I know it’s only 15 minutes long, but Captain EO is literally one of the greatest movies of all time.
Here’s yet another tribute, this one to the original Journey Into Imagination.
Journey Into Imagination is still a ride that is running today (now known under the name Journey Into Imagination With Figment), although that version is definitely a shadow of it’s former glory.
This video starts off discussing the history and development of both the pavilion and the main characters, the Dreamfinder and Figment.
The ride system of Journey into Imagination was one of the most complicated at the time, and featured a curved loading track, which was unusual, where the vehicles would start out as an omnimover style chain (like The Haunted Mansion) and then connect and become like a Peoplemover-style train of 4 vehicles. They would then rotate around the first major scene “The Flight To Imagination” which was a large circular scene that passed through four separate sections but was synchronized with the vehicles in such a way that it would appear as if you were stationary the whole time. The cars would then split up again, separating into smaller groups but then rejoining at the end of the ride. This video shows a simulation of how the ride would progress.
Due to the extremely complicated ride system, the Journey Into Imagination pavilion opened without the ride on EPCOT Center’s opening day. The ride cars had a difficult time locking to the rotating scene in the beginning (which was an issue that was never fully resolved). Vehicle spacing was also an issue. The unloading speedramp had to be completely removed because it had issues as well.
The ride opened several months later, on March 5th, 1983. The full original ride is shown in this video, complete with a full showing of the open queue area and the mural that wrapped around the entrance foyer that illustrated the entire ride form start to finish.
The original manifestation of the Journey Into Imagination ride was one of the most spectacular versions of any ride I have seen the Imagineers produce. It was heavily detailed and featured beautiful showpieces as well as the tremendously catchy song, “One Little Spark” written by the Sherman Brothers, who also wrote the music for Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, as well as many other Disney classics.
In this video is the footage of the full second floor of the pavilion, ImageWorks. The second floor is no longer open to the public. I’ve heard everything from structural problems to Disney wanting to use it as a storage space as reason to this.
In 1998, the pavilion went under a major renovation. The Magic Eye Theater, which held the films Magic Journeys and later, Captain EO, became home to Honey I Shrunk the Audience, and the original Journey Into Imagination ride was replaced by Journey Into Your Imagination, which sort of coincided with the film shown in the adjoining theater. Fans of the original ride were upset by the change, especially because Dreamfinder was completely out of the ride, and Figment only made a short appearance. The upstairs ImageWorks was also closed down, and a smaller version was moved to the downstairs area. The second floor of the pavilion still remains empty only used temporarily as a finale to the Kim Possible interactive activity in the summer of 2006. Since then, it has remained vacant.
The attraction was also renamed to the Imagination! pavilion around this time.
Because of the bad public response Journey Into Your Imagination received, it was removed in 2001 and replaced with the current attraction, Journey Into Imagination with Figment in 2002. As stated in the name, Figment returned but the Dreamfinder did not. Journey Into Imagination With Figment discusses the 5 senses, instead of the broad spectrum of imagination like the original ride did.
Following the death of Michael Jackson, Captain EO returned to the pavilion in 2010 where it still plays today. Kodak, the sponsor of the pavilion since the opening in 1982, dropped their sponsorship after nearly 28 years, one of the longest running corporate sponsorships in the history of Epcot.
The Imagination! pavilion has been the subject of many rumors in the past few years, most of them saying that it will be renovated. I personally wish that they would redo the pavilion, since the ride has lost a lot of it’s popularity and another crowd-drawing attraction would really benefit the park.
Like I’ve said in the past, I’ll be making a more comprehensive post outlining what I would do with Epcot if I were making the big decisions soon.
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