Max Action, Ripley’s Mirror Maze, Disney’s ‘Strange World’

There soon will be new ways to mess with your head on International Drive. This week, Theme Park Rangers Radar looks at the “adventure rooms” of Max Action Arena at Icon Park as well as at Ripley’s Mirror Maze, both of which are in the works.

Beware, axe-throwing is thrown in there too.

Radar is a weekly roundup of what’s new and what’s next in Central Florida’s attractions. It publishes at OrlandoSentinel.com on Wednesdays.

Max Action Arena, a coming-soon attraction at Icon Park, will feature axe-throwing, a large virtual-reality space and variations on escape rooms.

To enter the attraction’s “adventure rooms,” visitors buy time cards for the experiences.

“It is kind of a cross between an escape room and a video game,” said Scott Brown, director of marketing for Family Entertainment Group, which runs Max Action as well as the In the Game attraction at Icon Park’s Wheelhouse.

“When you go into the room, a timer starts. You have three minutes,” Brown said. “Where the video-game element turns on is once you’re in there, you make an incorrect choice or do something wrong, the game ends. You don’t go any further.”

But, assuming there’s purchased time left on the card, it can be used to reenter that room for redemption or attempt a different one.

There’s next-to-no instruction in the rooms, but there are clues for moves. Players might conclude they’re being told, for instance, to touch a sword with a double-dragon head in the medieval room or to plug cords into holes (marked in Russian) in the bomb-crisis one.

Make a bad choice? The room lets you know to leave and start over. Players can store up knowledge from failed attempts.

Max Action Orlando has seven adventure rooms that sport themes such as Egyptian, crime scene and alien abduction.

“The idea is those are like the TikTok of escape rooms,” said Mike Miller, equipment manager. “Escape rooms are, like, 30 minutes long, an hour long. These are in and out, in and out.”

The venue also has a more traditional escape room that was relocated from the nearby In the Game attraction.

Max Action’s virtual-reality space holds up to eight players, and there are nine games available.

“You are all in the same virtual environment at the same time,” Brown said. “I see you’re in there with me; I see you as your avatar next to me. We might be shooting zombies on a spaceship, whatever … but we can move anywhere we want within the arena in a complete virtual world.”

For the axe-throwing lanes, there will be real axes thrown into real wood, but the target areas are projections onto the wall, and they can vary.

“It allows people to play multiple kinds of games, whether you play, like, a Connect 4 or a traditional darts game,” Brown said.

Max Action will offer less active activities, including puzzles accessed by QR codes, and it will sell beer and wine. The attraction is adjacent to Museum of Illusions Orlando in the space that previously housed a Walgreens location.

“It is a family entertainment center, but … the target market is definitely twentysomethings, the fortysomethings,” Brown said.

“The intention is you’re going to come here and, we’re coming with our friends, and we’re going to drink a beer and throw some axes and then go just talk and interact and move through this. So that’s the vibe,” he said.

Posted pricing for Max Action attractions start at $25 per guest for 30 minutes of axe throwing, $25 for 25 minutes in the adventure rooms or 30 minutes in the escape room or 15 minutes of virtual reality. There are also combo deals for a pair options or a bundle of all the Max Action activities.

An opening date has not yet been set.

For more information, go to maxactionarena.com.

Also coming soon is Ripley’s Mirror Maze, which is undergoing finishing touches next door to the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum on International Drive.

Participants will work their way through mirrored hallways with walls at jaunty angles, which result in confusion and bumping into one’s self, in a way. The floor also is reflective, and the halls are lit in a way that gives different looks, from stained glass to disco. The experience should take around 20 minutes.

Orlando-based Ripley Entertainment has six other Mirror Maze attractions, including one that’s being remodeled in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

The I-Drive version is “a completely different maze than we have at all of our other Ripley’s attractions. … It’s a little more high-tech, more lights,” said Sabrina Sieck, senior creative content manager. The building previously housed an O’Neill clothing store on the north side of the Ripley museum built to look like it’s going into a sinkhole.

During a recent preview of the maze, I wondered if smudges — and Windexing time — were issues.

But guests usually “wear gloves so you don’t see the fingerprints,” Sieck said. Folks tend to use their hands to find their way through. (Elbows work, I found.)

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Also, what if someone melts down mid-maze? A search party can be sent in, Sieck said.

The opening date for Ripley’s Mirror Maze and ticket prices have not been announced.

Hollywood Studios visitors can get a look at the Caldes family during a preview of 'Strange World'

Previews of “Strange World,” an animated feature from Walt Disney Animation Studios, are now available inside the Walt Disney Presents attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

The sci-fi adventure revolves around the Clades, a family who encounter unusual creatures while in a treacherous land of Avalonia.

Actors lending their voices to the project include Jake Gyllenhaal, Gabrielle Union, Dennis Quaid, Lucy Liu and Alan Tudyk. The director is Don Hall (“Big Hero 6,” “Raya and the Last Dragon”). It’s rated PG.

“Strange World” opens in theaters Nov. 23.

What’s on your radar? Email me at [email protected]