Whilst over at Disneyland Park today the little blue terror is invading Disney's Halloween festival for the first time, rumours have suddenly exploded across the internet this afternoon that next year, in November 2007 to be precise, he will be invading again... with his own attraction at Walt Disney Studios Park!,
The attraction in question is Stitch Encounter, an attraction which opened on 13th July 2006 at Hong Kong Disneyland’s Tomorrowland. It uses the same technology as Turtle Talk with Crush at Disney’s California Adventure and Epcot (a video of which can be seen here), which allows an audience to interact in real time with Stitch through a highly advanced computer animation system. After a question or respose from the audience, Stitch’s animation and (mostly alien) speech is then generated and selected by a hidden Cast Member.
The following quote from Wikipedia describes the Hong Kong attraction, which is presented in Cantonese, English and Putonghua:
Guests are invited to visit Space Traffic Control for a tour. Space Traffic Control (or STC) is the nerve center for this quadrant of the galaxy and where all space traffic is closely monitored. The tour goes as planned until the host is interrupted by Stitch, a fluffy blue mischievous alien known also as “Experiment Number 626” in a ‘borrowed’ space ship. Stitch interacts in real time with the guests, plays games with the kids and even teaches everyone how to speak Hawaiian. Ultimately, Stitch’s nemesis, Gantu shows up and wants his ship back. It is up to the guests in the audience to help Stitch escape! The show is a combination of action and comedy, and never the same show twice.
And the location of this new attraction for Walt Disney Studios Park? Not Toon Studio as you might guess, but instead the old Zapping Zone production stage of Walt Disney Televison Studios Tour, which has been occupied by an interactive Art Attack exhibit for the past two years. La Rouqine on Disney Central Plaza forum confirms the rumours, which originated with this forum post, by stating there will be 4 shows per hour, presented in French, English and Spanish. A budget of 5 million euros will apparently be required to complete the installation.
Largely criticised since its opening with the park on 16th March 2002, the Walt Disney Television Studios attraction quickly lost some of its excitement when the actual, live Disney Channel production stage for Zapping Zone closed in its first year of operation. In late 2002, however, the Disney Channel CyberSpace area opened, offering interactive computer arcade games and the popular CyberSpace Mountain, allowing guests to create their own simulated roller coaster ride.
With the opening of a second attraction-within-an-attraction at this location, it would seem possible the attraction will become similar to Disney Animation at Disney’s California Adventure or The Living Seas at Epcot, which both feature Turtle Talk with Crush in a free-roaming attraction experience, allowing guests to choose which section of the attraction they wish to experience. Currently, the Walt Disney Television Studios gives guests a very brief “tour” through the “backstage” of the Disney Channel before they are allowed to enter either the CyberSpace or Art Attack stages. It remains to be seen whether this tour section will still be included in the updated attraction.
Whilst only an “attraction-within-an-attraction”, though, Stitch Encounter could definitely be marketed by Disneyland Resort Paris as a full new attraction, and will bring yet another highlight to the incredible lineup for the resort’s 15th Anniversary. With Toon Studio getting its first luscious greenery and Walt Disney Television Studios rumoured to be finally getting something worth seeing, it looks like the Imagineers are well on their way to ticking off every box on their “How to Improve Walt Disney Studios” checklist…