WDW Magazine History Sampler - Page 9

dancing , and weight lifting — an indication that he was embracing the potential of all that he could become .
THE EXPERIENCE During the 12-minute ride , guests fell in love with Figment , letting themselves get caught up in the world of Imagination . But the ride was only the beginning of discovery .
ImageWorks Upstairs — yes , inside those enormous greenhouse pyramids !— the interactive ImageWorks area welcomed guests into imaginative playtime . At the time , ImageWorks was a groundbreaking space that highlighted new audio-visual technology , so there was never a shortage of things to do .
As a child , this “ creative playground of the future ” held almost as much allure for me as the ride itself . I ’ ll never forget Dreamfinder ’ s School of Drama , where through bluescreen technology , my little sister and I could jump inside of a movie . The iconic Rainbow Corridor is a keen childhood memory as well .
ImageWorks also had electronic coloring books , jumbo kaleidoscopes , a large 3D pin table , bubble projectors , and stepping tones — musical spotlights that children could pounce on , much like those in the “ What If ” Labs today . So much fun !
Dreamfinder and Figment In addition , a live Dreamfinder and puppet Figment roamed freely around the pavilion — both indoors and out — to interact with guests . Since there were no other Disney characters at EPCOT during the early years , Dreamfinder and Figment were a big deal in terms of guest experience .
ABOVE : Ron as Dreamfinder . BELOW : Ron with Figment at home . PHOTOS COURTESY OF RON SCHNEIDER
Ron Schneider described the moment when he saw Tony Baxter show an early concept picture of Dreamfinder and Figment . He said , “ I took one look at it and said , ‘ I ’ ve gotta do this .’” Though he ’ d filled numerous theme park performance roles in the past , Schneider knew that Dreamfinder was going to be special .
At an early age , Schneider discovered that instead of performing for an audience , he wanted to perform with an audience . Dreamfinder allowed him to do just that . By getting down on the level of the kids and taking the time to establish a personal connection , Schneider used his role as Dreamfinder to enhance guests ’ experiences in an individual way .
“ The guests became my sparks of inspiration ,” Schneider said . “ I started treating them as wonderful objects that I had found , just like Dreamfinder collecting sparks of inspiration in the ride .”
Becoming Dreamfinder was both an art and a science for Schneider . Sounds familiar , right ? Those were two of the Realms of Imagination ! He told WDW Magazine that highquality Disney expectations left no room for improvisation , just consistent perfection : “ My performance had to be reliably entertaining on a daily and hourly basis .” pg . 7 | WDW Magazine