Journey into Imagination 2014 Refurbishment?


We recently shared that the popular rumor that Journey into Imagination will receive an extensive overhaul is making the rounds again. This time, there’s a twist, as there’s an actual rumored closure date (January 2, 2014) and Cast Members are reportedly being trained on other attractions. This signals that something big is potentially in store for the Imagination pavilion, the only question is “what?”

That’s unclear at this point, but the downtime is rumored to be for almost all of 2014. All signs point to Captain EO being jettisoned to the outer limits, with a new 3D film replacing it, and a substantial overhaul to Journey into Imagination. With the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train opening early 2014 and other expansion rumored for Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom not opening until 2016 at the absolute earliest, it seems possible that an overhaul of Journey into Imagination will be Walt Disney World’s “big” move for 2015.

Whenever a pavilion at Epcot is expected to have significant downtime, there is always the understandable concern that the downtime is actually Walt Disney World’s way of quietly killing the attractions inside. Fans have witnessed this happen too many times to be completely trusting of the “refurbishment” designation for a pavilion that is only moderately popular. For a number of reasons, I highly doubt that’s what’s going to happen here, but the concerns are still valid.

I have no inside information on this potential refurbishment, but some of you have been asking for my take on these rumors as you know that I’m a huge Journey into Imagination fan, so here goes…

Overhaul Thoughts

Let’s start out with the elephant in the room. Dreamfinder. I think it goes without saying that it’s the wish of every fan who yearns for a return of EPCOT Center, its vision, and mission, to have Dreamfinder make a return, along with a return to form of Figment.

Since this should go without saying, it should also go without saying that I feel the same way. That said, I am prepared for Figment to vanish completely. Before you bust out the pitchforks and accuse me of betraying my favorite character, at least read my rationale.

Yes, Figment is my favorite Disney character. Always will be. This is not because of what he is today, but because of what he was up until the late 1990s. Figment is not the same character now that he was then, and witnessing how Disney has treated the character since his glory years has worn on me. I can’t bear to see the characters mistreated any longer. If the plans for overhauling Journey into Imagination include Figment just for the sake of including Figment, and there isn’t a top-notch concept for him or he isn’t going to embody the childlike sense of wonder (without being grating), I’d just assume he join Dreamfinder in the great Dreamcatcher in the sky. I’ll always have the memories.

What I also don’t want to see is a “restoration” of the original Journey into Imagination. I have rallied against the return of Captain EO, a once-fun Michael Jackson romp that now makes a mockery of the term “Future World.” Opposing that but wanting a return of the also-dated original Journey into Imagination would make me a hypocrite. Besides, I think a better attraction is possible. Walt Disney Imagineering is one of the greatest creative organizations in the world (if you’ve lost faith in this, just look at Cars Land and Tokyo DisneySea) and they shouldn’t be handcuffed by guests’ sense of nostalgia. If given the financial resources, I know the creative minds there have the ability to make something superior to the original Journey into Imagination.

I also don’t want to see Phineas and Ferb infest the Imagination pavilion. I’ve heard plenty of people say that these characters perfectly demonstrate the sense of imagination, and would be a perfect fit for the pavilion. I don’t care. I’ll admit that I’ve never seen their show, but I have seen enough of their “presence” to think that they’re a bad fit. They are loud and obnoxious. The Imagination pavilion should be about the beauty and mystique of imagination. It shouldn’t be clumsy and loud. Moreover, they’re on a television show that undoubtedly has a shelf life. There’s nothing timeless about the characters or their animation, and I can’t help but think that if they invade the Imagination pavilion, no matter how popular their attraction is initially with kids, there will inevitably be a precipitous drop-off in a few years.

When mentioning Phineas and Ferb, it’s worth noting that the current “rumors” of them being added to the pavilion don’t have much basis in “insider information.” Rather, the rumors have snowballed from a lot of fans saying, “that might be a good idea.” I first saw this mentioned back in 2010, and since it has slowly morphed from “that might be a good idea” to “WDI is planning this for the Imagination pavilion.” The Disney fan community is like a bad game of telephone…just remember that when reading any rumors or “news” that isn’t coming directly from Disney. (Even then, Disney follows through on only about 75% of what it officially announces, so don’t put too much stock in official announcements until you see it with your own eyes!)

So, what do I want? I’m not entirely sure. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Pixar-ification of the attraction. This is another spot where you EPCOT Center fans are probably yelling, “TRAITOR!” at their computer screens, but hear me out. Pixar’s Inside Out hits theaters in 2015, and takes place in the mind of a young girl, with her emotions physically represented in the film’s characters. Sound like a familiar concept?

I realize this movie isn’t even out, and I realize there are complaints about Pixar in Future World. I don’t care. This film is an original concept from Pixar that sounds fairly similar to the concept of the original Journey into Imagination; if so, that would make it a perfect fit. While it could be an awful film, if there’s one studio I’d bet the farm on when working with original concepts, it’s Pixar. If an excellent Figment/Dreamfinder attraction isn’t possible for whatever reason, this becomes my first pick. If it’s not Figment, it’s likely going to be something else based on Disney IP, so it might as well be a property that closely fits. EPCOT Center fans are delusional if they think the current Disney would rebuild Future World without a good amount of Disney IP. That’s just a practical reality. I think bringing Pixar into the fold guarantees that some of the “big dogs” at Pixar will take an interest in the attraction, and ensure that it receives sufficient funding to achieve the type of mesmerizing attraction worthy of being found in the Imagination pavilion.

pooh-hunny-hunt-owl

Speaking of mesmerizing attractions, there’s been a lot of talk about a trackless ride system, a la Pooh’s Hunny Hunt in Tokyo Disneyland, being used in the next version of Journey into Imagination. I think that’s purely wishful thinking. It’s unlikely that such a ride system could be retro-fit in a year or so, plus there’s the question of money. The wishful thinking is for good reason, though. While a ride system by itself absolutely does not make a ride (something SeaWorld is likely now realizing), it absolutely can be a significant part of the experience.

When we first rode Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, my sense of wonder (as corny as this sounds) was absolutely captivated. Not only were the visuals outside the ride vehicle amazing, but the way the honey pot ride vehicle made guests a part of the experience was nothing short of amazing. It was as immersive as a ride system can be–our generation’s version of the flying pirate ships in Peter Pan’s Flight.

A version of Journey into Imagination using this ride system would be able to draw guests further into the experience, with the ride system further sparking their imaginations and senses of awe. The one-two punch of the storytelling outside the ride vehicles and the storytelling via the ride vehicles would be the perfect combination to make the attraction a true journey into imagination.

This brings me to my ideal Journey into Imagination attraction. It would involve an updated (but not modern) Dreamfinder alongside Figment. The premise would be familiar (although I don’t care whether it’s the one of the first, a “something has gone wrong, now we need to collect bits of imagination,” or something different entirely), but the environments would be totally different, taking place in the surreal worlds of the human imagination, with small nods to the sets of the original attraction. Concepts from the original would be included, but in the form of visits to the minds of scientists, artists, etc., with the concepts being showcased in the abstract landscape of the imagination of each such mind.

The monorail runs along Walt Disney World's

Of course, I’m not a creative. I’m sure I’d be elated with any concept the Imagineers cook up for Journey into Imagination that is thoughtful, creative, and ambitious, and restores Figment and Dreamfinder, in all of their glory, to the attraction.

As for the rest of the Imagination pavilion, I’d love to see the return of the upstairs ImageWorks and a new 3D film that stars Dreamfinder and Figment. In my ideal world, the refurbishment would include both things, but I think at this point, that’s just getting greedy!

I guess we won’t truly know what’s planned until Disney announces something, and even then, we won’t know whether that something is any good (although I’m sure there will be plenty of speculating!) until the attraction reopens. In the meantime, we can take a trip in our time-traveling Dreamcatcher and look back at the original…

Your Thoughts…

What do you expect from this Journey into Imagination 2014 closure? What would you like to see happen in an ideal world? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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50 Responses to “Journey into Imagination 2014 Refurbishment?”

  1. Jeff B says:

    I hope that this is a re-imagination (pun intended) of the pavilion and not a patch job. I also would like to see the new Imagination pavilion be the first part of a revitalized Future World. I can only hope that there is a new master plan for the re-birth of Future World and it all starts with Imagination.

    • Lillian says:

      I, too, think that Future World needs a good refurb and revitalization. I travel to Test Track, the Land, and Spaceship Earth, but not much else these days. I never understood why they shut Wonders of Life all those years ago, and here they have this prime real estate and not use it.

  2. Betsy says:

    I think you have some really great insight on this subject matter.

    Imagination is one of the few attractions in Walt Disney World that I feel could only be made better with an extensive refurbishment. Phineas and Ferb overlay aside, I can’t imagine anything that would make this pavilion more disappointing than it currently is. Bring on the refurb!

    Okay, now off to look at youtube clips of Pooh’s Hunny Hunt…

    • Brittany says:

      I agree!! I would LOVE to see Figment and Dreamfinder back in a new and better version of the original! This is 2013, they have the technology to make it amazing, they just need to do it. Listening to their fans would help too ;) I hope Imagineers read these blogs. For me, the re-done version of this ride (the current and predecessor, although some Figment is better than none) was Disney’s first mistake. The ’99 version was only open for 2 years and 3 days (according to Wikkipedia). I can’t wait to see what they do, as long as it’s not completely commercialized like the Living Seas Pavilion is now since the Nemo refurb. As much as I would like to see the original again, I agree it should be updated. If it’s cheap it will backfire, it needs to be as good as or better than the original. It’s totally do-able. The upstairs Imageworks is still there too! It’s closed off and would need some updating, but they wouldn’t have to rebuild it like they need to do with the ride. As for the 3D film, I’ve never really cared for it all that much, so I’m not really that concerned with what goes in there. Let’s hope the Imagination reburb is the first step towards making things right again.

  3. Shannon says:

    I love that you “don’t care!” Meaning, tell us how YOU feel – it’s YOUR blog! That being said, I agree with you on both counts. I’d love to see a new and improved Figment, that ride COULD be amazing. NO NO NO NO to Phineas & Ferb.

    If that doesn’t happen, I am not opposed to Pixar; like it or not, they ARE a part of Disney these day now folks. Most people consider their movies more “Disney” than most Disney movies these days and rightfully so.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Thanks. Blogs that take a “just the facts” approach are a dime a dozen. If people don’t like my opinions, I’m fine with that (and I welcome reasoned disagreement), but I don’t really see the point in being just another blog that rehashes what’s out there on tons of other blogs. I don’t see the “value add” in doing that.

  4. Jacky says:

    I love this ride. I loved it more before they changed it, but we always ride this ride when we visit Epcot. I really hope they close it and make it better. I’m a little worried though that they might possibly change it to another attraction since you said it’s going to be closed for a lengthy period of time. Not to mention no one rides this ride. I don’t think I’ve ever waited more than 2 minutes in the line.

    • Kevin says:

      I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone else in the pavilion with me, let alone wait in line!

    • Kevin says:

      I was typing as Dave posted. I agree – Phineas and Ferb are far from obnoxious. I think it’s a great show (and I admit to occasionally watching it even without my daughter).

      That said, I also agree with why they shouldn’t be in the pavilion.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts – it’s much easier for me to think about what I don’t want in the pavilion than what it should be, aside from something that amazes me like it did in the 80′s. (Adding to the “don’t wants”: please don’t poke me, spray me, or blow stinky stuff in my face.) I’d also leave out a 3D show. Again, those were novel in the 80′s but now new ones show every weekend at the local theater.

      • Bernadette says:

        Totally agree – P&F is a clever, well-written show. Having said that, I also do not want to see them as part of the refurb (re-Ferb…?) – too much potential for appearing dated a few years down the line.

  5. Dave says:

    What’s with the P&F hate? Ferb hardly speaks! Phineas is always upbeat and looking/thinking of new ways of doing things. They aren’t obnoxious – other characters are, but P&F, no. That said, I’d like to see something really different there. A ride, perhaps, but I’d love to see some of it be something like a sand box for Cirque du Soliel or Blue Man Group, where they work out things, but in a theater like no other. Imagine seeing an acrobat on a high wire, gazing up when suddenly YOU are whisked up there with him because your section of seats moves like a tower of terror car and you gain a safe appreciation of what it’s like from their perspective.

    Just, to me, this should be where Disney absolutely struts its stuff. It’s what the company is built on, it should blow you away. I actually think they should make Innoventions the Journey into imagination pavilion with each side representing hemispheres of the brain and the imagination that comes from both. Imagination is where the future starts, it makes so much sense! It can also then be the starting point for illuminations, having a cool water screen and light display before launching it over to the world showcase, make the connection of the two sections stronger.

    As for figment, keep him for sure, but bring back Dreamfinder, but have the relationship be slightly less adult/toddler and just make figment a slightly older mindset. This shoul be there http://trib.al/zN05FrA
    Whatever they decide, as long as the don’t half-a** it, it should be great.

    Dave

    • Kristin says:

      Thanks Dave! I was running to the commments to defend Phineas and Ferb too, and especially to say “How are they obnoxious! Ferb speaks only once per episode!” I do think Phineas and Ferb could be a lasting character pairing with the imagination pavilion, (it’s right up the shows alley) but I don’t have a vested interest in what happens since we don’t get to Disney often enough. :(

  6. Kym says:

    The first time I went to WDW was in high school in 1998, and while I found Journey into Imagination a bit long and trippy at some points what it is now is pretty sad. I think a character like Figment that has so many loyal fans deserves to have a quality attraction. I remember the first time I went on it back in the day,now it’s just forgettable.

  7. Joshua says:

    Given that it has just been added to the Fastpass Plus lineup, I don’t think that they would demolish it.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Yeah, that’s one of the reasons that I don’t think it’s going anywhere. It’s also in a very visible location (unlike Wonders of Life), which would make it difficult to just leave empty. Also, at this point Epcot needs that capacity. Like I said, I highly doubt it’s closing for good.

  8. Brian says:

    I agree…what is with the P & F hate, esp. if you haven’t seen the show. They are creative and imaginative in every way with the most creative cartoon on TV. What they come up with is truly a FIGMENT of their imagination. They would be great for the pavilion, for adults and children. One problem with Figment today is lack of charm from old, he is only funny and cute to preschoolers. P & F have cross generational appeal, and are real with the pop culture references in the show. They could reference Figment and Dreamfinder in the ride.

    Best of both…they would team well with Figment & Dreamfinder themselves. Image works could become P & F creation lab. 3d film could be evil genius related, a carefree miniacle take on imagination, and the ride could detail a problem the boys and figment have to “fix”.

    Looking forward to whatever comes our way with Journey to Imagination 3.0. NEXT: universe of energy.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Setting aside whether it’s obnoxious v. imaginative (based on what I’ve seen of their shows at DCA, I can say that their current theme park presence absolutely is obnoxious) and assuming you all are right, that still doesn’t get past the fact that they are a cartoon on TV. It’s a poorly animated television cartoon that, as is true of all Disney cartoons on TV, has a limited shelf life. I doubt very much that they will be relevant in 5 years, meaning that we’d be stuck with an Imagination pavilion with irrelevant characters for a while.

      I agree with you about the lack of Figment’s current appeal, which is why I’d want to see a return to form. I think the character used to resonate across generations, but the current “version” of Figment is just annoying to anyone over age 10.

      As for the 3D, I will HAPPILY make the compromise that it can be Phineas and Ferb if that means getting an awesome Dreamfinder and Figment attraction for the main ride. Unfortunately, I don’t have the power to make such a deal–but I totally would if I could!

      • Dave says:

        Well, you have me there, I’ve never been to DCA, so I don’t know how they are represented there. This is just a friendly disagreement, but P&F has a simple style, but it isn’t poorly animated. You may be right about whether they’ll be relevant in a few years, we’ll see, but there are two qualities that P&F has that most similar shows don’t – brains and inventiveness (the show, not just P&F themselves). They also don’t fit into a niche like Kim Possible is a spy/agent. All I can say is that if they DID do P&F DON’T MAKE IT A REHASH OF THE BASIC SHOW STORY (Like Nemo). KEEP DOOFENSCHMIRTZ IN THE WORLD SHOWCASE, OUT OF IMAGINATION. But enough about that.

        I want to see the imagineers version of smack-talk there, Heck, make Figment the mascot of the Imagineering Institute. I want Iger or Staggs or whoever gives the green light on the project to say/have said “Show off for me on this one.”

        Dave

      • Bob Rowan says:

        I don’t want to derail your otherwise thoughtful post into a discussion of Phineas and Ferb. However, having said that….

        The show is brilliant. Like many “kids” shows, there’s a lot for adults to enjoy as well. The characters are focused on exactly the qualities I would want to see in a pavilion dedicated to imagination. Watch the show for a week and see if you don’t admire Phineas and how he interacts with the world. That doesn’t mean you’ll want them in Epcot, but at least don’t judge the show based on how they’re marketed on TV and a silly show in DCA. It seems pretty foolish to formulate an opinion on that basis. If that were the case, I’d hate Chip and Dale and Goofy for dancing around Tomorrowland in spacesuits.

        I’m also not sure I see your point regarding “poorly animated television cartoon” with “a limited shelf life.” The Simpsons, South Park, and other “poorly animated television cartoons” have remained relevant for decades, and will probably be for quite some time, as those who grew up watching those shows will reminisce about their childhood. I recognize Disney has pulled the plug on shows in the past, but it’s hard to believe they’d ditch Phineas and Ferb if it still had an audience. Again, doesn’t mean you have to enjoy “poorly animated television cartoons”, but to dismiss them as a passing fad merely because they don’t fit your personal taste (or with the premise of your commentary) is unfair.

      • DRToohey says:

        Aside from simply “Hear, hear!”ing most of the praise/defense of Phineas and Ferb (bad vs. simple, don’t judge a show by its slap-dash theme park show – because were that the case, the lamentable Pixar Play Parade would invalidate anything Pixar has done), I would want to question a bit the dichotomy of P&F/Untitled Pixar Film, or simply TV/movie. While I’ve wondered if Phineas and Ferb may seem dated if they did something more lasting with it…I’ve been wondering that for 3 years. Phineas and Ferb is over half a decade old and still holding strong fan wise. Honestly, I have moments where I wonder if it’s not at its height, but it’s still fun and considering how syndication, reruns, and Netflix work, there will be people finding it at its prime for probably some time to come. And, really, the relationship between quality of ride vs. quality of what it’s based on is nearly non-existant, so the show no longer being at its height isn’t the biggest deal. Unless you think that’ll effect staying power. Which of course might be an issue for Pixar as well, since that studio has also seen better days and is starting to show its age.

        But does a movie…an “artfuL” movie have more staying power? Err…maybe. Some stuff has staying power, and quite frankly, we can never be sure what does. I LOVE Roger Rabbit the movie and the ride’s fun as far as hot mess dark rides go, but that movie has been strangely lost to the sands of time, despite the critical and commercial success it was….and that had a whole land built for it – a whole land which feels dated and expendable now.

        Then of course we have weird relics that are kinda okay. Consider the amount of people who have seen The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad vs. riding that ride. Or think of the wait for Splash Mountain and wonder how many people have Youtubed (or found a bootleg DVD of) Song of the South. And there’s Dinosaur. So this point may be moot.

        So in short, I’m not exactly sure over the dichotomy of Pixar/film as “art/lasting” vs. P&F as “commercial/transient.” The New Yorker once compared P&F to a sonnet sequence and I think that’s kind of accurate. You may not remember all the sonnets, but you’ll remember their existence and choice lines (“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day” may find its echo in “I know what we’re gonna do today!”). There’s room at the canon table for Hamlet and the sonnets, for Pixar and any Disney channel show that manages to rise above the rabble. There’s an art in P&F’s simplicity, its ability to play with formula while adhere to such a formula (and I won’t even get into the debate in both critical circles and the academy over how TV may be now the more aesthetic medium). There are also moments where it missteps. But the same can be said for Pixar in both ways (ultimately the first 10 or so Pixar movies can be summed up as “Jerk learns he needs other people,” so there’s a formula nad play with formula there). As for transient…like I said, it’s run for 6 years now. It has over 100 episodes, I think. In short, it’s leaving a lot of impressions and a lot for people to remember. And because how we digest TV is different now, TV may finally have a longer staying power, the same way film has benefitted from rereleases and home video.

  9. George H says:

    This was a really interesting article to read Tom! I’ll be really interested to see what happens with this refurbishment, and would love to see a new version of One Little Spark, Imagination’s theme song. Don’t get me wrong, I love every version of this song to date, but I would love to see an updated version alongside the updated Pavilion. As for Phineas and Ferb, I am a massive fan of their show, but would much prefer to see Figment stay part of Imagination. We’ve only been visiting Walt Disney World since 2011, and didn’t get to experience Imagination until 2012, so have unfortunately never seen the attraction with DreamFinder, but I’ve read a lot about him here and on other sites, and would love to see him return to the attraction. Besides, I was born in 1998, so wouldn’t remember him anyway. Whilst I guess I am part of the generation that has grown up with Phineas and Ferb, I would much rather see Imagination’s original characters feature in any new version of the ride. Maybe the ride could have Figment and DreamFinder and Phineas and Ferb could have an interactive movie about Imagination???

  10. Chronic Gin Deficiency says:

    they shouldn’t be handcuffed by guests’ sense of nostalgia. If given the financial resources, I know the creative minds there have the ability to make something superior to the original Journey into Imagination.

    Let’s just cut that sh*t right out, buster. There is none of this “logic” or “reason” to be had in Disney fandom.

    You must choose your emotional /metaphysical stance:

    Go the Panglossian route and ever-mode-loudly declare that this is the best of all possible WD-worlds. Even if the Polynesian were razed and replaced with surplus Boy Scout tents and port-o-johns it would be magical because Walt and pixie dust and magic and SHUT UP THAT’S WHY!!!

    Go the Originalist route and declare ever-more-loudly that if it wasn’t a concept that emerged from the Mind of Walt and was set down by His Mighty Hand then even whispering of its presence in the park makes you worse than Hitler (it actually makes you [Hitler+Stalin]^[Pol Pot]).

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I prefer a hybrid of the two. For example, I suspect the concept of replacing the American Adventure with a Disney Junior stage show emerged from the mind of Walt, and it’s magical because it’s magical.

      Don’t confuse anything I write for logic or reason. If anyone rambles long enough, they’re bound to accidentally say something that passes as insightful. That’s how to best explain anything logical on this blog.

      • Chronic Gin Deficiency says:

        As Dana Carvey’s Fake McLaughlin used to say, “WRONG!!!!!!”

        Walt wanted to replace the “American Adventure” show at WESCOT in Anaheim with a Disney Junior show.

        EPCOT would’ve gotten a state-of-the-art Animatronic show called “Bustin’ a Move with Easy Abe.” The more historically accurate but adult-themed “Bustin’ a Cap in Abe Lincoln” would’ve gone at a new club in Pleasure Island. Something about the whole east-coast-west-coast thing. He was probably loaded at the time.

  11. No insider information? um, you seem to be under cutting those little sparks… A dream, can be, a dream come true.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Maybe if I just keep repeating myself on this, eventually it will come true.

      Actually, I’m sure the decision concerning what’s going to happen to Imagination has already been made. Still, it’s fun to speculate. Who knows, maybe I’m right about one of these things!

  12. Ray says:

    I agree with a lot of what was posted….what ever they are doing better be substantial and not a patch job. I’m happy already….knowing that Captain EO is rumored to be leaving. It was amazing at one time….15-20 years ago. I didn’t think that it should have come back…but when it did, it should have been a short run (maybe 6 months) just for nostalgia.

    I honestly don’t know an Epcot attraction that ever needed a redo and that wasn’t welcomed by the Disney community as much.

  13. TC says:

    Tom, I’m with you!! I miss Dreamfinder, figment, and the old song…”two tiny wings, eyes big and yellow…” lol ALWAYS one of my favorites!!! I was pretty disappointed when I found out they changed it. Since this IS the Imagination Pavilion.. I hope upon hope (and wish on a star.. haha) that they can do magical things to it. However.. I will make sure my kids soak in all of the current magic this October when we go… just to be safe!! :o)

    *- on a side note… I have to admit that I prefered the Honey I Shrunk the Audience to the Capt. EO movie. (yikes!)

    • Tom Bricker says:

      When looked at today, I think both HISTA and EO are pretty bad. However, they were made in totally different times, and I think there was a time when each were pretty awesome. Some things just don’t age well. In 10 years, I’m sure there are some things we enjoy today that will be laughed at.

  14. David says:

    Phineas and Ferb belong in the Imagination Pavilion. Your own admission of never having watched the show displays a lack of understanding on why people are saying this. They are not “loud and obnoxious”, they are inquisitive and resourceful. They also have an appeal that extends beyond kids into the adult realm.

    If you want to clamor for the Pixar useas of Inside the Mind, it should be for a revitilization of the Wonders of Life pavilion.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I just replied to the P&F bit in a comment above, but as for Inside the Mind going to Wonders of Life: I don’t see anything besides special events going to the “Wonders Retreat” in the foreseeable future. The pavilion is a special events cash cow, and I think Disney has decided that it doesn’t need the attraction capacity in Future World.

      It’s not like I actively want Inside the Mind in the parks, anyway. I (obviously) haven’t even seen the movie. I’m just saying it would take it, without having seen it, over Phineas and Ferb. Being an original Pixar concept, it will be an artful film with staying power. I think there’s a good chance it’ll become a classic. I don’t think there’s any chance of Phineas and Ferb becoming a classic, no matter how much they fit Imagination. They work well for an adventure game that can have IP switched out. Much like Kim Possible, I doubt Phineas and Ferb will be relevant in a few years.

  15. Jim says:

    Re-open the upstairs area (formerly ImageWorks) and I’ll be happy. Put a cocktail lounge up there so I can enjoy an adult beverage and look out over the park, maybe with some light snacks, and I’ll be REALLY happy. Illuminations from that spot would be cool… not the best, but pipe the sound in, should be nice.

    I’d love to see it sponsored by Nikon or Canon, too (probably Nikon, since that’s what PhotoPass people use). Some better imaging toys to play with… put a 3D printer in there for custom souvenirs and I’ll just hand over my wallet.

  16. The “elephant in the room”? Really?

    Gee… thanks…

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I have no clue what internal discussions concerning Imagination have looked like, but I have to think Dreamfinder *is* the elephant in the room in them.

      Disney knows there is a lot of fan demand for his return, but it has to be something a lot of decision-makers don’t want to see happen (if they did, he’d be back already). Because of that, I suspect that the topic is intentionally avoided as much as possible.

      I just hope there are some creatives in there fighting for him and forcing it as a topic of conversation.

      • JayOki says:

        Haha i was about to say, hey! can’t believe Ron Schneider the original Dreamfinder commented XD

  17. Tom Bricker says:

    @DRToohey – Can’t reply to your comment up above, but here’s my response…

    I think you raise a lot of interesting questions, some of which you answer yourself.

    In terms of relevance, for a Disney cartoon, Phineas and Ferb is already running on borrowed time. I can’t help but wonder if it will even be around when Journey into Imagination reopens.

    That said, there are now means of distribution that weren’t available during the heyday of the Disney Afternoon that can help with staying power. You mention these. The question is whether they’re sufficient. Personally, I’d be a lot more comfortable using Phineas and Ferb if they got their movie, but even then, I don’t see them as a “safe” bet.

    There’s also the question of whether relevance matters. Does quality always out? You’ve given some examples, and I agree with those completely. The general public doesn’t recognize the Brer critters, and the same goes for Mr. Toad. However, I think a critical difference there is that those characters have a timeless look to them as a result of the quality of their source animation.

    By contrast, Phineas and Ferb have a very particular look (one to me that is representative of poor animation) that I think has a shelf life. Their style is very distinct, and unlike Pixar or something from feature animation, can’t translate to an attraction in a way that separates them from their time period. Given how frequently Disney attractions are updated, I think this is a legitimate concern.

    You all have made good arguments against them, and I won’t even try to deny that I’m biased against them. I think I have good reasons for not wanting a Phineas and Ferb attraction (which goes for anywhere in the parks–not just Epcot), but it’s just as much a gut thing.

  18. Meggyc says:

    F&P is a better show than you give it credit for, but I agree on your reasons why it should not be in the Imagination pavilion. Unfortunately (or thankfully in some cases) Disney Channel shows do tend to have a limited shelf life and that is sometimes reflective of marketing or decisions by Disney than the quality of the program. Even Kim Possible has dropped into relative obscurity despite being a show that was popular with kids and adults for several years. For the way Disney does business, it probably is better that they keep Disney Channel related properties in experiences/attractions that can be easily modified.

    Personally, I would love to see Dreamfinder and Figment return as they are my certainly my favorite theme park characters, and perhaps my all time favorite Disney characters. I wouldn’t mind seeing something completely different and original as long as it’s a good quality experience that we should expect from Disney. And I would hope that even if it is something new, that both Figment and Dreamfinder would be represented in the pavilion in some fashion. I fear, however, that a single year may not be enough time to give this pavilion the TLC it really deserves.

    And I must second the idea of opening the upstairs of Imageworks! It just seems like prime real estate going to waste at this point.

  19. sherry strawn says:

    I want the original ride in all it’s glory! I have been waiting since they closed it in1998.I took my kids for the first time in 1999.I was so disappointed that they did not get to experience my favorite ride first-hand.I am not a giant fan of this version, but it is better than the in between refurb.
    Time will tell! Just hope they don’t send Figment packing…

  20. Melissa says:

    As long as it’s not a Wonders of Life-style rehab.

  21. Googlybear says:

    I was told by a cast member that Captain EO was being replaced by a 3D Phineas and Ferb show.

  22. Kerry W says:

    We just got home from Disney, and because we knew about the upcoming refurbishment, we made sure to do Journey into Imagination with Figment, and Captain EO. We haven’t done either in years, and we’re so glad we made time for them this trip. I agree it all needs a major overhaul, but Captain EO was so bad it was fun! If they made it available on DVD I would buy it, just for the nostalgia! I hope they do a good job with the refurbishment and make it something great!

  23. Julia says:

    I grew up in the 80′s / 90′s and loved the original Imagination ride. I have so many wonderful memories of riding it with my family. The current version just makes me sad and it is unlikely I will ride it on my trip next week. I would love to see the imagination attraction continue with Figment and Dreamfinder in some way. Regardless I think Disney can do better than the attraction that is currently there. And please no Phineas and Ferb, it’s bad enough my husband watches the show!

  24. Laura says:

    Have you heard about whether or not they are doing this refurbishment for sure? We are going in Jan and my husband is a huge figment-lover and loves this ride (although he preferred the original). We usually ride it at least 5 times a visit and he wants to pass the figment-love onto our son (who already knows who figment is, but this is his first trip).

  25. Mark says:

    As much I loved the original attraction,I wouldn’t want to see it return.The Imagineers are capable of so much better now.Right now all I care about is that they’re finally getting rid of that mediocre Journey Into Imagination With Figment.

  26. Stacey says:

    Just a thought- why not do something with the Muppets?! Use Figment along with them!

  27. Andy says:

    I agree with a great deal of this, but I have to differ on some important points. First, there’s very little that would be dated about the original version of the attraction – perhaps some of the science and technology parts, but the rest is timeless; that’s part of why it was a masterpiece. The use of Pixar, or indeed any existing IP, would date every bit as quickly as Phineas and Ferb. The desire to see the original attraction return, albeit with a few updates, has almost nothing to do with nostalgia. Simply, that ride was an unparalleled work, and while it’s conceivable to create something that would equal it nothing in the modern era – TDS possibly aside – has given reason to believe the current group at Imagineering is capable of the achievement. As for surpassing it, I think that’s quite literally impossible.

  28. Nancy says:

    They ruined this ride years ago when they first changed it. It was such a creative ride. Last time I saw it in December I was very disappointed. I thought the ride was very dark where it once used to be colorful and fun.

  29. Nancy says:

    Hate to see Figment go though. He’s also my favorite character next to Donald Duck. So sad!

  30. Chandler says:

    Seriously, go actually watch Phineas and Ferb before hating on it. It’s totally brilliant, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. They got to do a Marvel crossover last year; they’re doing Star Wars this year, they have four other hour long specials happening, a movie on the back burner… They’re just getting started. Now, if they’re replacing Figment with Phineas and Ferb, it’s going to be way more than just an overlay. I’m guessing a brand new ride system, probably similar to Transformers. After seeing how fast Transformers went up, they can be done with the ride by the Summer of 2015 no problem.

  31. Natalie says:

    The more I get in to this rumor the more confusing it gets… To be honest, I did not like Figment or Journey into Imagination the first time I saw it; I saw the version with Eric Idle. It wasn’t until I heard about the Dreamfinder and saw a video of the original attraction that I realized how wonderful the origin of Figment truly was. As I wasn’t born or old enough to visit WDW around this time, I never got to experience the original version. That being said, I think it would be wonderful to see the return of the Dreamfinder as Figment’s creator and re-imagine the story while giving small nods to the original attraction. Ok, rant over… All we can do is dream for the best! :)

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