Stitch's Great Escape! Promises Pandemonium For Walt Disney World Guests
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Fans of Walt Disney Pictures' animated comedy "Lilo & Stitch" know him as a cuddly but destructive alien prone to hilarious fits of havoc. But what was Stitch like before the movie?
Walt Disney World guests will find out when they come face to face with the mischievous character in a new Magic Kingdom attraction -- Stitch's Great Escape!
Featuring some of the most sophisticated Audio-Animatronics technology ever developed by Walt Disney Imagineering, the multi-sensory Tomorrowland adventure puts guests in the middle of the mayhem caused by "Experiment 626" -- a.k.a. Stitch -- when he's sent to the Galactic Federation Prisoner Teleport Center.
In the unique theater-in-the-round attraction, park guests arrive as new recruits at a detention facility designed to separate the galaxy's naughty from the nice. Guests are ushered into the center's high-security teleportation chamber as the six-limbed Stitch beams in, tracked by two ceiling-mounted "plasma cannons" that follow his DNA whenever -- and wherever -- it moves.
With guests seated in DNA scanning restraints, Imagineering's proprietary "proximity audio" technology provides a close encounter with the playful Stitch as he attempts to outwit the galactic authorities in the circular chamber. Sights, sounds and -- ewwww! -- smells add to the pandemonium.
In addition to Stitch, the fun-filled attraction features several characters familiar to "Lilo & Stitch" fans, including the Galactic Federation Grand Councilwoman, Captain Gantu and Agent Pleakley, with voices supplied by the movie's original actors.
Stitch's Great Escape! offers Disney's FASTPASS, the innovative free service available to all guests that eliminates the need to wait in long lines at popular attractions.
Online, fans of the crafty alien can learn more about the new attraction and help Stitch explore Magic Kingdom in Stitch's Escape Game, a free download available for Windows PCs at stitchescape.com.
Location: Tomorrowland, Magic Kingdom
Height Requirement: 35 inches
Show Duration: 15 minutes
Parents, take note: Includes brief periods of total darkness, loud noises and over-the-shoulder seat restraints; some effects may frighten young children
Stitch is the first Audio-Animatronics figure to spit.
The alien language seen throughout the Prisoner Teleport Center was inspired by designs created for the opening scenes of "Lilo & Stitch." Graphic artists with Walt Disney Imagineering turned the designs into a practical alphabet that can be decoded into English.
"Skippy," an alien seen previously in The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter attraction, returns in a new role in Stitch's Great Escape!
The two "plasma cannons" that track Stitch's DNA were inspired by devices seen in "Lilo & Stitch." Each weighs more than 1,600 pounds.
Walt Disney Feature Animation produced all of the attraction's character animation. Many of the animators who worked on "Lilo & Stitch" partnered with Imagineers for Stitch's Great Escape!
Alien Mayhem-Maker Steals Spotlight In Stitch's Great Escape! at Walt Disney World Resort
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- First introduced to audiences in Walt Disney Pictures' 2002 animated comedy "Lilo & Stitch," the six-limbed alien known officially as "Experiment 626" takes center stage in Stitch's Great Escape! -- a new attraction at Walt Disney World Resort that showcases Stitch's endless appetite for pandemonium.
Set in a timeframe before the events of the hit film, the Magic Kingdom attraction in Tomorrowland takes place entirely in the science fiction realm of the Galactic Federation, before Stitch is exiled from the planet Turo as "the flawed product of a deranged mind."
According to veteran Disney animator Chris Sanders, Stitch's growing popularity is due largely to his penchant for mischief.
"He really seems to have held onto people's imaginations, and I think it's because he's sort of the naughty member of the Disney family," said Sanders, who began developing Stitch in the 1980s after graduating from the character animation program at California Institute of the Arts.
"He's like the little kid who needs to be corrected here and there, but he's always innocent about it. He's the one that doesn't quite fit in."
Stitch's complex personality and fun-loving spirit quickly have earned him legions of fans, according to the Disney stewards responsible for the company's beloved characters.
"Stitch is one of the most popular Disney characters of the last decade with both boys and girls ages 3 to 11," said Vincent Vedrene, vice president of corporate brand management for The Walt Disney Company. "The reason why Stitch is so popular with kids is because he is at the same time an alien, a funny character and is cool -- he plays the guitar like Elvis."
Bringing an animated character to life as an Audio-Animatronics figure presented a unique challenge for Walt Disney Imagineers. The result is a 39-inch-tall version of Stitch -- one of the most complex creations of its size -- custom-made by Imagineers with more than 350 detailed, hand-machined parts and more than 40 separate functions.
By creating the attraction as a kind of "prequel" to the film, Imagineers were able to craft an original story that takes full advantage of Stitch's bad behavior.
"He's a master of mayhem and mischief," said Imagineer Rick Rothschild, show director for Stitch's Great Escape! "We wanted to bring that personality up close to our guests."
Sanders, who supplied Stitch's inimitable voice and consulted with Imagineers throughout the attraction's development process, said it was a wise choice to set Stitch's Great Escape! before the character's redemption in Hawaii as shown in the film.
"They chose the more difficult version of him, but ultimately the more spectacular version of him, and they pulled it off."
Show writer Kevin Rafferty, another Imagineering veteran, said that despite Stitch's fierce intelligence and penchant for playful disobedience, the alien outcast has a childlike spirit.
"He's curious, and he loves to have fun," Rafferty said. "He seems to get himself into a lot of trouble, and kids can really relate to that."
For Sanders, seeing Stitch brought to such vivid life in a Walt Disney World attraction is a dream come true.
"My hope was that some character in the film would live beyond the movie," he said. "This is the biggest confirmation of that -- having an attraction built around him. He is exactly the creature you've seen in the film, only fully realized.
"I hope guests have a huge amount of fun."
Known officially as "Experiment 626," Stitch was created by Dr. Jumba Jookiba as the result of illegal genetic experimentation in the Galactic Federation, as shown in the opening scenes of Walt Disney Pictures' animated comedy "Lilo & Stitch." Filled with an instinct to destroy everything he touches, the little blue alien possesses the following attributes:
Able to think faster than a supercomputer
Able to see in the dark
Able to move objects 3,000 times his size
Able to change his shape by retracting his limbs and antennae