One of the greatest and most inexplicable mistakes in the annals of Disney management and Imagineering was the truly terrible, late-90s refurbishment of EPCOT’s Journey into Imagination pavilion. This wonderful attraction, full of artistry and atmosphere, was stripped down and repurposed into what became one of Disney’s all-time least popular attractions.
One result of the remodeling was the walling off of the translucent, beaux-arts stairway and elevator that led upstairs to the Imageworks, the “creative playground of the future.” This high-tech interactive play area seamlessly blended early digital technology with a great deal of flair and the results were often far more impressive than more high-tech attempts Disney has made in recent years. The showmanship present in the Imageworks more than compensated for its now-primitive underpinnings, and scenes like the Rainbow Corridor and Stepping Tones were standard fare for postcards and souvenir books for years.
The Imageworks has sat walled off for more than ten yeas now, but bizarrely remains greatly untouched. Much of the equipment is gone, no doubt, but the infrastructure remains. Remains in the hopes that Disney gets its act together and decides to do what is needed to restore this pavilion to its previous grandeur. Here’s a brief video of the Imageworks today. How bizarre to see the Rainbow Corridor still there, unused. Time to plug that sucker back in.
And for the Imageworks in happier times, you can always check Martin’s tribute: