Attraction Spotlight – Stitch’s Great Escape

Okay so you knew it was bound to happen eventually, after all with a name like Stitch’s Home For Abandoned Alien Experiments you basically have to cover any Stitch related attractions. I realize for a lot of you this attraction is in the “never again” or “what were they thinking?” categories, but we shall cover it just the same. Interestingly though to really cover this attraction one must delve into the previous attraction Alien Encounter. Baically it is after all the scarier version of Stitch’s Great Escape.

ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter opened officially on June 20, 1995 and closed on October 12, 2003 to get refurbished into Stitch’s Great Escape. Alien Encounter and the current incarnation Stitch’s Great Escape are what is dubbed a theater-in-the-round, in other words the audience surrounds the main attraction. The chairs are designed with drop down harness with blower, feelers/brushes, speakers, and water guns, among other special effects. While it had it’s own following of fans, myself included, Disny had placed it in the middle of Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom. The alien though different looked akin to a xenomorph crossed with a bug from the Alien Franchise. There were warnign about it being intense and was not intended for anyone under the age of 12. Problem 1: You’re in the Magic Kingdom where most people are going to assume barring a height restriction everything is family safe. Problem 2: The show revolves around this freaky alien escaping the lights going out and flickering, while the chairs give the illusion the thing is running around the room or sitting on top of you about to eat your face. As you can imagine besides kids largely getting scared half to death, some of the adults weren’t that fond of the experience either. Honestly to me, they shoud have placed it in the now Hollywood Studios.

Regardless it had several year run before Disney pulled the plug. Lilo & Stitch had just came out and was massively popular leading Disney to want to find a way to include it into the Parks somewhere. This led to Stitch being able to be found for meet and greets in several locations for quite a while and the decision to revamp Alien Encounter into a more friendly version including everyone’s favorite mischief maker. Actually, almost everything is the same as alien encounter except centering around The Galactic Federation and Stitch. Same chairs, same tube, same pre-show audio-animotronic robot, revised Stitch-ifed story.

Now that it is Stitch’s attraction lots and lots of kids want to go see it. The problem is a lot of what could freak the younger crowd out is still there: the lights still go out and flicker, it feels like stitch is running and jumping all around and on you. To Disney’s credit, they’ve placed warnings on sign all over the place, however, they are on signs with a bunch of the generic warnings that let’s be honest, very few people probably actually take the time to read. This leads to may a child getting scared and freaked out and often being taken out the theater by the parents. I still firmly believe since they were not going to create a unique Stitch attraction, at least at that time, they would have done better to rename Space Mountain: Stitch’s Big Red Ship or something similar, painted the cars red, throwed some stitch universe reference and maybe an audio-animatronic similar to the Buzz they did just across from Great Escape. Overall, I think the vast majority of people would be happier. Of course the Stitch experience similar to Turtle Talk With Crush that is overseas at Tokyo Disneyland (photo below) would have been awesome as well.

Alas, none of those is the route Disney chose and so we have Stitch’s Great Escape, one of the biggest love it or hate it attractions across all Disney Parks. Few attractions get the internet outcries to be removed, or scrapped and redone. The attraction is on the FastPass+ system but excluding the busiest times, you’re honestly wasting your FastPass+ selection with it. The initial pre-show with Pleakley loads up every 10 minutes or so, leaving little to no wait if you just hit the stand-by line. Besides, personally I’d rather use my selections on Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and Splash Mountain even though I thoroughly enjoy Stitch’s Great Escape.

Alright, let move on to the experience, but one last thing to know that sometimes people find confusing. Stitch’s Great Escape is set before Lilo & Stitch, and goes off on it’s own twist. Though it does take cues from the scene he is being transported and escapes to Earth. You start off outside waiting for these huge doors to open, which lead you into a giant waiting area. This is where you’ll get the general spiel for what’s going on from Pleakley and hear from the Galactic Federation President. You also find out out Captain Gantu is still in the Federation’s good graces and running the Galactic Federation Prisoner Teleport Center you are a new recruit at.

After the initial spiel you are let in thru a set of doors where you wind around to Sergeant 90210’s desk to get the idea of the transportation system where he tells you about level one’s and level two’s. He primarily deals with level one’s and you get to see a level one beamed in. 90210 is Skippy from the original Alien Encounter. Anyway, while he is talking with the new prisoner an alert sound off and Captain Gantu apears on the screen informing of an incoming level three. He orders everyone to the high security teleportation chamber. 90210 passes out or shuts don might be more accurate at the thought of facing a level three. Ironically he was just asking for some level two’s.

You are then sent into the High Security Teleportation Chamber which is the theater for the main event. There’s actually a few them so the line can be kept moving. You enter and heqad left or right trying to fill each available seat. Note: some of the seats will get wetter than others. As everyone is seated and the show starts up the restraints are lowered until the bump your shoulders. TIP: Sit up a bit straighter than normal to get them to stop slightly above where you typically sit to avoid as much of the bouncing sensations.

Once all that is taken care the prisoner is beamed in to reveal Stitch. A puzzled Captain Gantu and his assistants chatter for a bit before Captain Gantu “leaves” to clear up what is going on. Which is when things get interesting. Stitch making a similar move from the movie uses his spit to get the guns offline by disablingthe power. He spits at it and since the guns are “tracking” his genetic material the start firing as soon as it clears the confined “safe” zone. As the power goes out and the lights go off Stitch bounces into and around the crowd tickling heads, bouncing around, and burping chili dog breath in their faces.

Amidst this chaos the assistants get the power back on and Stitch leads the guns on a merry chase eventually getting the cannons to fire into the crowd so he can hotwire the Tranportation Chamber and make a get away. He beams himself to Eart, lading on Cinderella’s Castle where he goes into the castle window and tells Cinderella “Oh Cinderella, your prince is here.” which she says he’s not and the show wraps up with guests released from further guard duty for the day and they exit into either Merchants of Venus or Mickey’s Star Traders.

Stats:

  • Theater-in-the-round
  • Dark attraction
  • Thrill Level: Dark, Loud, and Scary
  • Height: 40in or taller

Fun Facts:

  • Chris Sanders reprised his role for Stitch. This is interesting since in the movie, Stitch originally wasn’t going to really have lines.
  • Sergeant 90210 is Skippy from Alien Encounter.
  • If you watch the screens yo’ll see images of several of Stitch’s cousins fly byrapidly on the pre-show introduction from the television series.

As I mentioned earlier, there are many people who absolutely dislike this attraction, I do think it is worth a try as it an be fairly entertaining. I would however, suggest avoiding it with younger children.

 

 

 

 

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