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Alien Encounter Effects Explanations


New Member
Original Poster
Hey there, this is going to sound stupid but even though I've never been on ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter (it closed before I was born), I've been doing research for the past three years and I figured I could put all of the things I've learned about the effects in one post since it's kind of spread out across the internet. I'm deciding to do this now because it's the end of an era with Stitch's Great Escape closing, and whether you liked that ride or not it was all we had left of AE. With the animatronics dismantled I think it's time for a special effects recap.

Effect #1- Glass Break.
Contrary to popular belief the teleportation tube does not get replaced by another tube. There is one long tube, half of which is "broken". The tube slides up, with the unbroken half going into the ceiling (disney ceilings are a lot higher than they appear from the outside) and the broken half appearing to the audience. There is a black ring seperating the two halves, and in night vision videos you can actually see it rising as the unbroken half goes into the ceiling. It's especially visible in this video, which I highly recommend watching through because it lets you see all the things Imagineering does NOT want you to (specifically the alien lowering and reappearing).

Effect #2- Skippy.
Skippy is the only one I'm not too sure about. First off, two very popular takes on his teleportation effect are:
-Skippy flattens.
-Skippy turns around with a mirror on his back.
Neither of these is the case. Skippy is too complex an animatronic to be able to flatten himself (see this picture from backdoordisney) and a mirror, would, obviously, be reflective.
The simplest answer to this is, yes, Skippy lowers- This is a confirmed fact. The only thing I'm unsure about is the possibility of a circular mirror in the BOTTOM of the tube, which could potentially block any leftover parts of Skippy that could be sticking out a bit (mainly antenna or those bulbous eyes). It works in the reverse with fried Skippy, with him rising up from beneath.

Effect #3- Flashlight.
This is a long standing controversy- When the X-S Tech maintenance member walks above on the catwalk, is this a cast member with a flashlight, or a robotic arm waving a light around? Short answer: It's a cast member. As stated by a cast member on these forums, the position was sought after by employees because it mainly consisted of sitting around and waiting for a signal.

Effect #4- Breathing down your neck.
Despite this being pretty self explanatory I felt a need to put this in here. Two words: Alien ASMR. Binaural audio is pumped through special speakers in the chairs, along with thwipping air tubes to simulate licking.

Any other effects I've forgotten can be added at a later date. If any cast members/imagineers/insiders have any info on any of these effects or others, maybe even other rides' effects then please let me know. I'm just an idiotic 14-year-old that obsesses over a ride that doesn't even exist anymore.


Proud Member Since 2016
Welcome to the forums! That's awesome research man, keep up your interest in the parks and if you find more interesting tidbits feel free to comment anytime.

By the way, I love your profile picture. I have a Skippy that looks just like that sitting on a shelf right next to me.


Well-Known Member
To give you more info on Skippy...

Skippy lowers below. The way the tubes are displayed makes it appear to be elevated. To hide the tube for it go down far enough to hide the antenna, angled mirrors are used similar to the effect for the butterfly in Imagination. Even during the Stitch era, the mirrors had to carefully reflect the wall so that no matter where you stood in the preshow, it appeared to be completely open to the other side.

As for the Cast Member...
Cast members working had to also learn how to navigate the catwalks in the dark when they shut off the flashlight after being eaten. Not something that would fly in present day.


Premium Member
:sniffles: I miss Alien Encounter more than any other defunct attraction from WDW! Any attraction that can legitimately terrify guests deserves to be recognized as a well-executed, near flawless attraction! Had this been in MGM/Hollywood Studios I have no doubt that it'd still be there today! :(
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