Escape games are all the rage in Orlando these days, and the new Escapology on International Drive, just up the road from Orlando Premium Outlets in Lake Buena Vista, is the cream of the crop, in no small part because you’re with people whose quirks and talents you’re familiar with, and the setting is as sophisticated as it gets.
The experience starts in the ‘living room’, where players can warm up their gray matter with a few mind-numbing puzzles, or relax before the adrenaline kicks in (and it will; you’re on a timer and the clues you’ll encounter aren’t for sissies!). We (and Escapology) highly recommend you save your celebratory drinks for after the game; you’re going to need a fully-functioning intellect to get through the next 90 minutes.
Next, players move on to the briefing room where they get the full rundown of their particular game and the challenges ahead. Then it’s time to face the countdown clock as teams are escorted into a gaming room. Each team will have chosen 1 of 4 games. Current games include:
Shanghaied: The last thing you recall is being in Hong Kong harbour . Now you find yourself “shanghaied” on a ship heading for heaven knows where. How will you escape and avoid a lifetime of forced servitude?
Cuban Crisis: You’re a field operative in Fidel Castro’s compound in Havana, working for the President of the United States. Can you keep your wits about you, find the top-secret information, and avoid all-out annihilation?
Arizona Shootout: It’s 1881 in the wild, wild West, just minutes before the gunfight at the OK Corral. What happens in the next 60 minutes could be the stuff of legend.
Antidote: You’re a scientist working in Area 51, tasked with stopping a deadly virus. The entire world is counting on you to find the antidote and save all of human-kind. No pressure there, right?
The problems you face will test the limits of your intellect, but don’t worry; a Game Master will guide your team as needed, giving hints and making suggestions if you get stuck. Teamwork is all-important here, as you’ll quickly discover. From the moment you enter your gaming room there are far more questions than answers.
Each game can take groups as small as 2 and as large as 5 (with a little bit of wiggle-room if you’ve got 6 and don’t want to split up). Groups larger than 10 will be split into more than one room. The benefit of splitting up is, game rooms are small, and it’s even more exciting when you know you’re playing for bragging rights if your team finishes first. If you’re not playing against another room’s time, serious escape-game fans can still challenge themselves by playing for a spot on Escapology’s Wall of Fame Leaderboard.
Allow 90 minutes for the full experience, including a 15-minute pre-game briefing and 15 minute post-game debriefing, and don’t miss the photo op after the game, with complimentary water or soda. Escapology is ADA compliant for wheelchair access, but cell phones and cameras may not be used inside the rooms. The first games start at 1pm and the final sessions of the day start at 9pm. It costs $28 per adult when booking online ($30 for walk-ins) or $25 ($27) for under 18s and over 65s. Military personnel receive 1 complimentary entry when showing military ID.