Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A Special Alien encounter - Stitch's great escape tribute

When the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien encounter open in WDW , some years ago, it was quite an event. Not only it was part of a new re-themed Tomorrowland, but "Alien" was supposed to be a real frightening attraction , the first of its kind in a Magic Kingdom. Well, for the adult audience, it was really fun, and not-so-scary. But for the 12 years old young girls, the 3D sound ,the darkness and in-theatre effects were may be a little bit too scary!
No need to say that WDW executives didn't like at all to see these young girls exiting the attraction theatre crying...
This is probably why this brand new WDI attraction - that was supposed to be built in other Disney parks - remains the only one of its kind...Mind you, still in 1994, Tim Delaney, DLP Discoveryland show producer was still expecting to built it right at the entrance of the land where the room has been kept , on the little hill on the right, between the "Constellations" shop and Autopia.
We all know what happened next: the attraction was re-themed around the Stitch character and is supposed now to be less scary than before. On the pictures above, the difference between the two pictures of the same scene is interesting: on the Alien one the boys are yelling, but on the Stitch one, the boys are younger and smiling. The message is clear: no need to be afraid of this attraction any more, come on in!
Also, note the difference between the two photos of the pre-show sequence , with the small teleportation experiment. On the Stitch version, the S.I.R robot - one of the best programmed AA i ever seen - is now dressed in a more cartoonish way.
But the really interesting shot above is the sixth from the top, as this rendering show a kind of pre-show "laboratory" scene that finally was never built...
And, last but not least, you may have noticed on the Alien encounter marquee that the attraction was supposed to be a " sensory thriller from Disney AND Georges Lucas ".
What is Georges Lucas doing in all this, you ask? Well, apparently, and if i'm not wrong , it seems that the concept/idea of the attraction came from him during a meeting, and when Lucas have an idea, you better not forget that it came from him...which, i must agree is perfectly legitimate.
Here below are youtube videos of the two versions. The two first one shows the pre-show and the show of Alien encounter - Video images : copyright Martin Smith
And the two last one shows the pre-show and the show of Stitch's great escape - Youtube Videos from SaveTheLastRide

Photos and Art-work: copyright Disney


Anonymous said...

Awesome update. I liked Alien Encounter, but I think the "harnesses" really confused a lot of people on what exactly it was.

Anonymous said...

I screamed, screamed and screamed on this, it was terrifying. The harnesses did confuse and I was unsure if it was going to start spinning or something and with the dark and sounds it was frightening. Not what I expected in Disney. Fun but in a bad way....

Anonymous said...

I LOVE stitch's great escape. I LOVE STITCH even more!! A lot of mistakes in the ride though
Such as:
Stitch was not called Stitch until Lilo adopted him!

Anonymous said...

I think the "harnesses" where there to keep scared people from jumping out of their seats (becouse of panicing) and knocking into the equipment used for spitting, licking, breathing, or whatever else happened in the alien encounter.

Unknown said...

Stitch's Great Escape is an abomination. ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter was proof that Disney could actually make a truly scary ride experience for teens and adults. There were warning signs before you entered the ride that clearly stated it was NOT suitable for young children (ironically, I did in fact ride it when I was only seven and was surely frightened). But I knew it was only a ride, and the only reason my parents took me on it was because I begged them to let me go on it. Other less intelligent parents, however, would often drag little Johny on the ride, not even noticing the warning signs or the obvious sinister plot of the ride from the preshow (S.I.R.). When little Johnny would be in tears at the end of the ride, of course they would complain to Disney about their ignorance. Thus, we have Stitch.

R.I.P. Alien Encounter