The number one requirement of the new Great Escape Room in downtown Orlando is to have fun – literally. It’s the top entry on a set of rules given to every participant to ensure everyone has a fair and safe chance of completing the interactive experience.
The Great Escape Room’s goal is simple: get locked in a room and solve puzzles to find a way out in one hour or less. Actually, it’s deceivingly simple, as its creators say that only around a quarter of groups have successfully escaped.
Groups of up to 10 people pack into a room reminiscent of a classroom, packed with shelving units, chalk boards, kids’ toys, chairs, desks, and plenty of props. Once inside, a Sherlock Holmes-esque recorded voice plays offering the instructions.
Participants are expected to spend the 60 minutes (or less) hunting for colored clues which can be combined to solve four main puzzles that ultimately lead to the solution to escape the room. Everything in the room should be examined and almost everything should be disassembled, as clues can be hiding absolutely anywhere – some far more obvious than others. Clues are gathered in bins and grouped to help complete the task.
The experience’s brain-bending puzzles largely include word and number games, but also require some quick thinking and ingenuity to decipher. Math is used as is a bit of geography and astronomy knowledge – but not too much. With teamwork, the Great Escape Room is certainly accessible and solvable by all ages, though kids may have a tough time understanding what to do after they’ve torn the room apart looking for clues. (Those who are stuck can use up to two “hints” at any time to get a nudge in the right direction from staff members present in the room at all times.)
This isn’t exactly a themed experience, not relying heavily on story aside from the initial introductory message. Instead it’s simply a series of clues and puzzles that must be discovered and solved in order to succeed. But that isn’t necessarily a negative, as it’s tremendously fun to try to accomplish and extremely gratifying upon completion. A celebratory photo marks the moment.
There’s nothing spooky about the Great Escape Room either, only a wholesome good time for anyone looking to try something new. They plan to add more rooms in the coming months, also tweaking existing puzzles to allow for repeat visits. And a new location will be added in Miami next month.
The Great Escape Room is open for ages 12 and up at a cost of just under $30 per person. More information and reservations can be found at GreatEscapeRoom.com.