Imagination Pavilion – Epcot
The Imagination Pavilion has been a part of Epcot since it opened. The central theme is all about using or stretching your imagination. It begins on the outside of the building with the upside down waterfall and jumping water pods! Let’s go see what the Imagination Institute is up to!
Wander through the queue and see part of the Imagination Institute. There is a portrait gallery of Inventor of the Year winners, which includes Dr. Channing, Dr. Wayne Szalinski (Honey I Shrunk the Kids’ Rick Moranis) and Dr. Brainard (Robin Williams) from “Flubber.”
The colors become much brighter as you enter the loading and unloading zone. Slow moving red vehicles (similar to those on Spaceship Earth) crawl by as you move from the moving ramp into the vehicle. There are two rows and both can comfortably seat two adults or two adults and a child. A large adult may want to sit in their own row. The back row is slightly wider than the front row.
Once inside the vehicle, Dr. Channing begins to provide an overview of your Open House experience and it’s here you get your first glance at Figment! Travel through several “labs” that study our senses and how they are intertwined with our imagination –Sight, Sound and Smell. One never gets to Taste and Touch, as Figment – well – he has other plans for the “Open House”.
There are special effects, we are dealing with our senses after all, so be prepared especially for the sense of Sound and Smell (see Touring Tips below for details).
There are a couple of nods to the original ride. One is an office door marked “Dean Finder” and the old film of Figment somersaulting is shown on his TV in the upside-down house. The tune “One Little Spark” is prominent throughout the ride, albeit with new lyrics. Figment’s new voice is different enough to be noticeable to longtime fans, who will remember Billy Barty’s original Figment.
The Disney*Pixar Short Film Festival shows three great shorts (currently playing: Get a Horse, Piper, and Feast) from Disney and Pixar in 3D/4D. In the queue area you can see artist drawings from the shorts that will be shown. As you go through the turnstiles, pick up your glasses and enter the pre-show area. It is 15 minutes of standing and while informative, is not very entertaining for kids.
ImageWorks has fun hands-on experiments. You can conduct an orchestra, step on stones that create sounds and play with a special mirror that distorts your body. Lots of children enjoy this interactive section. You can also send email postcards home from here, some with other-worldly special effects! For a price, you can have some “green screen” fun and put yourself into a special Disney photo, like the Castle.
There is no place to eat in the immediate vicinity of the the Imagination pavilion. However, next door at the Land are the Sunshine Seasons food court and sit-down character dinner, the Garden Grill.
There is no “live” entertainment in this pavilion.
JOURNEY INTO YOUR IMAGINATION – There are several areas of brief darkness however there are two portions of the ride (one at the beginning and one near the end), where it is pitch black and very noisy (from pouring rain to a loud train)! Young children may be frightened by this.
The ride vehicle will stop periodically as part of the show.
Wheelchair accessible vehicles are available, however some longer or wider than the average chair may be a tight fit.
There is generally no wait unless the Magic Eye Theatre has just let out.
ImageWorks! can be lots of fun, especially if it is not crowded. Be sure to stop by the Email center and send home a postcard of yourself, Imagination Styled!
Be sure to check out the fountains outside the pavilion.
The ImageWorks is a great place for kids to run around, touch things and burn off some energy.
Be sure you read the Touring Tips (above) regarding things that may frighten children.
The Gift Shop immediately following the ImageWorks has computer-generated photos taken with Disney Characters. There is plenty of Figment merchandise in the form of mugs, T-shirts, key chains etc as well as Imagination Institute merchandise. Occasionally you can find something with Dreamfinder on it as well. There are also some unusual etched Lucite gifts here — the images they can etch into the material are really quite impressive! There are a number of Instant Photo booths where, for a price, you can make your own Epcot Passport, Photo-ID Badge for the Imagination Institute, or picture postcards to send to friends and family!
The Journey to Imagination Pavilion that opened with Epcot Center provided a “child’s-eye view of imagination”. A spectacular 3-D journey in the Magic Eye Theater and the creative Image Works (on an upper floor) area were part of the original pavilion. Honey I Shrunk the Audience replaced Captain EO starring Michael Jackson.
When the Journey to Imagination attraction first opened, Figment and Dreamfinder took you on a wondrous journey through your imagination. The original was “updated” in 1999 much to the displeasure of many fans. Dreamfinder was completely gone and Figment only had a short cameo appearance. It was rehabbed once again and reopened June 1, 2002 (the version you now experience).
The current voice of Figment is provided by Dave Goelz, better known to Muppet fans as the Great Gonzo.
At one time, there was a VIP lounge for Kodak employees to visit, but that has been gone for years now. This lounge is used now for Disney Vacation Club members.
The original pre-show for Honey I Shrunk the Audience was called “True Colors” and included a great photo show.
The Figment meet and greet ended in 2008.
If you have comments or tips to share with others about touring Epcot, please email us . Thank you.