Hidden amid the alien languages, zany critters, and many rows of incomprehensible blinking lights at Stitch’s Great Escape are several insider jokes and references to Disney history. Do you know them all already?
We start outside, just next to the main entrance door, where a dedication plaque awaits you in “alien script” (really just English letters, highly stylized to look different). The date listed for the speech by the Grand Councilwomen is the opening date of the attraction in 2004.
The basic layout of the attraction, with sequential preshow areas and then two theaters for the main show, comes from its predecessors, Alien Encounter and before that, Mission to Mars. There is little trace now of Mission to Mars, save perhaps the side videoscreens in the main theater meant to show the surface of Mars from the side, rather than the top- and bottom- views we normally watched at the ceiling and floor of the original attraction.
But Alien Encounter is still around in some ways. The robotic sargent named 90210 (itself a tribute to the 1990s-era TV sitcom set in Beverly Hills) is a holdover from Alien Encounter, when he was known as S.I.R. The aliens in the teleport tubes are also holdovers. Although today they are meant to represent two different aliens, originally they were the same alien named Skyppy, who appeared first on the left side in pristine condition, then teleported to the right where a malfunction caused his appearance to change.
The big reminder of Alien Encounter awaits us in the hallway after the preshow, on the way to one of the two main theaters. Look to your right for a complex piece of machinery at waist height, and search for a logo in the middle for X-S Tech, the name of the villainous company that figured prominently in Alien Encounter.
This same company is part of the backstory for Invasion!, a simulator experience still located at DisneyQuest. The video preshow there includes an executive from X-S Tech, and you can spot the corporate logo on the models for the walkers we supposedly pilot in the simulator.
Finally, if you’re lucky enough to land in the main theater that exists into Merchants of Venus, look on the inside of exit doors for a special treat. Written in fake alien language is “Mickey” on one door, and “Mouse” on the other–a Hidden Mickey!