Disney World Rides That Have Shut Down or Been Replaced and Why

After, the frightening ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter took over. It was renovated, shut down, and replaced by Stitch’s Great Escape, which also closed.

A life-size soft mascot costume of a blue alien and a young boy both with their arms up and growling faces.

A Stitch mascot and actor Nolan Gould at Disney World.

Handout/Getty Images

ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter was one of the scariest rides in Disney World. The collaboration between Disney and Lucasfilm opened in 1994 and received a negative reception immediately. 

In a theater-turned-laboratory, guests sat harnessed into their seats for the simulation ride. They learned about teleportation space travel before the demonstration went wrong and an alien was released into the audience. The lights went out, the seats shook, and other special effects made the experience terrifying, especially for children.

Within a month, the ride closed down for a reworking it because of complaints before re-opening in 1995. Still, it was too scary. Because of the complaints and the juxtaposition it had to the rest of the light-hearted and family-friendly park, it officially closed in 2003.

In 2004, Disney replaced it with an equally frightening ride, Stitch’s Great Escape. The ride was essentially the same as Alien Encounter, with the exception of adding the beloved blue alien Stitch instead. This still didn’t go over well with guests.

In 2016, Stitch’s Great Escape started operating seasonally and in 2018 it closed entirely. After that, the space was used for Lilo and Stitch character meet-and-greets. Currently, the spot isn’t in use for any attractions.

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