One Little Spark
If you're a big fan of Disney theme parks, you might be familiar with a purple dragon named Figment, who was created to help people understand and explore their imagination. For the last several years Figment has been there to greet visitors to EPCOT in the form of a sculpted shrub near the entrance during special events, and he serves as the park's primary mascot.
What is a Figment?
"Two tiny wings, eyes big and yellow, horns of a steer, but a lovable fellow!"
As the story goes, Figment was created by an inventor named Dreamfinder. While Dreamfinder was traveling through the Realms of Imagination, a spark of his inspiration created the fun-loving dragon. Figment was made to have glowing yellow eyes, vibrant purple skin, long orange horns, a crocodile's snout, and a child-like personality. Dreamfinder and Figment worked together to gather all sorts of items used to sculpt new inventions, transforming their ideas into reality. They used these creations to forge their way through worlds of art, science, literature, and film.
Journey Into imagination
However, unlike so many of the other Disney characters, Figment is not a part of a movie. Rather, Figment is a character from a ride at EPCOT. In 1983, EPCOT Center opened Journey Into Imagination, a dark ride that was the first introduction to the story of the Dreamfinder and Figment. It was an immediate hit with children, especially since it was located in a park that lacked many Disney characters at the time. Figment and Dreamfinder became influential parts of the park until Disney's corporate sponsor, Kodak, decided to remove the aging ride in 1998.
Journey Into YOUR Imagination
In 1999, Disney opened a new version of the ride, called Journey Into YOUR Imagination. However, in this version, Dreamfinder was replaced by Dr. Nigel Channing, and Figment was relegated to a few cameo appearances. This update didn't sit well with visitors to the park, and the ride's popularity plummeted. Disney received numerous complaints about the new attraction, expressing how the public missed Figment and Dreamfinder's role in the ride's story.
Journey Into Imagination with Figment
After enough criticism from guests of the park, Epcot brought Figment and the ride's original theme song, "One Little Spark," back for a new version of the ride only a few years later, in 2002. Dreamfinder is still absent, but in this version, called Journey Into Imagination With Figment, the lovable dragon plays a much larger role in the story. Journey into Imagination With Figment is now the longest-running attraction to occupy that space within the Imagination pavilion.
In the original ride, Figment's personality is more like that of a student, eager to learn all that his mind can do with the power of his imagination. But in the current ride, he is more in tune with how influential his imagination is, and he uses fun pranks to encourage everyone's imagination to be set free. How can the five senses help you capture your imagination? That's what this attraction aims to teach you through the many rooms of Dr. Channing's laboratory. They discuss how a sound can trigger your creativity or how sight can alter how you imagine something would feel or taste. At one point in the ride, they flip all the décor and furniture upside-down so you feel as if you are traveling through the ride on the ceiling, expressing the idea that by merely changing the way something looks, we can alter how we perceive it.
Outside of EPCOT, Figment made a few appearances in educational videos in the 1980s, and he was going to be in a TV show called Dreamfinders that never made it to air. In addition, Marvel published a five-part comic book mini-series called Figment in 2014. The story in this series is based on the original EPCOT Center attraction: An inventor known as Dreamfinder uses his imagination to create a dragon sidekick named Figment. This steampunk-style fantasy adventure takes the reader through Dreamfinder's origins and what brought him to create his dragon friend. Together, they embark on adventures and explore intriguing ideas. Marvel's team of Jim Zub and Filipe Andrade put their own spin on this series, but they still capture the magic of imagination in every word.