This was my favorite attraction at Magic Kingdom. Around 2002, it traumatized so many children that they re-vamped it into the idiotic "Stitch Encounter". This is the story of one of the coolest rides that Disney ever thought of, it was just in the wrong park. In my opinion, it should have been in "teen/tween park" Disney Studios.
I first rode this in 1998 and for the last time in 2001. The mistake people made was to think a scary ride called Alien Encounter really wasn't that scary. They thought it was Haunted Mansion scary. They were soooo wrong. They thought Michael Eisner would NEVER put a truly terrifying ride in the Magic Kingdom of all places! Evidently they didn't get the memo telling them that Eiser is the Devil. So let's go back in time to a day when the Happiest Place on Earth turned evil.
There are warning signs posted for this ride. In my opinion, they are not large enough. This is a VERY mentally scary and intense ride. Grown-ups will have fun and find themselves a bit scared or freaked but if you take your child on this ride, you WILL be paying for therapy for the next 10 years. I am NOT kidding! Little kids have NO business on this ride. Now I did my good deed by warning parents with small children that I saw on the buses about this ride. I told them that perhaps one of them might want to screen it first. It seems that I didn't talk to some of the people in line. I like this ride for adults if you can deal with mind game scares. It is less scary the second time around.
It is based (very loosely) on the Alien of Ridley Scott fame. You enter a very entertaining queue where you get a lesson in teleportation from an evil robot and his unwilling volunteer “Skippy”. Just seeing cute little Skippy get crispy in a teleporter “accident” and then have the slightly malevolent robot trap him in the transporter interface while in transit, perhaps permanently, can be a bit disturbing to kids.
You next enter a circular room where you sit around a giant tube. There is a large shoulder harness that comes down over you. While it is used for an effect later on, its main purpose is to keep people in their seats so they are not running around in terror in the dark and break their necks. They start the show and someone starts talking on a screen about this new teleporter technology and how they are going to teleport something harmless to you in the theatre. Yeah.. right. Like that turned out real well for Skippy.
The teleporter is accidentally rerouted and instead of the chairman of the teleportation company coming to talk to you, an Alien is transported in his place. The Alien busts out of the tube, total darkness descends and the fun begins. This is a total mind trip. Nothing in the room moves. You hear the Alien running on the catwalk, breathing hot breath on your neck, it kills a few people, you hear chewing sounds, you feel warm “blood” dripping on you from the guy he ate on the catwalk, etc. As you can tell, this is intense.
There was a kid sitting next to me that looked like Ralphie from “A Christmas Story”. He was about 9 years old and was screaming and hysterical with terror. His Dad was trying to calm him down, tell him it’s just a ride, that it’s not real but the kid was terrorized. I'm going to Hell because while I feel sorry for the kid, his genuine screams of abject terror really added to the experience of the ride.
Please parents, don’t be selfish and drag your small children on this ride just because you want to see it. Do the child swap, preview the ride first, judge your childs ability to handle this before you damage them. I give this ride an A- for adults, and A for teens, a D for average kids and an F for small children. I think this would have been better at MGM/Disney Studios and put Star Tours here (like they have in Disneyland).