Most people can only dream of being a Disney Imagineer, but anyone can be an Armchair Imagineer!
Have you ever gotten off of an attraction at Disney World and thought, “this would be so much better if…”? My husband and I are hardcore Disney fans, and we love to discuss upgrades or complete makeovers for even our most beloved rides.
I have to admit that Journey Into Imagination with Figment is not my favorite ride, so that’s even more reason to suggest a makeover.
Journey Into Imagination with Figment is a dark ride that opened on March 5, 1983. Figment, a cute purple dragon, leads riders through an open house into their imagination. Originally, the omnimover train floated through the clouds exploring rooms representing Art, Literature, Performing Arts, and Science.
On October 1, 1999, the ride reopened with new rooms for each of the five senses, but many people were disappointed that Figment was largely removed from the experience. In 2002, the ride got a small makeover, which added Figment back into every scene. He also led the song “One Little Spark.”
A New Idea
Disney Pixar recently released a new movie called Inside Out. You can find a summary and my review of the movie here.
In short, Inside Out follows a girl named Riley from birth through pre-teen years. Riley’s overarching emotion is Joy, but when her family moves from Minnesota to San Francisco, her emotions go haywire, and she almost runs away. However, the emotions- Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust- work hard to recover from a series of mishaps to make Riley more emotionally mature and return to her mostly joyful state.
The Suggested Makeover
Upon entering the queue, guests walk through different scenes and see significant elements from the movie including headquarters and the control board, Long-term Memory, Pre-School World, Imaginationland, and Abstract Thought. Since Inside Out was such a popular movie, adding interactive games to these areas would accommodate an increase in crowds who wish to experience the new ride.
Next, you’ll board the Train of Thought. Using the existing omnimover will save some money and time. Once on the train, guests will venture through the emotions much like the current ride does with senses.
Retrofitting the cars with touch-screen computers like those at Spaceship Earth will make this ride interactive and more appropriate for guests’ increasing technological interest. Since Epcot seeks to utilize the latest technology, the current ride seems very outdated and out of place by not including any technology to enhance guests’ creative side. This small enhancement will completely change that. With the on-board screen, guests can interact with the different rooms, and the characters can interact with the guests!
An opening room will present a brief and age-appropriate overview of the brain and some of the topics presented in Inside Out including long-term memory, psychological changes and stressors, abstract thought, inductive and deductive reasoning, etc. Psychology Today says that it is remarkable and very powerful how Inside Out is so accurate “to cognitive, developmental, and clinical psychology.” Harnessing the potential interest in psychology created by this movie could make a significant impact on guests young and not so young.
Each room will be based on an emotion represented in the film: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust. The rooms can ask the riders questions like, “What makes you feel [joyful].” The character of each room can address emotions related to feeling their emotion and even use the RFID technology of the MagicBand to identify guests by name saying things like, “Susie feels joyful when she is playing with her friends. Friendship provides support that is important to emotional well-being.” And “Benji is fearful of spiders. Fear can keep us safe in dangerous situations.”
The final room can return to the brain showing riders that every emotion is important, but they must all work together in a balanced way to support emotional health. Also, expressing these emotions rather than keeping them to oneself can benefit not only the person expressing the emotion but also the person listening. Feeling sad when others are sad is called sympathy. Having a shared experience is called empathy. This will reflect the ending of the movie.
Post-Attraction Entertainment and Enrichment
Many rides in Epcot have large sections at the end of the ride that offer interactive games for guests to further their experience with the topic addressed with in the ride. Games at the end of the new Inside Out attraction could include things like helping Joy get back to headquarters through the long-term memory maze, an interactive brain map allowing guests to learn even more about the different parts of the brain, what they’re called, and what they do, and helping Riley make good emotional choices while simultaneously keeping the Personality Islands from crumbling.
Also, this would be an excellent place to promote Inside Out-themed merchandise including plush toys, key chains, license plate covers, t-shirts, etc. After all, Disney has a gift shop for everything!
Although this may seem like a big undertaking, the current Journey Into Imagination with Figment is about 10 minutes long. I don’t see any issue with Disney fitting this information into a 10-12 minute time slot.
This ride would also be more relevant and beneficial than the current ride while dealing with a similar topic. I doubt children and especially teenagers arrive in Disney World saying how much they want to see Figment, but they would love to see their favorite Pixar characters. Look how popular Carsland has been in Disneyland! Disney could even create new meet-and-greets! Oh, the potential profits!
What’s more, using the existing building will save Disney time and money. The building, queue, ride vehicles, and post-attraction area are sufficient to host this new ride. Disney has spent so much time and money building new areas like Fantasyland and Disney Springs; perhaps it would be equally beneficial to update existing rides and reignite the original vision for Epcot as the home for new technology and self-understanding and enhancement.
Do you think Journey Into Imagination should get a makeover?
Leave your comments below.