So today is the last regular operating day for one of the lesser-known attractions at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, Florida. Stitch’s Great Escape is tucked away near the entrance to Tomorrowland, and is pretty easy to walk straight past and never even know it’s there unless you happen to look up and see the sign. Nonetheless, most visitors who have been to Florida sometime in the last 12 years will have been traumatised by this thing at some point, so I feel it prudent to share some thoughts on this subject.
Stitch’s Great Escape is a re-work of what was once known as the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter. The technology and effects are similar, but by incorporating Stitch as the central character they were able not only to broaden the appeal to more (and younger) guests, but also be more openly humorous rather than trying to scare the pants off of any guests (which to be honest isn’t very Disney anyway). Nonetheless, as someone who hates not knowing what’s going to happen next, I found this thing genuinely scary even with Stitch in it, and from reading things on the Internet I gather I’m not the only one.
The whole premise is that you’re strapped into a chair for about 15 minutes while Stitch supposedly jumps on your shoulders, breathes down your neck and burps a horrible smell into the theatre. It’s not a particularly pleasant experience, and lines for the attraction were never long, usually averaging about 10 minutes whenever I visited. I think this is largely due to the fact that, along with being uncomfortable, the whole thing wasn’t really very interesting. Stitch as a character has such a huge following, and I think there are a ton of better, more clever things they could have done with his character rather than have him make you uneasy for a while.
That said, there will be people out there who are sad to see this attraction close. Like I said, there are tons of Stitch fans out there who probably loved this thing because it had him in it, not to mention people who remember the classic Alien Encounter and missed having that around. The good news for these people is that Stitch isn’t closing permanently just yet – after today it’s switching to a seasonal operating schedule which means we probably won’t see or hear of it again till next summer, then maybe next Halloween, and then I think they’re probably gonna end up scrapping it after that. Hopefully whatever replaces it (which will be the fifth attraction in that space by the way) will be a more interesting experience and will incorporate some characters in a more fun and light-hearted way.
See you around =] x x