The Escape Game - Orlando, Florida
Have you ever experienced an Escape Room? Those places where you're "locked" into a space and must solve the puzzles to complete the assigned tasks and, ultimately, get yourselves out of that self-same room. It was my first time ever doing the game. My daughter, Jackie, and a friend's son, Gabe, whom I'd not met previously, completed the team. We'd planned to have more people join us, but life got in the way, they couldn't make it, and we were on our own. I was nervous that we wouldn't be able to complete it, just us three, and, it turns out, I had reason to be concerned.
Lesson learned: the more the merrier. Take as many people with different skills as you can find. You'll need both analytical and creative thinkers to succeed.
The Heist Room - The Escape Game, Orlando
After reviewing the various options within The Escape Game with the sales manager, the types of rooms available, and their difficulty level, I chose "The Depths" to play. It was the first of many difficult choices. Several of their other options seemed great, too, like The Heist (art) and Gold Rush.
There were others that weren't as appealing to me that night, like Jail Break, one of the toughest where they separate the teams at the onset, splitting you in half with no way to communicate.
The Playground Room The Escape Game Orlando Florida
The Playground would have been a great option if we'd had a larger team. Otherwise, there are just too many tasks to complete. I'm told it's not that they're so difficult, just that there are so many puzzles to solve.
After we completed our game, we had a chance to tour these rooms (just looking in, not a chance to see a single clue), and they all looked like fun. I'm impressed with The Escape Room management's smart marketing. On a regular day, playing additional games can be accomplished with a 20% discount. On "slow" nights, you receive 40% off.
We were offered 40%, but my brain was exhausted after the adrenaline-pumping sensations of the first experience, forcing us to decline.
Our guide, Nikki McGee, introduced us to The Depths, a submarine-like room, leaving us to use the clues hidden within the room (check signs, any drawers, any locked items) to complete the tasks. The Escape Room's newest room, The Depths came with a 6/10 difficulty.
As Nikki explained, that means that when the room was brand new at HQ, 100 people were let in, and, without clues or hints, 60 were unable to complete the tasks assigned. That's a whole lot of people that fail.
The Depths Room, The Escape Game - Orlando
For us, it was important to follow the instructions provided by Nikki:
So you know, there's no reason to untie these knots or remove the carabiner from this particular storage locker. And be sure to look at the post-it notes scattered across the walls."
We understood that meant we would have to do something with that storage locker and there would be some other reason the knots would come into play.
Each of the rooms has a red button to push when you get stuck so you can request a clue. It's important to use it wisely, though it doesn't cause a "penalty" of any kind, so you don't invalidate the game.
You want to experience the elation of solving it yourself, so scour every wall, every piece of written data, every set piece, for some clue before you give up and give in by requesting that clue. So you know, when you're late in the game, they will tell you if you request a clue and the only item left is the solution.
As one might expect, the hardest part was getting started. Jackie, the only one who had played before, was assigned Captain of our game. She went right to work, exploring the console, checking the types of locks on the lockers - one a combination lock, the other requiring a key, and identifying any open or moving pieces.
Next, we had to search for the items that would open those locks.
A video appeared to introduce our mission and explain our goals. We were to rescue a harried scientist from an underwater lab. That's the impetus for the quest.
I searched the walls for those post-it notes, with clues on them like "Don't forget" and "Read Me." There were bulletins that identified types of knots and signals or letters for each flag type. Everything mattered.
Nautical Knots ... The Type Matters, The Depths Room, The Escape Game, Orlando, Florida
From a wall map that required proper placement of map pieces to clear the path of our submarine to the underwater lab and its endangered staff, including an increasingly beleaguered and exhausted scientist who appeared to be going mad from The Depths below.
Jackie recognized several steps that needed to be taken sequentially to solve an important section.
Ultimately, we solved that room and a second door slid open. This was the "camp," the underground lab where the crew had been stuck for some 167 days prior to our rescue.
In it were a periodic table, sand samples, chemical structures, a light box that showed the way around the complex, and a captain's desk with an intricate, mobile ruler. The magnifying glass would show what we needed at the end (a point we almost missed as our final minutes ticked away).
This was not an easy room - making The Depths' difficulty rating obvious. As we attempted to solve the chemical structures on the chalkboard or identify what was needed to put on the wall, and figure out how to use the clues provided, including running back to the submarine (the first room) to help solve clues in the current one.
Gabe figured out the importance of the sand, and the shells, allowing one lock to open, and retrieved one key from the bottom of a cabinet, visible through the glass when we'd entered, to get the other lock to release.
Once we figured that out, we requested help and were told that the clipboards with the subject matter held important information (one per column).
We figured out the importance of the picture on the wall with the ship's flags representing the key for yet another lock. We had just a few minutes remaining and were surprised to have another door release.
"We're cooked," I was certain.
But we kept working, steadily, to see what we could do. Many different specimens in glass jars remained and one of our tasks was to retrieve the correct specimen and exit safely.
Better at spotting clues now, we worked together to match the "tins" in front of the specimen with their appropriate spaces then Gabe, our electronic expert and guru, matched the cables from the wall unit samples to the DNA splicer. Just in time, we were given a clue to use the dates on the splicer to match the map device (it took going back and forth between all three rooms to get this portion) with the date and Jackie was able to identify the right organism.
Gabe grabbed the jar and placed it in the submarine's holding jar with just 43 seconds to spare!
The game allowed us the time we needed to get the submarine out of there - with four different arrows scattered across the room required to get us out of there. I'd guess the room is a little over 8 feet wide as my wingspan is just over 6 feet and the boxes protrude into the room. With only three of us, I stretched across the room to reach two of the boxes to turn the sub left or up to get us out of there as Gabe and Jackie controlled the right and down directionals.
Once we surfaced, the outer doors released, our final congratulatory video was offered "Not what I expected, but you made it!" and our handler opened our outer door to release us.
We Escaped The Depths!
She showed us what clues we'd missed in the game and presented us with "I Escaped" stickers.
With my special interest, Nikki even let us take a peek at several of the other rooms.
Jackie, Gabe, and Gail Escape The Depths ... You Can, Too!
With pins and shirts available to purchase to commemorate your trip, you'll be talking about the event for time to come - whether over ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery in the same section of I-Drive, walking back to ICON Park in front of the Ripley's Believe it Or Not, or even as you finish the night at the Star Flyer swings
(they are scary, but good to do at least once, I think).
StarFlyer Orlando at Night ... a Beauty
There's a lot to do at ICON Park, including a Madame Tussaud's
and a wonderful SEA Life Orlando Aquarium
and, if you take the time to figure them out, the Museum of Optical Illusions
. We enjoyed eating at Ole' Red
and were fortunate to meet with the executive chef. It's a great venue for live music.
Plan to take a day whilst in Orlando to spend at ICON Park and get thee the few blocks over to The Escape Game.
You'll be glad you did.