Audio

Listen to the ultra-rare 1994 Alien Encounter soft-opening version

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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.
Equipment
Sony MZ-1 MiniDisc recorder
2 Radio Shack 33-1089 omni mics
The Head

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Alien Encounter on eBay

10 Comments

  1. C33

    August 6, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    Just downloaded this, sounds great! However, the final file, rather than being an induction of the isolated binaural audio from the attraction, is just a clip of the beginning of the Phil Harman pre-show.

    1. How Bowers

      August 5, 2016 at 7:55 am

      It’s been a long delay, but I finally corrected the issue with the isolated file. Please download it again!

  2. Khalib

    November 7, 2016 at 12:08 am

    Is there more audio of the main show? Like completely binural?

    1. How Bowers

      November 22, 2016 at 12:37 pm

      This is all I was able to get at the time. I tried to do a full recording once and was stopped by a cast member. They used to love to get into arguments with me because I’m sure I looked like a total freak walking around with a Styrofoam head with wires coming out of it.

      1. khalib

        November 27, 2016 at 11:24 pm

        oh i see now XD but what about the new version of it that was on 1995?

      2. khalib

        December 4, 2016 at 10:37 pm

        oh i have a question what does the maintenance worker say in the soft opening version? i couldn’t hear him because everyone was screaming

  3. Holly

    November 20, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    I rode this soft opening during a trip in December in 94! I was 8 years old and begged my parents to let me go on it with them. It was extremely scary and every version since got tamer & tamer. However, that first experience is stuck in my brain forever. Thanks for the audio!

  4. khalib

    April 3, 2018 at 6:55 am

    hey did you ever record the final version of alien encounter back in 1995? if you have do you have it in your pc?

    1. How Bowers

      May 1, 2018 at 12:19 pm

      I wish it did! I managed to record the show on video and then accidentally wiped it out a few hours later. Not a high-point of that day, I can tell you.

      1. khalib cruzado

        November 9, 2018 at 4:42 am

        aw that sucks, wished you kept it!

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