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ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter

Did you know that George Lucas (the man behind “Star Wars”), was a Producer for Alien Encounter?

That’s right! After the success of Star Tours, Disney wanted to develop another “thrill ride” based on a movie that would appeal to teens, who previously had felt that the park was not exciting enough. The Imagineers decided to build this a attraction, called “Nostromo,” around the monsters from the “Alien” films. In it, guests would ride around the darkened space cruiser in armored vehicles armed with laser cannons. (Similar to Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin). Their mission would be to rescue the crew and wipe out the alien intruders. However, this proposal was originally rejected, as the “Alien” films were too violent and scary to be included in a family theme park like Walt Disney World.

Still, the Imagineers wanted to expand the types of attractions they were building, and felt that a scary attraction that would be a complete, sensory experience, was the way to go. In fact, it was actually Michael Eisner who insisted that a new character, rather than the big-headed, acid-drooling killer from “Alien” be created especially for this new attraction. Because Disney still liked the appeal of the “Alien” films, they licensed the 20th Century Fox characters for use in the “Great Movie Ride,” located at the Disney-MGM Studios when it opened in May 1989.

In order to help get his Imagineers motivated for the alien attraction that would be located in Tomorrowland, however, Eisner brought George Lucas on as Producer, and the rest, as they say, is history. The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter opened in 1995 as part of the opening of the “New Tomorrowland.”

However, it was quickly replaced by the “second version” of Alien Encounter. It has long been rumored that Michael Eisner himself rode the attraction before it opened to the public and felt it was not scary enough, thus causing attraction to be modified before it officially opened to guests). The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter closed in late 2003 and was recently replaced by “Stitch’s Great Escape.