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After a successful life of cybercrime and hacking our way around the Internet, my three cohorts and I experienced the ultimate criminal escapade one Friday afternoon at the 4th Street Market in Santa Ana. After our “capture,” we were gathered up, chastised for our crimes, and promptly placed on The Escape Bus.

What’s The Escape Bus? It is Orange County’s first mobile escape room that immerses players into a full-sensory adventure that both challenges and entertains the criminal. I mean player.

The Escape Bus is one of only three mobile escape rooms in the country at the present time, and has been in the planning and implementation stage for about a year. The futuristic game, Firewall, was conceptualized by founders Tyler Russell and Jonathan Katz after they visited escape rooms in Budapest, Hungary, where escape rooms are wildly popular. It is set in the year 2033 and happens on a converted school bus. Once inside, you’ll get the feeling that you’re in a small, maximum-security transport that doesn’t resemble any bus I’d ever been on. Players, from two to six at a time, must work together to escape from the bus or spend the rest of their days wasting away in a tiny cell.

A photograph of Jonathan Katz and Tyler Russell Co-founders of The Escape Bus.

Jonathan Katz (l) and Tyler Russell (r) Co-Founders

The Escape Bus offers participants a new, out-of-the-box form of entertainment that you’ve really got to try if you’re looking for something totally different to do with friends, family or coworkers. Without giving anything away, I’ll warn you to come prepared to look for lots of clues, hints and materials to help you get off The Escape Bus.

And be prepared to talk about the experience long after you’ve escaped (or have been sprung if your escape fails). My friends and I still rehash the whole ordeal every chance we get.
Photograph of the front of The Escape Bus in Santa Ana, California.

The experience is recommended for players 12 years of age and older and is offered as a standard (45 minutes) or short (20 minutes) version of the game, depending on the setting.

The Escape Bus will be available for Open Escapes, parking in various locations all over Southern California, as well as bookings for private and corporate events, parties, festivals and more.

To book The Escape Bus or to locate its whereabouts, check out their website at, or follow them on Twitter @theescapebus or Instagram @theescapebus. Pricing is available by calling 949-357-2871.

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