Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Dreamfinder Goes To MegaCon

I'm going to continue my costume posts soon, but first I wanted to share one of my favorite parts of MegaCon this year: John's day as Dreamfinder.

John dressed as Dreamfinder once before at Disney's Halloween party, but it's so dark there no one can really see your costume, plus they're a lot more timid about approaching other guests for photos. So while he got a lot of sweet compliments and reactions, John didn't seem too eager to try the costume again on a non-Disney crowd.

Then, after our great first day on Friday, John surprised me by declaring maybe he *would* dress up, after all. So we scrambled to get the costume out of the garage, and I did my best to wrestle his wig & beard back into shape.

And, I'm happy (but not surprised) to report that MegaCon treated John like a total rock star.




We didn't even make it into the building before people were calling his name and offering up high-fives. From the second we walked into the side doors to the very second we walked back out that night, John was in demand. And it was glorious to watch.

While most cosplay makes people smile, John's Dreamfinder made them remember a time when magic was real and a little purple dragon could steal your ball cap. In an instant they were 8 years old again, and I got to watch this joy - this startled, delighted joy - flood so many faces. Then they would shout, or give chase, or clutch their friend's arm and start scrambling for a camera. Some were even visibly moved to tears, asking for a hug or simply collapsing onto John's shoulder. Many told him, with utmost sincerity, just how much they missed him.

Can you imagine having the mere sight of you inspire that much happiness? 'Cuz at its essence, I think that's what cosplay is really all about: reminding people of something or someone that fills them with that kind of joy.

I spent most of the day just trying to get out of the way of John's fans - not an easy feat in Saturday's crowds! - but here's a small sample of the group he usually had around him. See the expression on the lady in pink? That's what I got to watch all day. :D

You can also see it on the guy just walking into frame here:




Of course it was only adults over 25 or so who recognized John, but that was a huge portion of the crowd - and some of my favorite moments were watching parents shove cameras into their kids' hands and demanding a photo with Dreamfinder. Ha! Then they'd excitedly try to explain who he was, while the kids just looked baffled - and slightly alarmed. 

I also love that it was an even number of both men and women getting their photo with John - if anything, there were actually more men! "You're dressed as my childhood," one guy gushed, while others unabashedly told John how much they loved him, bowing down, saluting, and otherwise inundating him with compliments.

At this point John actually had a small line waiting to get a photo with him.


And that's another thing: these people telling John how much they loved and missed him? They were talking to Dreamfinder. Grown men and women, entering into a tacit agreement with both John and each other that this wasn't a guy in costume; this was Dreamfinder. For just a second, they were allowed to be that 8 year old kid again. Conventions give us that. Cosplay gives us that. It's almost a sacred thing, and getting to see it up close was an honor.

Of course, I was also running off taking as many cosplay pics as I could, so rest assured I have plenty more to show you ... in another post. Thanks for indulging me with this one; I want to remember this, and the fact that I get to share these memories with people who just might enjoy them as much as I do is the big ol' virtual cherry on top.


Oh! And before I'm flooded with it in the comments: yes, we have seen that a new steampunk Dreamfinder comic is coming out, and I for one am super excited. 


Maybe we'll 'punk John out a bit in time for this year's Dragon Con. ;) (You'll note I *did* add my goggles to his top hat, and I put Figment in an aviator cap, goggles, and jacket. My theory was they were fresh off the flying machine. ;))

76 comments:

  1. This post literally made me tear :') I'm glad the experience went over so well, you guys are amazing

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    1. Ditto.The magic of a childhood memory is a precious thing!

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    2. Me four...and I haven't even seen anything “Dreamfinder“. I don't think he was that big here in Germany...
      I guess I am just nostalgic in general...

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    3. Yep, me too! Never seen Dreamfinder, but I get the emotions. I still tear up thinking about his meeting with the original Dreamfinder! Good stuff Jen!

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    4. Crying like a baby here, too, and I had no idea who Dreamfinder was pre-Jenn and John.

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    5. Folks not familiar with Dreamfinder... He's a Disney World ride character from the Imagination pavillion at EPCOT from 80s/90s. The ride was called Journey into the Imagination with Figment. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journey_Into_Imagination. A longer tribute to the pavillion is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyUNTuvH6I8 . It's 38 mins long, but if you want to see the ride, skip to around 7:00ish. Enjoy!!

      -Wendy, Raleigh, NC.

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    6. It couldn't happen to a sweeter guy! So glad I'm not the only one tearing up.

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  2. I LOVE this. Just absolutely LOVE it. I would have definitely shoved the phone into my kiddo's hands and threatened him with loss of XBox if he didn't get a good picture. I'm SO glad John decided to go for it!!!

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  3. Shelley in So. IllinoisMarch 25, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    I love this. So hard. I'm also posting it and tagging it with my friend who works at Disney. Maybe this sort of story can put some wheels on all the Dreamfinder love that exists!

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  4. You guys have to be the coolest people ever. I am off to google search who this dreamfinder and figment are. I sadly never heard of them during my childhood. Must have been a cable thing, which we did not have.

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    1. It was a ride, okay, I have never been to disney world, this explains it.

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    2. They were part of EPCOTCenter's initial version of Journey Into Imagination. Google search will return lots of results. :) I would also recommend the tribute video compiled by Martin Smith.

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  5. This post is glorious! I'm telling you, if the Disney decision makers only realized how many people - people who are now adults with money and/or kids to bring to DisneyWorld - love and cherish their Dreamfinder memories - they would bring back the original Journey Into Imagination. I would give just about anything to bring my son on the REAL ride.

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  6. This post reminded me of Santa Claus.

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    1. Yep - we decided DF is basically Disney's own Santa. Ha!

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  7. That was so Adorable. You guys have the *best* hearts.

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  8. I thought the costume looked a bit different. Goggles, of course!
    Thank you for sharing this, Jen. It makes it seem, a little bit, like we were there with you and John. So glad that it was a positive experience for him and that you got to be his crowd control and support.

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  9. I found this when looking on Youtube. Ultimate dreamfinder tribute It takes you through the whole ride.

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  10. I'm really sad I never got a chance to see the original Journey into Imagination (or I was too young to remember). I've only heard people say great things about it and the current iteration of the ride...does not inspire that feeling. Maybe they'll bring it back. They did bring back Captain EO (which I wasn't clamoring for), so there's always a chance.

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  11. I can only imagine what my face and reaction would have been. I hold JII in dear regard still to this day. Bravo!! :)

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  12. AWESOME!

    So glad John decided to spend another day as Dreamfinder and brought joy to so many. Wish I could've been there to see the reactions.

    KW

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  13. I'm not even familiar with the character and this made me cry. Go John!

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  14. I love everything about this post. I, too, grew up with Dreamfinder and Figment, and I would have been right there asking for a picture. I absolutely love it when I forget that it's just "some guy in a costume" or when someone does the same to me. It's the ultimate costuming compliment.

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  15. What a nice tribute to your husband Jen. I'm glad it was so awesome for you both.

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  16. We saw him on our way out Saturday and it was totally "Hey, Dreamfinder!" from all of us.

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  17. Yay! It's definitely rewarding when folks love your costume like that, and I'm glad this experience was so great for John after what sounded like a slightly disappointing one at Disney!

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  18. There are no words- I would have been crying and I'm really sad I didn't know ahead of time or I would have sent my friends who WERE there on a quest for a picture!!

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  19. I have to be honest, I'd never heard of Dreamfinder until EPBOT, but this post made me cry. What an AWESOME experience! I would have spent the whole day crying getting to see that kind of emotion from people. :)

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  20. What a super special experience for the two of you to give so much joy!

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  21. THIS is why you and John are awesome, as if you weren't already awesome enough.

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  22. What a great post! I'm so glad it was such a great experience for you both and that you took the time to share it. Thank you for a feel good moment on this otherwise dreary Tuesday!

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  23. Yet another reason I love your blog, I learn fun things - I had no clue who Dreamfinder was, had to google it as I was reading the post. Thanks for opening up a new world to a lot of us through your adventures.

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  24. Jen, This. I have tears in my eyes. Thanks to both of you for being such inspirations!

    Anna

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  25. You are trying to make my heart explode today huh? lol! So.much.feels. I unfortunately do not know who Dreamfinder is. I missed out on that bit of epicness as a kid by a few years. But this, this post, this blog, the epicness of people i see who comment. It restores my faith in humanity just a little bit every time I read. :) ...some one is stirring up dust in the office again... >.> where'd i put my tissues

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  26. This makes me wish I could've seen the Dreamfinder and Figment ride. It wasn't until adulthood that I made my first visit to Epcot. I think, nerdy kid that I was, probably would've loved it as much as the Magic Kindgom.

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  27. This brought tears to my eyes. I've been a closet Figment and Dreamfinder lover/fan for years ever since my first trip ages ago to Epcot and I begged and pleaded for the giant Figment but my parents didn't have the money and sadly bought the mini Figment instead (which I still have proudly displayed on my nightstand.....I figure he can help me in my dreams. :-) ) Thank you Jen and John for bringing us smiles, happy tears and waking up those precious memories. <3

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    1. Wanted to add that my Dad DID finally end up getting me the giant Figment for Christmas year before last. I was ecstatic and I'll admit I did cry a bit. :-)

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    2. I think it's wonderful your dad thought of that.

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    3. Me too Haiku Joy. It meant a lot that he remembered all those years ago his little girl wanting a giant purple dragon he couldn't afford. <3

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  28. Hi. Two quick questions. Were you in costume too? Did John respond to people as Dreamfinder or as himself. I can feel the Disney magic oozing from this post. It's so great to see people truly happy. -Melissa R.

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    1. I was not in costume, no - and I'm glad, since Saturday was unbelievably crowded! John tended to answer as himself, but fortunately most folks weren't really looking for conversation; they just wanted to heap a little love on him and move on.

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  29. I'm not entirely sure why someone is cutting onions in my cube farm. What other reason is there for the tearing up?

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  30. It suddenly got very dusty in here.

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  31. I know JUST how you feel! My hubby and I dressed up for Halloween (for the first time in a LONG time) last year (you featured us here on Epbot) and I was afraid my DH's costume (Barf the Mawg from Spaceballs) would go a little over some of the "non-geek" heads. But complete strangers went crazy over him! It really was like for at least that moment in time they thought it was really the character. And my husband is generally on the shy side, but that wig and thin layer of grease paint really brought out his charm and zaniness. I had the absolute best time watching people hug him and ask him for his picture!

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  32. I love to dress up but I am terrified of having people take my picture all dang day! I guess everyone's motivation is different :D

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  33. You guys make my heart happy. I love the work you guys do on your costumes but I'm really inspired by the love and joy you put into them, which this post so beautifully portrays.

    Well, this comment got super cheesy, whoopsie daisy.

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  34. Happy tears here. That was such a heartwarming story. I'm SO glad people got to experience that. What a joyful thing. The costume is so close to the original it's absolutely no wonder people reacted they way they did. I know you both will hold that happy day in your minds for a long time to come.

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  35. The Dreamfinder, above all else, is a symbol. He is not a mascot nor a mere character, but the physical embodiment of imagination itself. Figment is his creation but the Dreamfinder himself is the master of his realm. Most importantly, he is still beloved by many "kids" who used Epcot as a playground in their formative years. I too, would've wept upon seeing him, since I wept on the shoulder of a dear friend of Dreamfinder's named Steve. Kudos to you, John, for taking that on your shoulders & pulling it off with incredible grace

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  36. Aw, man, my allergies are making my eyes water extra badly today. Glad you two both got to dress up and be awesome during this con.

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  37. I'm glad to read that I'm not the only one all teary-eyed after reading your post. What a cool day for John! I live vicariously through your posts!!!

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  38. I had never even heard of Dreamfinder until your last post about John's costume, and I was still crying over this post. Way to go guys! :)

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  39. Ron Schneider (the original Dreamfinder) posted this on his Facebook page! He's such a great guy :) And you guys are simply the best!

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  40. Tears, everywhere - it never gets old playing someone people know and love!

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  41. John, I was one of the last people to be trained into Dreamfinder ( i had to take Steve Tailor's place while he was getting work on his wrist for Figment ware and tear). It was my favorite character I had a chance to play at Walt Disney World.
    I was sad, as many fans were ,about him being dropped from the Imagination Pavilion. .It made me so happy to see someone with the spark to bring him back. Kudos to you, my friend!

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  42. Last year, for a tiny con here in Jax, my husband went as an Ewok. He made the costume all by himself. He was a big guy (6'4) so he called himself an E.O.U.S. (Ewok of Unusual Size). People had a similar reaction to him like they had for John. Adults as well as kids asked for pictures, he was greeted with smiles, and even requests for hugs. He died just a couple of months later. I'm still devastated but I pull the picture of him in costume out frequently. It reminds me not only of his talents (I'm slightly embarrassed that he could sew so well when I can barely manage more than fixing a button), but also of his incredible playful spirit, which I miss so very, very much.

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    1. I am so sorry to hear that. He sounds like a really loveable guy; that's a great story. I hope you have good people around you now.

      - Random passerby on the net wishing you all the best for the future.

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  43. I love this! Dressed as Russell from "Up" last year at Con, I had small children come up to me who ACTUALLY thought I was him! Like really! I love that sense of wonder and fun. John's costume totally rocks, btw :)

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  44. Ahhhhh who's cutting onions?

    I'm not crying, it's onions, I swear.

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  45. OMG you had me tearing up, this is so awesome!!! Love this so much!

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  46. Geez. We don't even have memories of the Dreamfinder for some reason (and we are over 25), and you had us tearing up this morning. I'm mostly just super happy for John that he got to have such an excellent experience.

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  47. Wow! I absolutely teared up and I have no memories of the Dreamfinder despite being over 30. I think it comes of living in the UK :) It must have been an amazing experience x

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  48. so awesomely incredible! John must have just been walking on clouds. I can just imagine the energy that he must have absorbed. Thanks to both of you for bringing those memories to so many.

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  49. I wouldve been one of the ones gushing... I love the original Journey, I love Figment and I love Dreamfinder!

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  50. How fun!! I bet he's still floating on cloud 9 (or 12)!
    Excited for the rest of the pics!
    - Piper P.

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  51. Ron Schneider (The real Dreamfinder) just posted a link to this on her facebook page!

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  52. I'd love to see Dreamfinder, either at a convention or back in EPCOT. I make puppets for conventions, and I'm thinking that Figment definitely needs to get added to the potential projects list. I'm not sure he'd be recognised by too many folks in the UK, but he would definitely make me happy.

    Your description of peoples' reactions to John is just glorious. I like to call that reaction to cosplays "insta-love" and it is a magical thing to watch. I think you just reminded me of why I love cosplay so much :)

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  53. So glad the comments show I'm not the only one who started crying... I'm 26 but Figment and the Dreamfinder are a vivid memory for me. I went and found these old family photos to share and started crying even more, my dad passed away a few years ago.

    http://www.lifeneedsmoresmiles.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/figment1.jpg
    http://www.lifeneedsmoresmiles.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/figment2.jpg

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  54. This was so wonderful, I read it three times and also teared up. Us Disneyphiles here on the west coast missed out on Dreamfinder. I love that I got to discover him through you guys.

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  55. Dreamfinder ROCKS! Disney goofed when they took him out of the park. Great to know his spirit lives on!!! :)

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    1. I agree, as did they goof when they decided to close the Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. Three of my favorite DW characters (DF, Figment and Mr. Toad) lost to time. *sniff*

      I cried like many others here...to see John in his awesome costume. And took a lot of joy at the pouring out of cos-love on him.

      Jen/John, you guys are so very very awesome. (I'm in NC, and was toying with going to Mega, but ended up being a slouch and staying home. Glad I got to see it through your eyes!)

      -Wendy, Raleigh, NC

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  56. Just delightful. I didn't grow up with Dreamfinder (never went to Disney anything until I was an adult), but this post makes me wish I did. I love that you shared this magic with us.

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  57. I love this post so much. And yes, bring Dreamfinder to Dragon*Con!!

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  58. This post made me tear up so much. You rock Jon!!!

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  59. Reading the archives...this post made me cry. Good for you and John for recognizing the magic for what it was!

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