Wednesday, November 26, 2008
A ray of hope?
"Hey, you know a lot about EPCOT," one of my workmates said to me recently. "When's the best time to visit?"
"1989," I replied.
There are lots of people who feel the way I do. They operate websites dedicated to the old-school EPCOT. They blog (much better than I do, I might add). And although things like the removal of the hated wand over Spaceship Earth and last year's installation of a 25th anniversary exhibit in the former CommuniCore makes it seem as though Disney has some sympathy for our feelings, folks in the know insist that Disney executives hate us. We're seen as the online equivalent of crazy street people, as grumpy, progress-hating angry malcontents. Reportedly, these execs even have a derisive nickname for us: foamers. So, the author of EPCOT Central can write a thoughtful, incisive treatise on how some aspect of the park could be improved, and the executives can simply dismiss it as the work of a "foamer".
Every once in a while, though, we get a glimmer of hope. When John Lasseter became Principal Creative Advisor for Disney Imagineering, a rumor began to circulate that he wanted to restore the Imagination pavilion to its former glory. However, he was reportedly blocked by the decades-old culture of internal politics at WDI, and the dreamed-of Imagination rehab never got off the ground. Still, rumors of a fourth rehab of the House That Figment Built have been surprisingly persistent. And on October 30, Disney began selling a limited-edition pin depicting Figment dreaming of his old friend Dreamfinder. (Click here for a picture) The pin, called When Dreams Come True-Figment, is on sale only at the Walt Disney World properties in Florida. Now, I understand that commemorative pins have become a big business for Disney, and that the process of continually coming up with new pin designs would involve dredging up old characters. But isn't it interesting how Dreamfinder is presented here, not just as part of Disney's past, but as a hoped-for part of the future?
Maybe there are people at Disney who feel the way we do. And maybe one day, we'll see Dreamfinder again, not on a pin, but in a revitalized Journey Into Imagination, at the controls of his Dream-Mobile, reminding us of all we can accomplish with one little spark of inspiration.