Step Back in Time Archives

September 12, 2012

Epcot - Sculpting the Spirits of America -Looking Back

As we move closer to October 1st and the 30th anniversary of Epcot, I thought I'd dig into my archives and share some images and information.

Over 300 sculpted art works, including 154 in World Showcase, helped theme the brand new park. Blaine Gibson, head of the WED sculpting team, explains "There are many things that have to work together in creating sculpture. The art must conform to our purpose and relate to the surrounding architecture and period."

The American Adventure theater has 12 "Spirits of America". The life-size sculptures include cowboys, pilgrims and scientists symbolizing the spirit making up this great nation!

The photo below is a Disney sculptor at WED Enterprises in California creating one of the "Spirits of America".

Spirit of America American Adventure Epcot

And as they are today:

These statues range in height from 5'5" to more than 6'. Each sits atop a 3' square base. Here is a list of the Spirits and who was chosen to represent the different categories.

Spirit of Adventure - Seaman
Spirit of Compassion - Doctor
Spirit of Discovery - Mountain Man
Spirit of Freedom - Pilgrim
Spirit of Heritage - Native American
Spirit of Independence - Colonial Soldier
Spirit of Individualism - Cowboy
Spirit of Innovation - Scientist
Spirit of Knowledge - Teacher
Spirit of Pioneering - Aviator
Spirit of Self-Reliance - Farmer
Spirit of Tomorrow - Woman and Child

Spirit of America American Adventure Epcot

Spirit of America American Adventure Epcot

To read more about the America Adventure attraction in Epcot begin HERE!

March 18, 2012

Food Rocks Debuts in Epcot's Land Pavillion March 26, 1994



Let's step back in time 18 years ago when Food Rocks opened in the Land Pavilion. Food Rocks replaced the Kitchen Kaberet which opened with the Land but had become outdated.


The new show featured hip singers belting out classic tunes with lyrics revised to teach us about healthy food choices.

Let's see how many of these hip singers you can name!







Need some help? Here are titles of some of the songs: Every Breath You Take; Good Nutrition, Tutti Frutii, Vegetables are Good for You, Let's Exercise!

When you are finished, head over to our Epcot Archives,

You'll find all the answers plus more photos including the other stars who performed in Food Rocks!

December 17, 2011

River Country - Step Back in Time


Today we journey back to May 1976 and a special "Family Edition" of the Cast Member Eyes and Ears of Walt Disney World.


Cast members were invited to a "Splash" Preview of River Country! The "Splash" party takes place May 29-June 3rd, 1976.

And near the end of the article there is another attraction to visit: "Transporation will be in operation each day until dusk to take everyone to view the brand new Treasure Island (later renamed Discovery Island)! There are new birds, a walk through cage, refreshment area and much more!"

There is even a scrapbook page of past May events. Here is an interesting one:

May 12 1967 Reedy Creek became a Public Corporation in the State of Florida.


December 16, 2011

Step Back in Time to 1971

This entry of Step Back in time is courtesy of AllEars reader Steve Gorman who sent photos of his 1971 visit to the Magic Kingdom.

" I am getting ready to leave for another Christmas Disney trip and this will put me at the 45th time I have visited Disney. I guess I was hooked at the early age of 7...... "






Thanks for sharing Steve!

November 23, 2011

First Inhabitants of Animal Kingdom


During the construction of Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World's Media Relations office sent out periodic updates to journalists. These were oversized full color newletters designed to acquaint the media with the newest theme park, Disney's Animal Kingdom.


The following photos were taken at Animal Kingdom but the names are unknown.

The very first inhabitants were two reticulated giraffes named Zari and Miles. At the time, Zari was a 1.5 year old female born at the Metro Washington Park Zoo in Portland, Oregon. Miles was a 2 year old male from the St. Louis Zoological Park.


The next animals to move in were seven western lowland gorillas. The family group of 4 was led by silverback Gino, a young male Hasani, and two females Hope and Benga. A bachelor group also moved into Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail (the original name of Pangani Forest Exploration Trail ) consisting of Zwadi, M'bizi and Chuma. These gorillas are endangered in the wild. All the gorillas, except Gino, came from 2 zoos in Chicago. Gino was born in the Rotterdam Zoo in the Netherlands and arrived in 1980 to the Lincoln Park Zoo.


Two African elephants round out the first group of animals to call Animal Kingdom home; Thandi and Moyo from the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington.


September 23, 2011

Big Thunder Mountain Celebrates 31 Years


Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad became the second mountain and the 46th attraction of the Magic Kingdom, September 1980! It opened on September 23, 1980 and celebrated its Grand Opening on November 15, 1980.

It took 10 years to plan, tons of steel and concrete to build the attraction:

1,300,000 pounds of steel beams, rods and mesh
9,350,000 pounds of cement and sand
560,000 pints of water
64,000 cups of dessert paint in assorted colors
2,780 feet of railroad tracks
6 gold rush trains
2 acres of land!

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad opened in Disneyland in September 1979.

It can also be found at Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris.

For more information on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad visit:
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Blog

August 9, 2011

The Walt Disney World Village 1987


Time for another "Step Back in Time" blog. I've got a number of brochures from the WDW Village area, now known as Downtown Disney.

I also have some memories of my very first visit here in the early 70's. Wish I had photos from that time to share, but film costing what it did and me a poor student, just didn't have the means back then.

My fondest memory was the Candle Shop - perhaps it a section of a shop, perhaps it's own store, I don't know. But I do know that I was fascinated with the candle making process, something brand new to me at that time. I also remember thinking it was far away from the Magic Kingdom. So far that I only visited it once in my several trips during the 70's. Aw.... it was a much simpler time, was it not?

Ok.... fast forward to the late 1980's. Once again, the brochure cover had wonderful artwork.

The Walt Disney World Village 1987

This overview page tells lots about the village atmosphere. Again, the artwork is great, I especially love the Cast Member name tag worn by the server in the lower right.

And while there was bus service, nothing to/from the theme parks that I can tell from this pamplet.

The Walt Disney World Village 1987

The Walt Disney World Village 1987

The back cover had a map so you could see where the location of the Village, mainly in relationship to the area hotels. Epcot and the Magic Kingdom are simply an arrow on the bottom left.

The Treehouse and Fairway Villas have gone through various changes over the years. From the Disney Institute to the Saratoga Springs Resort. Just about all the Downtown Disney hotels have changed names as well. No more Grosvenor Resort, Howard Johnson Resort, Pickett Suite Resort or the Viscount Hotel!

The Walt Disney World Village 1987

Here's a link to my other recent Step Back in Time blogs!

July 28, 2011

Epcot World Showcase Postcards


I also like to collect postcards and Epcot postcards being one of my favorites.

When I was at the Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet last month, one of the Disneyana vendors had a box of postcards.

I found some Epcot World Showcase ones that I hadn't seen before.

There were several things I like about this series. I like how each country is depicted, each with a different emphasis. I like that the card really stands out and draws your attention - it certainly would have gotten mine, if I had seen them on a rack in the store.

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France - The elegance of France is on display in the restaurants and shops here - along with our version of the Eiffel Tower and surprising statues that come to life. Parlez-vous adventure? (text from back of postcard)

Epcot World Showcase Postcards

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Mexico - Buenos dias, amigos! Come and enjoy the authentic tastes and shops of Mexico. It's the perfect way to start out, or finish up, your trip "around the world". (text from back of postcard)

Epcot World Showcase Postcards

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China - Experience the unique shopping, dining and entertainment of China...right here at Epcot. And don't miss the Land of Many Faces - a first-of-its-kind exhibit introducing China's ethnic peoples. (text from back of postcard)

Epcot World Showcase Postcards

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There is also a postcard that has mini photos of all eleven postcards - like a checklist!

Epcot World Showcase Postcards

While there is no date on them, I"m guessing 1990's. If you know when these were published please let me know.

July 17, 2011

Epcot Center Entertainment Program August 1990

Continuing my blogs on Disney ephemera......

Let's take a look at the Entertainment Programs that used to come inside each Epcot Guide Map! I loved these programs as they not only provided a very quick, easy reference to see what was happening where.. but as someone who likes to "Step Back", I can remember what used to be.

I like this cover - it is simple enough but invites you to open it up and see what's in store for you!

Note that IllumiNations is not only presented by G.E. but also shown at 10:00pm.

Epcot Center Entertainment Program August 1990

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The program unfolds to 4 panels listing the names and times for World Showcase entertainment. I like to see what acts were around then and have left, as well as those that remained in the park over the last 2 decades.

Epcot Center Entertainment Program August 1990

Mexico's Mariachi Cobre have certainly withstood the test of time.

The Acrobats of China were always a favorite of mine, however they recently ended their time at Epcot.

Epcot Center Entertainment Program August 1990

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Folding it back up half way, the left side lists Future World entertainment

Epcot Center Entertainment Program August 1990

I only saw the Dreamfinder and Figment once and that was long before digital photography. They are one part of Epcot I fondly miss!

I never realized that GERO the robot made appearances outside of Horizons. I did manage to find a photo of GERO online!

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The right side gives a schedule for character greetings and special entertainment.

Epcot Center Entertainment Program August 1990

The Stargate Restaurant was located in Communicore where the Electric Umbrella now resides.

Note the Odyssey is listed as a restaurant. I do remember once having a burger there!

It was great being able to see the travel troupes of performers from all over the world. I remember during the Millenium Celebration, the Millenium Village would have similar groups perform!

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And the requisite advertising back.

Epcot Center Entertainment Program August 1990

Did you visit Epcot Center in 1990? Remember any of these performers?

Let me know who your favorite was.. and if you have photographs of the entertainers that no longer performs in Epcot let me know and perhaps we'll do a separate blog with those photos!

July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July - Ears and Ears Style

Eyes and Ears July 1975

Happy 4th of July everyone! I hope you have an enjoyable and safe day!

In keeping with my recent theme of Disney ephemera, I thought some highlights from the July 5, 1975 Eyes and Ears (Cast Publication) from Walt Disney World are in order!

Eyes and Ears July 1975

This particular Happy 4th of July issue came out on July 5th, the date after the holiday. And while the headline was about the 4th, the main focus was on the WEDway PeopleMover which opened on July 6th at the Magic Kingdom.

"The WEDway PeopleMover is the first large-scale use of a new method of magnetic propulsion for transportation purposes." I remember when this attraction was introduced thinking.. "This is how we are going to travel in the future!" At the time, I was about to begin college and thought it would make a great way to travel around large campuses.

The PeopleMover was presented by Edison Electric Institute and opened as an "E" Ticket attraction!

As is the case today, the ride took you on a tour of Tomorrowland. But unlike today, the sights were a bit different!

"Once on your way, you pass above the Space Port shop, Mission to Mars and enter a city of tomorrow. Spread out in front of you is a model depicting what could be EPCOT or some other city of the future. Then back out into the daylight and over Grand Prix. Leaving the roar of the car engines behind, you enter the cool tingling darkness of Space Mountain, filled with it's sounds of tomorrow and outer space. You pass just above the home of future living and out into the giant inner void of space Mountain, with its whirling meteorites and screaming guests. Then over to the Carrousel of Progress and through If You Had Wings. Lastly you glide past America the Beautiful and back to the PeopleMover Station. Total elapsed time, ten and a half minutes since your journey began."

Cast members enjoy a test ride prior to the official opening.

Eyes and Ears July 1975

Each of the flat boxes located in the track are individual linear induction motors which propel the cars.

Eyes and Ears July 1975

Today, this attraction still operates but under the name of Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover.

For more information check out the TTA - Tomorrowland Transit Authority Blog which includes Disneyland's version.

I hope you enjoyed today's Step Back in Time!

June 20, 2011

Magic Kingdom Guides 1976

Following up on my last blog.. today we'll look at the 1976 Magic Kingdom guide which is compliments of GAF. My copy is worn, but you'll be able to see the pages.


32 pages plus the front and back cover make up this treasure trove of information. Remember back then, no internet, cell phones or much of anything other than print and broadcast media, so the guide had to sell it all.

There is a table of contents (so you can locate the information you want) as well as a page of helpful information. Here are a couple of interesting tidbits from the information page:

** Locker Service - is available for checking purchases and garments -- GARMENTS?? Can you image today someone asking to check a garment?

** Travel Service -- car-map routing service and information provided, Gulf Hospitality House, Town Square

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Now we get to see not only what types of tickets were available in 1976 but the cost as well! Attractions were still utilizing lettered tickets A-E.

One bargain was the $9 adult ticket for a guided tour of the Magic Kingdom. You not only got admission ($6) but a 3.5 hour guided walking tour that included 5 attractions plus 2 more of your choice!

Another page offered Tips on Your Visit. It was suggested you visit the following before noon or after 4pm at these popular attractions:

Skyway in Fantasyland/Tomorrowland (D Ticket)

Haunted Mansion in Liberty Square (E Ticket)

Country Bear Jamboree in Frontierland (E Ticket)

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - Fantasyland (E Ticket)

Grand Prix Raceway in Tomorrowland (C Ticket)

One page is a special guide for guests in wheelchairs. You could rent a wheelchair for $1 per day.

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Each land then had it's own page or 2 with a listing of the attractions(short description and ticket value), restaurants and shops. Later versions of the guide would also include a small map of the land as well.

Can you name the "free" attractions from 1976?

According to this pamphlet:

Main Street USA - Walt Disney Story
Frontierland's Diamond Horseshoe Revue
Tomorrowland the Carousel of Progress, If You Had Wings and the Circle-Vision 360.

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And what guide wouldn't be complete without lots of photo tips for you to take pictures and buy more film! Look at the way the folks are dressed to visit a theme park! I'll say one thing though, the photo tips really are timeless!

And all this is just the first half of the guidebook!

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The center section is a two-page map of the Magic Kingdom. You can see there was plenty of room for expansion. Look at the huge area on the left side where you can now find Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain!

And those blue dots on the map? That's the GAF photo trail - the best locations for taking your still or movie pictures!

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You can even find 2 pages called "How Do I Go From Here?" It was a lot simpler back then LOL. The map even showed the Magic Kingdom parking lot sections by "name". Lake Buena Vista was described as " a world of boutiques, country club dining...."

And there there are the Special Attractions!


Yes, the Electric Water Pageant has been around a VERY long time. Folks have been enjoying this simple light and sound show for decades.

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Each resort had its own section too!

You can even see a photo of the short-lived Fort Wilderness Railroad! "Travel around Fort Wilderness aboard the Wilderness Live steam train attraction."

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I couldn't resist including the ad for the Shaggy DA movie!

That about concludes our look at the Magic Kingdom Guide for 1976.

Hope you enjoyed the journey back in time.

June 19, 2011

Magic Kingdom Guides

Hi Everyone - My name is Deb and I collect Disney ephemera. In other words, I have boxes and boxes of old Disney pamphlets, maps, guidebooks, old tickets, advertising sleeves, Eyes and Ears, press kits and who knows what else!

Some of my friends call me obsessed -- with Disney, with collecting... but I just smile, knowing I am not alone!


My good friend and AllEars® colleague Jack Marshall collects Disney Tickets! In fact, he has developed a very comprehensive guide to Walt Disney World Ticket History!

So what exactly is Ephemera? According to Wikipedia: Ephemera is transitory written and printed matter not intended to be retained or preserved. In other words, what I collect!

I don't profess to be an expert on Disney Ephemera, far from it! But, I am a collector and have decided I will periodically share with you some of my "collection". And, why do I collect all these items? Well, I like to think of myself as a Walt Disney World history buff. I want to learn all I can about the theme parks and ephemera is a great way to "Step Back in Time".


These are Magic Kingdom guides from the 70's and early 80's. One interesting thing is that the 1976 and 1977 ones are compliments of the GAF Corporation, while the others are compliments of Polaroid.

In my next blog, I'll share with you some of the details and why I really liked these guides!

November 3, 2008

LiMOUSEine Announces Opening of Disney-MGM Studios

In the October 28, 2008 issue of AllEars®, the monthly Step Back in Time featured a writeup on the LiMOUSEine! I asked for folks to send photos and Ted Knapp kindly sent some to AllEars. Here's the Step Back in Time feature followed by Ted's Photographs!

Ever heard of a LIMOUSEine?

Well, in the spring of 1989, a 40-foot LIMOUSEine traveled around America to announce the opening of the Disney-MGM Studios. "Complete with cheese cabinet, soda fountain and video and sound equipment..." the LIMOUSEine departed Orlando on March 5 for a 20-city tour.

The Orlando debut of the LIMOUSEine took place on February 27 when the burgundy stretch limo stopped at the Orlando City Hall to pick up then-Mayor Bill Frederick. He joined Walt Disney World President Dick Nunis and Mickey Mouse for a ride to the Studios. During the late February tour at Walt Disney World, the LIMOUSEine stopped at the Grand Floridian Resort and Mickey's Birthdayland. Mickey and Ambassador Kathleen Sullivan headed to Indianapolis to begin the tour.


The above information and photograph are from the March 16, 1989 issue of Eyes and Ears, a Walt Disney World employee newspaper.

Here are Ted's Photographs! He explains that the photos were taken at the Orlando Auto show in 1989.






Many thanks for the photos Ted!!!

If anyone else has photos of the LiMOUSEine, please send them to us!

August 26, 2008

Epcot's The Land - Circa 1982-1984

This is another in my sporadic series of "Step Back in Time" blogs -- this one returns to Epcot and the Land Pavilion.

The Land opened in Epcot's Future World on October 1, 1982 and was sponsored by Kraft. When the initial 10 year contract was up, Nestle became the new sponsor November 1992.

When the pavilion opened, the following components were in the building:

Listen to the Land Boat Ride - take a gentle cruise through various climates and learn about the history of farming. As the ride continued, you were taken into the future to see new and innovative techniques of both land and sea farming. While the ride is basically the same today, it has gone through several rehabs where the music and narration has changed.

Harvest Theatre - Symbiosis, an 18 minute film, explored the relationship between humans and their environment. The Harvest Theatre is still part of the pavilion, but now houses the environmental focused Circle of Life - Lion King movie with Timon and Pumba.

Kitchen Kaberet - these fun animated foods taught us about healthy eating and starred Bonnie Appetit, the Kitchen Krackpots and Hamm n Eggz. This attraction closed January 3, 1994 and gave way to Food Rocks on March 26, 1994 to make it more contemporary. Then on January 3, 2004, it was closed for good. Soarin now occupies that space once held by the singing fruits and vegies.

Farmer's Market - 8 fast food booths offering wholesome and nutritious meals and snacks. Now called Sunshine Seasons

Broccoli & Co. - the souvenir store. As always, there is a merchandise store in every area.

The Good Turn Restaurant - a 250 seat revolving full service restaurant. It's gone through several name changes (including the Land Grille Room) and today is the Garden Grill.

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The Land - Discover at Epcot -- Harvest new knowledge about man's relationship with planet Earth and dig into advanced food-growing technologies.

** Hydroponics
** Symbiosis and Resource Conservation
** History and Future of Agriculture
** Nutrition
** Aquaculture

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Here are some postcards from the early days ...

"LAND - Explore creative partnerships with the land. Set sail for "Tomorrow's Harvest". Sing along at a show that has the whole town cooking. And enjoy country-store fun, food and flavor."

The Land Epcot Postcard

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"Listen to the Land - in the "country fair" setting of the Land pavilion, review age old agriculture techniques. Then, sail through the environments of the world and glimpse Tomorrow's Harvest."

The Land Epcot Postcard

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"The Kitchen Krackpots - During your tour through The Land, you will see a wacky show which tells the story of nutrition in a very unusual way." Notice that this postcard does refer to the Kitchen Krackpots which was the name of the band that played at the Kitchen Kaberet.

The Land Epcot Kitchen Krackpots

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"Seasoned Performers flavor some spicy numbers on good nutrition at the Kitchen Kaberet, in the Land pavilion. Acts include Fiesta Fruit, Dairy Goods, and the hit of the Breakfast Circuit, Ham n Eggz".

Kitchen Kaberet - The Land Epcot Postcard

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The following photographs are digital images of the PanaVue slides that were sold at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot in the 80s.

The Land Epcot PanaVue Slide

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The Land Epcot PanaVue Slide

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The Land Epcot PanaVue Slide

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The Land Epcot PanaVue Slide

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The Land Epcot PanaVue Slide

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Here are some websites that offer photos and/or information about the early days of the Land:

All Ears Kitchen Kaberet Archives

Epcot Field Guide - The Land

Lost Epcot Features descriptions and photos from the early days of the Land.

Do you have photos from the 1980s of the Land Pavilion or any of it's attractions? I'd love to see them and possibly include them in a future blog. Please send to
allearsnet at yahoo dot com


September 24, 2007

Journey Into Imagination - Epcot Center - Celebrating 25 Years!

Tuesday's issue (September 25, 2007) of the AllEars® (weekly newsletter) has a special feature on the original Journey Into Imagination ride (Future World, Epcot) written by Lou Mongello.

As I read the draft, I found myself reminiscing about the ride and my first visit to Epcot in the early 1990s. All of a sudden I was surrounded by my postcard collection, searching for Figment cards! You're in luck!

Here are the ones I found.. They are here as a tribute to Epcot's upcoming 25th anniversary and the original Journey Into Imagination. All scans of the front of the postcards which are all copyright Disney.

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Pre-opening artist rendering postcard. "With a Spark of Inspiration ." - colorful realms of creativity will be explored when guests board ride-vehicles for a Journey Into Imagination."

Journey Into Imagination Epcot Pre-opening Postcard

Journey Into Imagination Epcot Pre-opening Postcard

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"Imagination - One Little Spark in Journey into Imagination, Dreamfinder and Figment escort you aboard the 'Dream Machine', enjoy a 3-D 'Magic Journeys', and the Image Works spurs creativity with light and sound."

One Little Spark in Journey into Imagination Postcard

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"Catch a Dream - The Dreamfinder and his little purple pal, Figment, fly through the universe gathering sounds, shapes and colors for a Journey into Imagination."

Journey Into Imagination Postcard Epcot

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"You're On Figment! Can a dragon be a star? Why not? In Journey Into Imagination, Figment puts on his top hat and tails to entertain us."

Figment Postcard

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If I'm missing any Imagination or Figment postcards from the 80's or 90's, please let me know! I'd love to see them. Just use the comment link below.

Lou's article is in the September 25, 2007 edition of AllEars®, available by free subscription.

AllEars® is a weekly newsletter with feature articles, news, tips and our famous MouseyMindboggler riddle!. It is sent via email to over 90,000 subscribers. Check it out!

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About Step Back in Time

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Deb's Digest in the Step Back in Time category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Resorts is the previous category.

Theme Parks is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.