5 Wits is the newest adventure in Walden Galleria

Walden Galleria General Manager Mike Coene and 5 Wits CEO Matt DuPlessie cut the ribbon at the 5 Wits grand opening on June 2, 2017. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)
Walden Galleria General Manager Mike Coene and 5 Wits CEO Matt DuPlessie cut the ribbon at the 5 Wits grand opening on June 2, 2017. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. – 250 people came out Friday evening to celebrate the ribbon cutting of 5 Wits in the Walden Galleria. The center is known for its interactive immersive adventures. The Cheektowaga location is the fifth to open in the U.S, and company officials say this ribbon cutting was the biggest event they’ve hosted yet. 

The interactive entertainment games are like the escape rooms that have grown in popularity, though many employees say while it’s similar, it’s completely different at the same time. There are puzzles and challenges in each room, but the ending of each storyline changes depending on the decisions the group makes along the journey.

A group heads into the Tomb room at 5 Wits in Walden Galleria on June, 2, 2017. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)

The name 5 Wits comes from Shakespeare’s writings, they are common sense, imagination, estimation, fantasy, and memory. Each of those skills is needed to help make it through the puzzles. 

At the Buffalo location, there are three different themed rooms. Drago’s Castle is a medieval fantasy, Deep Space tries to get the team to figure out what happened to the crew of an abandoned spaceship, and Tomb is an Indiana Jones-like adventure.

If it seems like 5 Wits is a “Disneyesque” type of attraction, you’re not alone. That’s what many people say about their experience in the rooms. That’s kind of by design. The CEO and founder Matt DuPlessie is an MIT graduate who worked as a theme park engineer contractor, helping design parts of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. 

“You are going to use your own hands, your own mind to actually become Indiana Jones or Captain Kirk, or that medieval heroine in that live action story,” DuPlessie said during the ceremony. “5 Wits makes many parts of my childhood dreams come true, to be very honest. I hope that it does just a little bit of that for you.”

That excitement translates down to the employees here in Buffalo, who seem so excited to share the fantasy with people who walk into the adventure rooms. 

The celebration also touched on the importance of bringing entertainment venues to the Galleria. At a time when many malls across the country, and here in WNY, are dealing with fewer stores and fewer shoppers, the Galleria seems to be in a better position. With the expansion at the Galleria nearly a decade ago, mall management seemed to be trending towards an all-inclusive entertainment venue for the region. 

Cheektowaga town supervisor Diane Benczkowski says this grand opening shows that Cheektowaga’s central location continues to make the town a great place for regional businesses. 

5 Wits is open during mall hours each day. They have space to host private parties like birthday parties and corporate team building events. You can buy tickets online or at the store. 

The prices are:

  • $19.99 for one adventure
  • $25.99 for two adventures
  • $29.99 for all three adventures

Each room takes about a half hour to complete. 

If you want to go and continue the grand opening celebration, 5 Wits is hosting an event Saturday, June 3, from Noon until 5pm. There will be a live DJ, facepainting and someone making animal balloons. 

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