ORLANDO, Fla. – With EPCOT celebrating its 40th anniversary, we wanted to learn more about a certain purple dragon sometimes spotted in and around the theme park.
His name is Figment and he’s part of the Imagination! pavilion, which first opened with the park in 1982. The attraction, ‘Journey into Imagination,’ the ride in the pavilion, opened in 1983.
It featured the Dreamfinder and his creation, Figment. The attraction then closed in 1998 because of sponsorship issues with Kodak.
We spoke to Michele Atwood, the owner of the blog The Main Street Mouse, about the history of the attraction.
“In 1999, a new version opened, Journey Into YOUR Imagination, minus the Dreamfinder and less with Figment. The new one was built with a similar concept as the ‘Honey I Shrunk the Kids’ attraction and featured Eric Idle. This new version was not well received by guests, a lot of negative feedback,” Atwood said.
She said the ride closed for another renovation, added more Figment, and reopened in 2002 with the version we see today.
Journey into your Imagination with Figment takes riders through a lab, exploring the senses like sight, sound and smell, until Figment comes along and teaches the importance of using your imagination. After the ride, you get a chance to check out some interactive games, maybe meet some characters from other Disney movies, and of course, there’s a gift shop.
“Figment represents the history of EPCOT. He brings back memories of the opening day attraction for so many people. It’s like getting in touch with a childhood friend again,” Atwood said.
Figment definitely strikes a chord with Disney fans. The iconic purple dragon has been featured on merchandise collections for several years now. Earlier this year, there was a lot of excitement over a popcorn bucket.
“I was there on the day they released the Figment popcorn bucket. It was an absolute frenzy. At one point, the line to purchase this bucket was over eight hours long. The Figment popcorn bucket was the first of its kind and die hard fans had to have it. It just reaffirmed how popular that little purple dragon actually is,” said Atwood.
Disney recently gave us a first look at its merchandise celebrating the park’s 40th, and you may have noticed Figment on a lot of the clothing.
Atwood believes the theme park chose to go with the purple dragon for nostalgic purposes.
Fans of Figment will want to visit EPCOT next year when the park plans to bring back a Figment meet-and-greet for guests.
“For most of our lives use he’s appeared only in our imaginations. For a short period of time, years ago, you could actually meet this lovable purple dragon. Well, I am thrilled to announce that by the end of next year, you’ll get the chance to meet Figment in person once again,” Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro described to fans at D23. “I’m gonna have a lot more to share in the future but our teams are right now hard at work bringing figment to life and I know that you’re going to all be excited to meet him.”
Do you have any special memories involving Figment or EPCOT? We want to know about it. Click here to share with us.
Use the form below to sign up for the ClickOrlando.com In the Loop: Theme Park Scoops newsletter, sent every Friday morning.