“Do we want a hint?” someone asks. “NO!” everyone else shouts in unison. Myself and other Firefly Team Events staff are once again attempting an escape room. We’re a competitive bunch and accepting hints is not our game. That’s not to say we always successfully escape. The escape room is littered with books Stephie pulled off the shelves in her customary whirlwind search. James is chuckling as he flashes his black light in our eyes. We’re about to disarm him until the light catches on a poster revealing a hidden message. It’s go time!
It’s no secret that we at Firefly Team Events love escape rooms. We’re not alone in this obsession as there are currently 106 escape room facilities in California. This same time last year there were 138 nationwide. With so many rooms to choose from it can be daunting picking the right room for your team. With the help of my fellow escapees I compiled a short list of my favorite rooms in Orange County. I consider theming, creativity of puzzles, difficulty and overall entertainment value. If a room sparks your interest I encourage you to check it out, let them know who sent you and see if you can beat our time!
Read our blog on how to make escape rooms more meaningful for corporate groups http://fireflyteamevents.com/escape-rooms-corporate-team-building/
Fox in a Box (Fullerton)
Fox in a Box offers the most traditionally styled rooms on this list. Featuring a prison break, bank heist and bomb diffusal scenarios they take the classics and do them the best. For this reason, Fox in a Box is a great option for first timers. Their rooms can be difficult. Prison Break, the most complicated, has a success rate of only 18%. Teams can request much needed hints by pressing a button, but no more than once every 10 minutes. My favorite room is their Cold War Bunker which offers the best story, most excitement, and lets you play with old technology.
Exodus Escape Room (Anaheim Hills)
Another option for escape room novices, Sherlock’s Study is the most straight forward room I’ve completed. That’s not to say it was overly easy or boring, but if you’re worried your team may not be the best “puzzle people” this is the room to try. Exodus books by the individual rather than the room, so if you have less than the limit in your group you may be partnered with strangers. Other room themes include Masquerade and Apocalypse.
Cross Roads Escape Games(Anaheim)
My all time favorite escape room I’ve ever attempted is Crossroad’s Hex Room. Unique in several ways, the staff first casts you as characters in a horror film. Your objective is to not only escape the room, but find your token that means you “survived” the story. Walked in and placed in darkness, the lights come up to reveal you are alone in your own room themed for your character. While you are trapped in your own cell you’ll need the help of your team to get out. The theming and scenic design are top notch here, each room could easily serve as a movie set. Don’t be warned off by the scary movie theme either. I hate scary movies and was very nervous going in, but Crossroads is nothing like a Halloween horror house with jump scares. They instead offer delightfully creepy visuals and hair raising sounds that truly immerse you in the story. Crossroads also has a Fun House themed room that I may have to try despite my coulrophobia.
Sometimes the biggest challenge for an escape room is finding the best assortment of puzzles. The escape rooms at Puzzlemazement have the perfect amount allowing every member of your team something to work on the entire time. While there are plenty of clues to solve, none of it ever feels like busy work with each clue seamlessly leading to the next. Puzzlemazement also is one of the few rooms that includes humor in their year round Saving Christmas room. For teams that are looking to be seriously creeped out I challenge you to attempt the Doll House.
Irvine has the most dense population of escape rooms, but Eskape is the only one making my list. Rather than a linear clue path, their challenges are more open format which encourages more team interaction. Each clue requires several people to share information with each other. This causes the rooms to have greater difficulty, but I also think it makes them more worthwhile. In keeping with this team work spirit, Eskape is also the only facility in Orange County to offer a large conference sized room for corporate clients looking to incorporate team building with their escape room experience.
Escape Room Tips for Newbies
When your team is ready to try out an escape room make sure to be clear about the facility’s policies. Some rooms are a flat rate for the hour, while others are a per person charge which could lead to being partnered with strangers. Plan to have dinner or hit the bar after your escape since your team will want to talk about the experience. If you want to use the outing as a team building tool consider hiring a team building professional that can facilitate a debrief of your time and help your team examine how they solved the problems together. Remember that escape rooms can be stressful which may cause individuals to speak shortly to one another. If your team is stressing out have everyone take a breath. It’s meant to be fun!
To have an escape room style experience brought to your office or convention contact us about our Team Escape! by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org