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Disney Legend Tony Baxter doubles down on redoing Journey Into Imagination With Figment, suggests feature film

by Attractions Magazine Staff

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard Disney Legend Tony Baxter say he’d come out of retirement to redo Journey Into Imagination With Figment, but today he doubled down on that sentiment during a VIP reception as part of the Walt Disney Birthplace’s virtual celebration of Walt’s birthday Dec. 5.

“I would — because to me it’s a critical attraction,” he said. “It gets at what we started about childhood and it was interesting when the original ride was there.”

The attraction, said Baxter, is unrecognizable in its current state. “For those of you who haven’t see the original ride since 2000, you’ve never seen it.”

Though he called the original 1983 Journey Into Imagination attraction “fairly simplistic,” with only a 13-minute ride to tackle the imaginative process Baxter described as “gathering input and then storing it with your own knowledge and then using it to build new things,” thanks to some help from Robert and Richard Sherman’s “fabulous song to explain it,” it worked.

“Then it was somehow commandeered and turned into a nightmare,” Baxter said, referencing the ride’s 1999 overhaul to become Journey Into Your Imagination.

After only two years, this version was shut down for another redo. “The guests complained and they took that one out and they threw Figments back into it, but the Figments that are in it now don’t really reinforce the story,” Baxter said.

Baxter went on to praise devotees of the original version of the attraction are part of “one of the most loyal Disney fandoms ever.”

“I have so many friends and very valuable business associates who grew up in that timeframe and Figment is an icon to them,” he said.

Baxter, who has also been brought on as creative adviser for the upcoming reimagining of Splash Mountain, confirmed he would indeed be onboard with working on another attraction overhaul.

“I would give anything to be called upon to rethink that and get back to the story that every human being does,” he said of Journey Into Imagination. “There aren’t creative people and non-creative people. Everybody uses it. It’s just to what extent and I think that that was a really valuable story to tell. It is certainly not told in there now, and I would love to see it get back.”

But no need to stop there, said Baxter.

“Maybe we can even do a film,” he said. “That would even be better. A full-length animated feature film starring Figment.”

“Let’s do a kickstarter right now,” Baxter joked to a virtual roomful of support.

Could this be the one little spark that leads to a return to Figment and Dreamfinder? The ride hasn’t had an update in years, besides Figment’s new Christmas sweater he recently started sporting:

(Small) Holiday Overlay to Journey Into Imagination With Figment

Would you like to see the ride get an update? Which version is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.

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21 comments

Luke Dunsmore December 5, 2020 - 11:21 pm

Would love to see this updated. It’s such a shame to have a huge part of Future World stuck with a lacklustre ride experience. Why they ever changed the original is beyond me.

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Harriet December 6, 2020 - 12:18 am

The original was outstanding. They never should have changed it.

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Ann Obar December 6, 2020 - 1:39 am

Please redo Figment back to the original one with Dreamfinder. It was the one my son fell in love with when he was growing up.

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Becky December 8, 2020 - 10:59 am

I just turned 40 and it was also my favorite ride. The newest one is disappointing, with the only good part being at the end when the wall blows open to the “original” scene and theme!

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Tammy Martell December 6, 2020 - 9:11 am

To say I love Figment is an understatement. I first met Figment and Dreamfinder in 1985 as a teenager. I have loved them both as I brought them with me physically and in my heart for nearly 30 years. I have quite an extensive collection of Figments. My favorite purchase is definitely the pillow pet. I bought 3! I have 2 children and they say “Mom’s Spirit Animal is Figment ” I love that! It is true. I visited Figment in 2019 just before the pandemic. Although it is always wonderful to see him, I would constantly tell my kids about the original ride. I even watched it on YouTube with them so they would understand. I would be very supportive of redoing the ride and bringing back my beloved Dreamfinder. Just don’t keep it closed for too long😁💝💝💝

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Tom December 6, 2020 - 12:17 pm

I’ve never seen the original version of this attraction. Our family has only seen the newer version once. None of us really enjoyed it. I would love to see the original ride reinstated. There are so many loyal devotees to the original version (and the fact that the current version is so bad) that I feel this should be done. Figment merch. still sells very well from what I hear. Sad to say, but making money is the only way to get Disney execs. (mostly Chapek) on board with anything these days. Pretty sad. 🙁

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Price December 6, 2020 - 1:32 pm

#FireChapek

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Terry Ulrich December 6, 2020 - 5:20 pm

Bring back the original ride

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Tim Sack December 6, 2020 - 6:13 pm

Bring back the original. I saw it when it first opened and has been my favorite part of Epcot. I still enjoy Figment, but bring back the original

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Mary December 6, 2020 - 7:18 pm

The original should be brought back. The best ride EVER!!!! It was a classic!

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Carol December 6, 2020 - 11:42 pm

Bring back the original idea. I miss Dreamfinder. The new ride is boring, stale and very unimaginative.

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Lynn December 7, 2020 - 12:17 am

Love Figment but miss the original. Would love to see a variation of that with the Dreamfinder. And the song is a must! Figment is the Epcot mascot and deserves a prominent role in Imagination!

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Jeff Beucler December 7, 2020 - 3:44 am

The original should absolutely be brought back! It was a highlight for me when I visited EPCOT for the first time in 1983, and again in 1989. A great ride with a great story and flawless execution. The rest of the Imagination Pavilion needs a cohesive reset as well. The entire Pavilion was so fully immersive and cohesive back then. The ONLY thing I would change is the Dream Finders hairstyle and beard (Too 70’s). Bring Tony back!

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Billy December 7, 2020 - 7:31 pm

Bring bac the origina!!!!!!!!l

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Robyn Murov December 7, 2020 - 10:32 pm

God bless Tony Baxter!!! Long live Dreamfinder!! And, honestly, I would absolutely help fund a kickstarter campaign for am animated Figment AND Dreamfinder movie (even if it is only on Disney+) if it means restoring the ride back to its former glory.
Where are the petitions?!? Let’s help Tony make this ‘laughable’ dream a reality!!!

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catherine ruby December 8, 2020 - 8:29 am

Bring back the original! Never could understand the rationale for ditching it. It’s replacements have definitely shown a lack of imagination.
I’m disappointed; my grown children are disappointed; their children are clueless. We haven’t gone into this pavilion for years.

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Jaime December 10, 2020 - 4:23 pm

I miss the original, it was my favorite.

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Mary December 12, 2020 - 7:03 pm

We loved the original Figment ride. Since it’s upgrades, it’s never been quite the same. We’d love to see the original brought back.

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Samantha Smith September 10, 2021 - 9:33 am

The original ride was amazing, the second one was awful, the current one isn’t much better except they have some figments. I read that the original was one of the most complex ride structures, and at the time maybe it was but with all the advancements in technology since 1983 I’m sure they could figure it out. I loved the beginning scene with the dream finder in his dream mobile. Honestly it was a very clever ride. My young children dislike the ride as it is now and I can’t blame them, I also have had them watch the original figment on youtube. The music and the paper carousel seen oh and the lovely smells. Disney give thought to bringing back to original figment in fact that whole area could be based around original rides that have since been replaced, with the main attraction the original figment ride and let’s not forget ImagineWorks upstairs and the rainbow tunnel! (That’s a must!) it could be called Vintage Epcot area, it’s about moving forward but not forgetting the past!

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Nick October 3, 2021 - 8:52 pm

I know this is almost a year old but what they did to that right is unacceptable. When I went there in 1994 as a kid that ride changed how I looked at life. Actually all of Epcot did that… the rides were more than just entertainment. Spaceship earth, world of motion, horizons, innoventions, living with the land, the living seas. Now, most of it is horrible. They should of never touched imagination. Now it’s a sham of a a ride. It’s not fun, funny, inventive, creative, or original. You go through 3 senses and then they blow your imagination with upside rooms which looks like college interns designed. I hope Mr Baxter gets the approval and bring the ride to its former glory. Figment is pretty much a throw away to today’s generation. When he should be the thing that ties together Epcot’s entire theme: imagination.

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Albie October 14, 2021 - 2:23 pm

There was truly a special magic and beauty to the original attraction. I REALLY hope that if they ever do make a movie, they don’t just tell a silly story or one that misses the whole point and magic (as I’m very afraid they would under the current regime). I hope instead, they dive deeper into the meaning and power of imagination. Have Figment and the Dreamfinder
be part of a meaningful, beautiful story that explores the dreams and fears we all share and their relationship to our ability to imagination. Explore the deep meaning and beauty of imagination as well as it’s power to create and destroy. Make the movie (and the attraction) the most inspiring and beautiful one that Disney has ever made…That being said, I’d rather not see this done if it’s not done right.

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