The Dreamfinder. He is the man behind the original imagination ride at Walt Disney World’s Epcot theme park. He was the host, the leader, the dream keeper. He was pretty much awesome. And most of all, he was an incredibly fun “face character” to meet and greet around Epcot up until about 1998, when the ride was changed and he was deleted, gone forever for no reason that I can find.
The new Imagination attraction is hosted by Dr. Nigel Channing, who is sort of entertaining, I guess. The thing is, he has none of the whimsy or mystery of the Dreamfinder. He is a regular man, just giving a tour of his science lab- all the while trying to stifle poor Figment, the awesome purple dragon who just wants to have a little fun and use his imagination (this is, after all, an attraction called “Journey into Your Imagination”). The Dreamfinder encouraged Figment’s creativity. Instead of trying to focus on the “real” things as Dr. Channing does throughout the tour, he just goes deeper and deeper into what could come to be by just imagining. He was a fantastical man doing seemingly magical things. It feels almost like he should only exist inside of the imagination.
As you will see in the below video, my older sister and I were positively smitten with him when we got his autograph in 1994. My younger sister, just a baby at the time, was watching nearby. Try not to be too intimidated by my fabulous Osh Kosh B’Gosh outfit featuring shiny watermelons (oh, the 90s).
I know that throughout our various Disney trips in the 1990s we have collected some footage of the classic version of the ride. If I ever get around to cutting it together I will post it here. For now, just enjoy our little meet and greet with the Dreamfinder himself.
Some silly notes about this video:
- At 4 going on 5, I did not know what state I lived in. But at least I knew the city.
- At 4 going on 5, I had no idea that Figment was a puppet controlled by the Dreamfinder.
- After he suggested we try to use my sister’s ink up first, I tried to get all the other characters to use her pen for my autographs too, but it didn’t work.
- For the rest of this vacation, my sister and I were obsessed with using each other’s backs as desks.