Protect Stitch's Great Escape! at the Magic Kingdom
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In 2002, one of Disney's most beloved films, Lilo & Stitch was released in theaters to great success, then about 2 years later, Disney made the decision to develop an attraction based off the popular movie in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom and located appropriately in Tomorrowland. The attraction was planned to be a surreal, sensory experience acting as a prequel to the film, chronicling the Galatic Federation's first encounter with Stitch, then identified as the naughty, gross, uncontrollable, mischievous, and extremely aggressive Experiment 626. The attraction opened on November 18, 2004 with a huge splash in terms of marketing, Cinderella's Castle was TPd, a giant inflatable Stitch was in the entrance to MK, and there were wanted posters of Stitch slapped up everywhere, etc. Unfortunately however, the show opened to negative reception, and has been cited as one of the worst Disney attractions to date. Many guests complained that the experience was either uncomfortable, boring, excessively scary, gross, or too juvenile. A majority of these complaints also stemmed from fans of an attraction that once was in the building that now houses Stitch, the controversial "ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter", which utilized the same concept and show elements as Stitch's Great Escape! but featured a much more dark and frightening storyline. In the past, the Imagineers have gone and made several changes to the attraction in order to help boost ratings, such as projecting Stitch's shadow on the walls and ceiling, removing certain music cues, adding reassuring voices of kids in the audience, adding a short jumpscare of Stitch, or changing the ending so that Stitch is shown harassing Cinderella, but to no avail, as these changes were either temporary or stuck around.
Recently, Stitch's Great Escape has been placed under "seasonal operation", which means that it will only be open during the most busiest times of the year such as summer, spring break, or even fall. Now to most Disney park fans, this most likely means that the attraction is doomed to be shut down indefinitely at a future yet unknown date. And judging by recent videos of the attraction, it obviously has seen better days since it's opening in 2004, Sargent 90210's LED eyes no longer light up and emote in reaction to certain events, the smoke effects aren't as powerful as they once were, some of the audio speakers need to be upgraded, and the Stitch Audio Animatronic's movements aren't as fluent and now seem slow, crooked, or broken nor does the platform he's on, light up anymore, and give his red jumpsuit a nice glow.
This attraction does not deserve to close or be under seasonal operation, nor receive the flak and hatred that it always gets, most people don't like it because they can't stand the chili dog smell or the shoulder restraints or they're just butt hurt, moaning fanboys of Alien Encounter, an attraction that obviously had no spot in Magic Kingdom, a park meant not for ADULTS nor KIDS, but FAMILIES, as it was Walt's own vision and promise when it came to the parks. Now I enjoy SGE and I can admit that it has a ton of flaws, but it's nothing that the Imagineers can't fix, as it's been over 10 years since the show opened and it's in need of a major refurbishment and a reimagining in not only the animatronics, but the show in general and its special effects. To start off, the storyline, which is meant as a prequel to Lilo & Stitch needs to be further elaborated on, they should give a small recap on 626's origins and creation, also the entire tone and situation needs to be made more serious, Stitch is meant to be a Level 3 prisoner, have him act like one. More music cues, and ambient lighting and red alert alarms need to be put in to add to the slightly comedic but also intense atmosphere. Also they need to re-record some of Stitch's lines, because why is he calling himself Stitch instead of 626, when this takes place before he crash landed into Hawaii? Another couple of ideas would be to add in Stitch's shadow crawling on the walls and ceiling when the DNA guns are trying to bring him down and encourage some audience participation, and to further expand on Stitch's rampaging mayhem in the dark, have him grab your leg, sneeze in your faces, blind you with flash photography, etc.! And then finally what they should do is for the end sequence when Stitch escapes, have each show have different ending just like with Tower of Terror over at DHS, for example, one ending could Stitch ending up in Magic Kingdom, and trashing Cinderella Castle, and the other ending could have him flooding Typhoon Lagoon while surfing on a giant tidal wave, but no matter what the ending is, it must always end with Galactic Control being notified of Stitch's escape and being sent down to Earth to retrieve him, as Gantu and his assistants decided to release us from duty, as they no longer need our help for the day, so that way, guests walk away with a sense of relief and accomplishment, instead of ending the show with a noncommittal shrug. It's time we step up, and tell the Imagineers that it's time to give Stitch a well deserved and much needed upgrade!
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