Figment (Disney character)

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Figment
Figment
First appearance Journey Into Imagination, 1983
Created by Tony Baxter and Steve Kirk
Voiced by Billy Barty (1981–1998)
Dave Goelz (2002— )

Figment, a small purple dragon, occasionally seen sporting a yellow sweater, is the mascot of the Imagination! pavilion at the Epcot theme park at Walt Disney World Resort. He is extensively seen in Epcot merchandise.

The Journey Into Imagination pavilion opened with the rest of EPCOT Center on October 1, 1982, but the Journey Into Imagination dark ride did not open until March 5, 1983. In the original attraction, Dreamfinder, a jolly wizard-like scientist, teaches Figment how to use his imagination. Figment is meant to be the literal embodiment of the phrase "figment of the imagination". He is composed of various elements Dreamfinder found in his travels including two tiny wings, large yellow eyes, the horns of a steer (or dilemma, according to a 1983 appearance on the Today Show), a crocodile's snout, and the childish delight found at a birthday party. Figment is described in detail in the Dreamfinder's song "One Little Spark" (by the Sherman Brothers). Dreamfinder introduces him: "Two tiny wings, eyes big and yellow, horns of a steer, but a lovable fellow. From head to tail, he's royal purple pigment, and there, voila, you've got a Figment."

Though taking on many disguises within the attractions, including being a superhero, a cowboy, a knight, a skunk, a dancer, a mountain climber, and a pirate, Figment seems to have some special aspirations to be an astronaut, from being seen in a spacesuit in the original and current attractions to dialogue in the original stating "I wish I could be an astronaut. I bet I can use imagination to discover all kinds of new things!" Because of this, Figment is frequently portrayed in merchandising in a spacesuit, in addition to some of his other roles.

In the current version, Figment's creativity has a bit of a larger effect on the world around him, be it transforming a large smell emitting machine into a slot machine, turning his house upside down, actually rearranging an otherwise static eye chart, and transforming the Institute into something almost reminiscent of the original in the finale. He also has some sort of access to hammerspace, pulling a pair of glasses out of thin air to put onto Channing into the introduction and quickly changing into a skunk costume in the Smell Lab. He also seems to possess some powers of size changing with him being able to shrink down enough to possibly be able to sit on Channing's shoulder, but with his regular height being between two to three feet tall and he has what can be seen as either a teleportation ability or powers of invisibility, disappearing in a burst of clouds when Channing wanted him "out of his sight" at the end of the first scene.

In 1999, Disney radically refurbished the attraction as part of its Millennium Celebration at Epcot, removing Dreamfinder and Figment except for fleeting glimpses of the dragon. That version, titled Journey Into Your Imagination, was a completely new experience in which Dr. Nigel Channing (Eric Idle of Monty Python fame) led a tour of the fictional Imagination Institute. The Channing character originated in the adjacent Honey, I Shrunk the Audience 3-D movie attraction.

After numerous complaints about the revamped attraction, including a Disney stockholder who questioned CEO Michael Eisner about Figment's absence during the company's annual shareholders meeting, a modest 2002 refurbishment modified the 1999 version to add the dragon as a playful foil for Dr. Channing throughout the Imagination Institute tour. The new version pointedly was branded Journey Into Imagination with Figment.

In the original attraction, Figment was voiced by Billy Barty; in the current version, Muppeteer Dave Goelz provides the voice, because Barty had died before the second version had shut down.

Outside the attractions at Epcot, Figment appeared in several educational short films in the early '80s two of which featured Peter Pan and Alice from Alice in Wonderland. Additionally, Disney and Marvel is set to publish Disney Kingdoms: Figment a five issue miniseries focused on the origins of Figment and Dreamfinder starting in June of 2014.

Filmography[edit]

  • Would You Eat a Blue Potato?
  • What Can You See By Looking?
  • Do Dragons Dream?
  • How Does it Feel to be an Elephant?
  • How Does it feel to Fly?
  • How Does Sound Sound?
  • What’s an Abra Without a Cadabra?
  • Reading Magic with Figment and Peter Pan
  • Reading Magic with Figment and Alice in Wonderland

External links[edit]