Near the end of the movie, Nani runs off with David to secure a job opening. She runs down the stairs, obviously in a hurry, right past the blue Volkswagen Beetle in the garage (which Stitch later beats the crap out of Jumba with). At first, you wonder why she didn't take the car if she was in such a hurry, then you remember that their parents were recently killed in a car accident. Lilo at the very least probably isn't very comfortable around cars at this point and Nani would be used to walking in order to accommodate that if she doesn't have a phobia herself.
Or it could have just been that the place was right down the street.
Or it could be that, considering their current financial situation, Nani couldn't afford petrol.
Nani didn't want thieves to think she wasn't home, because they would come in and endanger Lilo.
Or it could have been the case that the car just didn't run period and Nani obviously doesn't have the money for a mechanic.
Or she doesn't know how to drive, or how to drive well. I'd bet it's a combination of all of the above.
Nani was only about 18 when her parents died. On a small island like Kauai she may never have bothered learning to drive since she was likely going to go off to college and her school and job were within walking distance. When her parents died she may have still been learning to drive or hadn't even started yet and being alone with Lilo she doesn't have time to learn to drive.
At first, Cobra Bubble's introduction to Stitch seems rather odd. He sees a blue creature walking on two legs, but apparently buys that it's a puppy, and then asks for the puppy to be taught how to be a "model citizen". At the end of the movie though, we see that he already knew about the existence of aliens. Chances are, he recognized Stitch as one which is why he ordered that Stitch be taught to be a model citizen, as opposed to ordering Nani to have it better trained or restrained.
The first time we see Lilo, she's running late to practice for her hula dance because she's feeding Pudge the fish. Her justification? "Pudge controls the weather." Later, when she's telling Stitch about her parents, she mentions that it was raining when they were in the car accident that killed them. The rain contributed to the accident. Knowing Lilo, she's probably afraid that something bad like that could happen again. That's why the weather-controlling fish is so important to her.
Adding to that, if you pay attention to all of the adults' reactions once she tells them this, they all seem to look at each other and make this connection.
As mentioned on the main page, Cobra Bubbles said he's the one they call when things go wrong. As was mentioned, in real life, Lilo would have been taken away first - Cobra probably fudged the paperwork because he heard about what happened to them, and really did not want to separate Lilo and Nani. If you know enough social workers in real life, you'd know that the Trauma Conga Line of young kids losing one or more family members in a car accident of some kind only to get put in foster care away from the rest of your family simply because they can't take care of you. He probably fudged paperwork so that he didn't have to take away Lilo unless he absolutely had to, since Lilo and Nani went through enough in a little while.
It seems strange that Bubbles would make mosquitoes the endangered species on Earth. Until you remember the lengths Pleakley goes through to ensure that humans are left alone based on the flimsy excuse that they're part of the mosquito food chain. Mosquitoes feed off pretty much everything with blood, so by claiming that mosquitoes need protection, Bubbles effectively made every animal species on Earth protected.
The art style (as mentioned on the main page) is pretty different from most of Disney's animated features, which makes people and places look sorta weird if one is in a 'Disney' frame of mind. The aliens and outer space locations are the closest thing to the Disney style. This, coupled with the fact that we start with the outer space plotline and frame of reference, made this troper realize that the humans and Earth are the true aliens in this movie, not Stitch or Jumba or any of those characters.
Look at the way Lilo names the other aliens. She gives them all names that have something to do with what their particular power is. With all this Theme Naming, Stitch seems like the odd one out. Except, look at what he does. He says that the family is broken. When he comes to earth, he brings Jumba and Pleakley, who become apart of the family. Stitch pulls a family together.
I always thought Stitch acting very un-dog-like while trying to blend in with the dogs was just standard Disney humor. Until I realized that up to that point, Stitch had only been around intelligent aliens. Multiple species that vary wildly in appearance, but are all capable of reasonable thought. The concept that some species aren't sentient is completely new to him.
At the beginning of Lilo & Stitch Lilo is seen feeding Pudge the fish a peanut butter sandwich because he "controls the weather". One thinks this is just a device to show how weird Lilo is until you find out that her parents were killed in a car crash when they drove in the rain and realize that Lilo is attempting to appease the hungry god that killed her parents so nothing like that ever happens to anyone else she loves! It's also an example of OCD, which makes it all the more depressing.
The capsule might have had a Star Trek-style force field protecting it from atmospheric loss. Considering Gantu was planning to return Stich to the Council alive, it's not likely he'd overlook such an obvious flaw.
He was in charge the first time Stitch escaped - I think if anything he's just ridiculously ineffectual.
Captain Gantu simply underestimates Stitch in their first encounter (quite understandably — during the trial, Stitch only stops behaving like a rabid animal to be vulgar to the council); Stitch outsmarts the onboard weapons system and then simply evades Gantu until he can completely disable the electronics of the ship and steal a cruiser, very little of which is actually Gantu's fault. He would've succeeded the second time if Stitch hadn't suddenly gained the ability to squash and stretch through airtight spaces.
Only Stitch had to be alive, and no one said he can't survive in space. Perhaps Gantu was trying to kill Lilo,to destroy Stitch's hope of having a family. Make him less of a comic relief.
I always thought he somehow ghosted through it, as he has a random bunch of powers.
You can't expect five year olds to know this but caffeine is poisonous to dogs. If Stitch hadn't been an alien it's likely she would have accidentally killed him. Think of how even more traumatized Lilo would have been.
In Lilo's character design notes by Chris Sanders, the storyboarder, he specifically mentions to put heavy emphasis on the lower eyelid, giving the eye a folded-look; in real life, prominent lower eyelids can either be from genetics, or a combination of stress and lack of sleep. It's likely that Lilo has been losing copious amounts of sleep from the trauma of her parents' death.
Is there a Fridge Heartbreaking?
Look at how Lilo interacts with the girls in her hula class, and how they treat her. She called them her friends, and is constantly trying to hang out/play with/be around them, while they all push her away and mock her. It's likely that all the girls used to be friends, but when confronted with Lilo's unique methods of coping with her parents' deaths, they pushed her away because she was 'weird' now. Lilo is either unable or unwilling to accept that her former friends have rejected her.
Think about it. A little girl who had just lost her parents, turned to her friends for comfort. Only for them to all betray her. It's kind of miraculous that she's still cheerful.
And yet, at the beginning of Leroy and Stitch, Stitch, Jumba and Pleakley all left her to pursue their own dreams. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
Alternatively, she might've always been eccentric and just wanted really badly for them to accept her. Kids are often 'friends' with their bullies. It's like domestic abuse at childhood level.
It is actually extremely common in cases of parental death for a child to cling to their friends and also extremely common for their friends to push them away. At first Lilo probably only wanted to talk about what happened and her friends were young. They didn't really care and they just wanted the old Lilo back. So they gave each other time and Lilo just weirdly coped with things because her friends pushed her away but all she wanted to do was to force her way back into their lives.
If all the above assumptions about Lilo are correct, then the entire series could be considered her attempt to earn her own happy ending. And she did it.