Disney’s Alien Encounter has one of my favorite evolution stories of any attraction ever built. Originally intended to feature a creature from the movie “Alien” starring Sigourney Weaver, the attraction even was slated for Disneyland at one point in it’s development stages instead of Walt Disney World.
One of my favorite parts of the development process is the initial tweaking of Alien Encounter. The attraction opened on December 16, 1994 and quickly closed January 12, 1995. In less than a month’s time, Imagineering (along with former Disney CEO Michael Eisner) decided that the tone and pacing of the attraction needed to be overhauled for a more cohesive experience.
Now this has been well documented over the years by various websites and videos. As a matter of fact, Martin Smith himself (maker of fine Disney historical videos) covered the subject fairly extensively in his history of Tomorrowland at Walt Disney World series several years ago.
In a brand new video chronicling Alien Encounter, Martin Smith somehow managed to snag the source video from the attraction. Not just the final version that opened on June 20, 1995, but the lost portions of the attraction that were only seen for that one month window during the holidays season of 1994.
I love this for a few reasons. It places together several pieces of the puzzle that seem to have been forgotten over the years. For example, if you’ve heard any of the audio files floating around the internet, this answers a question I’ve always had.
During the final video of the attraction (after the alien “explodes”), Chairman Clench can be heard murmuring in the background. Which makes no sense because in the final version, we assume the greedy Chairman is somehow lost in space since an alien intercepted his same signal and is sent to Tomorrowland instead of him.
Yet, we now know (thanks to the new Martin Smith video) that originally Chairman Clench was indeed beamed back to his original chamber on another planet and was alive and well. We can see him in footage that is cut from the final version of the attraction.
Finally, it’s tributes like this that give me hope that there are more “lost” attraction videos out there that have yet to surface. If you’re a mega fan of these rides and shows, it’s a great stroll down memory lane and a way to learn a few things along the way. Check out the video below!
Again, these videos on YouTube are not monetized and Martin doesn’t make a dime from them. As a fellow mega fan, he does it for the love of keeping the history of these attractions alive and preserved. Excited to see what he releases next!
Make sure to follow Theme Park University on Instagram, on Twitter, subscribe to YouTube and like our Facebook page! Want to support Theme Park University? Donate via Paypal! Doing any online shopping? Click on any Amazon link on this page and it helps TPU pay the bills and costs you nothing extra!