- Alas, Poor Scrappy: The attraction actually managed to get some of this reaction upon its final operating run and closure, as it managed to garner a fanbase of its own over the years with people enjoying it for what it is, detached from or unaware of the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter. American Lilo & Stitch fans were also saddened, as this means that there are no Lilo & Stitch-themed attractions currently operating in their country (though the characters continue to make regular meet-and-greet appearances). Considering the poor treatment the franchise gets by Disney in the States, plus the hatred Stitch gets from certain subsets of older Disney fans, there are virtually no chances of another L&S attraction coming anytime soon, not even an American version of Stitch Encounter.
- Bile Fascination: In some ways, the vitriol the ride received over the years had a number of guests riding the attraction anyway to see what all the commotion was about.
- Broken Base: The ride actually managed to build up enough of a fanbase by the time it entered seasonal operation and later closed that it actually gained this status. There was even a petition on Change.org to keep it open, and one British fan—a theater light technician—even made his own at-home version of the attraction he called "Stitch's Great Escape 2" in 2018, months after what would be the official attraction's last operating date. Nonetheless, it still remains one of Disney's most polarizing attractions in the company's history with a large and vocal hatedom.
- Critical Backlash: As a result of the massive hate towards this ride, many people who've gone on it have had this reaction. While it's agreed on that it was not even close to being one of Disney's best rides, it wasn't as bad as the ride's hatedom make it out to be, to the point that some even call the backlash overblown, if not too obnoxious and needlessly vitriolic. One of the guys running the YouTube channel Yesterworld Entertainment even stated that he liked the attraction, which stood in stark contrast to the many other hardcore theme park fans who don't.
- Ensemble Darkhorse: Skippy, a popular character from Alien Encounter's pre-show, managed to survive the transition to this ride. It helps that he fits right in with the aesthetic of Lilo & Stitch.
- Franchise Original Sin: While they're not part of the same franchise, this ride recycled a lot of the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter effects to give the illusion of an alien escaping containment. However, Alien Encounter was praised for using them to create a chilling atmosphere, while Stitch's Great Escape! was panned for using these same "cheap" effects to replicate the effect. Part of this, aside from the more child-friendly tone, is because ten years passed between Alien Encounter and SGE!, so the once-groundbreaking technology had lost its luster (particularly the uncomfortable hydraulic restraints).
- Misaimed Marketing: Another reason why the ride garnered such negative reception was Disney's poorly-handled and aggressive marketing of Stitch when the ride opened. Apparently not understanding the universal appeal of Lilo & Stitch, Disney believed he would be most popular with boys aged 8-12, so they over-promoted the mischievous and gross side of him. This included selling merchandise such as "Stitch Boogers", putting decals of him doing relatively naughty things against the windows of the monorail, and having him toilet-paper Cinderella Castle on the ride's opening day. They also put him on lots of merchandise with the Fab Five throughout the 2000s, which was a huge turnoff to classic Disney fans. All this helped fan the flames of the anti-Stitch/pro-Alien Encounter movement which still lingers on to this day and, as noted above, hurt the character and the franchise's reputation in the U.S.
- Nausea Fuel: Stitch's chili dog belch is widely agreed to have been one of the worst aspects of this ride, even among those who say that the attraction did not deserve all the hatred it got. It was used so often, it made the air in the two main theaters really stale. Him spitting all over the place in the dark is also considered this.note
- Never Live It Down:
- The fact that this is the ride to replace the Cult Classic ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter, while recycling many of the props and mechanics from that ride tarnished its reputation right out the gate; the fact that in the eyes of many it proved to be merely So Okay, It's Average after such major fanfare has reinforced this reputation, with many at a loss as to how it managed to stay in operation for as long as it had. Over the years since its seasonal operation began, many people on the web were desperate to declare the ride defunct, even leading to disputes on wikis, up until Disney finally confirmed its permanent closure in July 2020.
- Likewise, Disney Parks fans will never live down Stitch's characterization in the ride, which is based on the pre-Character Development Experiment 626, seeing him as a gross, unlikable pest. This is despite the fact that the film where he first appeared in (which the ride adapted from) has him be a lot more complex and likable than what was shown here.
- Nightmare Fuel:
- Not as much as its predecessor for sure, but it was still not a ride for the little kids despite its more kid-friendly material, considering the loud noises and prolonged periods of darkness. Some Disney Parks fans believe that the ride had an unnecessary minimum height requirement just to avoid complaints from the parents of easily-terrified little kids.
- A meta example: In late 2018, photos were leaked showing the ride partially dismantled. The most unsettling one is the metal skeletal remains of one of the Stitch Audio-Animatronics, which people have compared to something from Gremlins or Five Nights at Freddy's.
- Nightmare Retardant: Stitch's hair-playing Jump Scare moment could easily be deterred by simply leaning forward before it happens. Additionally, the shoulder bars won't press down to simulate Stitch's weight if you either raise your shoulders during the lowering process so the restraints would lock above them or you squeeze between them and let them reach the bottom.
- Overshadowed by Controversy: Discussions of the ride usually focus on it replacing the much-beloved Alien Encounter.
- Replacement Scrappy: To the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter, especially since this show was made to capitalize on Lilo & Stitch's then-high popularity. Stitch (who is otherwise an Ensemble Darkhorse among Disney characters) became a Base-Breaking Character among Disney Parks fans thanks to both this show and Disney's overblown and heavily misguided promotion of him in the 2000s. As this blog article about the ten-year anniversary of the ride states, Stitch's Great Escape!, combined with the poor marketing of Stitch, may have also played a role in the Lilo & Stitch franchise's eventual loss of popularity in the United States, where it is seen today as a rather niche brand despite the character of Stitch remaining popular.Passport to Dreams (the linked blog): Casual visitors and Stitch fans hated it because of what it wasn't - a showcase for a character they learned to love during a redemption arc. Alien Encounter fans hated it because of what it represented - the [infantilization] of something expressly intended for teens and adults. There was no way Stitch's Great Escape could satisfy both camps, but it failed to satisfy anyone. By remaining beholden to the Alien Encounter show format, Stitch's Great Escape betrayed the audience it was after from the start.
- So Okay, It's Average: Outside of the controversy of replacing Alien Encounter and the overall uncomfortable nature of the ride (the claustrophobic restraints and Stitch's chili-dog breath), it was generally regarded as just an average ride by anyone outside of hardcore theme park fans.
- Uncertain Audience: The darkness, tactile effects, and loud noises meant that it was still too scary for young kids, but anyone older than preteens would be irritated by the unpleasant and gross humor. Even Lilo & Stitch fans don't like how the ride put the titular Stitch, one of Disney's most emotionally complex characters, in a very unflattering light, which has been and still is perpetuated by older American Disney Parks fans who hate Stitch to this day.
- Ugly Cute: Sergeant 90210. Not much of a looker among robots (he is just SIR in a fatsuit), but this Richard Kind-voiced guy still had some charm. Considering the other kinds of characters seen in Lilo & Stich, he fits right in.
- Visual Effects of Awesome: Regardless of what one may say about the ride, it was a technically impressive one. The 39-inch Audio-Animatronics of Stitch were very complex creations for the Imagineers at the time and were rather well done, while the laser cannons on the ceiling moved so fluidly that they looked even better than how they appeared in the original film.
YMMV / Stitch's Great Escape!