Journey Into Your Imagination
In 1998, guests bid good-bye to Figment as Journey Into Imagination closed for a major refurbishment. On October 1, 1999, Journey Into Your Imagination, debuted.
The new attraction, a much shorter ride, using less than half of the original vehicles, featured Eric Idle as Dr. Nigel Channing, the head of the Imagination Institute. This new theme was chosen to coincide with the recently added, Honey I Shrunk the Audience film.
Physical changes to the attraction included removal of much the track, with the entrance now placing guests into a queue that ultimately followed the original ride path to what was once the turntable. Here, guests now boarded their ride vehicles. Once boarded, the ride followed the same track path, with completely new scenes and the addition of stops along the way. The curved track, formerly used for the science portion of the original attraction, would now serve as the final scene and unload. A new stretch of track was added between this section and the revised load area to forward ride vehicles onto loading.
Once unloaded, guests proceeded down a newly added hallway, again crossing over another section of the former turntable, and into space formerly housing much of the original attraction. With large portions of track removed in this refurbishment, a separate space upstairs for the hands-on exhibits of Image Works was no longer needed, and thus the entire upstairs was no longer used. Oddly enough, the stairs to the former area were not hidden or closed off in anyway. Instead, now found inside the gift shop area, the stair entrance was simply roped off and the elevator made inaccesible. None of the original Image Works exhibits were moved to this new location. Instead, new exhibits, some very similar, were uniquely developed for the area while the originals largely remained untouched in the former location.
As guests traveled along the path of their "open house" at the Imagination Institute, they found themselves in gutted rooms with little scenery or props. Made to appear as if traveling through a warehouse at points, the new attraction scenes were somewhat lackluster and often failed to engage guests in ways that truly tied to the theme. Figment, while still a small portion of the overall attraction, was left with only a bit part. To say the new version failed to impress guests would likely be an understatement. In October 2001, just two years after its reopening, the attraction once again closed for another update.
Prior to closing, an online community of fans, who called themselves "Friends of Figment," pushed for Figment's return. When the attraction closed, it was under much speculation that Figment would be making a return.
The 3rd and current iteration of this pavilion's ride opened to guests in June of 2002, 8 months after it's predecessor had closed. Dubbed "Journey Into Imagination with Figment," the new attraction remained focused on an Imagination Institute Open House, and continued to feature Dr. Nigel Channing, but now with Figment featured in a starring role. While some of the same scenes were reused, they were modified heavily to feature Figment. One such example was the "anti gravity" scene which had been completely repainted in bright colors, purple prominently featured of course, and now included a banner welcoming the "Friends of Figment." Additionally, a new Figment meet-and-greet was added outside the pavilion exit.
Fans of the original version tend to feel that Disney answered the call for Figment's return by creating an attraction that would have you sick of him by the time you exited. Unfortunately, as so much of the original attraction had been demolished, with over half of the original ride vehicles literally being tossed into dumpsters, and with the new Image Works taking up most of the first floor real estate, the original was never to return.