The classic Disney characters are synonymous with the Disney Theme Parks. The young and young at heart are instantly drawn to Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and the gang. Who could imagine visiting a Disney Park without seeing any characters? Guests visiting EPCOT Center in 1982 found out exactly what that would be like.
After canceling Walt Disney's original plans for EPCOT Center , the company settled on building a theme park that would smash two separate ideas together- World Showcase and Future World. This brave new idea would be a more "adult" theme park; a place where Disney's traditional characters would be unwelcome. After all, if guests wanted to see Mickey Mouse, they could just drive down the road to the Magic Kingdom. EPCOT Center would feature new and different characters and experiences. (as well as plenty of polyester)
The main mascot for the park would not be a mouse, but a small dragon named Figment. This wily scamp would be featured in his own attraction and on park merchandise.
This brave new theme park experience was disastrous. Guests were upset that they couldn't meet Mickey or Donald and shunned the park. This billion dollar albatross threatened to sink the company so quick fixes were employed to get people through the gates. The company quickly commissioned less educational attractions to up the entertainment quotient and more importantly, Mickey and the gang were brought in to liven up the place. EPCOT slowly but surely dug itself out of its hole and Disney (mostly) learned its lesson.