Universal’s Great Movie Escape Room: A Fun Way to Share Movie Magic with Kids

One of my great thrills as a parent is my teenage son sharing my love of movies. Not only have we bonded over watching films I grew up on, but it’s led us to get annual passes to Universal Orlando Resort for a bit of extra movie magic. Until recently, he hadn’t been to Universal’s Great Movie Escape, the escape room that opened in December 2022 at Universal CityWalk.

I’d visited Universal’s Great Movie Escape with my husband on a date night, but hadn’t taken my kids yet. My son loves escape rooms, so a trip to a movie-themed escape room at Universal seemed right up his alley. And so, off to Universal CityWalk we went for a night immersed in the “Back to the Future” and “Jurassic World” franchises.

Universals Great Movie Escape Room Image by Terri Peters

Turns out, Universal’s Great Movie Escape is a lot of fun for kids as well as grown-ups. And, because it’s located at CityWalk and not in a theme park, it’s an experience at Universal you don’t also need a theme park ticket to participate in.

Here’s everything parents should know about Universal’s Great Movie Escape before taking their kids.

What to know about Universal’s Great Movie Escape

Inside Universal’s Great Movie Escape are two different escape rooms: Back to the Future OUTTATIME and Jurassic World Escape. Each is themed around its respective Hollywood blockbuster franchise and feels just like walking onto a movie set.

The two escape rooms immerse guests in the storyline, leaving them to solve a problem that takes place right in the middle of the movie.

  • Universal’s Great Movie Escape is located at Universal CityWalk near Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville and the Hot Dog Hall of Fame. When you enter CityWalk after passing through the parking structure, head to the left.
  • Tickets for Universal’s Great Movie Escape start at $40 per person for the “Jurassic World” experience and $50 per person for the “Back to the Future” room. Universal annual pass holders get 15% off tickets, but must purchase them in person at the venue, each park’s front gates, or a guest services location.
  • Depending on how many people sign up for your escape room time, you will more than likely be grouped with a few strangers during the experience.
  • Prepare your kids to make a few new friends if you’re paired with others, and work together with the group to solve the escape room’s puzzle. (Private bookings can be made, but the price is much higher.)

What if we can’t “solve” it?

Rather than being a traditional escape room, your group moves along through the room within an hour, and is given a score based on how well your group performs the tasks.

A perk of Universal’s Great Movie Escape is that everyone makes it out of the escape room, unlike some smaller escape rooms where if you haven’t solved the puzzle after a certain time limit, you get kicked out without “winning.”

lobby area of great movie escape at universal orlando citywalk
Universals Great Movie Escape Image by Terri Peters

If your group struggles to solve part of the escape room’s puzzle, the room’s computers move the game along seamlessly and get you in and out within about an hour.

On your way out, a host tells you what your group scored during the game and assigns you a level of mastery. This helps kids feel like the escape room experience was a success, even if it didn’t go so well.

Is it scary?

While both escape rooms involve things like flashing lights and loud noises, “Jurassic World” is a bit scarier than “Back to the Future,” due to those pesky dinosaurs. As a parent, you know your child best: If chaotic situations, loud noises, bright lights, or stressful puzzle-solving cause an issue for them, this is an experience it’s better to skip.

Hearing protection can be helpful for anyone in your party who is sensitive to sound or can become overstimulated.

Things to See Inside

There’s lots to see inside of Universal’s Great Movie Escape, including some movie memorabilia and a section of pretty cool movie merchandise for sale.

Universals Great Movie Escape Room Image by Terri Peters

There’s also a bar inside the venue that serves a few kid-friendly, movie-themed mocktails. On our visit, we sipped the “Back to the Future”-themed Hoverboard Highball and the dino-approved Nublar Cooler. Both were delicious.

Parking at Universal is free after 6 p.m., but your Universal’s Great Movie Escape ticket includes complimentary regular self-parking at Universal Orlando’s parking garage for the same date as ticket (one (1) vehicle per ticket).

Things to do before a visit to Universal’s Great Movie Escape

Before visiting Universal’s Great Movie Escape, there are plenty of ways to extend the fun to your home and get kids ready for their time at the experience.

  • The Discover Universal podcast has a full episode about Universal’s Great Movie Escape. It’s a great thing to listen to in the car on your drive to CityWalk or in advance of your visit to give kids some background, especially older kids.
  • Let kids who are old enough watch “Back to the Future” or “Jurassic World” before their trip to Universal’s Great Movie Escape. They’ll appreciate the high level of theming and story immersion even more if they’ve seen a movie (or a few movies) from the franchise and understand what’s going on.
  • Get in the escape room spirit by dressing up for your outing to Universal’s Great Movie Escape. When we visited, my son wore a “Jurassic World” t-shirt and I threw on a plaid shirt and red puffer vest to channel Marty McFly vibes.
Universals Great Movie Escape Room Image by Terri Peters

Things to do around Universal’s Great Movie Escape

Because it’s located at Universal CityWalk, Universal’s Great Movie Escape isn’t the only thing in the area there is to do. All around CityWalk, you’ll find restaurants, shops, and entertainment—there’s even a movie theater and a miniature golf course.

Here are some of our favorite things to do with kids while at Universal CityWalk.

  • Mini Golf: At Hollywood Drive-In Golf: Families can play their way through two different 18-hole mini golf courses. One course, “The Haunting of Ghostly Greens,” is based on vintage horror flicks. The other, “Invaders from Planet Putt,” is themed around the little green aliens of old science fiction films.
  • Movies at Universal Cinemark: Watch the latest movies together at the state-of-the-art Universal Cinemark theater located at CityWalk. If you purchase matinee movie tickets, you can get reimbursed by the theater for the daily parking fee.
  • Dining: CityWalk features numerous dining options, including restaurants that cater to children’s tastes. At Toothsome Chocolate Emporium, kids can meet Professor Penelope and her robot sidekick, Jacques, and at Bubba Gump, a shrimp character often makes an appearance.
  • Mini Splash Area: There’s also a mini splash pad area at CityWalk where kids can cool off and get wet. It’s located outside of the Universal Studios Store, near the kiosk where Freestyle cups can be refilled.

So before you head on your mission to Universal Orlando’s Great Escape, remember you may be paired with others, and there is no pressure to “escape” the room. It’s a great place to spend some time indoors if it’s hot or raining, and can be a fun birthday idea too!

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Terri Peters