Q: Dave, where did the inspiration for Dreamfinder and Figment, the original hosts of the Journey Into Imagination pavilion at EPCOT in Walt Disney World, come from? Was Walt Disney any influence?
Paul, Apopka, Florida
A: For your answer, I turned to Steven Vagnini in the Archives, who has long been an expert on the attraction: “The characters that would become Dreamfinder and Figment originated as Professor Marvel and his dragon friend for a proposed, but never realized, area of Disneyland known as Discovery Bay. When that project was canceled, the characters became the symbols of imagination for the Journey into Imagination pavilion at Epcot. An early description of the Dreamfinder explained that the character is the Spirit of Imagination. ‘He represents the practical and controlled side of the imaginative process. He may not be readily known to us, yet we’ve all met him every time we were excited by inspiration, thrilled by the art of creating, or felt the pride of having generated something new. It is his purpose to gather ‘ideas’ because each one may be that spark which inspires new imaginings.’ One might say that Walt Disney was one of the greatest ‘Dreamfinders’ of all; during the development of the Epcot character, Imagineers referenced many of Walt Disney’s famous quotes to inspire the character’s identity. Figment was Dreamfinder’s foil: the childish side of imagination with a short attention span.