The Journey Into YOUR Imagination Imageworks Experience

TwilightZone

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I decided to redo an old project of mine, placing together what the experience of this variation of the Imageworks was like using old footage and press materials. This may not be 100% accurate, but I hope it can bring some knowledge of this now lost and forgotten experience that was part of the horrible 1999 makeover.

The most notable thing about 99’s Imageworks is that it was primarily advertised for the Imagination pavillion for a brief time instead of YOUR Imagination. I found two promotional videos that actually feature the pavilion’s makeover: one focuses mostly on the Imageworks with a brief bit on the ride, while the other skips over the ride entirely, focusing mainly on the Imageworks, with a brief clip to showcase Honey I Shrunk the Audience. Disney knew the Imageworks was the better experience of the two and yet the experience is mostly lost.

The strange thing is, this Imageworks actually seemed enjoyable and well-liked, or at least liked enough to be lively in the guest footage of the Imageworks I got for this. I honestly believe that this variation could have easily been mostly left alone for the big Figment makeover, with maybe some cosmetic changes, and it would have been fine. With what little knowledge I have, I do believe the Figment variation is actually a downgrade rather than an upgrade but I will get into the reasons why at the end.
 
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TwilightZone

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Decor Details

The new Imageworks is full of strange decor, that I am not sure was done to be “whimsical” or done because the entire attraction was on a shoestring budget. As a result, the experience feels clustered and messy rather than enchanting or inspiring.

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The welcome sign placed on the wall is huge and oozes 90s aesthetics with its clockwork font, but it brings a charming entrance.

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Of course there was an outdoor banner as well to help bring guests into the attraction, perhaps as a response to the poor queue management brought by HISTA.

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Lava Lamps! Lots and lots of purple lava lamps. These lava lamps were placed on top of attraction booths for decor. While the OG Imagination certainly wasn’t shy using toys as decor, these just add to the overall cheap feel of the already cheap YOUR Imagination.

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Floor lights were all over the carpet showcasing words like “imagine” and “think” in different swirling fonts.
 

TwilightZone

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
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There were two lenticular pictures that changed when passing by. I think the intent was they were meant to represent a kid imagining himself being a fish while swimming, or his computer mouse magically turning into a real one, but the execution ends up being trippy and confusing.

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There were a couple of banners hanging down from the ceiling with the Imageworks logo and advertisements
for a few of the attractions.

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There were also an area where you can look through glass to see a worker’s desk to make the Imageworks feel more like a lab. But only makes me wonder why not use the space for another attraction or two.

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Big boards full of fiber optic lights were placed all around in various colors.


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Watch the white blob in the blue light panel behind the two guests

Based on watching an official promotional video super closely, these lights were supposed to change color temperature when people move across them, similar to the iconic Rainbow Tunnel, but was barely noticeable in person, if it worked as intended.
 

TwilightZone

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Attractions

Now for the attractions! To say that this version of Imageworks was loaded with attractions would be a lie. There isn’t really many. But they are pretty interesting.

The experience was vaguely tied together with the “What if Labs” theme, the concept was that each attraction was an “experiment” made by Imagination Institute scientists, due to this, most attractions have the same name theme “What if X”. The exceptions are activities I could not find names for, but I assume that they might have had a similar name scheme, even the iconic Stepping Tones was probably renamed into “What if stones made music?” or something similar, but there isn’t much to prove this hypothesis.



A lot of these attractions made noise, but the noises aren’t the classic One Little Spark or anything with any sort of tune to it. Nope, the noises are just plain noise and the attractions that made the most amount of noise were all right next to each other, this combined with the small size of the Imageworks and the amount of stuff Imagineers filled the area with causes the entire experience to feel somewhat claustrophobic and disjointed.


Stepping Tones


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Speaking of the stepping tones, I might as well go into them first. Each stone was marked with a stock image that when stepped on, made a noise. Pretty simple stuff. There is shockingly little footage of this version of the attraction, despite being a carry over of the original, as more guests seemed interested in the new Music Maker attraction.

What if Music Were in the Air?/Musical Modulators

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First let me point out the name, now I am pretty sure that the correct wording should be “What if Music Was in the Air?”. This attraction seemed to have two names, as there was another sign marking them as “Musical Modulators”, which makes things a bit confusing. Since the actual title of the attraction is just way too long I will be calling them "Musical Modulators" for the rest of the writeup.

But besides that really bad name, this attraction was perhaps the most popular part of the YOUR Imagination attraction as a whole. Thanks to this plus it being one of the main things Disney showed off during the brief period of time when they promoted YOUR Imagination, there is plenty of footage of one of the variations of the Music Modulators.

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This being the Alleyway variation, guests moved their arms to bang the trashcans, buzz a broken TV set, open and close doors and windows, light up a motel sign, setting off a fire alarm, and even shoot up fireworks (though how exactly the fireworks worked is unknown as footage of that is rare).

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The other is the Beach Kite variant, there is very little footage of this one, so there isn’t much to go off of, other than it being a beach setting, having a movable kite, and making “calypso” sounds.

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EDIT: Thanks to @Cmdr_Crimson I now have more footage of the Beach Kite Variant to go off of! This variant seems more plain than the popular Alleyway variant of the Music Modulators. There were two kites, red and yellow, when guests moved their arms around these kites would multiply into various smaller kites that could fly in all sorts of different directions. There was also movable palm trees, a boat that puffed out steam, and a fish that would jump out of the sea.

It’s no wonder why this was so popular, not only was it a modern version of a classic Imageworks attraction with CGI that was impressive for the time, but it also had legitimately imaginative settings and concept, something that the actual ride was sorely missing.
 
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TwilightZone

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
What if I Could Change My Face?

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Imagineers described this as a “face morphing activity”, in reality it was basically a video version of the magic mirror that carnivals have, with a video feed on the ceiling showing guests waiting in line or walking around what was going on. It doesn’t seem like the effect always worked however and heck it is even shown failing in promotional footage (as seen in the final few photos).

What if Light Could Be Captured?

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With a big epic name like this, you expect something really cool right? Well this activity involved people moving around a joystick to make light beads rapidly move around in a crystal-like container. Still cool, but essentially a bigger, more elaborate version of those Buzz Lightyear ray gun toys and given how bright the Imageworks actually was, the experience does not make much of an impression.
 

TwilightZone

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
The Picture Playground

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Due to the sponsor being Kodak, the largest part of the new Imageworks was The Picture Playground, an area that had a host of picture taking computers, often coming with basic photo editing software that could change your picture into various fun things. For example the “What if you could become Something Else?” attraction which superimposed guest’s faces onto a picture of an animal. This attraction was the least visited part of the Imageworks based on all of the attraction footage I have gathered. Perhaps it opened too close to computers and Photoshop becoming mainstream. Alternatively, I have also seen some footage close to opening day that showed one of the computers being broken, so perhaps the rushed nature of the attraction as a whole made The Picture Playground mostly inactive. Due to this, The Picture Playground is the second most least documented attraction in the Imageworks besides the Beach Kite variant of The Musical Modulators.

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The largest part of The Picture Playground was technically part of the gift shop. The Magic Photo Studio was basically a normal photo shoot place where guests can choose a picture, than stand in front of a green screen so they could be part of the picture they chose. Then it can be printed out on all sorts of things, like mugs and mousepads.

What Could Have Been…

Lately an ex-imagineer has been selling his old WDI materials, these include paper documents from YOUR Imagination, most notably featuring Figment, who was cut out of the attraction by an Eisner mandate. A lot of these seemingly involving the Imageworks.

Kaleidoscope

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The original Imageworks had a “Magic Kaleidoscope”, so it wouldn’t be surprised if they were planning to bring it back. Interestingly one of the preview videos had a Kaleidoscope, but I am not fully sure if it was just a visual for the video or if it was actually in the attraction.

Figment with a Tuba

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In Journey into Imagination with Figment, this model is used for Figment’s Music Maker, which replaced the Music Modulators. However, since the documents seem to be from the YOUR Imagination iteration, perhaps this tuba Figment was always planned for the music attraction.

Figment’s Funhouse

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Perhaps the Imageworks was going to be called Figment’s Funhouse at one point and maybe even the upstairs one was going to stay as is or upgraded. The entrance way to the current Imageworks is a bare wall which this picture matches. Maybe originally guests would enter the Imageworks/Figment’s Funhouse by passing through a neon walkway reminiscent of the rainbow tunnel on a budget before going to all the fun activities. But there is no real way of knowing for sure what the heck Figment’s Funhouse was going to be.

What if I were in a Picture?
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This activity seems to have been replaced by the other photo activities or the lenticular picture area (maybe even the odd themed desk area). This would have used video cameras to send guests into interactive pictures, similar to the beginning of DCA's Tower of Terror. It honestly looks kind of fun and a shame the budget wasn't there to add this among other planned effects that could've made the attraction feel a little bit more complete.

Thanks to @DreamfinderGuy for sending this one in the auction thread.
 
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TwilightZone

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
In Defense of YOUR Imagination’s Imageworks (and Figment’s Imageworks)

Is this Imageworks perfect? No.

Is it a good follow up to it’s predecessor? No.

Is it even that good? No.

So why am I defending it? Well, there was a lot to like with this, it had a good template already with the Music Modulators, Stepping Tones, and fun photo activities. But the experience ultimately falls short with the rest of the pavilion. A lot of the experiences were sub par, would age poorly, or would barely work as intended.

Not to mention the successors to beloved Imageworks attractions could barely hold a candle to their predecessors outside of the Music Modulators. The new magic mirrors required a waiting line and technology that could barely work, the rainbow panels were not as memorable or as charming as the rainbow tunnel, the photo activities dated themselves faster than Dreamfinder’s Movie Maker, and the Stepping Tones just did not look as cool as their original counterpart. It’s telling that the only attraction I could not make a direct comparison for just so happens to be the weakest of the new Imageworks: What if you Could Capture Light?

But I believe with some much needed fixing and attraction replacements, this Imageworks could have been just as special as the original. But what they ended up replacing it with fell short.

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The biggest upgrade over YOUR Imagination’s Imageworks is by far the projection lights. Originally just used for swirling letters, the lighting is now used to project a whole bunch of things.

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The random color boards are now just one board at the entrance rather than being scattered around. These boards now supposedly play a game of Simon according to Wikipedia.

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Stepping Tones is the oddest change of the bunch, the original opening day version had stock photos of babies! This must have gotten some complaints because they were replaced with stock pictures of instruments later on. Otherwise replacing the random noises with actual instruments was the best way to go in making the attraction a little less annoying, it doesn’t fix the issue of being nearby the other music themed attraction, but there wasn’t much that could have been done I think.

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Figment’s Music Maker is a massive downgrade compared to the Music Modulators, gone are the interesting landscapes, replaced with a plain boring gradient background and two Figments playing instruments. Sure less figment was a real problem YOUR Imagination had that needed to be fixed in a new version, but this is not the way to go about it. Music Modulators could have stayed as in or been replaced with fun, new imaginative locations. Instead it got replaced with the bare minimum.

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Finally there is Compose Your Own Figment, a very early 00s flash game where guests can make their own little dragon friend. This replaced the Picture Playground, which was already pretty dated given the rise of home computers. Though this attraction also dates itself, it’s still pretty charming.



The issues with Figment’s Imageworks is that it kiddifies the whole experience. The original Imageworks and even YOUR Imagination’s Imageworks were fun and appealing for the full family, a teen could walk in and do the activities with no shame. The new Imageworks is something I could see many skipping because of the sweet, kiddie exterior of many of the attractions. Not to mention this varation of the Imageworks somehow manages to have less than what it replaced. While the ‘99 Imageworks was host of issues, it managed to be a more complete experience with 4 main attractions and multiple picture activities. The new one also has 4, but they are much smaller attractions. Plus the de-cluttering of the area, while much needed, makes the Imageworks feel smaller and thus emptier. This results in a colorful, but depressing area.

In a future Imagination, I would like to see Imageworks vastly expanded, bringing back the family friendly appeal, remove any activity that heavily involves computers/image editing, and most importantly make it fun!
 

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