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The Lilo And Stitch Prequel You Could Only Experience At Disney World

Lilo & Stitch is the beloved animated Disney film about a little girl and her pet alien. While Stitch is originally sent to Earth to destroy it, he soon develops a special bond with Lilo, and through the power of "ohana," Stitch defies his mission and joins the Pelekai family. 

The offbeat film spawned a full-on franchise complete with a direct-to-video sequel, various shorts, and even a television series. The film's legacy was further cemented when it was announced it would receive its own theme park ride at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, serving as a prequel of sorts to the original film. The ride was as a replacement for another alien-themed attraction, ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter, which ran from 1994 to 2003. 

Sadly, the ride now only exists in people's memories. As of 2020, it was dismantled for good.  

What you could expect on Stitch's Great Escape!

The ride basically showed you what Stitch was up to before he landed on Earth. As you walked through the queue, you were recruited by the Grand Councilwoman. Your mission? To become guards for the Galactic Federation. You were taught standard procedures on how to handle prisoners, but as you walked further, Captain Gantu issued a Level 3 alert for a prisoner being beamed to the station. You were then asked to proceed to the Level 3 prisoner teleportation chamber. 

Once inside, shoulder restraints came down on your shoulders as the prisoner was beamed into the chamber. In a vast plume of smoke, Stitch appeared! You were then taken through the ride as Stitch exploited the flaws in the armed laser cannons, causing all kinds of havoc until he finally turned the cannons on the guests. Stitch managed to escape into the Walt Disney World Resort, and you saw him making his way to Cinderella Castle before you were released into one of two gift shops. 

The YouTube Channel SoCal Attractions 360 uploaded a video showing you what happened in the ride beat for beat. Unfortunately, it's the only way to experience the ride, nowadays. 

Stitch's Great Escape! closed for good in 2020

Stitch's Great Escape! had plenty of critics. A lot of people didn't think it stacked up as well as ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter. That's likely why, on September 21st, 2016, Disney announced the ride would switch from daily operation to seasonal (via The Orlando Sentinel). That kind of switch, however, only meant one thing: The ride wasn't long for this world. 

Stitch's Great Escape! ran for the last time on January 6th, 2018. Speculation soon followed about the ultimate fate of the ride, with an answer coming on July 16th, 2020, when Disney sent out a memo to all cast members stating that Stitch's Great Escape!, along with Primeval Whirl and Rivers of Light, would close for good (via Attractions Magazine). The ride's sign came down officially on August 10th. 

Hopefully, you had a chance to see the Lilo & Stitch prequel before it shut down permanently. If not, however, don't fret — Disney World has plenty of other attractions on deck to keep fans satisfied, including an expansive Star Wars attraction to make you feel like part of the Resistance.