Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Ah, Son of a Stitch!

When was the last time you had Cracker Jacks?  I'm eating some right now and I had forgotten how delicious they are. I suggest you go buy some right now. Well, finish reading this post first, then go buy some. Hey, you know what is entirely unlike Cracker Jacks in most ways? Stitch's Great Escape at the Magic Kingdom. And it is time for me to tackle this putrid stink of an attraction. I know, I know, I'm not really breaking any sort of new ground here, but it's time you know where my heart lies and why.

Oh good. At least Skippy is still here.
I like the film, Lilo and Stitch. I like Stitch as a character. When I heard Stitch was coming to the Magic Kingdom, I was pink as punch! But then my excitement, along with a little piece of my soul, died a little that day. For I found out Stitch was to replace The ExtraTERRORestrial: Alien Encounter, one of the most horrifying, spectacular, make-you-crap-yours-and-your-buddy's-pants-at-the-same-time ride that has ever existed. I'd tell you about it, but Tim already did a pretty good job at that. 

So what happened here? The popular theory is that Alien Encounter was just too scary for kid/adults/elderly/barnacles. I'm not sure why this is a bad thing. Disney took a chance here by boldly going where no Disney ride had gone before: into your psyche and your deepest fears. And it was spectacular. But I guess people are just boobers and whiners and didn't like fear injected into their brains. What was Disney's answer to this? Stitch.

Arrghh! S.I.R.? What have they done to you?!
The new story of the ride goes something like this: You are a new recruit to be a guard at this intergalactic prison where they teleport prisoners of various threat levels in for their stay. Well, wouldn't you know it, Stitch gets teleported in and things go awry. He runs amok, causes cutesy mischief, and steals a chili dog and burps it in your face. Seriously. You get a face-full of freaking hot, steamy chili dog stench. You know, for kids! And for the grand finale, Stitch escapes this underwhelming excuse for a prison via some sort of space cruiser and lands in... the Magic Kingdom. At Cinderella's castle. Wait, what? Why? 

This end scene goes against everything the Disney theme parks shoot for. Every land, every attraction, every lamp post is themed in a way that says "Hey, you are really in this environment. This is supposed to be real. You're supposed to leave the outside world behind and believe you are here!" But what the ending of Stitch's Great Escape says is "HEY YOU'RE IN A THEME PARK, REMEMBER? AREN'T WE CLEVER?! SHOULD I SHOUT LOUDER?" Ugh.

Remember how I mentioned that Alien Encounter was deemed too scary? Guess what? Kids are the major demographic of this attraction. Guess what else? Kids are still seeing this as too damn scary! Major portions of the ride take place in complete darkness with the guest strapped helplessly to their seats. Oh, and two giant laser Gatling guns blast the audience. You know, for kids! If your demographic is avoiding you, you're not doing a very good job.
It's pretty damn hard to be an effective prison guard when you're strapped into your seat, now isn't it?

And lastly, what really flares my unspecified rash, is that the animatronics in this ride are amazing! Wait, what? Praise? Yes! Praise! The two giant guns on the ceiling and the Stitch figure himself are some of the most fluid figures I've ever seen! And their movements are fast! Why does this irritate me? Because they're on such a piss poor attraction! It's almost like wasted resources. I don't like it and I won't stand for it.

All that being said, if I'm visiting the Magic Kingdom and the ride doesn't have a wait, I'll walk on and check it out. What's sad is that this ride is so popular, that even on the busiest days, you'll usually find that it's a walk on. Now that's integrity!