What is it with my parents and hiding amazing vintage Walt Disney World souvenir banks from me?!
Back in the end of May there was a pretty serious series of rainstorms in my area, which brought flooding with it. My parents, in their place in NC at the time, were concerned about the state of the basement in their Maryland house, so they called me up and asked me to drive over and have a look.
There I am, stomping around the basement looking for puddles, my cell phone flashlight on because the bulb in the hanging light has burned out. I have my dad on speaker so we can discuss any damage I’m witnessing… and I see it on my dad’s model train table.
“There’s a Figment bank down here!” I shrieked.
“Oh, yes,” my dad replied nonchalantly. “You want it?”
Figment is a through-line of my Disney experience. I loved his ride in 1998 – you know, the good version, with Dreamfinder and the dirigible and the extended post-ride ImageWorks and all that jazz. Even in 1990, when I was barely old enough to remember a darn thing about WDW, I have shadowy recollections of riding this ride and being all about it. You could say that Figment is the personification of all my nostalgic love for Walt Disney World itself.
And I guess my parents recognized that – or maybe toddler me picked it out myself? – because they brought home this Figment bank, which I suppose has been waiting for me all this time. The bottom declares a copyright date of 1982 (although I didn’t exist then so this particular bank can’t be that old). The pot of gold my little imaginary friend is clutching features the original EPCOT Center logo. He is, disappointingly, exclusively filled with pennies.
No problem, though! Lately Disney’s been putting 95% of parks merchandise on the Shop Disney Parks app. There isn’t much that can’t be had through the app, and the initial blog post revealing the merch promised most of it would be available.
So you can imagine my chagrin when I searched for the ears and saw this:
Of course there’s always eBay and such, but pricing tends to be so inflated there. My best hope was probably going to be waiting until after the festival ended to see if any stray unpurchased leftovers made it to the app. Not an impossible dream but I didn’t love the odds.
Enter Black Dog Runs Disney, the hero of the day! I saw her posting WDW pics on social media and mentioned my plight. One Paypal transaction later and here we are:
I. AM. SO. HAPPY. I’m going to wear these with my 1998 Figment shirt like a complete dork. And then I’m going to ride the Figment ride and the Cast Members will ACKNOWLEDGE THE AWESOMENESS. They must! They shall!
Refurb: The Figment Crew from Journey Into Your Imagination at Epcot I was having a little trouble determining which Disney buddy pair I wanted to refurb until I remembered, hey, I can totally go outside the movies, right? And so it shall be. Therefore, I wish to refurb the Imagination Pavilion team. Eric Idle, you’re a wonderful Python, but you’re no Dreamfinder. Let’s bring him back, shall we? I guess you could call this half a kill, or Nigel can stay too – I just want a little piece of the original ride I loved back. Let’s make it happen!
Mistakes were made.
Marry: Pooh & Piglet of Everything Pooh-Related Don’t get me wrong – of all the randomly added characters the world has ever seen in book-to-movie adaptations, Gopher is the most charming. But I’m glad Disney came to their senses and brought Piglet back for subsequent Pooh projects. Why marry the Pooh-Piglet combo? Here’s why:
I rest my case. P.S. “W-O-L. That spells Owl.” “Bless my soul, so it does!”
What you are about to see may hurt you a little. You may feel betrayed. You may wonder how I could possibly let this happen. I DIDN’T KNOW, OKAY? I DIDN’T KNOW.
It was the last time my family went to Walt Disney World, 1998. I was a mere twelve years of age. Disney’s Animal Kingdom had yet to open its gates, ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter was still a thing I refused to go near, and Journey Into Imagination was everything I remember it to be.
I had yet to splash merrily into the pool of thrill rides and I had not yet found my dodger’s feet in the Magic Kingdom’s oppressive crowds, but in Epcot the line for Figment’s ride hardly existed. It was gentle, and the interactive exhibits at the end had an upstairs. It was glorious.
When my parents prompted me to pick out a souvenir, I settled readily and definitively on this.
I know. I KNOW. It’s faded from years and wears and washings and I cut a slit in the neck because I hate tight neck holes. I have destroyed this poor poor wonderful relic of days past. And I’m sorry for that. I wish I’d thought ahead. I wish I’d realized how precious this simple memento was, would become.
And yet, over a decade and a half later, it remains in my closet. Maybe the only item of clothing I own to last so long. I love you, Figment t-shirt. Next time I’m in WDW I will finally buy those Figment mouse ears I’ve been eying for so long.