Walt Disney World’s Scariest Attraction: The History of ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter


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Alien Encounter sign

All through Walt Disney World’s historical past, which might be lots of distinctive sights. Whereas it usually appears like every bit of Magic Kingdom has been there because it opened in 1971, the park, like each Disney park, has gone by way of a quantity of modifications. To make certain, lots of the park’s early sights have been changed by one thing new, however not every thing that has been closed down is even near that previous. One attraction that Disney World followers nonetheless speak about would solely be 25 years previous at the moment if had been nonetheless round, which is pretty younger within the grand scheme of issues. However ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter was one thing fairly totally different, because it’s typically agreed to be the scariest attraction ever put in a Disney park.

There are a lot of adjectives one would possibly use to explain any given experience at Walt Disney World. ‘Enjoyable’ is an effective one, maybe even ‘thrilling’ or ‘thrilling,’ however “completely freaking terrifying” is usually not an emotion one associates with Disney World… exterior of the costs, of course. It is the explanation others look again on this attraction fondly, and others not a lot. So how did one thing that was too scary for a lot of Disney followers even get constructed within the first place? As with most Disney concepts of the ’80s and ’90s that had been both good or insane, it begins with Michael Eisner.


It Was Supposed To Be An Alien Attraction

Again when Michael Eisner grew to become head of The Walt Disney Firm, one of his main initiatives was to create new sights at Disneyland and Walt Disney World that may be enticing to a teenage viewers, a gaggle that appeared underserved on the time. This finally led to main hits like Star Excursions and Indiana Jones Journey at Disneyland. Nonetheless, in securing the rights to some non-Disney movies for the upcoming Disney/MGM Studios (now Disney’s Hollywood Studios) theme park, one of the franchises Disney obtained the rights for was Ridley Scott’s Alien, and Eisner thought this was the proper car for a scary attraction.

The authentic idea for the Alien attraction was a kind of motion/journey darkish experience referred to as Nostromo that may put friends in an armored car with weapons, and they might shoot on the Xenomorph as they moved by way of the experience. It is principally a really grown up model of what would finally develop into Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters.

From most accounts, the final consensus amongst Walt Disney Imagineering ranged from someplace between confusion and precise horror. Alien appeared like the very last thing that must be getting an expertise at a Disney park. They felt it simply did not match the mould. If nothing else, an Alien attraction would mark the primary time an R-rated movie had been the idea for an expertise in a Disney park, and lots of felt that was merely a step too far.

Nonetheless, there have been some who noticed potential, and a fundamental thought was drawn up that may exchange the prevailing Mission to Mars attraction, which had existed in a single type or one other since opening day at Walt Disney World, into a brand new attraction. Ultimately it was determined that utilizing the Alien license was the improper strategy to go. Some tales point out that it was really George Lucas, who Michael Eisner trusted and was working with Disney on Star Excursions and Captain EO, who satisfied the Disney CEO that Alien was the improper factor for Magic Kingdom. Nonetheless, the final idea moved ahead as an authentic attraction, and George Lucas’ identify would find yourself being hooked up to it.

What Was ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter?

The authentic attraction went by way of some redesigns after a comfortable opening on the finish of 1994 didn’t meet with visitor approval, however typically talking, the attraction stored the identical structure as the unique Mission to Mars. It was a round theater house, however whereas the earlier attraction had ground and ceiling screens within the middle, this time there was a big glass tube. A pair of pre-show sequences launched friends to a brand new alien teleportation expertise, and the viewer is in line to get an indication of this expertise.

The present is meant to teleport a humanoid alien, performed by former Ferris Beuller principal Jeffrey Jones, into the primary theater, however then one thing goes improper and as an alternative what seems is one thing large and ravenous trying. Then, the alien seems to interrupt the glass, the facility is minimize after which the friends are subjected to a sequence of sensations, by way of contact, sound and even scent, that suggest the alien is transferring across the darkish house wreaking havoc and on the lookout for meals. It is implied that the alien eats a number of folks earlier than being recaptured.

Why ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter Closed

It must be stated that lots of folks liked ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter. Whereas it was definitely not like something in Magic Kingdom, that was a great factor for a lot of. Nonetheless, it is onerous to argue that there weren’t additionally those that thought it was utterly out of place. There have been some legitimately scary bits, and so far as I do know, Alien Encounter was the primary and solely time that Disney needed to put a warning on a experience that it is perhaps too scary for babies.

There are different causes that probably contributed to the experience closing. One was the presence of actor Jeffrey Jones all through the experience in a number of video segments. In 2002, the actor was arrested for possession of youngster pornography. Being as involved with public notion as Disney normally is, this probably performed into issues. Even then, the experience may need nonetheless survived, perhaps with some modifications. However the phrase is that sooner or later in growth, Michael Eisner, who had been the driving pressure behind the preliminary idea, misplaced curiosity within the attraction, so there was no one on the high combating for it. Regardless of the final purpose or causes, the present closed down in 2003, solely eight years after it had opened.

Lilo & Stitch

It Was Changed With One thing Worse

There might have been lots of individuals who had issues with ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter, however they weren’t ready for what would come after it. Sew’s Nice Escape was a fast and soiled refurbishment of Alien Encounter that stored the fundamental idea of the earlier attraction, and easily changed the massive scary, murderous alien with cute little Sew simply getting as much as no good. Now the viewers is not subjected to violence in the dead of night a lot as they’re subjected to “lovable” shenanigans.

It was terrible. The try and take the premise of what was deliberately designed to be scary and switch it into one thing “enjoyable” simply did not work. This model survived lots longer than the earlier one, but it surely’s pretty telling that when the experience shifted to a seasonal schedule, the normal first step earlier than a closure, no one appeared to bat a watch. Often, a experience closure brings followers out of the woodwork, however this one didn’t.

And I’ll by no means get the scent of synthetic chili canine out of my nostril. Worst. Factor. Ever.

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