03 September 2010

At the heart of all creation

Today, we’re going to begin a series that will, on occasion, focus on a single character and their place in Walt Disney World. Although, thinking about today’s entry, it is perhaps more poignant to discuss his lack of place. I am obviously speaking about one of the Imagination Pavilion’s founding members, the Dreamfinder.

The vacuum created by the no characters in EPCOT Center left many children and families at a loss when seeking out those interactions. The exceptions to the rule were the duo of Dreamfinder and Figment, who appeared in 1982, even before their full-fledged attraction was up and running. When Journey Into Imagination opened its doors in March of 1983, and Dreamfinder swooped in aboard his Dream Machine, whole new worlds and thought processes were opened up for children and adults alike.

The superb visions of science, art, stage, words, and music were short lived, as Journey Into Imagination would close its doors in 1998, a mere fifteen years after the journey began. A second manifestation of the pavilion’s marquee attraction was met with a less than enthusiastic response, and was shuttered in a mere two years. The current Imagination incarnation, Journey Into Imagination with Figment, opened in 2002 and returned half of the original Dream Machine crew with the inclusion of Figment. Dreamfinder was no where to be seen, or so it would seem.

Dreamfinder may have flown the coop, but he was not forgotten entirely. As guests make their way through the Imagination Institute there are office doors, many assigned to well known Disney scientists. One such door, found just before the Sound Lab, uses clever wordplay to remind us of the original inhabitant of the Imagination Pavilion as it is labeled for Dean Finder. In the finale scene, with a mass of Figments performing inspired tasks, Dreamfinder makes his second appearance. One Figment, soaring above the scene with a makeshift hang glider has used the sheet music to the longstanding Imagination song, One Little Spark. Printed on the right sheet of music the Dreamfinder floats above the musical lines in his Dream Machine. The Dream Machine also makes a solo appearance in the rafters of Epcot’s prime gift shop, Mouse Gear.

Dreamfinder does occasionally show up in souvenir form, particularly in pins and the forthcoming Vinylmation, especially with so much interest being taken in the history of Epcot and EPCOT Center in that past several years. While the Dreamfinder may no longer have a physical presence in Walt Disney World, he will always live in the hearts and imagination of those who journeyed with him.

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