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Ten Years of Stitch’s Great Escape


I really can’t believe it, but it has already been 10 years since the Magic Kingdom installed the little blue alien creature Stitch in Tomorrowland and the former home of Mission to Mars and Alien Encounter.

Foxfurr at Passport to Dreams blog is out with the definitive retelling of what led up to the creation of “Stitch’s Great Escape” and the result of Disney’s missed forecast of the attraction’s popularity.

You have to remember than this was going down in 2002 and 2003. The internet was rapidly populating, but was nowhere near the levels its at today. Movie Studios were still ossified in hidebound tradition – there was no concept of “Viral” marketing and the technology was not yet in place to count things like internet hits on videos that could be shared in controlled ways. Lilo and Stitch was a physical media phenomenon. For fairly little money you could go out and buy the movie your friends had told you about, or they could give it to you and then you could go out and buy it and keep the cycle spinning. The drumbeat was increasing right under Disney’s noses. The old guard, in retrospect, over reacted. They ran predictions that, if things continued the way they were, Stitch would overtake Mickey Mouse in popularity.

I think we can all say we’re happy that never happened.

As Foxfurr says, you’re either a fan of Stitch or you put him on the list of all the things that are wrong with modern Disney theme parks. There’s hardly any room in the middle on this one.

Myself, I don’t mind the character, and I think the movie was a gem, but I hate the attraction. I hate all the toon based attractions in Tomorrowland, and I’m glad to know there just might be a solution out there, if Disney ever loosened the purse strings a little bit.

Go read FoxFurr’s excellent blog post, then come back and watch this fan created trailer from 2010. It re-cuts “Lilo & Stitch” into a trailer for a horror movie. How apropos.

What would you do with the space currently occupied by Stitches Great Escape?

7 thoughts on “Ten Years of Stitch’s Great Escape”

  1. Not a fan of this attraction. The first time we went on it my son freaked out in the dark and tried to escape like stitch out of his chair! The shoulder bars that come down press down so hard that I had to slide down in my chair to avoid pain in my shoulders! Maybe I got a broken chair? I gave it a second go years later and it was the same, scary for kids, and painful. Also Stitch turns out good in the movie, so why does he have to be the evil alien in the attraction? How about a cute Hawaiian themed ride that takes you on a journey with Lilo and Stitch? Like the Pooh ride. Now that would be more Disney! :-)

    1. not everything has to be soft and cuddly. A lot of disney isn’t soft and cuddly the ride it was before was perfect extra-terror-estrial loved that ride it was scary and was an original idea they need more of that more original ideas thinking out of the box not just base everything on a toon.

  2. I went on this ride shortly after opening. It was a bit traumatizing. I had the painful issue with the shoulder harness as well. My best friend and I ended up having to scoot so far forward in our seats that our rear ends were almost completely out of the chair. The chili dog burp is one of the foulest things as well. I think I went on it once a few years later and vowed never to return again. Unfortunately my husband had never been on it and last week insisted that we give it a try. It is still painful though at least I knew what was coming and put my hands up in the air to stop the shoulder harness from coming all the way down to my shoulders so when it started pumping up and down it missed me. I hate this attraction and would love to see it replaced. I remember seeing the movie in the theater when it came out and I just adored it. Stitch was a little off kilter but a sweet and lovable character. This ride is dark, scary and gross.

  3. When we visited Disney back in October, I thought about the longevity of that attraction. It’s been there all three times we’ve been since January 2005 and we’ve done it each time, mostly to just take a break from all the fast paced action. I don’t mind it, but I wouldn’t be upset if something else took Lilo’s place either.

  4. I just visited this in October and me and my friends mentioned wouldn’t it be great if they replaced stich with rocket from guardians of the galaxy. He is the perfect character as he is a rebel, gun happy and a wanted man/racoon. They wouldn’t have to change much and they could add some great comedy from Bradley copper and Chris pratt.

  5. Bad ride. Never liked it. Still remember when it was just that scary alien ride(no Stitch involved). I enjoyed that for what it was back in my days as a dumb teenager. Now as a father with a young daughter who doesn’t like the dark/loud noises/etc, the new ride makes no sense to me. It has Stitch which seems to attract the kids but then is too scary for most kids. I don’t like it, my kid doesn’t like it, amazing it’s lasted this long, change it Disney.
    Give me a new ride inside Tomorrowland that inspires me, awes me, takes me and my kids breath a way, makes me believe in the impossible, and that I leave talking about the rest of the day. In other words, everything the current Stitch ride is not.

  6. Stitch is one of my favorite Disney characters from the most recent movies. I think he is an awesome character who thankfully has joined the ranks of highly promoted characters such as the Fab 5 and the Princesses.

    I love the attraction, its theming and pre-show (not a fan of the shoulder harnesses and chili smells though), but I still prefer the old Extra-Terror-estrial Encounter as that was a unique concept.

    I think both Stitch and Buzz fit well in Tomorrowland’s space theme even though they are toons, after all this is the MAGIC KINGDOM!

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