- “We don't know anything... that can't be imagined.”
- ―Imagination Institute slogan
The Imagination Institute is an organization in the Disney Parks.
The Imagination Institute is an organization based in the Imagination Pavilion of Epcot and is dedicated to technological innovation and the study of imagination as a science. It is believed to have been originally founded at some point in the 1880s-1890s and was established as a place for top scientists, futurists, inventors, artists and other forward-looking individuals to experiment, surmise, innovate and create and also dedicates itself to studying the Imagination.
The Institute had an annual, "Inventor of the Year Award" ceremony with past recipients having apparently included the likes of: Tom Edison, George Washington Carver, and Walt Disney, Wayne Szalinski, and Professor Brainard. The institute also fairly often held open houses for the populace to engage with their innovations.
By the 1990s, the company because headed by chairman Dr. Nigel Channing, a stuffy man who believed that imagination was something to be harnessed and controlled. The uptight and serious Eugene Higgins was another fairly notable employee during Channing's stay. The Institute appeared to have come connection to the Medfield College while having their primary facility in Epcot and possessing an outpost in Tomorrowland.
The Imagination Institute first appeared in this attraction where at the Inventor of the Year Awards ceremony they bestow the award to Wayne Szalinski. However, things turn to chaos when Wayne accidentally shrinks himself with his own machine and his children take over the show. The machine goes on to accidentally shrink the audience making more mayhem but was ultimately resolved albeit with the bug of turning Wayne's dog Quark into a giant.
An Open House Tour of the Institute was the focus of the attraction. Hosted by Dr. Channing, he repeatedly talks down to the audience after claiming his Imagination Scanner has scientifically proven nobody on the tour has an imagination. In an attempt to stimulate the riders' creativity, Dr. Channing ushers the guests through a random assortment of lab experiments, patronizingly explaining to you what imagination is until he decides you finally understand it and puts you through the Imagination Scanner again, causing it to burst open into crudely animated photo collages vaguely meant to represent limitless creativity.
Journey Into Imagination With Figment
After Journey Into Your Imagination was panned for the loss of its original characters and its incoherent passive aggressive storyline, the attraction was reconfigured into a tour through the Imagination Institute's Sensory Labs that Figment hijacks. Here, Channing vaguely describes attempts to "Capture and control the Imagination" as if it were a form of energy and puts guests through mundane sensory tests to fuel this research. This is opposed by the free-spirited Figment, who derails Dr. Channing's boring experiments with assorted pranks while declaring Imagination as something that should be set free. After watching his tour crumble around him and being taken through his whimsical upside down house, Dr. Channing surrenders to Figment's out of the box philosophy and the Institute's ancient mainframe computers give way to a fantastical landscape in the attraction's finale.
ImageWorks - The "What If" Labs
This area of the Imagination! Pavilion has guests interacting with the laboratories of the Imagination Institute.
When Marvel produced the Disney Kingdoms titles based on Figment, Nigel and the Imagination Institute were not used. Instead, a similar group known as the Academy Scientifica-Lucida (Latin: Academy of Bright Sciences) was created and headed by similarly stuffy scientist characters Chairman Illocrant and Chairman Auckley.
- It is unknown if the beloved character of the Dreamfinder from the original Journey Into Imagination attraction has or had any affiliation with the Institute.
- Dreamfinder is referenced with there being an office for a character named Dean Finder.