Longtime Journey Into Imagination Cast Member Dreamfinder is in heaps of legal trouble after allegations of sexual harassment have surfaced. Many women have come forward alleging that they’ve fallen victim to Dreamfinder’s advances. The alleged harassment occurred sometime between 1999 and 2004.
Journey Into Imagination was a ride at Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center from 1983 – 1998. In it, Dreamfinder (real name Joseph Dramefynd) played host to the attraction where he and his pal Figment educated park guests about their imagination and its limitless possibilities.
However, the ride hit tough times in the late 1990’s. Pressured by younger guests to feature a ride with more “edge”, Disney quietly closed the attraction while they thought of ways to re-tell the story in a way that appealed to younger audiences. The attraction re-opened one year later, without Dreamfinder.
“It was extremely hard on him,” said Thomas Jefferson Geronimo III, friend of Dreamfinder. “Without warning they shut the ride down. For one year they told him to sit tight but then they re-opened the attraction without Dreamfinder. No phone call, no nothing. Naturally, he was pissed.”
What may have made matters worse is that Figment, a character created by Dreamfinder, was asked back to reprise his role in the new version of the ride, this time in a starring role.
“That was the icing on the cake,” Geronimo continued. “His thinking was, ‘Wanna fire us? Fine. But bring that purple little prick back and not me?’ That sent him over the edge.”
Jess Firmgrip, Dreamfinder’s girlfriend at the time, saw the changes in his attitude once he was fired.
“He was upset but optimistic when they closed the ride to re-tool it,” Firmgrip told us. “He thought the show was getting a little stale too but he was confident they’d find a new way to spice things up. Never in his wildest dreams did he think they’d bring the ride back without him. He would have never imagined that.”
Many on the internet also did not imagine such a drastic change.
“I was in line on opening day of the new ride,” theme park guest and CompuServe user Frank399221 wrote from his 28.8 dial-up connection in a posted dated December 1999. “I was so excited to see what Dreamfinder was going to do with the new ride. I was shocked and even a little angry that he was nowhere to be found. [It was] just that purple little [homosexual] Figment.”
Firmgrip thinks that the cast change may have been what contributed to the downfall of Dreamfinder.
“He started to get real violent in the months following the re-opening of Journey Into YOUR Imagination,” Firmgrip continued. “I noticed him flirting with a lot more women and having a short fuse with all his friends and family.”
It was about this time that the assault charges and sexual harassment lawsuits started racking up.
“It wasn’t anything too terrible,” wrote one woman who claimed to be harassed by Dreamfinder. “He’d just stand outside the ride in a dirty purple suit with no shirt on underneath yelling at the women walking by. He’d yell things like, ‘Hey [female genitalia]! Wanna take a ride on my face?’ It was sad but I understood where he was coming from.”
Many people who visited Epcot in the early 2000’s recall seeing Dreamfinder outside Journey Into Your Imagination, yelling at guests.
“I went to Disney World every year from 1999 – 2011 and a good chunk of those years have family photos outside the Imagination pavilion with a drunken Dreamfinder in the background of our pictures,” writes Janet Vice. “I was a teenager at the time so I just thought this was part of the experience. I had no idea what the whole story was. But it was kind of funny to look back at our photo albums and see where he was or what he was doing in the background of our photos. It was kind of like a ‘Where’s Waldo?’ type of game with our family.”
To date there have been 14 women that have come forward with complaints of being cat-called, whistled at, harassed, and in some cases, assaulted.
“I feel bad for the guy,” Geronimo concluded. “He was my best friend. I talk to him occasionally now and then but not like we used to. I’ve offered my help but I think this is bigger than me. I really wish Disney would step up and help this guy out. He made millions of dollars for the company. The least they could do is pay for a legal team to defend him.”
When reached for comment about this story, The Walt Disney Company responded with this statement: “Mr. Dramefynd was a beloved fixture of Epcot for over a decade. We hope he is able to conquer his demons and we wish him all the best in the future.”
Dreamfinder’s first court hearing is scheduled for April 1.