Anyone old enough to have visited Walt Disney World's EPCOT during its first fifteen years will remember the original Journey Into Imagination ride. It was an amazing experience,in which you are joined by the professorial Dreamfinder and his childlike purple dragon protege' Figment,soaring past you on their steampunk-style flying machine. You then journey through a series of tableaus crammed to the walls with color,movement and sound,various physical depictions of the potential of imagination. Some of the more memorable sights on this ride include a paper carousel with origami-type animals and giant nouns that act out what they say. If you never had the chance to ride,trust me...watching a YouTube video of it is just not the same.
In 1998,this closed...and was replaced a year later with Journey Into Your Imagination,which I did ride. I found it to be a most unimaginative ride,considering the people who created it and what park I was in. All the whimsy and charm of the original was gone,replaced by a ride through a series of black rooms,each of which featured a sole illusion,although amazing in themselves,they looked rather scarce against their black backgrounds. The Imagineers clearly realized the inferior nature of what they'd created,so they tried a revision three years later...Journey Into Your Imagination With Figment...but all they succeeded in doing was making it worse. Figment was returned to the attraction,but no longer as a childlike sprite,coming across more as an annoying pest. Even the few good things about this ride's former incarnation,such as a realistic upside-down house,were ruined...it was redone in blacklight colors and toon-like proportions.
I've done this rant before,on other places on the net...but Disney never should've gotten rid of the original Journey Into Imagination. Like more noteworthy and groundbreaking Disney attractions like Pirates Of The Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion,what made it so special was its wealth of detail. Almost every scene was filled with movement and sound,requiring multiple rides to take it all in. My memory of this ride is complete enough to realize that,were this attraction created in the early 1980s still running today,some parts of it,certainly some of the visual effects,would require updating. Pirates and the Mansion have seen their fair share of changes over the decades,but the ideas and executions behind them are still good. I believe this was also the case with Journey Into Imagination. Unfortunately,we shall never know this,as it was replaced with an attraction that,in my opinion,belongs in the ranks of Superstar Limo and Dreamflight as among the few bad Disney theme-park attractions.