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!
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!