High cis (i.e., endo) diastereoselectivities are witnessed in heat-promoted intramolecular Diels-Alder (IMDA) reactions of ethylene-tethered hexadienyl acrylates. The cis stereoselectivity is improved by promotion with Et2AlCl. The first examples of Et2AlCl catalyzed intramolecular Diels-Alder reactions of ester-activated dienophiles are reported. In contrast, the corresponding benzo-tethered hexadienyl acrylates undergo moderately trans (i.e., exo) selective IMDA reactions. Very high trans stereoselection is obtained upon promotion with ATPH. The outcomes of these reactions are essentially insensitive to dienophile (C10) geometry and substitution. DFT (B3LYP/6-31+G(d)) computed cis/trans product distributions - based on Boltzmann transition structure populations - are in good agreement with the experimental results. These computational investigations provide useful insights into the origins of stereoselection in these systems. The stereoselectivity exhibited by the ethylene-tethered hexadienyl acrylates is ascribed to stabilizing secondary orbital interactions at play in the cis-transition structures (TSs). In the benzo-tethered series, this effect is overridden by stabilizing pi-conjugative interactions, between the benzo moiety and the 1,3-diene component, which are stronger in trans TSs, compared to the cis TSs. The computed TS geometries generally exhibit advanced peripheral bond forming asynchronicity, with the tether carbonyl group in conjugation with the dienophile. Such TS features significantly weaken the stereodirecting influence of terminal dienophile substituents.