In Depth: Comparing “Imagination!” Versions

Welcome to another edition of In Depth (formerly In the Spotlight) – where we go into detail and get some interesting facts about attractions in Walt Disney World. Today, we take a look at Journey into Imagination – all of the versions. This is a different way to do “In Depth”, but I thought it would be fun to see the details of the 3 versions it’s been through. Here we go!

Version #1 (1983 – 1998):

The first version of this attraction was entitled “Journey into Imagination”. It was created by Tony Baxter and Steve Kirk, and lasted about 11 minutes. Hosted by Figment and the Dreamfinder, this version took you through many different rooms featuring a different theme. These included the Art Room, Literature Room, Performing Arts Room, and Science Room. In all of these rooms, Figment and the Dreamfinder were discovering different things – for example, in the Literature Room, all of the books were horror tales, we watch as Figment tries to keep monsters out of one book. The theme song was “One Little Spark”, written by the Sherman brothers.

On October 10, 1998, the ride was shut down to make room for a brand new, very different experience.

Version #2 (1999-2001):

This second version was called “Journey into Your Imagination”. Most fans of Walt Disney World say that this version was without a doubt the worst. Now, the Dreamfinder was completely removed, and was replaced with Dr. Nigel Channing – the chairman of the fictionous “Imagination Institute”. Channing was supposedly testing out an Imagination Scanner, and the riders were the test subjects. Guests were taken through a series of rooms that performed some sort of experiment or “trick”. For example, in one room, a butterfly appears to disappear inside his cage. In this version, they also removed the classic theme song “One Little Spark”, and replaced it with an Imagination Institute theme.

Almost all Disney fans were so disappointed with this version of the ride, it was closed for, once again, renovations.

Version #3 (2002-present):

This version is the current version of the ride, called “Journey into Imagination with Figment”. As you can see, they reverted to the old title, simply adding “with Figment”, letting all fans of the purple dragon know that he’s back. The theme song “One Little Spark” returned as well, with a new beat to it and some added verses. Now, Dr. Nigel Channing is still our host – he attempts to give us a tour of the Imagination Institute, however Figment interferes with just about every experiment he tries to perform. For example, in the Smell Lab, Figment turns into a skunk and sprays the riders with a nasty smell.

Although this version does not include the Dreamfinder, it returns Figment to a role in every scene – a plus for fans of the first version. In fact, the disappearance of Figment is what caused many people to dislike the second version (and the fact that it was incredibly boring).

So now it’s your turn: let us know in the comments what you think of the Imagination versions, and which one you thought was the best/worst! Let’s have a discussion – be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments.