If you ask any longtime Disney fan what "extinct" Epcot attractions they miss most, you're likely to hear Horizons and the original Journey Into Imagination. Sure, Figment still exists today but the third incarnation of the ride is just not the same as the original.
When the original attraction opened on March 5, 1983, guests "met" Dreamfinder - an older gentleman riding his Dream Vehicle as he gathers ideas and inspiration and eventually creates Figment. This lovable purple dragon is a combination of "horns of a steer, royal purple pigment, and a dash of childish delight" and he helps Dreamfinder fill his idea bag.
Once the idea bag is full, Figment and Dreamfinder guests visited the Dreamport and then journeyed through rooms representing Art, Literature, Performing Art, and Science. And of course, there was the song "One Little Spark" written by the Sherman Brothers - you know the words, go ahead and sing it!
Sadly, Dreamfinder was sent packing when the ride closed in 1998 as part of a major renovation. When the attraction reopened in 1999 as Journey Into Your Imagination, the idea bag, Dream Vehicle, and "One Little Spark" were gone, replaced by Dr. Nigel Channing and the Imagination Scanner. Even Figment was reduced to computer-generated cameo appearances. The premise of the ride was that guests were attending the open house at the Imagination Institute (From Honey, I Shrunk the Kids) where they would have their minds charged with ideas. This version closed (to the relief of many guests) in 2001.
Figment returned to the pavilion in 2002 when the attraction reopened as Journey Into Imagination with Figment. In its current state, the attraction takes guests through the Imagination Institute to visit Dr. Channing's five sensory labs representing sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste.
The lovable purple dragon has now turned rather mischievous (likely due to his near banishment in the 1999 version of the attraction) and has decided to tag along so he can try to sabotage Dr. Channing's experiments. Of course, imagination wins in the end as Dr. Channing decides "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!" After setting imagination free, guests are treated to numerous versions of Figment in different scenes as he and Dr. Channing sing "One Little Spark."
So while guests still have Figment around to cause mischief and you leave the ride singing "One Little Spark", the only reminder we have of Dreamfinder is a door that reads "Dean Finder." Certainly this third version is better than the second, but nothing will replace the original Journey Into Imagination.
Tell us - do you miss the original Journey Into Imagination? Are you a Figment fan? Leave us a comment!