The Disney Parks have always been family-oriented resort destinations, offering children and adults alike opportunities to immerse themselves into classic Disney movies and entertainment properties we’ve all come to know and love from over the years. In the mid-’90s however, this design philosophy changed with one particular attraction.
For those brave enough to strap in and pull down the “safety” bars, ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter offered a thrilling, spine-tingling experience that allowed Guests to come face-to-face with a massive alien animatronic. The story was simple, a somewhat-evil alien corporation known as XS-Tech (get it?) was showcasing its brand-new teleportation technology. Those in the audience were encouraged to have a seat and strap in for a demonstration where XS-Tech’s president would be teleported and have a meet-and-greet with Guests.
Predictably, things did not go to plan and a huge, bug-like alien with wings and creepy spider-like legs is teleported instead, putting everyone in the room in grave danger. The attraction was in every sense of the word, terrifying.
There really aren’t many places in any of the four Parks at the Walt Disney World Resort that offer scares, unless dolls tend to creep you out. ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter was truly Disney’s first venture into a fully immersive, scary, and even violent attraction.
From the day it opened in 1995 to when it closed in 2003, Alien Encounter was plagued by controversy. Although there is a long list of closed attractions at the Disney Parks, none compare to Alien Encounter’s story.
Even during the very brief early previews of the attraction in 1994 Guests would frequently complain about the violence and overall scare factor. During the show people would even scream so much to the point where crucial dialogue was inaudible, forcing Imagineers to edit and re-record certain audio cues to ensure Guests could keep up with the story.
From the day it opened in 1995 to when it closed in 2003, Alien Encounter was plagued by controversy. Even during the very brief early previews of the attraction in 1994 Guests would frequently complain about the violence and overall scare factor. During the show people would even scream so much to the point where crucial dialogue was inaudible, forcing Imagineers to edit and re-record certain audio cues to ensure Guests could keep up with the story.
Even more terrifying was the initial concept for the attraction. Originally, the attraction was going to be based off of the 1979 film Alien, placing Guests on the famous Nostromo spaceship where Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) fought off the iconic nightmare-inducing Xenomorph alien. This original idea also proposed guns The attraction itself would’ve been mostly the same to what Guests experienced in
At the time, Disney had already acquired the rights to Alien but Disney Imagineering was split, with the newer designers wanting to bring in this exciting and fresh property and the older Imagineers wanting to keep the parks free of R-rated properties.
Ironically, Ripley, the Xenomorph and Nostromo would all be represented in a Disney Park when The Great Movie Ride opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, then called Disney’s MGM Studios in 1989.
Although nothing has been said about more representation of the Alien Franchise in Disney Parks, with Disney’s recent acquisition of Twentieth Century Fox, now called Twentieth Century Studios, Disney could seemingly do anything they wanted to with the film series.
Do you think there is a place for scary rides in Disney World? What rides at Disney World are scary to you?
Let the expert team at Academy Travel help you plan your next magical vacation to Disney World’s water parks, four theme parks — Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios — and the Disney Springs shopping and dining district!