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"Alien Encounter"; your fav SFX/theming idols

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Maybe a bit off topic, but prop-related.

I am Disney engineer wannabee. I want all of my stuff to be Disney/Universal Studios class SFX (and I have come close). I have done adult Halloween parties for 16 of the last 18 years, and, well, let's just say there is no such thing "overkill".

Was thinking about this last night, those types of environmental SFX attractions that really impressed me. And it takes a lot to impress me.

Anybody go through the "Alien Encounter" attraction at Disney in Orlando before they removed it? I went several years ago (2001 I think), and my brother had told me about the whole thing. It ranks at the top of my list as something REALLY well done. The "what you DON'T see" is what scares. The overall theming and execution was killer.

For those who don't know, it was removed by Disney after only a couple year I think because it was discovered that it was "not aligned with Disney's core values for family entertainment'. I think what that meant was that a bunch of 4-8 year olds were now in years of therapy and could not sleep alone in a dark room anymore.

It had all the warnings posted, but I'm sure parents took kids they shouldn't have. Our daughter was 7 and flatly insisted that she would not be scared that we must take her. She was OK, but was crying inside when "the alien was loose". Had I been through it already, I probably would not have let her go. Our son was 11, and when we came out he said "that was cool" but was kind of quiet and pale...

She's not in therapy, but 14 now, and sometimes I think I should be in therapy, but that is another issue.

Anyway, I thought I would post here. I won't try to describe what it was all about, I'm sure there is stuff about it on the web somewhere if you are interested. But it stands out in my mind as one of the gold standards for staging, SFX, theming and pulling off something that really scares the crap out of people....

I other ones I liked: MGM's Tower of terror, not so much the ride, but the "basement" theming. Dueling Dragons coaster at Universal, the ride queue scenery is really cool. And the "Mummy" ride is pretty neat, I like the fake off load platform where the ceiling catches fire. Although now pretty old, I think the "T3" attraction is really good.

Overall SFX/technology integration and pure entertainment has to go to the Spiderman attraction though...
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55 Posts
I remember that ride well and thought it was the best I've ever been on. I walked in not knowing anything about it, and being Disney, was not expected to be scared at all. Boy was I wrong. I got right back in line to do it again. It's a shame they got rid of it.

Defender of Blucky Honor
1,051 Posts
Great "ride", It was a classic in the dark imagination thing. I got the biggest kick out of the wise ass remarks that was part of it. Totally un-Disney, but funny as all can be.
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