4 Ways Universal Orlando's Great Movie Escape Attraction Will Not Be Your Average Escape Room

Universal's Great Movie Escape exterior sign
(Image credit: Universal Orlando Resort)

Themed entertainment has become so popular that it’s begun to exist more and more outside of theme parks. Escape rooms have become a way that people can become part of interactive themed experiences, but so far escape rooms have been smaller experiences. While some can be quite well designed, the budgets have limited what’s possible. That’s about to change, however, thanks to Universal Orlando Resort’s Great Movie Escape.

For the first time, a major theme park company has stepped into the escape room space. Beginning December 9, guests will be able to experience two different escape rooms at Universal Orlando Resort’s Citiwalk: one based on Back to the Future and another themed to Jurassic World. These escape rooms promise us some of the most immersive experiences of their kind we’ve ever seen, but there are three specific elements that look to set these escape rooms apart from the rest.  

Back to the Future Outatime sign

(Image credit: Universal Orlando Resort)

Universal’s Incredible Library: Jurassic World and Back to the Future

Every escape room has a story, but most of the time the story is little more than a justification for the series of puzzles. We have seen escape rooms use previously existing IP before, though many of those are escape rooms of the VR variety, not the physical type like this. There have been some based on popular video games, but we’ve never seen a company with a catalog like Universal make an escape room, as the two new rooms are based on Jurassic World and Back to the Future.

Jurassic World: Escape will see the players as geneticists on Isla Nubar who are splicing together dinosaur DNA until a predator dinosaur escapes, because don't they always. Everybody must work together to prevent being devoured. 

Back to the Future: Outatime is set in 1993, making it the closest thing to Back to the Future 4 we'll likely ever get, and will see Biff Tannen stealing Doc Brown’s newest time travel device. Players must decipher clues in order to chase Biff down through time in order to stop him.

Jurassic World: Escape interior

(Image credit: Universal Orlando resort)

Randomized Puzzles 

If there’s a major downside to escape rooms as an entertainment option, it’s that once you’ve done it, you’ve done it. Most escape room locations will change up the rooms they offer on a regular basis as a way to keep guests coming back, but odds are that won’t be happening at Universal Orlando. These two rooms will probably be around for a while.

So instead, the Great Movie Escape will offer some randomization when it comes to the puzzles. While we don’t know exactly what this means, it seems likely that there will be more puzzles than are technically needed to solve the room. A look at the Jurassic World experience shows a lot of screens, so those screens could potentially display multiple puzzles.  It could be that if you go back and do the same room again, some of the puzzles you get at key moments won't be the same. 

Randomization of experience has been a key part of how modern theme park attractions keep guests coming back. Think about how something like Star Tours works, and adapting this for an escape room sounds brilliant.

Customizable Based On Party Size 

Most of the time when you do an escape room, you book a space for yourself and your friends, and you're the only ones in the room. Considering the number of people visiting Universal Orlando Resort who may want to do this, that doesn't really work. Standard escape room slots will be for up to six people, at around $50 per person, and may combine different groups of people. You can also book a private room, for up to eight people for $300.

The worst possible scenario is getting stuck with a group of strangers who get too aggressive and take over the room, preventing others from really getting to play. apparently though, the Great Movie Escape rooms will be customizable based on the number of people involved. If you do end up in a smaller group, there won't be too much going on at once for your group to handle. If the group is larger, there will still be enough to do that everybody will get to do something. 

The fact that standard rooms are apparently designed for six people, but private rooms can handle eight, implies that Universal is taking into account that when different groups come together they may not work together perfectly. Even if one group tries to be a little greedy with the puzzles, there will be enough other stuff to do that it won't be too much of an issue. 

Adjustable Difficulty Based On Skill Level 

There’s nothing quite as frustrating in an escape room as not being able to figure out a puzzle. It will ultimately stop the game in its tracks if there’s something you can’t figure out. Many escape rooms offer systems for hints if you get stuck, but the Universal version is apparently designed to adjust based on skill level or complexity. 

It’s unclear if difficulty is something that you set ahead of time or something that can actually adjust on the fly, but either way, having adjustable difficulty will just make the experience more versatile. One could imagine puzzle instructions being displayed on a screen and being given more or less information depending on the difficulty level. 

A lot of the groups going into this escape room are going to be families, many with young kids, so being able to adjust difficulty so that younger and older players can play together is great and won’t make the kids feel like they’re not contributing to the group.

We haven’t seen an escape room designed with the scale and budget that Universal Orlando is putting into the Great Movie Escape. We’d fully expect that this would be something bigger, but it might actually turn out to also be something better. There’s a lot going on that will likely make the Great Movie Escape something that any escape room fan will want to check out, but that also sets these escape rooms apart from the competition. 

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.