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Disney's "Alien Encounters" TV documentary:

Several years ago, the Disney company aired a major one-hour television Special, with no advance notice, on stations in only 5 US cities. Thanks to a few viewers who were able to roll their VCRs and capture it, we have a record of the startling quotes and statements it contained.

The documentary was much hyped, but it proved to be rather typical of other TV productions on UFOs, mixing good cases, hoaxes and confusions without any research, in an obvious sensationnalist manner.

This page gathers some information, articles, quotes and opinions about Disney's "Close Encounters" UFO documentary.

The documentary contains many stunning and downright shocking statements. Some UFO researchers suggest that it was a definite probe to measure public reaction to news of the reality of visitation and interaction with various forms of non-human intelligent life.

While the evidence presented in the documentary is exactly the kind of evidence presented for many years by ufologists, including true items and hoaxed items, it must also be noted that the Disney Company has a financial profit to expect from such documentaries. For example, a Disney attraction called "extra-terror-estrial" has been set up, in which the visitor can "live an alien encounter" after buying his entry ticket.

Micheal Eisner, CEO of Walt Disney said: "With more and more scientific evidence of alien encounters and UFO sightings, the idea of creatures from another planet might not be as far fetched as we once thought. In fact, one of you out there could have the next alien encounter."

The several other UFO documentaries sold in video or shown on the Disney Channel in the US have the complete endorsement of Micheal Eisner, CEO of Walt Disney. He usually makes a cameo appearance to prove that he and Walt Disney Productions stand behind the contents of the production.

The Disney Company must be credited that they have always clearly stated that the documentary they present is not an official release of information by the US Government. On the other hand, the company obviously has a non neglectable financial interest in promoting UFO and ET themes to a large audience.

The documentary is illustrated with many footage of UFOs in motion.

This image is originally from the Disney documentary. In the video, these three white objects are seen in motion, manoeuvering at high speed around the Nation's Capitol. The Disney Video states: "July, 1952, UFOs routinely buzz Washington D.C.. It was the first time since the war of 1812 that our nations capital had been sucessfully invaded by foreign powers!"

UFOs over Washington, 1952

Several fast-moving objects appear on radarscopes at three separate installations, including Andrews AFB. Interceptors scrambled, but don't find anything. Same thing happens the next night, this time objects confirmed by ground observers. Largest peace-time press conference in US government history called to explain to reporters that radar traces were caused by thermal inversions, a phenomenon invented "ad hoc" to explain the events.

(Remember that these photographs actually show reflections on street lamps.)

More pictures from the Disney documentary can be found in this page.

UFOs over Washington, 1952

Quotes from the documentary:

Remember, the quotes you are about to read were delivered by Disney CEO Michael Eisner and program narrator Robert Urich with straight, matter-of-fact, totally serious cadence and inflection.

Script excerpts from "Alien Encounters From New Tomorrowland" All quotes were spoken by host/narrator Robert Urich unless otherwise noted.

INTRO sequence, over various UFO photos and film:

"This is not swamp gas. It is not a flock of birds. This is an actual spacecraft from another world, piloted by alien intelligence, one sighting from tens of thousands made over the last fifty years on virtually every continent on the globe. Intelligent life from distant galaxies is now attempting to make open contact with the human race. And tonight, we'll show you the evidence."

Michael Eisner [standing in front of what looks like a military hangar, guarded by about a dozen heavily armed troops]:

"Tonight we celebrate the New Tomorrowland at Walt Disney World in Florida with a television special that's out of this world. Hello, I'm Michael Eisner, head of the Walt Disney Company. At a top secret military installation somewhere in the United States, there are those who believe that the government is hiding the remains of an alien spacecraft that mysteriously crashed to earth. With more and more scientific evidence of alien encounters and UFO sightings, the idea of creatures from another planet might not be as far-fetched as we once thought. In fact, one of you out there could have the next alien encounter. Enjoy tonight's special. I'm going to walk over and see if I can sneak a peak. (soldiers raise weapons) Maybe not!"

Robert Urich reads quotes from Ezekial Chapter 1 and talks of UFOs in history buried in the teachings of mystics. He says the current UFO wave started in 1945 with the advent of the atomic bomb. It was our "cosmic calling card."

"Now as we approach the new millennium, mankind is in the midst of the most profound event in history - actual contact with intelligent life from other planets. For nearly years, officials have been documenting routine alien encounters here on earth, and thousands of people have seen or experienced this alien presence. Yet many others still refuse to acknowledge the obvious evidence all around them. What is it like to be confronted by a creature whose intelligence and skill is far beyond the comprehension of mankind? Would it be enlightening? Would it be an exercise in terror? Or perhaps both?"

"Why have aliens chosen to visit our small blue planet, hidden on the distant fringes of an insignificant star cluster? Well, we invited them here."

"When we return: What is attracting alien visitors to planet earth - Extraterrestrials take aim on America's military - a crashed saucer becomes a top-secret bombshell - the nation's capital becomes a cosmic cross-roads - and later, how Disney imagineers have designed a way to prepare humans for their inevitable alien encounter."

"Most alien activity on earth in this century seems to have been sparked by the single most profound technological achievement in human history. The atomic bomb did more than blow away every conventional notion of combat. It also saddled mankind with the awesome responsibility of life and death for the entire planet. But what the world didn't know in 1945 was that the atomic bomb's brilliant burst of energy would also be mankind's cosmic calling card, announcing to the universe that a technological society had evolved on a small blue planet in the backwaters of the stars...So as the world celebrated the war's end in 1945, aliens who heard man's atomic trumpet were already charting their course toward earth, responding to our open invitation."

"As early as 1947, the large alien ships began to arrive, navigated by living creatures. Their advanced physics allowed them to traverse the galaxy and pierce earth's atmosphere with amazing speed. The U.S. military immediately went on the alert against the unknown menace. Sightings were perceived as threats to the security still reeling from the edgy consciousness of war. And the sightings were taking place all across the country..."

"Occasionally the tables were turned. More than one alien craft crashed and was recovered for secret U.S. military research. The most famous case took place in July of 1947 just outside the community of Roswell, New Mexico - famous, because local officials openly admitted they had retrieved an alien ship before their commanders instructed them to keep the story confidential. What you can't explain, they reasoned, you must deny."

"This is the actual site where the Roswell saucer was discovered, along with the bodies of three extraterrestrial missionaries who didn't servive the collision. The debris and the dead were impounded and taken away for top secret study, while a classified investigative committee called the Majestic Twelve was organized by President Truman, and a government cover-up was initiated with a calculated disinformation campaign..."

"For governments determined to maintain their authority, extraterestrial contact is pure dynamite!"

"But while the Pentagon refused to publicly admit aliens had arrived on earth, their top secret internal memos told a different story, even detailing the various ships and the creatures they had autopsied... "By the early 1960s, UFOs were having a chilling effect on our defense operations. Their tremendous speed often caused them to be misidentified as incoming intercontinental ballistic missiles, putting American air bases on red alert. There needed to be some way for the U.S. and the Soviets to distinguish between nuclear attack and alien visitors."

Newsreel footage about installation of Hot Line:

We are told that the hot line was installed between U.S & Russia to prevent nuclear exchange brought on by UFOs on their radar screens and fooling the Military into thinking the other side had launched ICBM missles.


"Indications are that government, military and scientific leaders will soon release nearly a half-century of official documentation of ongoing alien encounters on earth. Perhaps they feel it would be too embarrassing NOT to reveal the truth, before the truth reveals itself. But these FBI files acquired through the Freedom of Information Act outline nearly fifty years of UFO reports investigated by federal agents all across America, overwhelming evidence that something sinister is at work."

"The fact is, everyone encounters alien lifeforms each day. We've just become accustomed to ignoring the evidence. We expect the first visitors from outer space to arrive in flying saucers. But there are new scientific suggetions that the microbiotic organisms which routinely invade human bodies in the form of viral disease may have extraterrestrial connections. These minute alien life forms may very well be the advance invasion force, leading the way to test earth's environment for more complex and determined creatures..."

"Every year, NASA routinely propels about two dozen astronauts into a low earth orbit aboard the space shuttle, a loud, lumbering, somewhat primitive rocket ship. But most Americans will likely explore outer space aboard crafts of alien origin. Statistics indicate a greater probability that you will experience extraterrestrial contact in the next five years than the chances that you will win a state lottery. But how do you prepare for such an extraordinary event?"

"Here in the New Tomorrowland at Disney World, scientists and Disney engineers have brought to life a possible scenario that helps acclimate the public to their inevitable alien encounter."

"Welcome to the new Tomorrowland Convention Center in the Magic Kingdom, where humans can enjoy their first taste of the future as well as advanced extraterrestrial technology, and begin to understand the disturbing facets of alien intelligence..."

Scenes of new ride emphasize the "extra-terror-estrial" quality of the event, as both technology and alien life forms run amok.

[Conclusion] "Planet earth has always been a laboratory for alien life forms which can drop in from space or slowly mutate into bizarre fleshy organisms at our feet."

[holding a large mushroom] "Understanding the nature of these strange creatures from above, and below, is the greatest challenge of our age. We now know that our future, indeed the future of earth itself, rests in the balance of the solid and the ethereal, of common sense and the irrational, in our relationship with alien life as grotesque as a fungus, or as glorious as the heavens."

Special thanks: to Michael Lindemann

Credit: InTheShadows (#1787) InTheShadows is a discussion list dedicated to keeping up-to-date with new technologies, advancements in medicine, environmental concerns, 'conspiracy theories', politics, and, of course, UFO stuff. Discussion is encouraged. Bashing and soapboxing will get you bounced off the list. Be prepared for 50 posts per day. Digest format is available. To subscribe send a blank email to:

Disney's interest:

Source: "Disney encounter lifts UFO believers", Article from The Orlando Sentinel, May 3, 1995, by Bo Poertner.

Disney encounter lifts UFO believers:

Within the next five years, we might be exploring the universe in an alien spacecraft. That's what believers in UFOs say - the aliens are coming. Walt Disney World wants us prepared for the experience.

Disney is revamping its Tomorrowland attraction and the cornerstone of the $100 million project is The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter.

To help spread the word about its new attraction, Disney produced a film about UFOs, alien abductions and a government cover-up. The hourlong film was broadcast locally on WOFL-Channel 35 in Lake Mary on March 18.

"Alien Encounters from Tommorow land" attracted little attention from the public, perhaps because it ran at midnight. But it captivated followers of the UFO phenomenon.

They are in a frenzy of delight over the film, which promotes the new attraction but wraps it in a boldly written documentary that leaves no doubt about the existence of alien intelligence - at least in the minds of believers.

"No one believes "Alien Encounters" has anything to do with Alien Encounters at Disney World," said DeLand resident Don Zanghi, who counsels UFO abductees.

"We believe the purpose of it is that the government is doing a controlled release of information and the best way to do it is through Disney," he said.

Disney recruited free-lance film-maker Andy Thomas, a UFO believer, to research, write and produce the film which is narrated by televi- sion actor Robert Urich. Word of the film and its contents is spreading quickly throughout the national UFO community, Zanghi said.

In the film's opening sequence, a "spacecraft" flits across the sky while Urich intones:

"This is not swamp gas. It is not a flock of birds. This is an actual spacecraft piloted by alien intelligence - one sighting from tens of thousands made over the last 50 years on virtually every continent on the globe.

"Intelligent life from distant galaxies is now attempting to make open contact with the human race and tonight we'll show you the evidence."

The next sequence is classic Disney - Mickey Mouse and dancing paint brushes, Tinkerbell and fireworks exploding around Cinderella's castle. Disney CEO Michael Eisner even appears on camera.

Then there's Urich again, explaining that America unintentionally in- vited aliens to Earth by exploding the atomic bomb in 1945 and creating a "cosmic calling card."

Retired Air Force intelligence officer Kevin Randle explains that the federal government found it imperative to withhold UFO informa- tion. Technologically superior civilizations invariably undermine the social structure of technologically inferior civilizations and cause their collapse, he said.

So, was the film created for the government to confess to past mis- deeds, to let the public in on its secrets?


"The government has nothing to do with the television show. It's strictly a TV vehicle to promote the new attraction," said Tim Klein, senior producer for broadcast marketing at Disney.

A huge financial incentive exists for Disney to get as much market- ing mileage as possible. Steve Baker, a theme park consultant in Orlando, told The Orlando Sentinel in January that the new Tomorrow- land could draw up to 1 million visitors - depending on the strength of Disney's marketing.

Perhaps Zanghi and Disney both will get what they want. Disney wants more visitors at the Magic Kingdom.

And Zanghi is glad to see the UFO story told in a strong, positive forum. "What is there [in the film] is what we have been saying all along, only in stronger terms."

Show announcement:

The TV magazine "Entertainment Wire" announced another Disney sho to be aired in those words:

BURBANK, Calif. - (ENTERTAINMENT WIRE) - Feb. 13, 1995

The age-old question "Is there life out there?" will soon be answered in a new syndicated television special, "Alien Encounters from New Tomorrowland," hosted by actor Robert Urich.

Taped on location at Walt Disney World Resort's newly refurbished Tomorrowland area, "Alien Encounters from New Tomorrowland" will take viewers on a fascinating trip through the extraterrestrial world, offering proof-positive that alien life forms really do exist.

Expert testimony, photographic evidence, scientific analyses, of close encounters and interviews with ordinary people who have had extraordinary experiences with alien beings will build the case for the existence of extraterrestrials in our universe. In addition, through the Freedom of Information Act, the program's producers have uncovered page after page of documentation proving conclusively that we are not alone - and that our government knows it.

Mickey Mouse conquers the Martians:

An article by Mark Pilkington,


UFO Magazine (U.S)
UFO Magazine (U.K.)
Alien Encounters.- Disney TV Special, The Orlando Sentinel, Florida USA, May 3, 1995.


Disney tells us the truth about UFOs.

A glowing object flies across the television screen. "This is not swamp gas. It is not a flock of birds. This is an actual spacecraft piloted by alien intelligence - one sighting from tens of thousands made over the last 50 years on virtually every continent on the globe. Intelligent life from distant galaxies is now attempting to make open contact with the human race and tonight we'll show you the evidence."

So began Disney's hour long Alien Encounters special, aired across America in February and March of 1995, written and produced by Andy Thomas, a freelancer who has produced Cops and a UFO "believer". This came soon after DisneyWorld Florida had hosted a two week "UFO Summit", running from January 23 to February 17, as part of the preparations for the opening of a remodelled "New Tomorrowland". Strangely, although the summit was organized by UFO magazine's Don Ecker and featured such luminaries as Budd Hopkins, Clifford Stone and George Knapp, there was no public announcement prior to the conference and no announcements made to UFO groups or other media. That the "Alien Encounters" show was aired so soon after the summit makes it extremely unlikely that its purpose was to discuss the programme's content, so this meeting and its intentions currently remain a mystery of sorts; naturally this has had the conspiracists ruminating furiously.

The TV special, hosted by Robert Urich (star of "Vegas") was presented as a serious examination of the modern UFO mystery and an expose of the U.S. government's cover-up of what it knows about the phenomenon. It also served to promote the new "Alien Encounters" attraction, which opens this summer at Disney World Florida and, as far as I could make out, purports to simulate a UFO encounter and abduction, presumably by the "Grays". What are the motives behind this programme and the ride it is previewing? How did Disney get involved in the murky world of UFOs? Is it just cashing in on a phenomenon that is now attracting more public and media attention; a subject already saturated with magic and mystery and only too ripe for the Disney treatment? Or is it somehow involved at a deeper level, breaking the waters for something, or someone, else? A closer look at the programme and, ideally, a ride on the simulation itself should give us some clues (1).

After the opening sequence the show opened with an introduction by Disney co- chairman Michael Eisner himself, standing in front of an official looking building, surrounded by heavily armed paramilitary types. Saying something like "Let's take a look inside...", he steps towards the building only to be halted by the guards and their weapons; jokingly he says "Well, perhaps not" and smiles conspiratorially. This ambiguous opening set the tone well for what was to be an extremely ambiguous programme; an intriguing mix of fact and fiction unhesitatingly presented as hard truth.

Throughout the show Urich waved unconvincing-looking, Hollywood style "government reports" in front of the camera and spoke repeatedly of the government's "imminent" revelation of what it knows about UFOs and of the "inevitable" encounters we were soon to experience. Was he talking about the new ride? What does he, or Disney, know that we don't? Much decent film footage was shown; some old, some new, including the "Guardian" footage of a landing UFO and its occupant skulking in a field. This Canadian video actually showed a blurry model helicopter and a guy in a bad mask. It was revealed to be a hoax in UFO Magazine (co-sponsor of the Alien Summit at Disney World) and on Fox's "Sightings", shown several months prior to the Alien Encounters programme. Other footage of note was: previously unseen (according to Urich) film of secret experimental disc-shaped craft from the `50's and `60's, all made to look ridiculously unflightworthy; mysterious lights zipping around over the White House, presumably intended to be from the famous cases of 1952; and, perhaps most interesting of all, a short scene of soldiers turning over a ragged-looking silver disc-shaped object.

This fragment was shown more than once, in the context of the Roswell incident and government cover-ups; it was black and white footage, looked old and grainy and the military uniforms looked like those used around WW2 (not that I'm an expert on the subject, though I have seen plenty of war footage). The object looked lightweight, easily lifted by a few men, and appeared to be covered in torn tin foil, thus fitting descriptions made by Roswell witnesses. At the time false rumours were being circulated that Steven Spielberg had acquired military film showing a crashed flying disc and alien bodies, and that he was to use the footage in a film about Roswell and Area 51. In fact the real story concerned a German researcher, Volker Spielberg, and what was soon to become the infamous Santilli autopsy film. Whether there is any sort of Disney connection between the footage shown in the Alien Encounters programme and Santilli's film is open to question, though the timing of the two releases certainly coincided quite conveniently, presumably for both parties.

Presented in Alien Encounters as proof of the government's involvement in the UFO mystery were the hotly debated MJ-12 documents, the shaky foundations upon which so much of the current cover-up mythology rests. During the programme no arguments were presented against the documents' authenticity. This is not the place to argue the pros and cons of the MJ-12 debate, save to say that there is plenty of evidence to support both sides; to me, however, they are clearly classic disinformation: parts of them do seem to mention real events, whilst others are clearly faked. If the documents were disseminated in the hope of sending the UFO community off on a wild goose chase and discrediting those involved in the affair, then they have proved at least partially successful. So why are they being dredged up now by Disney?

So now that Alien Encounters has firmly established the reality of UFOs, a context is set; a context of abduction and, ultimately invasion. First of all we are told of bacteria and microbes that have come to earth from space and have been analyzed by scientists for years. At the time NASA had made no mention of the Martian Microbes that hit the headlines in July of this year (1996), and very few people knew of the meteorite's existence. Is this what Disney was referring to? Urich, intercut with scenes of hard working scientists, posited that these alien microbes might take the form of an advanced guard, sending information about us and our planet across the galaxies to be picked up by whoever sent them.

So why were they sent? Budd Hopkins, interviewed next along with some frightened abductees was here to tell us. The aliens, the "Grays" as they are affectionately known, want our DNA, our sperm, our ova, our blood; they retrieve these in a terrifying manner, kidnapping us from our homes and treating us as we treat lab rats and tagged dolphins. This is not a reassuring thing to hear, especially from Walt Disney and the grandfatherly Budd Hopkins. So where were John Mack, Whitley Strieber and all the abductees who have developed meaningful relations with the "visitors"? The people who see in them something spiritual, transformative and beneficial to mankind. Are they just too weird for Disney TV? Have they been duped into loving their captors? Or do their ideas conflict with the official line? Who are we supposed to believe here?

It seems then that Disney has the following to tell us: UFOs are real; they are extraterrestrial spacecraft flown here by the "Grays" who are conducting long-term genetic breeding experiments on terrified, innocent human beings. The U.S. government (whatever that is) has known about these beings since at least the Roswell incident of 1947 and is about to make public what it has kept secret since then. Talk about telling them what they want to hear! Some of the evidence for these claims was flimsy, such as the MJ-12 documents; some of it was fake, such as the "Guardian"; other, new, evidence was presented without introduction, let alone authentication. All right, so it was a Disney programme aimed at the general public, not the UFO buff, but why did it present the story that it did, and why did it present it as the truth?

There could be a number of possible reasons for this. Least worrying of these is that the whole programme was simply an advert for the new "Alien Encounters" ride. Clearly part of it was, they even share the same name, and moments from the ride were shown repeatedly throughout the show. So Disney ask someone to concoct a show about UFOs for them; this someone happens to be an avid "believer" and isn't too discerning about their sources or the information they uncover; they stick it all together and, just to add flavor, make out that it's all absolutely true. Tim Klein, senior producer for broadcast marketing at Disney says; "The government has nothing to do with the TV show. It`s strictly a vehicle to promote the new attraction." So how did they get "secret" military footage? Would the government allow Disney to show them as liars, as having no control over an alien menace? Maybe it is going to release its information and they thought Disney were the best people to prepare us for it; maybe there is going to be a public landing, as the show implies; maybe, maybe, maybe. In the two years since the programme was aired the government has done nothing but further deny that anything extraterrestrial happened at Roswell; all we've had are some crummy microbes on a rock and Independence Day.

So consider this as a less savory hypothesis, bearing in mind that the best disinformation is supposed to contain parts of the truth (like the MJ-12 documents). Disney wants to advertise its new UFO ride so they turn to the government or military, amongst others, for help. The government, or whoever is in charge of UFO research, sees this as a great opportunity to get those pesky researchers and UFO groups off its back by telling them that everything they suspected was true after all. Hell, it could then release a load of official-seeming papers, have the ufologists jump around excitedly (having finally discovered the truth as they wanted to hear it), and take a well earned break from covering up whatever it is they really know- or don't, as the case may be. The government is happy, most of the UFO community is happy and Disney is happy because lots of people want to go on their new ride.

Then there is the paranoid approach. Who better would there be than Disney to create fake crashed UFO and autopsy footage, complete with historic US president; or to stage some sort of mass, public, UFO landing, broadcast around the world as the real thing and causing temporary global hysteria. So the government is "forced" to reveal all its UFO (dis)information and so once again almost everybody is happy. For a while everyone would stay quiet, leaving them to get on with whatever it is they are doing. Maybe they want us to be afraid of the aliens, maybe that suits their needs too. After all isn't their ultimate goal just to keep us under control? And what better control tool is there than fear? Would we still be afraid if we knew the whole truth? Probably. There's a lot of scope for good religion in the UFO mythos, and what better tool is there to control the masses than fear and religion combined?

Perhaps the answer will come as a mixture of all the above. Really all we can do is wait and see, and maybe even then we will never know the full situation. Whatever the case, the media's love affair with UFOs is on again; not a week goes past without some new segment or special on our TV sets. Bill Clinton`s proposal to declassify all government material over 25 years old may also prove interesting. I suspect that we`re going to be seeing and hearing a lot more of our mysterious flying friends. The truth is certainly out there, but I doubt it's at Disneyworld.

(1) Since most of this piece was written, over a year ago, I have spoken to a well known UFO researcher who has been on the Alien Encounters ride; his experience bore no relation to that reported by the majority of UFO abductees.

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