40 Years of Figment: A Journey Into Maria Stuckey’s Imagination

Our favorite purple dragon turned 40 this March! Figment has been fluttering around inspiring guests to use their imagination since the Journey Into Imagination attraction opened in EPCOT in March of 1983. From the Figment-inspired popcorn bucket to his Festival of the Arts merchandise, we simply can’t get enough of him. The friendly, fun-loving dragon has been a source of inspiration for many over the years, including Associate Product Design Manager Maria Stuckey.

If you’ve visited EPCOT or Disney Springs lately, you may have seen some of the fun new Figment-inspired products floating around, including the Figment Rainbow of Imagination Collectible Vinyl Figure, a creation of Maria Stuckey’s own imagination. I had the opportunity to sit down with Maria and learn more about her work on the figure, as well as her journey through The Walt Disney Company. 

Maria was thrilled to be working with Figment as the first design she took on as a Wonderground artist. “Figment was my first choice of character to work with,” she shared. “He has always resonated with me since he is the embodiment of creativity and imagination.”  

In designing the popular figure, Maria’s goal was to showcase Figment in her own style, which she described as a “cuter aesthetic.” Finding the right look proved to be a bit of a challenge, but after several tweaks, Maria struck the perfect balance. She included a rainbow to represent creativity and passion, and as a nod to the rainbows that were present in the ‘80s when the park first opened. Spaceship Earth is also visible to represent Figment’s home park. “I created the overall pose with the idea that Figment is helping spread inspiration and joy throughout EPCOT using a rainbow of imagination,” Maria said. 

Maria has been working on Parks merchandise since she graduated college 15 years ago. She started out as a professional intern before transitioning to a freelancer role, and was ultimately hired as a full time cast member a few years later. Having grown up in Florida and frequenting Disney property, Maria often utilizes her love and knowledge of the Parks, as well as movies and comics that she accrued growing up to create products that honor those beloved storylines and characters. “I know that I help carry the responsibility of telling these stories and bringing the magic to life for guests and it’s not something I take lightly,” she said. “My role is truly a dream come true for me!”

As far as Maria’s advice for aspiring designers, she shared: “Be like Figment! Always be on the lookout for that one little spark of imagination. It can come from anywhere; use it to inspire you to create and dream.” 

For more stories highlighting our cast, check out the Disney Cast Life blog.