Take a Magic Journey Back to 1982 With This EPCOT Center “Journey Into Imagination” Opening Press Kit From Kodak

With Disney Parks around the world closed for the foreseeable future, WDWNT is dipping into our archives of vintage parks materials for a look back into parks history! We’re taking a Magic Journey back to 1982 for the opening of the Journey into Imagination Pavilion!

Note: This article will detail the press kit page by page, but WIGS Members will have access to download a full-resolution PDF of the entire thing. Head on over to Patreon.com/wdwnt to join WIGS, the WDWNT Inner Globe Society, for as little as $2 a month and unlock access to great content like this, and much more!

You know you’re in for a celebration of imagination when Figment and Dreamfinder are on the front cover!

The first page of this press kit from Kodak features a listing of descriptions of all the elements of Journey into Imagination, including this:

“A unique challenge to the imagination, housed in a pavilion covering nearly four acres in Future World. Imagination offers 70 different special effects, more than any other attraction at Epcot Center.”

Another item of note is the originally scheduled opening date for the pavilion’s eponymous ride, December 1st, 1982.

And since this is a Kodak press kit, there’s a whole section on the best photo opportunities around EPCOT Center. The park may have changed, but how many of these snapshots can you still get?

You’ve probably seen the upside-down waterfall or the jumping fountains around the pavilion, but did you know that it all had a name: the Picture Garden?

The main attraction at the pavilion when it opened, Magic Journeys, also gets a press release here.

The attraction ran at EPCOT Center from 1982 to 1986, before moving to the Magic Kingdom where it ran from 1987 to 1993. (Though some on our staff might say that was too long.)

Even the pre-show, “Makin’ Memories,” gets its own press release.

Over 500 photographs were used in “Makin’ Memories,” including pictures from the Eastman House archives as well as winners of Kodak International Snapshot Awards and Scholastic Photo Awards competitions.

I particularly like the comments by Robert Barr, Kodak’s resident manager of the pavilion at the time, on this pre-show: “It is a fun, upbeat, and relaxing show that should make everyone realize how easy it is to take imaginative and rewarding photographs. From the early days straight through the present, these are all special moments. They are moments in the lives of us all, moments that can be captured by cameras and film. They make you smile or tug at your heart. They show an appeal that goes beyond one nation, because photography is an international language.”

Here again you see the abandoned December 1st, 1982 opening date for the Journey into Imagination ride. The ride wouldn’t open to guests until over four months later, on March 5th, 1983.

A part of The Image Works that even I didn’t know about until reading this press kit was “The Professional Photographers’ Showcase,” featuring the best of photography in portraits, environmental photography, photojournalism, as well as commercial and industrial photography.

The press releases close out with a look at the big thing yet to come, the Journey into Imagination ride.

And what would a press kit from Kodak be without some pictures?

Looks like Dreamfinder and Figment are hard at work making their mystery story.

And they they are enjoying the Rainbow Tunnel. (Well, the picture’s in black and white, so you’ll have to imagine the colors.)

Here’s an example of the great photography you could find in The Professional Photographers’ Showcase.

And there’s the grand pavilion itself, still inspiring guests after all these years.

Hey, what are you two doing at The Image Works? Don’t you have a ride to be working on?

And that brings us to the end of the press kit. That certainly offered a lot of information about one of EPCOT’s most beloved pavilions.


Relive EPCOT Center’s Early Days With a Deep Dive into Spaceship Earth’s Opening Cast Booklet

Take a Retro Journey to The Land Pavilion With This 1987 EPCOT Teacher’s Guide

PHOTOS: New “Spark Your Imagination” Figment Construction Wall Art Arrives at EPCOT


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10 months ago

I wish they would restore this attraction to its former/original glory. The existing attraction is such a disappointment, and those who have only ever known the current iteration think I am nuts for being a Figment fan.

Disney Imaginers have so many new tools in their belts these days. They could re-imagine this better than ever. With all of the changes at EPCOT, I am holding on to hope that this pavillion’s attraction will get some much needed attention.

10 months ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

Totally agree! As a total Figment Fanatic, I am just glad they reincorporated him into the current ride (the previous version made me sad). Figment was the face of Epcot & I still have the stuffed Figment my dad bought me way back in 1982 (the very first in what is now a massive collection LOL!)

Melanie B
Melanie B
10 months ago

I would love to see a list of the 70 special effects used in the ride. The laser images after the “theater” portion spring first to mind, but I’m not sure what else qualified as a special effect. Any ideas? I remember mist effects being used in one scene. Are they including the bat that turned into a cat?