It’s imagination time! Some may say it’s a journey into our imagination to see what the new Figment means. As Mickey is the face of Walt Disney World, many Disneyphiles relate Figment to Epcot. He is the mascot for all the festivals after all. For the past few years, we’ve been tracking a variety of rumors on what the future could hold for both the Imagination Pavilion and Figment at Epcot. Recently, we got a glimpse into what a new Figment could look like and it got us thinking. Or, should we say we had a spark of inspiration! Well, let’s get this journey into what this potentially new Figment could mean for Epcot.
Blast From The Past
It’s not just a Brendan Fraser movie reference. On August 21, 2020, news broke that an infamous Disney Imagineer would be willing to come out of retirement to redo the Journey Into Imagination attraction. Which Imagineer? You many know this Imagineer from his fine work on the creation of Big Thunder Mountain and the original Journey Into Imagination. That’s right, no other than Tony Baxter. The Disney Legend commented, “I just wish we could do that ride over. I would come back out of retirement to do that ride over” when speaking about Journey Into Imagination during his virtual appearance at [email protected] [email protected] is a USC student organization focused on themed entertainment.
The comment was captured on video and posted to YouTube, but was later taken down by the video owner.
It would not be surprising if Tony Baxter came out of retiring, as Disney has stated Tony would be involved in the rethemeing of Splash Mountain.
Fast-forward two weeks. On September 4, 2020, the 40th episode of One Day at Disney on Disney+ premiered. The episode focused on VP of Content Innovation, Alice Taylor, and the work conducted at StudioLAB. Within the episode, viewers caught a glimpse into the potential look for a new Figment. The big change is a more “rounded” look for Figment’s face, especially through his nose.
What really caught our attention is the conversation between Alice and her team member, Nak Yong Choi (Story Artist). From what we gathered the clay model and drawing displayed in the episode were created after a review and a request from Disney Parks. It should be noted that the episode stated a clay model is usually used to make on the fly adjustments based on feedback from a variety of parties. This leads us to believe that Disney is well into the creation process.
Hmm…what could this all mean? Why would Walt Disney World leadership request the creation of a new Figment?
Where Could He Go?
Immediately, everyone’s mind goes to a new Journey Into Imagination attraction. It is the most obvious choice. However, in the DVC Duo house, it doesn’t all add up. Why would Tony Baxter mention he’s open to redoing the attraction if Disney is already in the process of creating a new Figment? Based on Tony’s involvement in the Splash Mountain project, we’re sure he is still aware of the majority of projects Walt Disney Imagineering is working on. Especially, a project involving an attraction he originally created.
Diving deeper into our imagination another potential location for the new Figment could be the upcoming Play Pavilion. It has been reported that Walt Disney World is still moving forward with the project. In addition to the new Figment, we got a glimpse into a face recognition technology StudioLAB is developing around emotions. Based on your facial expression the mirror displays an Inside Out character. We even heard Alice mention the technology will detect, Joy, Sadness, Anger, and Disgust. Can you say Inside Out attraction? That is what we are thinking. Based on the concept art for the Play pavilion and how the technology works, we could see it as one of the experiences within the Play Pavilion. It also makes us think Disney used this six-minute episode to give a glimpse of experiences coming to the pavilion. Could Figment be part of a Play Pavilion experience?
The last option could be a simple redo of the character as a whole. This would be similar to how we’ve seen Disney make adjustments to other characters over the years, like Donald. With Figment being the mascot of Epcot, Disney could be working a new version of Figment to tie in with the overall redesign of the park.
Solid update! For us, the biggest thing we gathered from the new Figment is his place within Disney World. Over the years, rumors have circled around Disney moving away from Figment all together. With Alice Taylor and the rest of the StudioLAB team working on a version it is all but certain Figment will have a place at Walt Disney World. In regards to which direction Disney World decides to go with the new Figment, only time will tell. Until then, let’s let our imagination run wild!
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