Confirmed: Disney Cuts Highly Demanded Character from Parks Amid Restructure

in Disney Parks, Disneyland Resort

Disney characters Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy, and Stitch posing joyfully in front of Cinderella Castle at a theme park.

Credit: Disney

Disney has removed one of the most popular characters from its theme park, and guests are not to happy about it.

Mickey Mouse at TOwn Square Theater
Credit: How to Disney

One of the best things that guests can experience when they visit Disneyland, Disney World, or any of the Disney parks around the world is the ability to meet your favorite Disney characters. Whether you are waving to Mickey Mouse in a parade or giving Rapunzel a big hug, Disney is able to bring our favorite stories to life by animating their animated characters in physical form.

Now, it is being stated that Disneyland Resort has entirely removed a character that is arguably the most popular character overseas.

One guest took to Reddit to share that Stitch is no longer available to meet for regular-ticketed guests.

The guest said, “I’m feeling really sad and bummed today. Disneyland took away my favorite character, Stitch, from the public eye on a permanent basis. You can only meet him at a private meet and greet for Disney VISA members. It’s pretty much impossible for me to get my own Disney VISA, because I don’t bank with CHASE and I don’t think I have the best credit. So I’ve given up on ever seeing him again.”

Stitch signs an autograph book
Credit: Jeff Christiansen via Flickr

While Stitch has not had a recent hit, the blue alien (aka Experiment 626) has stood the test of time since Lilo & Stitch came out in 2002.

Since the release of Lilo & Stitch in 2002, Stitch has continued to entertain audiences through various films, TV shows, and spin-offs. Following the success of the original movie, Stitch! The Movie was released in 2003, serving as a precursor to the subsequent TV series. This series, titled Lilo & Stitch: The Series, aired from 2003 to 2006 and chronicled the ongoing adventures of Stitch and Lilo as they encountered new experiments and villains on Earth.

In addition to the TV series, Stitch also starred in the anime series Stitch!, which aired from 2008 to 2011. This series follows Stitch as he travels to Japan and befriends a young girl named Yuna. Leroy & Stitch, a direct-to-video film released in 2006, provided a conclusion to the TV series’ story arc, where Stitch and his friends work together to capture the remaining experiments.

Lilo dances with Stitch wearing a hula skirt
Credit: Disney

Stitch’s adventures continued with the release of Stitch & Ai in 2017, a Chinese animated series that sees Stitch journeying through China and meeting a young girl named Wang Ai Ling. Additionally, Stitch! Perfect Memory, a Japanese animated short film released in 2015, showcases Stitch exploring Okinawa as part of the Ichariba Chodei series.

At Disneyland Paris, we have shared on multiple occasions that the character with the most merchandise is Stitch. From specially designed clothes, to plushes and everything in between, there is far more Stitch merchandise in all of the stores due to the demand and popularity that is associated with the character. 

Tokyo Disney Resort even recently had a Stitch line sell-out shortly after its debut.

While there is a lot of Stitch overseas, in America, the creature is far less present. At Walt Disney World, there used to be an attraction called Stitch’s Great Escape! which was a cool Tomorrowland attraction in Magic Kingdom, where you could experience a “theater-in-the-round” show with the mischievous alien from Lilo & Stitch. It opened back in November 2004 and was the fourth attraction in that spot in Tomorrowland.

Stitch arriving in the tube, an alien stuck in the tube
Credit: Disney

Fun fact: Many of the animators who worked on Lilo & Stitch teamed up with Walt Disney Imagineering for this experience!

It replaced the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter, which used to be in the same building. Stitch’s Great Escape! had a bit of a mixed reception over the years, but it was always an interesting ride.

In 2016, they decided to change things up and make the attraction only open during busy times, depending on how many people were visiting the park. Then, in 2017, they turned part of the ride into a spot where you could meet Stitch himself!

The attraction’s last day was in January 2018, and after much speculation, Disney confirmed in July 2020 that it was permanently closed, along with a couple of other attractions. The signs for the ride were taken down in August 2020. Now, guests can still meet Stitch in Tomorrowland, however, that is all of the Stitch experience that guests will get.

At Disneyland Resort, things are even quieter. Even Plan Disney notes, “You’ll find plenty of merchandise featuring this adorable and mischievous alien throughout the resort, but encountering him in person can be quite a challenge. Stitch occasionally appears at the resort, usually during special events or parades.”

Stitch posing at Disney World
Credit: Zach Gass

As our Reddit poster noted, Disney Visa cardholders can meet Stitch from time to time, “If you’re looking for Stitch on a regular day, check Hollywood Land at the Disney California Adventure Park first. Stitch sometimes hangs out there at the Disney Visa Card member Photo opportunity, and you’ll be able to get a photo with him and even give him a warm hug! Just make sure to check the schedule to find out when he’ll be available. Because, with Stitch’s unpredictable antics, his availability may vary daily.”

Considering the extreme demand for Stitch in all of the other Disney theme parks, it is interesting to see his severe lack of presence at Disney’s original park. With the new live-action Lilo & Stitch movie coming to Disney+ this year, it will be interesting to see if we do end up seeing more of the character for promotional purposes. 

Do you think that the American Disney parks need more Stitch? 

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