It seems to me that the three versions of the ride could be used to represent three eras in Imagineering: the creatives (relatively) in control as EPCOT was being designed, the money people seizing creative control in the late 90’s, and the current situation, with money people still in control, but some degree of hope amongst the creatives.
(Of course, this is an over-simplified quickie synopsis of the goings on at WDI )
I watched videos of this attraction on YouTube and did some reading about it. Those who have first-hand experience – please let me know if I got anything wrong about it . Unfortnately, I will never get to ride the original, boo-hoo!
Also, apologies if any of this kind of thing has been discussed before. Having never been to WDW I generally stick to the DL forum.
The original attraction had the lofty goal of actually taking you into the world of imagination.
Humanity is so full of imagination that Dreamfinder’s machine is sucking ideas right out of the air.
The emphasis is on the arts – visual art, literature and performing arts - but also exploring the role of imagination in scientific discovery.
Dreamfinder and Figment seem free to do as they wish in this world. (The only conflict I noticed was Figment trying to close the books with the scary words in them, as described on Wikipedia) perhaps representing an era when creative, original ideas had less opposition at WED/WDI.
The second version’s goal is to take you into a science lab that is studying imagination, not imagination itself.
(I couldn’t find any videos of this version, but I would like to see one.)
The creative arts are no longer the focus of the ride.
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
You don’t have any imagination until Disney gives it to you, via their well-ordered scientific experiments. (Management viewing the audience as not having enough imagination to understand or appreciate certain concepts, etc.)
The third and current version brings Figment back and has him invade the stodgy science lab.
The new version also introduces conflict of a sort. Figment’s freewheeling activities (Imagineering) bring constant sniping from the voice of authority, Dr. Nigel Channing (Management). Channing’s goal is getting the unruly creature under control; Figment’s goal is winning over the restrictive scientist.
Although Figment – representing a free imagination – is our protagonist, he is still seen as pesky, disruptive and a little dangerous.
Experiencing the world with your imagination and not just your senses is presented as something of a lesson, suggesting that people do not generally do that (possibly true, but different from the abundance of imagination observed in the original).
The new version still makes little reference to the arts, other than some art supplies (I think) seen in Figment’s home.
(Also wanted to add that the current version seems a lot more repetitive than the original. Dr. Channing introduces an experiment, Figment messes with it…Dr. Channing introduces an experiment, Figment messes with it…Dr. Channing introduces an experiment…and so on. And, of course, it’s another example of the now-overused “and then something suddenly went wrong” formula originated by Star Tours. Still looks like something I might ride, though.)