Stitch's Great Escape! was a Tomorrowland attraction at the Magic Kingdom theme park within the Walt Disney World Resort. It was a "theater-in-the-round" experience starring the titular alien from Walt Disney Animation Studios' 2002 film Lilo & Stitch. It opened November 16, 2004, and is the fourth attraction to occupy the site in Tomorrowland. Many of the animators who worked on Lilo & Stitch partnered with Walt Disney Imagineering for Stitch's Great Escape! The attraction is a replacement of the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter, which formerly occupied the building the attraction is housed in. The attraction notably struggled with negative reception throughout its existence.
On September 21, 2016, it was announced that the attraction would be switching from a daily operated attraction to a seasonally operated one, depending on attendance, starting October 2, 2016. From October 2, 2017 onwards, the ride's first pre-show room is turned into a Stitch meet-and-greet called "Stitch's Alien Encounter Character Greeting!".
The attraction last operated on January 6, 2018, which soon led to much speculation over the fate of the attraction. Eventually, Disney officials confirmed in a memo sent to cast members on July 16, 2020 that the attraction, along with Primeval Whirl and Rivers of Light in Disney's Animal Kingdom, was permanently closed, with the attraction's signage later taken down on August 10, 2020.
- Amid a row of blinking monitors, begin your intergalactic training session with an eye-opening welcome video and discover what it means to be a guard with the Galactic Federation Prisoner Teleport Center.
- Step forward and learn how the science of prisoner teleportation works from a helpful Audio-Animatronics robot named Sergeant C4703BK2704-90210.
- A mysterious high-security Level 3 prisoner has been captured and is due for arrival! Because Level 3 aliens can be quite dangerous, make your way to the High Security chamber to assist with the incoming teleportation.
- Inside, take a seat around a floor-to-ceiling tube. As the teleportation begins, the prisoner is revealed to be none other than the free-spirited Stitch, who naturally manages to break out of the transport chamber and wreak havoc throughout the room in the dark!
The experience, set before the first film, takes place in the Galactic Federation Prisoner Teleport Center. Guests have been recruited by the Grand Councilwoman to be guards for the Galactic Federation. After being taught the basic procedures of guard duty and the classification of prisoner hazard levels by a robot sergeant (and a brief, but comical, reprisal of Skippy from the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter), Captain Gantu gives an alert of a Level 3 prisoner being beamed to the Center. Guests are then instructed by Pleakley over an intercom communicator (off-camera) to proceed to the Level 3 prisoner teleportation chamber.
After being seated in the chamber, shoulder restraints (made to resemble scanning units for DNA) come down onto the guests' shoulders and the prisoner is then beamed into the chamber via a large plume of smoke and is revealed to be an enlarged Stitch. After a brief period of puzzled talking by Gantu and his two assistants, Stitch uses the flaws of the armed laser cannons (the cannons follow and destroy any genetic material, including saliva) and disables all power to escape, causing mass (happy) chaos in the crowd. During this period, hydraulic pumps and small hoses in the shoulder restraints make it seem as if Stitch is jumping on guests' shoulders and tickling their heads. When the power comes back on, the laser cannons continue their attempt to bring Stitch down. Again, using the cannons' fatal flaws, he manages to fire the laser cannons into the crowd. Shortly after using the diversion, he escapes to Florida's Walt Disney World Resort. Cameras capture him traversing Cinderella Castle before licking the camera lens. The audience is then released from their duty and exits into one of two gift shops—Merchant of Venus or Mickey's Star Traders.
The attraction includes much of the technology and sets from its predecessor, the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter, including the comical alien Skippy in the preshow area. The 39-inch Audio-Animatronic Stitch figure built by Imagineering reportedly is one of the most complex creations of its size. Other special effects include binaural sound, simulated laser cannons and a pungent smell (that of a chili dog, which lampoons the rule about bringing food and drink into the theater).
- Chris Sanders — Stitch
- Kevin Michael Richardson — Captain Gantu
- Kevin McDonald — Pleakley
- Zoe Caldwell — Grand Councilwoman
- Richard Kind — Sergeant C4703BK2704-90210
- Jennifer Hale — Cinderella
- Danny Mann — Skippy
- Doug Stone - Ensign Getco
- Debra Jean Rogers - First Officer Ombit
- Dave Fouquette - Donut Guy, Lieutenant Sludge
- Susan Silo - Computer System
- The "criminals of the galaxy" shown in the first half of the pre-show are all experiments, with their numbers and names written in Tantalog. The experiments seen are 625/Reuben (name rendered as "SixTwoFive", as the ride was made before Leroy & Stitch), 303/Amnesio, 520/Cannonball, 177/Clip, 624/Angel, 360/Drowsy, 344/Dupe, 345/Elastico, 151/Babyfier, 149/Bonnie, 150/Clyde, 222/Poxy, 258/Sample, 297/Shortstuff, 254/Mr. Stenchy, and, as a joke, "300M/Spookymorp" (a large form with an alligator-like snout that 300/Spooky took in the Lilo & Stitch: The Series episode, "The Asteroid").
- In the exit halls of the attraction, after the "Days Without an Escape" sign, there are three (previously four) "wanted posters" of other experiments written in either Tantalog or English (the former fourth poster was actually an ad promoting Lilo & Stitch: The Series on Disney Channel). The three wanted posters are those of 523/Slushy (in Tantalog), 222/Poxy (in English with name rendered as "Poxxy"), and 151/Babyfier (in Tantalog).
- Before the attraction's opening, Disney released a downloadable game called Stitch's Escape Game to promote the attraction. It can still be downloaded from the Walt Disney World website to this day. (See external links.)
- Carter, Ashley (January 9, 2018). "Disney: Has Stitch's Great Escape closed for good?". News 13. Charter Communications. Retrieved on January 12, 2018.
- Tuttle, Brittani (July 16, 2020). "Disney World permanently closes of Rivers of Light, Primeval Whirl, Stitch’s Great Escape". Attractions Magazine. Retrieved on July 17, 2020.
- "Disney: Stitch's Great Escape switching to 'seasonal' operation". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved on 21 September 2016.
- Cox, Danny (October 1, 2017). "Stitch's Great Escape At Magic Kingdom Being Turned Into 'Alien Encounter' Character Meet-And-Greet". Inquisitr. Retrieved on October 3, 2017.
- "Stitch meet and greet to move into the pre-show area of Stitch's Great Escape". WDWMagic (October 2, 2017). Retrieved on October 25, 2017.
- "Stitch's Great Escape Attraction Sign Removed at Magic Kingdom". BlogMickey (2020-08-10). Retrieved on 2020-08-11.
- "Stitch's Great Escape". Retrieved on August 12, 2006.