When I was young, The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter did a good job of scaring me. The story was strong, the animatronics were great, and the mood was frightening. Hell, even the pre-show and in-show videos did a great job of caputuring the mood of the ride. I loved it.
Last summer, I rode it replacement: Stitch's Great Escape.
And it is awful. The story is incredibly flat, the humor is nonexistant, the videos played throughout the ride are a joke, and it is far too short. Not only that, but it is actually disgusting when they shoot out Stitch's chili-dog breath at you. This ride flat out sucks.
It's a shame that Disney had to put down one of their best creations ever.
There are many examples of such crappy replacements. Alien Encounter might be the ultimate, but a close second would be the amazing original Journey Into Imagination vs. the crap fest they have there now. (Of course, the first replacement in 99 was so bad that after Eisner rode it a few months later, he ordered it immediately shut down and re-done! The slightly less crappy version 3 we have now is the result )
Agred re: the Stitch animatronic. The irony was the justification for shutting down AE was guest complaints. But, Stich ended up getting more complaints in it's first year than AE got in 5! *** Edited 1/20/2007 9:47:37 PM UTC by Peabody***
I never had the chance to try Alien Encounter but Stitch's Great Escape is one of my least favorite attractions at WDW. It is confusing and I know part of the reason they re-did the ride was to make it less scary for kids but plenty of little kids were exiting upset. The whole attraction just seems so pointless. I didn't even bother with it on my past trip to WDW especially since there is no way I think it's worth more than a 5 minute wait and it was 50 minutes.
^ I agree about Journey Into Imagination. The 1999 version was a disgrace and I'm glad they changed it back to add Figment into the ride more. Nothing will ever compare to the original though but I hear rumors of Dreamfinder possibly coming back and I hope it is true. It's a shame so many dark rides from Epcot are either changed or gone for good.
I loved Alien Encounter. It was one of my favorites at the Magic Kingdom because it scared the piss out of people. But, that's also why it was changed. It was a little TOO real. I saw several little kids puke after they got off that thing and it didn't even move. My mom got off of it and said she'd never ride it again because it was so terrifying. LOL!!
But, I really did think it was the most thoroughly designed rides they have.
Stitch is the biggest piece of cr*p at WDW. We were at WDW shortly after it openned and Stitch was the big hype. Lines were >90 minutes so we wasted our last Fastpass of the day on it. We were so p*ssed. Stitch needs to be torn down.
I think that both rides stink. You probably like the older one because it was scarier, and darker. The newer one is more kid friendly with it being stitch. They are the same thing with a different character.
Umm, Stitch still freaked me out as a 29y.o.. I just dont like things all around my head like that. And yes the breath thing was fetid. However, 1) I personally wouldn't want it any scarrier. 2) I *love* Stich as a character. I think he's the best Disney/Pixar character since Donald Duck (unless you include Sora...but I doubt many of you even known who that is). To me, I think that that type of attraction is a perfect showcase for Stich's personality. True, it wasnt my favorite Magic Kingdom attraction, but I highly doubt it was last either. I found it enjoyable. lata, jeremy
Funny how many people refer to both AE and SGE as a 'ride' as they were/are special effect shows. The 'safety harness' wasn't for motion, but for sound and to enhance the shows' effects.
I totally agree that AE was far superior to Stitch in its execution and theme, but, let's face reasons why it was changed. The original show was much too scary for the Magic Kingdom, a park known for its family friendly offerings. (It was the only attraction that I'm aware of that literally showed a person being killed in it at Disney!) It also didn't sell merchandise like they thought it would, thus enter Stitch. More kid friendly and more merchandisable. (Funny thing I've heard, though, is that the Stitch merchandise isn't exactly flying off the shelves, either. Possibly a little better than AE, but not that much.)
Personally, I found the Stitch show unorganized and, well, stupid. But, my 8 year old son LOVED it, enough so that we had to endure the attraction TWO more times on our last trip! Apparently, the target market of school age kids seems to be working. Also, even though the Magic Kingdom was only moderately busy, with only about 20-60 minute waits for most of the more popular attractions, Stitch managed to have a good 45-60 minute line most of the day, with both theatres operational. Fastpasses seemed to be gone by mid-afternoon, too. I don't think I ever saw the line for Alien Encounter ever go more than 20 minutes except for maybe its first year or so in operation. Usually, it was a complete walk-on. So, based on these observations, perhaps Disney DID make the right marketing decision.
I also agree that if Alien Encounter was originally installed at Disney/MGM Studios, it would still be here today. But, because it was designed for the old 'moon theatres' of Flight to the Moon/Mission to Mars, that's where it ended up. And because it was too intense for the demographic audience of the Magic Kingdom (mostly young children and their families), the very frightening Alien was permanantly replaced by the gross, yet 'lovable' alien, Stitch. (At least lovable by the under 12 crowd!)
I believe almost all of us are aware of why the attraction was removed. Financially, it was probably the right move for the Magic Kingdom. However, they failed to deliver a solid attraction as its replacement and, because of such a thing, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and MGM Studios are more popular choices amongst people 18 and older.
It's a shame it's gone, but I don't believe Disney wronged the general public by removing it. However, the location of the ride was awful, and that is something we can blame Disney on.
News flash: Disney's target market---at all of their parks---is families with school-aged and tween kids. Their secondary market is singles and couples past middle age.
It is most instructive to note the ages of the kids they used in their "big kids" segment on this year's DVD to highlight all the "big thrills". Middle-school, tops. A big step down from last year's mid-20's-trying-to-be-a-teenager-Luke.