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