We talk a lot about hidden things at Disney World and areas that have been “abandoned,” like the former Discovery Island park.
But sometimes, “abandoned” things in Disney World are hiding right in plain sight. There’s one abandoned ride in particular you walk by every time you’re in Magic Kingdom, and we’re here to talk about WHY the ride was abandoned. And yes, believe it or not, it involves a chili dog burp.
Over in Tomorrowland, you walk right by the ride formerly known as Stitch’s Great Escape!
You even ride over the building when you take the People Mover. Now this currently abandoned building was also previously the home of three more closed Disney World attractions — ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter, Mission to Mars, and Flight to the Moon. But we’re here today to talk about Stitch.
Yep, that loveable, mischievous Experiment 626 once had a ride at Disney World, and, well, lots of people didn’t like it.
Stitch’s Great Escape! took place in a theater-in-the-round. The basic plot is that guests were training to be guards for the United Galactic Federation, and as part of their training, they were going to meet a prisoner. That prisoner was — you guessed it — Experiment 626, aka Stitch.
Chaos ensued, and as the ride’s name foretells, Stitch ESCAPED. He wreaked havoc in the chamber, tickling guests heads, and — most famously — “eating someone’s chili dog” and then unleashing a burp. You know how Disney loves their smells on rides, and the chili dog burp guests smelled here was, well, nauseating.
As the ride ended, guests learned that Stitch had escaped to … the Magic Kingdom in Florida! So, WHY did Disney close this ride and abandon this building?
Well, the short answer is that guests just didn’t dig it. People complained about the “chili dog burp” smell — some people claimed it left them nauseated long after the ride ended. Folks said that, like its Alien predecessor, the attraction which takes place partially completely in the dark was scary for Stitch’s younger fans.
It had a Fastpass entrance, but it’s popularity declined to the point that it no longer needed one. In 2016, 12 years after the attraction opened, Disney began to operate Stitch’s Great Escape! only seasonally. And the last date it was open was October 6th, 2018. Its closure was supposed to be temporary, but sadly, Experiment 626 was never teleported in for guard training again.
Since then, all the attraction’s signage has been removed, the building has been painted, and you walk by — probably not realizing there’s an abandoned attraction inside. The building was used in 2023 as a pop-up retail location when TRON Lightcycle / Run opened in Tomorrowland, but there’s no word of what will become of this historic Magic Kingdom location in the future.
So, what will become of this abandoned Disney World location? Only Disney knows, but we’re guessing there’s a plan. Keep following Allears for more Disney news!
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What would you like to see come to the abandoned building in Tomorrowland? Tell us in the comments!