

img_0008 - Ron Duphily

img_0007 - Ron Duphily

i-G9856x5-L - Heather Harvey

i-hQ2h2dv-L - Heather Harvey

i-KNbpvrR-L - Heather Harvey

Image (58) - Katie Bray

Image (59) - Katie Bray

Image (121) - Katie Bray

Image (130) - Katie Bray

Image (131) - Katie Bray

image3 - Paul Sac

img033

i-CzC7KNm-L - Heather Harvey

i-4wBkL2H-L - Heather Harvey

Goofy At Epcot Chad Erickson

Epcot4 - Adrienne Spratford

Epcot3 - Adrienne Spratford

EPCOT 1989_IsaB (5) - Isabelle Boivin

img_0009 - Ron Duphily

sharonmickey1986 - Sharon Blickensderfer

sharonminniejapan19862 - Sharon Blickensderfer

Moroccan Character 3-83 - Patricia Brown

Your Thoughts

What do you think of these EPCOT Center characters? Do you miss the old World Showcase costumes or the double decker bus? What about those rad robots?! Surely everyone misses Figment and Dreamfinder…right? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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12 Responses to “EPCOT Center Vintage Character Photos”

  1. Kevin says:

    Roger Rabbit – wow, I didn’t know he was ever in the parks.

    Giant dolls – creepy. Very creepy.

    I like the current arrangement (Mulan in China, Belle in France, etc.) and think it works quite well. Like 99% of Disney fans, I do miss Dreamfinder and Figment (and the original Imagionation ride that we would run to first at rope drop, but that’s a different post…)

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Roger Rabbit was out a lot in the late 1980s and early 1990s, then he totally disappeared. I have some fun photos of him in the Disney-MGM Studios.

      I like the current character arrangement, too.

  2. Casey ODonnell says:

    The rainbow quasi spacesuit Mickey costume gave me d-chills. And the entire scene with the doll-like figure in front of the England pavilion is like something out of a horror movie.

  3. Tim says:

    I love the People of the World. In some vintage EPCOT Center home videos on YouTube I recall seeing that they could move their eyes back and forth, adding another dimension of wonderful eeriness.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      If crowds ever were to get too bad in World Showcase, all they’d need to do is bring a couple of these guys back. People would be running for their lives! ;)

  4. Lisa says:

    Giant dolls are definitely creepy, but even more so is Pluto’s rainbow-space suit. What is that!?

  5. Heather S. says:

    Ahh I LOVE this post and all the Vintage Epcot Pictures I grew up going to WDL and went to WDW one time as a kid in 1986 when I was 11 years old. These pictures brought memories to my mind I did not even know I had :) Thanks for sharing Tom and Sara!!

    The Dolls yes kind of Creepy, but I miss the walk around Character’s because last year on my kids first Disney experience ever we went to WDW and it took an entire day getting them from one country to another I think we walked 5 miles running from France with Marie to Japan, back to the UK, then Germany et… et… so they could meet all the character’s and thus I missed out on what I wanted to do the most Journey into Imagination ahhh the sacrifices we make for our young ones!!

  6. Valerie says:

    Apparently some of the cultural character costumes are still in use because my brother sent me a picture of him and what I can only refer to as “Fiesta Donald” from the Mexican pavilion a few weeks ago! He said he was kind of hiding behind a corner somewhere in the Mexican pavilion. Sombrero, poncho, and all.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Donald is the only one. However, he’s a movie character just like the other characters currently in the World Showcase in the sense that it’s him from the Three Caballeros.

      • Valerie says:

        True! I didn’t think about it like that. Wishful thinking that maybe some of those characters were still around I guess!

  7. MrsM says:

    The Dreamfinder used to walk around Epcot?! My childhood now feels incomplete.

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