When Walt Disney World opened in 1971, one of the attractions already had to be changed because it was out of date. The attraction was Rocket to the Moon, and because man had landed on the moon while the ride was in construction, it was outdated when the park opened. It was soon changed to Flight to the Moon, and the technology and pictures updated. This attraction was to become Mission to Mars, and finally Alien Encounter.
REPORTED: Kyle Madorin 05 NOV 96
If I'm not mistaken, the text and the actual ride of Alien Encounter changed drastically from its inception to the final product. I did not go in the ride when it first opened (I'm referring to its opening over Christmas of 1994 and the subsequent change when it "officially" opened on June 10th 1995 -- so someone else can fill in the details of how it really changed), but I remember T-shirts in the gift shop with "Save Skippy" emblazoned on them. The ride now has very little to do with Skippy and the need to save him -- so I assume it has actually changed a great deal.
REPORTED: Missy Wigley 22 JUN 96
Michael Eisner reportedly was upset that he spent $60 million and had this attraction redone. Some additions were: hot breath on your neck, "tongue" on your head, a real person walking above the guests, the night vision scenes, and the "blood" dripping on guests.
CONFIRMED: Dan 12 JUN 96
When Alien Encounter first opened, I heard a story that someone had gone through the ride and was totally unsatisfied. I don't believe it was Michael Eisner but rather someone well known (the name has long been forgotten). So because of this single person dissatisfaction, they redid the ride to make it scarier and more of a thrill for the guests.
UPDATE: Stephanie 05 JUL 96
It was Michael Eisner who rode the ride and was dissatisfied with it. He gave some suggestions for changes, and the ride closed down for two days. When it reopened it was completely different and more terrifying. There isn't a real person walking above, it's a machine that makes precise movements and has a light which shines down into the audience. It only looks like a real person.
CONFIRMED: Jeff 08 OCT 96
There are only a few differences between the early version of Alien Encounter and the version they are running now. One is that the robot in the preshow was entirely different. His name was T.O.M. 2000 (Technobotic Oratorical Mechanism Series 2000), his voice was not done by Tim Curry, he was very nice to skippy, and he accidently "sizzled" Skippy. Another difference is that the attraction did not include the man walking overhead and his camera footage, and there was a lot more incidental noise and comments in the background.
UPDATE: Nikki 29 NOV 96
I'd just like to point out the voice of the original robot in the preshow of Alien Encounter, T.O.M. 2000, was the voice of Phil Hartman. I noticed this the first time I went on the ride, but they had changed it to Tim Curry by my next trip.
UPDATE: Michael Thiele 12 MAY 97
There is a real guy on the cat walk on Encounter. I rode it three times when I went in May and I can assure you it is a cast member.
CONFIRMED: DaWizArd 22 JUL 97
Ok, enough of all the controversy of who is who and what is what in Alien Encounters. I go to WDW twice a year, been to all 3 stages of the development of this ride, and talk to many cast members about these things, so you know it's kosher. PRE SHOW: The voice is Tim Currey. Is is distorted to sound more threatening to get the atmosphere set. In the 1st and 2nd stages, it was Phil Hartman. SKkippy was also a bigger part in it, and very cute, might I add. MAIN SHOW: When it first opened (1st & 2nd openings), the whole thing was comical, with various one liners in the original script. The alien was very fake, and the set was quite lighter. The alien in the present production has changes greatly (you can tell what it actually looks like). The lights for selecting a member from the audience DOES change, but only it can choose a few different seats. In the 2 originals, the WAS a person on the catwalk with a helmet and a real flashlight. You could hear AND see them walking across, now you can't. Now the flashlight is attatched to a pole-like thing that moves around. If you sit on a certain side, you can see the reflection of the pole (comes from the ground). Therefore, a person is no longer up there. Probably due to timing. (It wasn't very good when it first opened). Also, the pre-pre show has not changed from the original, except that there is text for deaf people. Well, I hope this settles most of the "conspiricies" going around. If you have quesions, e-mail me!!
UPDATE: Stacy 26 MAR 98
The light that shines down on the audience isn't an animatronic robot. It is a real human!! I know this because the guide which shows you to the transport room has thier own seat in the show in the back (without the effects). I was watching her and when the light shined on her she waved to it!! Unless this job is so lonely, she is waving to animatronics, that is a person up there!
UPDATE: TiggerOne 10 JUL 98
There were 2 versions of AE. The first was to frightning for kids. They had to change it to a tamer ride.
CONFIRMED: Kevin Pathiakis 05 JAN 99
I have to put my two cents in concerning the Alien Encounter in Tomorrowland....I was on the ride with my husband in August of 1998. There is an actual person holding a flashlight on the catwalk! When we were on the ride the cast member accidentally dropped it. Everyone laughed, it almost made the whole alien attack seem more real. After the ride was over, a cast member came out to ask if anyone had been hit and to pick up the pieces of her flashlight........
UPDATE: Jessica 01 MAR 99
It wasn't only Michael Eisner, but other important Disney people too, who rode the ride and were dissapointed. They all said that is wasn't scary enough, so they closed the ride to make it scarier.
CONFIRMED: Jennifer Padley 18 SEP 99
I can guarantee you one hundred percent that is not a human being going across the ceiling, maybe in the early stages, but not anymore. When I went I studied the light closely, and you could see that A: The light stayed at the exact same height across the ceiling, without bobbing up and down, B: It traveled at an exact speed all the way across, and C: The movement of the light as it swung around was far too fluid and quick to be done by a human.
UPDATE: John Michael Prescot 28 MAR 00
Ok here's the story about Mike Eisner and the ride. I was standing in line to go in to the ride when he and others went in ahead. He didn't like the timing and lighting and it wasn't scarry enough to him. The ride was immediatly shut down and redone.
UPDATE: yensiD oidaR 18 SEP 00
The flashlight "scene" on the catwalk in Alien Encounter is NOT a person walking around up there. I first went on the "ride" last year during the beginning of the Millenium Celebration when my sister was working as a Cast Member for the Magic Kingdom (she worked in the Emporium shop). We "rode" it no less than five or six times over the course of 3 days and if you look hard enough up there during that part, you can see the wires that are attached to pole that the light is on. I went again two weeks ago on vacation to the Magic Kingdom and we "rode" Alien Encounter there again, its STILL not a real person up there. Considering the light moves just a little too smoothly for a person to be carrying it around up there on the catwalk...
CONFIRMED: Knightfox 23 NOV 00
The light above is not a real cast member. The light is actually a form of intelligent lighting made by Martin. It a light that shines on to a mirror, and the mirror moves. I know this because I've seen it! There is no cast member up there!
CONFIRMED: NOEL LACAYO 12 DEC 00
There is a person on the catwalk. I was there yesterday and I saw him from the back row. And the whole thing about the fakeness of the alien, that's soooo true because while sitting in the back row, there's no room for even a flea to get in there. If anything they should have pointed the effects at the front of the people in the back row. At least then it would have been more realistic.
CONFIRMED: Teknojunkie 23 JUL 01
ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter was actually made less scary when it was changed when it first opened up. I visited WDW the year Alien Encounter open officially (after the changes were made) and was talking to a cast member who drove one of the horse-drawn trollies. He said that ExtraTERRORestrial had been very frightening originally. Michael Eisner decided to 'tone it down' a little.
UPDATE: Heather 25 SEP 01
If you can get in the front of the line on Alien Encounter, this is how you can get under one of the lights that "choose" the subject for transportation....if you are near the far right of the S.I.R./Skippy portion of the show, when that is over head into the main show....as you go in the doors, head straight down and get on the second row...move all the way down the second row until you are 4 seats from the stairs. the red light will shine down on the fourth seat from the stairs. I have done this at least five times...this is only ONE of the lights, i haven't checked the others yet.
UPDATE: Richard Bozeman 28 DEC 01
At Alien Encounter, the person on the catwalk is real. I know for a fact because I married a castmember who used to do the part.
UPDATE: Tara Lane 15 APR 02
At Alien Encounter it is a real person on the cat walk and I am one of them. Durring my training there was two of us on there and I was running behind my trainer. My first time out you would have known it wasn't a robot because my flash light was all over the place :)
UPDATE: Emcee 16 APR 02
Did anyone but me notice that during the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter pre-show, S.I.R calls the little dog thing Skippy before he transports him, but after he is transported he calls him Scruffy?
REPORTED: matt 04 MAR 01
Concerning the S.I.R guy calling Skippy, Scruffy. He calls him that because of his complaing wanting out of the tube and he gets to the point to where if he could, he would more than likely want to kill him, but he justs suspends him indefinatly in time.
UPDATE: indiana jones 11 MAR 01
According to the blueprints in the project office, the Alien Encounter attraction was supposed to have an animatron of a person in the tube... then he would be "transported" and swapped out with the monster. Upon viewing the show this past weekend... they did away with the person and put it on video.
REPORTED: W. Todd Stephenson 17 JAN 96
On the large sign above where you enter the line in front of Alien Encounter, instead of the sign reading "George Lucas" as the creator, it reads "George Luca"... the "s" has fallen off
REPORTED: rickY 11 AUG 98
In the video title screens before the preshow video, there's an ad for an upcoming lecture called "Mission To Mars: Fact Or Fiction?" This is, of course, a joke about the Mission To Mars attraction that Alien Encounter replaced.
REPORTED: Dan Amrich 24 SEP 95
CONFIRMED: Chris Caines 25 SEP 95
CONFIRMED: Marla Stauffer 24 OCT 95
CONFIRMED: Melanie Emmons 28 AUG 96
Just to further the Tom Morrow story. He is also listed as giving a lecture in the ad type video which is shown in the first chamber of Alien Encounter before the initial video. I think that he may be the host of the celebrated "Mission to Mars: Fact or Fantasy" lecture, but I'm not sure on that one.
REPORTED: Loren Jones 18 MAR 98
Tom Morrow was actually the animatronic "operations director", for "Flight to the Moon" (1967-1975) in Disneyland. He, then, was transformed into Mr. Johnson when the attraction became Mission to Mars.
UPDATE: TR Shaw 11 MAY 98
CONFIRMED: The Crutchley Family 28 MAY 98
CONFIRMED: Kaitlyn 01 AUG 98
The name Tom Morrow is used at the Alien Encounter, but it has been used for many years on the WEDway People Mover attraction. Just as you leave the Carrousel of Progress, a female's voice comes on the speakers and pages Tom Morrow. For everyone in the park it is a name resembling the word which symbolizes Tomorrowland, for me, it is the name of an old friend, Tom Morrow.
UPDATE: Terry Sandford 29 NOV 98
Tom Morrow also made a brief on-line, name appearance in Star Tours in Disney/MGM Studios. AND...in Disneyland, in the brand-spankin' new Innoventions exhibit you can finally see old Tommy-boy, as you are greeted by an entusiasic Mr. Morrow in the animatronic flesh. He looks like a close relative of the Transportarium's TimeKeeper.
CONFIRMED: Joseph St. Angelo 13 FEB 99
In Star Tours, and other attractions, you hear about Tom Morrow. On the Disney Channel, there is a special little show called "Imaginear That" and the host is Tom Morrow 2.0!!!
UPDATE: anon 16 JUL 01
When you enter the second room of Alien Encounter with the pink "Skippy." Skippy is transported from tube to tube. He actually goes into the ground, but this is blocked by 2 mirrors that make it look like there is a tube at the bottom of the tank. You can see this for yourself by waching the bubbles of the center tank and watching those of the ones around it, you will see they are identical.
REPORTED: Stephen 07 MAY 98
The voice of the robot that teleports Skippy in the Animatronic show before the main attraction is provided by Tim Curry ("Rocky Horror Picture Show," "Legend," "Clue," "Congo").
REPORTED: Dan Amrich 24 SEP 95
Pre-show is of Saturday Night Live veteran Phil Hartman, not Tim Curry.
UPDATE: Adam Wanderman 10 MAR 96
The voice of the robot in the preshow at Alien Encounter is Tim Curry. It was Phil Hartman before the show was changed.
CLARIFICATION: Debbie Faison 29 AUG 96
The voice is Tim Currey in the pre-show. Is is distorted to sound more threatening to get the atmosphere set. In the 1st and 2nd stages, it was Phil Hartman.
UPDATE: Stacy 26 MAR 98
The voice of the CEO of X-S Tech (the one in the preshow video and the one who is supposed to be teleported later in the show) is played by Jeffrey Jones, who gained cult fame as the villainous Ed Rooney in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."
REPORTED: Dan Amrich 24 SEP 95
Spinlok is played by Kevin Pollak ("Indian Summer", "The Usual Suspects")
REPORTED: Ryan Gravilla 06 JAN 97
As you leave the demo room the announcer states that you should have all belongings includeing smaller carbon based life forms (eg children).
REPORTED: Tim Williams TSHS 27 JAN 98
In Alien Encounter the blue and red lights are always at the same seat and they never pick anybody to do anything really they just want to scare you and the water, air and moving up and down is all your seat not the Alien!
REPORTED: Breann Godava 30 NOV 96
CONFIRMED: Derick Lehmann 17 JAN 97
Whenever teleportation takes place in the main show room, the cables in the room swing, contract, and appear to be doing something.
REPORTED: Timothy Williams TSHS 27 JAN 98
Does any body ever notice that when you are on Alien Encounter the video tells the cast member on the catwalk that the electrical service panel is the first catwalk to his left, but he always goes to his right! Every time I go I laugh at this, I can't believe sombody at Disney has not found and corrected that little blooper yet.
REPORTED: Donald Banks 01 FEB 99
Quick note about the above: its not really a blooper depending on how you parse the sentence. The recorded voice says something like "go to the panel ... its on the first catwalk on the left". Watching the video, the electric panel is indeed at the end of the first catwalk, and it (the panel) is on the left. Yay for English.
UPDATE: Toffeles 29 AUG 99
The spotlight you see when you hear the man ask "Is everyone alright down there?" is held by a real Cast Member walking up on the raffters above your head. He will be wearing a helmet with small red lights on it.
REPORTED: Mike Rickert 27 MAR 97
The Lights in Alien Encounter did indeed use to be robotic; I remember them moving to quickly and jerkily to be human. But when I last went in March, it moved much fluider, and I was able to see a leg when the light went down it. In conclusion, the lights are indeed now, operated by Cast Members; although I don't know if they are mounted on headgear like someone said.
CONFIRMED: Skunk 18 APR 97
The light above the audience is, in fact, an actual person. In fact, that position is refered to as "Catwalk". The cast member puts on a helmet and carries a flashlight that is linked to the show and turns on and off on cue. There is not a "machine that makes precise movements" there is an actual person.
UPDATE: Steve Bialecki 10 SEP 97
This is to settle the thing about the catwalk in the demonstration chambers in "Alien Encounter." I am a cast Member that runs the attraction, and there is a real cast Member that shines a flashlight on the audience and also shines a red light on them for the infared camera footage.
UPDATE: Dr.J 19 JAN 99
I am a cast member who works at Alien Encounter. There really is a person that walks through the catwalk during the show. Each cast member at the attraction is trained to perform this task. The cast member wears a helmet with flashing lights on it and a red flashlight to simulate the infra-red camera. They also carry a regular flashlight. Everyone is trained the specific timing of when and where to shine the light. This is why the light can look "robotic." However, if you go on the attraction enough times, you will notice slight differences (i.e. paces of the light, where it shines down, etc.) The cast member exits the catwalk when the voice says "I got it" and the infra-red camera is still on the screen. If you watch carefully, you can actually see the cast-member exit. On a side note, there are actually two chambers (the actual room) where the show is held, and they are identical. After the pre-show, you proceed down the hall turn to your left or right, depending on which chamber is empty. The chambers are on set to begin their shows five minutes apart. This allows the attraction to push more people through.
CONFIRMED: anon 18 NOV 99
Right before the man walks above our heads looking for the "problem".The alien's eyes are visible (they are green) for a momment then they dissappear.
REPORTED: Tim Williams TSHS 27 JAN 98
CONFIRMED: Anthony Mowad 03 FEB 98
Beware of screaming sounds coming from Disney rides. Most, if not all, of them are part of the soundtrack, not live. AE is a particularly good example of this, since not only are the screams part of the soundtrack, so are virtually all the smart remarks ("...my mother- in-law!"). I did some digging in the Disney literature and talked to some Disney folks when I noticed that the exact same person, doing the exact same scream in the exact same pitch, timber, and attack, could be heard in AE, Splash Mountain, and in the foyer of the Haunted Mansion. The screams don't repeat for every show, the soundtrack seems to rotate a selection of "background" noises like screams, but you will eventually hear the same lady scream the same scream on almost every Disney ride I've tried, and she always does it at the exact same moment.
REPORTED: Larry Smith 02 JAN 97
The screams are from a sound track. I rode Encounter and got the same screams and comments both times.
CONFIRMED: DaWiZard 12 MAY 97
CONFIRMED: Chella 16 JUN 97
CONFIRMED: Anthony Mowad 03 FEB 98
CONFIRMED: meeko 17 JUL 98
I'm writing in regards to the use of screaming soundtracks used at ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter. Everyone says that they know that these are used because of hearing the same person scream in the exact same volume, pitch, time etc. Has anyone ever thought to say they know it's a soundtrack because they sit in the very back row and hear screams coming from behind them. That's kind of a dead giveaway that there's a speaker attached to the headrest or somewhere behind you.
CONFIRMED: Tim Jirik 11 AUG 00
Wonder how the noises on extraTERRORestrial get in your head so much?? it is from the highly advanced speakers that are as close to your head as possible whichare located on your restriants!! since it produces 3-demenstional sound which makes you think things are hapening when their not!!
UPDATE: anon 15 APR 06
During times that didn't have enough guests and the shows were skipped, they actually run the attraction with the lights on.
REPORTED: DisneyCM00-01 14 JUL 01