“If something can’t be done with x-S, then it probably shouldn’t be done
July 14, 2015 9:18 AM Subscribe
As the first in our In-Depth Retrospective series, we’re going to dive headfirst into the tale of this long-lost attraction, discussing the history and lore that surround it. As time marches on, fewer and fewer guests can actually recall what Alien Encounter was like, so we’ll walk you through the harrowing experience from the entrance doors to the exit and then discuss what brought about its demise. Could Alien Encounter have found a new home at Disneyland Resort? What of the original attraction remains today? Let’s look back together.
Apparently based on what Lucas told him, Eisner returned to the Alien Encounter team with a change of heart. He told them that he had decided against using Fox’s Alien, but that he was confident they could come up with something just slightly less frightening to be the basis for their Alien Encounter. The team recoiled. They wondered if the attraction could even work without the Xenomorph. They’d suddenly lost their built-in marketing, parental controls, and backstory.Page 3
The show took in its first test audiences in December 1994 – folks then reported angrily that the attraction was much too intense. They reportedly said that while they’d expected Alien Encounter to be thrilling, they hadn’t expected to be legitimately terrified. Even though Imagineers hadn’t used the Xenomorph, they’d still crafted a creature, story, and effects that audiences were unprepared for. Even signs throughout the queue reminding guests that TERROR was in all-caps in the ride’s name did little to prepare them for the experience.Page 4
Have a good feeling about X-S Tech? If not, Disney hopes you’ll take the chicken exit or ask to be escorted out now. This dark and foreboding pre-show replaces a humorous and lighthearted one from Alien Encounter’s test and adjust period, which did not sufficiently prepare people for the attraction’s horrific climax.Page 5
The truth is, Alien Encounter was terrifying. Plenty of twenty-somethings today recall being absolutely traumatized by it during their childhoods. Even with plentiful signage, guests truly did not imagine that Disney would actually scare their kids. Like, sure, Haunted Mansion is “spooky” to elementary school kids, and Tower of Terror is pretty frightening to pre-teens, but Alien Encounter was enough to make kids want to go home. Not back to the hotel, but home.Page 6: The End
It didn’t take long for things to change. Today, much of that world-building is gone. The Tomorrowland Transit Authority is called the Peoplemover – a much more classic name harkening to Walt’s original installation of a similar ride at Disneyland, but it downplays the “real” mass transit system theme. On board, the new Peoplemover script no longer describes the building along Tomorrowland’s main entry as the Tomorrowland Science Center, currently hosting The Timekeeper. The Science Center motif is gone. Which is expected, since the attraction inside was perplexingly replaced with Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor."Alien Encounter is the one Disney World attraction I miss the most and wished they would bring back. Stitch's Great Escape is a piddly joke of a once-great attraction"
In Memoriam: ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter
Alien Encounter and in night vision.
This attraction closed October 11, 2003, and was replaced by a new attraction, called Stitch's Great Escape which opened in November 2004.
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