Stitch's Great Escape!
|Stitch's Great Escape!|
Promotional photo of Stitch in the show theater
|Opening date||November 16, 2004|
|Closing date||January 6, 2018|
|Replaced||ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter|
|Replaced by||Stitch's Alien Encounter Character Greeting!|
|Attraction type||Interactive theater|
|Designer||Walt Disney Imagineering|
|Theme||Lilo & Stitch|
|Audience capacity||162 per show|
|Duration||17:30, about 3 minutes for preshow|
|Height restriction||40 in (102 cm)|
|Audio-Animatronics||5 (three pre-show figures; two Stitch figures, one for each theater)|
|Related attraction||Stitch Encounter|
Closed captioning available
Stitch's Great Escape! was a "theater-in-the-round" attraction based on Disney's Lilo & Stitch franchise. A non-canon prequel to the original 2002 film that detailed Stitch's "first" prison escape, it was located in the Tomorrowland area of Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort, as the fourth attraction to occupy the building and theater space that was previously used for Flight to the Moon, Mission to Mars and the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter. Designed by Walt Disney Imagineering, many of the animators who worked on Lilo & Stitch were directly involved with the attraction's development. The attraction was the only major permanent attraction based on Lilo & Stitch to have operated in the United States; all other such major attractions since have been exclusive to non-American Disney Parks resorts.
The attraction opened on November 16, 2004 as a replacement for Alien Encounter. The attraction operated on a daily schedule until October 1, 2016, after which it entered seasonal operation. In October 2017, the attraction's first pre-show area began being used as a costumed character greeting area for Stitch called Stitch's Alien Encounter Character Greeting!.
The attraction last operated on January 6, 2018, which led to speculation about the continued existence of the attraction. On July 16, 2020, Disney confirmed that the attraction was permanently closed, with the attraction's signage later taken down on August 10, 2020.
The experience took place in the Galactic Federation Prisoner Teleport Center. Guests were recruited by the Grand Councilwoman (voiced by Zoe Caldwell) to be guards for the United Galactic Federation. After being taught the basic procedures of guard duty and the classification of prisoner hazard levels by Sergeant C4703BK2704-90210 (Richard Kind)—and a brief, but comical, reprisal of Skippy from the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter—Captain Gantu (Kevin Michael Richardson) gave an alert of a Level 3 prisoner being beamed to the Center. Guests were then instructed by Pleakley (Kevin McDonald) over a public-address system to proceed to the High Security Level 3 prisoner teleportation chamber.
After being seated, shoulder restraints came down onto the guests' shoulders (to not confuse the prisoner's DNA with the guests'). The prisoner was then beamed into the chamber via a large plume of smoke and was revealed to be Experiment 626 (Chris Sanders). After a brief period of puzzled talking by Gantu and his two assistants, 626—who called himself "Stitch", despite not having met Lilo Pelekai yet—used the flaws of the armed laser cannons (the cannons follow and destroy any genetic material, including saliva) and disabled all power to escape, causing mass chaos in the crowd. During this period, hydraulic pumps and small hoses in the shoulder restraints made it seem as if Stitch was jumping on guests' shoulders and tickling their heads. Also, Stitch devoured a chili cheese dog and burped—which was accompanied by a foul smell effect being released into the chamber—and destroyed a cell phone, once again reminding the guests of the rules about eating or drinking in the theater or the use of electronic devices in the theater.
When the power came back on, the laser cannons continued their attempt to bring Stitch down. Again using the cannons' fatal flaws, he managed to fire the laser cannons into the crowd. Shortly after using the diversion, he escaped to the Magic Kingdom in Florida (pronounced by the characters as Flor-ee-da). Cameras captured him going into Cinderella Castle where Stitch got into the castle by claiming to be Prince Charming from Cinderella. Stitch crawled in and said, "Yoo-hoo, oh Cinderella, your prince is here." Off-camera, Cinderella (Jennifer Hale) realized that Stitch is not her prince, and kicked him out of the chamber. (The original ending of the attraction had Stitch terrorize park guests on Astro Orbiter, with the ending video changing depending on the time of day at the park.)
The audience was then released from their duty and exited into one of two gift shops; Merchant of Venus or Mickey's Star Traders (Mickey's name has since been removed from the latter). On the way to the gift shops, guests saw a sign labeled "Days without an escape" and a big number going down, along with "wanted posters" featuring some of Stitch's creator Jumba Jookiba's other genetic experiments. (Other experiments also briefly cameoed in the first part of the pre-show.)
The attraction included much of the technology and sets from its predecessor, the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter, including the comical alien Skippy in the second pre-show area. The two 39-inch Audio-Animatronic Stitch figures built by Imagineering were reportedly one of the most complex creations of their size. Other special effects includd binaural sound, simulated laser cannons and a pungent smell of a chili dog.
- Carter, Ashley (January 9, 2018). "Disney: Has Stitch's Great Escape closed for good?". www.mynews13.com. Charter Communications. Archived from the original on April 18, 2018. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
- Tuttle, Brittani (July 16, 2020). "Disney World permanently closes of Rivers of Light, Primeval Whirl, Stitch's Great Escape". Attractions Magazine. Retrieved July 16, 2020.
- Bevil, Dewayne (September 21, 2016). "Disney: Stitch's Great Escape switching to 'seasonal' operation". www.orlandosentinel.com. Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on September 21, 2016. Retrieved September 21, 2016.
- "Stitch's Great Escape Attraction Sign Removed at Magic Kingdom". BlogMickey. August 10, 2020. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
- Yesterworld Entertainment (January 20, 2019). "Yesterworld: The Tragic Fate of Stitch's Great Escape - Disney's Most Divisive Attraction". YouTube. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
- "Stitch's Great Escape". WDWHistory.com. Archived from the original on August 29, 2010. Retrieved August 12, 2006.