Listen to the ultra-rare 1994 Alien Encounter soft-opening version
Originally intended to debut at Disneyland’s Tomorrowland makeover, delays and Imagineer infighting over the appropriateness of a truly frightening attraction in a Castle park pushed the project back several years. It was finally installed at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, allegedly without the benefit of the typical full-scale mockup and run-throughs in a WDI warehouse to shake out the bugs and make story revisions before it was introduced to guests. The show debuted in December of 1994 and by mid-January of 1995 it was closed again for another 6 months to make changes.
The first version of the show is different in several respects:
- Phil Hartman voices the robot in the second pre-show. His character T.O.M. 2000 is more bumbling than evil: Skippy gets fried due to incompetence and malfunctioning equipment rather than indifference.
- The pace was a bit slower. When Chairman Clench is brought to Earth, he ends up transporting to the alien’s planet. Dr. Femus scans the planet for Clench to complete the trip and finds a life form; Spinlock chooses to transport it before Femis can confirm that it is Clench.
- The climax of the show had the alien lured back into the transporter and returned to his world. Clench is transported to the clamber (with the blast shield down). As the audience leaves the attraction, they would hear him banging on the tube and demanding to be let out.
I captured the first version of the show sometime in December of 1994.
- The two pre-shows and main shows were recorded binaurally. Listen once with headphones!
- The exit music was unfortunately poorly recorded by holding a microphone up to the speaker. There’s better versions of it floating around the internet so it’s included here for completeness.
- The attraction’s binaural audio was captured using the induction process.
Sony MZ-1 MiniDisc recorder
2 Radio Shack 33-1089 omni mics
Alien Encounter on eBay