Completely unrelated to the Coronavirus outbreak, Walt Disney World has confirmed that both Animal Kingdom’s Primeval Whirl and Magic Kingdom’s Stitch’s Great Escape have been closed permanently.
The news was confirmed by Disney reporter Scott Gustin who broke the news on twitter.
Both rides fell into the “seasonal” category, meaning that they were only open at the height of traffic in either park, primarily during the summer months. Primeval Whirl, known for the famous, ride-starting catch phrase (in a Southern twang) “Beware of hitchhiking dinosaurs!”, often experienced technical difficulties and was also a ride that left more than a few people nauseous due to the sudden (and frequent) turns. On two separate occasions, two workers tragically lost their lives while repairing the ride in 2007 and 2011.
The closure of Stitch’s Great Escape is no big surprise, as the oddly-themed attraction rarely operated, even in peak season. Stitch’s Great Escape replaced the controversial ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter attraction which was a little too intense for most visitors. For those that remember Alien Encounter, riders were basically restrained in the dark while being poked and prodded by an “Alien on the loose scenario”, complete with heavy breathing and bone chomping in your ear (courtesy of the speakers in the chair). Believe it or not, “blood”(water) was even sprayed on the audience when a technician was supposedly attacked by the out-of-control monster.
Stitch became the new alien in the refurb, and most of the ride system remained the same, other than switching the audio track to Stitch’s alien-speak and more puerile humor such as Stitch burping in your face. Experiment 626 didn’t kill anyone, but being in the dark with the lovable Stitch still didn’t translate well, especially for young fans, who often left the attraction in tears.
Stay tuned to Conskipper for more Disney theme park news, especially as we get closer to Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary.