Disney World Attraction Completely Gone for Good, Final Signs Removed

The cruel, and somewhat drawn-out death of Stitch's Great Escape at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom is mercifully at an end after park staff removed the final sign for the attraction. Stitch's Great Escape, which was just a kid-friendly retheming of the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter at Tomorrowland, has been closed since 2018. There have long been rumors of a Wreck-It Ralph attraction replacing it.

Over the weekend, WDW News Today published photos from outside Stitch's Great Escape, showing that the entrance wait time sign has been removed. It had been hanging with a tarp over it for years as a reminder of what was once there. After Stitch's Great Escape closed, Disney continued using the building for the Lilo & Stitch character meet-and-greets, but those were stopped with the COVID-19 shutdown. Although meet-and-greets are set to return soon, they will likely not be back outside Stitch's Great Escape.

Before Stitch's Great Escape closed for good in 2018, WDW News Today reported that Walt Disney Imagineering was developing a Wreck-It Ralph-themed attraction to fill that spot. In March 2020, the outlet discovered that work permits were filed to demolish fixtures inside the building. The theater-in-the-round structure will still be intact, but the Wreck-It Ralph version will have video game controllers for each guest during the show.

The Stitch's Great Escape building has a long history at Magic Kingdom. It was originally home to Mission to Mars until 1993. Two years later, that show was replaced by Alien Encounter, one of Michael Eisner's infamous attempts to make the theme park more attractive to young adults. Although the show gained a cult audience, it was long considered an outlier among Disney attractions because it was so scary. Alien Encounter closed in 2003, then re-opened in 2004 as Stitch's Great Escape. Not much was changed, but Stitch replaced the horrific alien in Alien Encounter. Still, Stitch's Great Escape felt like a slap-dash and lazy replacement. In 2016, it was switched to seasonal operation and was last operated in January 2018. The main sign was up until August 2020, and recently-surfaced photos on Twitter show that much of the inside is still intact.

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Earlier this month, Disney CFO Christine McCarthy confirmed meet-and-greets would be returning to all parks soon. During the pandemic, fans have only been allowed socially-distanced indoor "character sightings" so fans can take selfies with their favorite characters. Guests can come into close contact with characters at Disneyland Paris, though. On March 3, DLP Report shared a photo of a guest hugging Winnie the Pooh at the park, which no longer has a mask requirement.