Tempe’s Harry Potter escape room is worth the trip

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MADELEINE WILLIAMSON • COLLEGE TIMES

I’m a Harry Potter fan as much as the next person, having read all the books.

So, embarking on Alcatraz Escape Games’ Wizard Hysteria Harry Potterthemed escape room was a must. (The theme is actually one of three — The Row, Zombie Panic and Wizard Hysteria.) I collected five of my closest friends and we did our best.

First, the rules: no cellphones and all valuables must be placed in a locker. We had 60 minutes to escape and a TV screen with a visible timer let us know how much time we had left. Items in the room with red dots indicate they’re decorations and shouldn’t be manhandled. Everything else was fair game. Lastly, if we needed any help or clues, we just had to ask as manager Corrie Jones was supervising us through cameras.

I could hear the screams of terror coming from within as we continued our walk down the hallway to the Wizard Hysteria room. Jones swung the door open, we piled in and she wished us luck.

The 45-minute journey had moments of pure amazement, utter confusion, jaw-dropping surprises and gleeful celebrations. The room truly made me feel like I was in the world of Harry Potter. The Hogwarts themed decorations and mystical lighting screamed Harry Potter. The ceiling resembled a scene from one of the films, with floating candles and a fantastically light starry night sky.

The clues were wrapped in Harry Potter references. My friends and I were delighted to recognize Harry Potter creatures, which really made the environment seem lifelike.

A quick tip: split into groups to save as much time as possible. I learned that teamwork and strategy are by far the two most effective game changers when it comes to escaping the room in time. Jones says to “touch everything and think out loud” to figure out clues based on others’ thought processes.

Marketing Coordinator Lea Zibeth says to visit with a large group because each room is timed and the more brains you have working on a puzzle, the faster it can be solved. “Look at everything, even if you don’t think it would mean anything,” she says. “A major key is communication.”

Wizard Hysteria has photo ops at the end with props like wizard wands, Harry Potter glasses and wizard robes.

Alcatraz Escape Games
1290 N. Scottsdale Road,
Suite 103, Tempe
$30; student discounts available
480.719.1234, alcatrazescapegames.com

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