Every other year since 2009, Disney has held a D23 Expo in Anaheim, offering planned entertainment and lots of surprises for fans. At the 2013 D23 Expo, among the biggest surprise moments for theme park junkies were unannounced appearances by Dreamfinder with Figment in hand.
The beloved and long lost character from Epcot’s original Journey Into Imagination pavilion, Dreamfinder has been missed since being removed from the theme park quite a few years ago. But D23 – Disney’s official fan club – understands how much he is missed and seized the opportunity to offer a brief chance to meet him once more.
On Saturday, August 10, 2013, Dreamfinder first walked out on stage with Figment in hand during the Disney Legends ceremony in honor of Tony Baxter, the man who led the creation of Journey Into Imagination along with Dreamfinder himself. On stage, Tony expressed his own affinity for the bearded character, asking “When are we bringing Dreamfinder back?” – met with big cheers.
Video: Dreamfinder and Figment appear as Tony Baxter becomes a Disney Legend
But the Figment fun didn’t stop there. D23 Expo attendees who happened to be wandering through the Walt Disney Parks & Resorts pavilion, aptly called Journey Into Imagineering, may have discovered a brief meet-and-greet with Dreamfinder, the first time such an encounter has been available to fans for many years. Meetings with Dreamfinder are among the top memories many fans have from visiting Epcot as a kid, so those lucky enough to witness this special opportunity received a big unexpected treat from D23.
Dreamfinder and Figment meet and greet at the 2013 D23 Expo
But the Journey Into Imagination fun didn’t stop there. That evening, as part of the Disney Songbook concert, Richard Sherman played and sang “One Little Spark” among his hour-long medley of fan favorites.
Richard Sherman performs “One Little Spark” at the 2013 D23 Expo
This wasn’t the first time D23 welcomed Dreamfinder back to the world of Disney at a special event. During Destination: D Walt Disney World in 2011, Richard Sherman also performed a special evening of music that included a surprise “One Little Spark” singalong during which Dreamfinder also showed up.
Video: Dreamfinder returns to Walt Disney World for one night at 2011 Destination D
It’s clear from the fan reaction that Dreamfinder and Figment ought to always have a place in Epcot and CEO Bob Iger plainly stated that he agrees. “I don’t think Figment is going anywhere any time soon. I promise,” he reassured the crowd at the 2013 D23 Expo. Though meet-and-greets with Dreamfinder aren’t likely to extend beyond the walls of the Journey Into Imagineering pavilion this weekend, it’s comforting to know Disney most definitely hasn’t forgotten about him.