The “escape room” craze is sweeping the country with attractions in this relatively new genre popping up everywhere. The latest is a temporary installation at Universal Orlando (and Universal Studios Hollywood) called DIG: Escape the Room, promoting the upcoming USA TV show “Dig” that debuts this Thursday, March 5.
Now through March 8, Universal Studios Florida visitors can visit the park’s Studio Audience Center to reserve a time slot throughout operating hours. A minimum of 4 and maximum of 10 guests will enter the experience that requires interactive puzzles to be solved in order to “escape” the 2-room enclosed space. The attraction was created in partnership with Escape the Room NYC.
DIG: Escape the Room is set up in the Disaster attraction extended queue, which Halloween Horror Nights fans will recognize as an annual location of many popular haunted houses. After receiving a quick introduction and viewing a teaser for the TV show, guests are immediately locked in and told simply to do what they have to in order to figure out how to escape.
This being a temporary attraction, its design is fairly simple. But it fits the theme of the TV show and definitely requires some careful attention to figure out how to get out. There are locks, keys, books, and plenty of props to get hands-on with, all required to make it out in the 25-minute allotted timeframe.
For those who get stuck, subtle hints will appear on TV monitors throughout the space that push the experience along. Our team of 6 (two other reporters and our 4-person group of designers from The Republic) just barely made it out with 27 seconds to spare. The hard hats were just for fun.
The feasibility of a permanent escape room style attraction in a theme park is a tough, but intriguing possibility. Since only a small number of guests can experience the attraction at any given time, the vast majority of park visitors wouldn’t have the opportunity. But the longer duration and more interactive approach separates this type of experience from a ride, stage show, or even haunted house.
On its first day, DIG: Escape the Room filled all available time slots within a couple hours of the park being open, so it’s recommended to arrive early to ensure a spot. Guests can look for signs posted throughout the park for more information. An identical experience is also currently open at Universal Studios Hollywood for a limited time.