Until recently, the last time I had been to Chuck E. Cheese’s was sometime in middle school. Come to think of it, it may have even been elementary school. I think it’s a safe bet to say it’s been 20 years since I have been inside of one. What I remember of it is that it was really noisy, really fun, the life-sized animatronics were cool and the pizza was pretty bad.
But again, that was 20 years ago. Probably time to see what has changed!
We took Darah to Chuck E. Cheese for the first time recently, and I’m excited to tell you about our experience.
We arrived at Chuck E. Cheese about 10 minutes after they opened on a Saturday. To our surprise, we were the only folks there. In fact, we were the only guests for almost the first hour! This was AWESOME!!! We were all able to run around freely and explore, and Darah had the opportunity to get used to the sights and sounds before other kids got added to the mix. So my #1 tip for going to Chuck E. Cheese if you want to avoid the crowd is to be willing and ready to play at 9am when they open!
One thing I observed that I loved, as well, is that Chuck E. Cheese puts an invisible stamp on the arms of everyone in the same party. It’s a unique number for each group of people. The reason they do this is so that when you leave, they can make sure that the right adults leave with the right children. That is a very cool feature, and I’m delighted to see it. It can give parents an added feeling of security knowing that every adult and child will be checked at the door.
Darah had an absolute blast at Chuck E. Cheese. It took her a few minutes to get really into all the games, as you can see by the serious look on her face while riding Clifford, her very first ride. 🙂
But she quickly found her groove and spent a great deal of time running from machine to machine. We had 30 tokens to spend, and in the 2 1/2 hours we were there, that was plenty for Darah! I LOVED that every single game in the entire place only cost 1 token to play. I was just certain that some of the games would take 2 or even 3 tokens, but they didn’t! It’s nice to know that however many tokens you buy, that’s how many games you’ll get to play. Tokens are 25 cents each, or you get a price break if you spend $10 on tokens, as you will get 50 instead of 40 (which is a good deal, I think!).
Even Tim got in on the fun. There are many games at Chuck E. Cheese that are great for older kids and even for adults. Here you will see Tim taking on one seriously mean gorilla. Tim fought a good fight, all the way to the end of the game, and was subsequently rewarded with 4 tickets for his efforts. Way to take one for the team, Tim.
I will say that I was disappointed in the updated “live” show. I think the old school Chuck E. Cheese band was one of my favorite things about the place as a kid. Now there’s just one large moving animal up on stage, and the rest is television screens that play really cheesy music videos and some flashy lighting. I found that to be not nearly as cool as what I grew up with, but maybe it speaks more to today’s kids, who likely aren’t as easily impressed with robots that only move in a few different directions.
When we arrived at Chuck E. Cheese, we placed the order for our pizzaand requested that it be ready at 11. Sure enough, it was on our table at 11am sharp! The pizza has recently been completely overhauled. They’ve got new dough and new cheeses that they use. We dug in, and here’s my opinion on the pizza: it’s good. It’s not great. But it’s not bad like I remember. It is quite tasty. I actually think the amount of sauce and toppings is pretty much perfect for kids, but adults may find themselves craving a bit more. Tim and I ate 2/3 of the pizza by ourselves (with Darah nibbling on our pieces here and there), and we probably could have eaten more but we decided to show some restraint. The pizza, in terms of its weightiness, reminds me much more of something from Ci Ci’s than something from Papa John’s. So the price tag (I think $15 for a large is the standard price) is a bit steep.
HOWEVER, keep in mind that places like Papa John’s aren’t also providing you with a unique entertainment experience. Yes, the food is a bit expensive for the overall quality, but if you buy one of their combo packages that includes your pizza and your tokens, I actually think you are getting a killer deal for a morning or afternoon of fun with your family. I would absolutely take Darah again to Chuck E. Cheese, and I’d buy the pizza again, too!
Win it!: One lucky Stuff Parents Need reader is going to win a Chuck E. Cheese guest pass which includes 30 tokens, 4 soft drinks and a large pizza. Woo hoo! The contest will run until August 13th at 11:59pm EST when a winner will be selected via Random.org. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to winning notification before the prize is forfeited and a new winner is selected. Open to residents of the United States. Limit one entrant per household, please.
Mandatory entry: This is a really fun one. Go to the Chuck E. Cheese website, and click on the “play skee ball” button on the bottom of the page. Tell me what your score is for your mandatory entry, and don’t forget to print the tickets you win online, as you can redeem them at Chuck E. Cheese! Everyone wins by playing! Yay!
1. Sponsor love: Like Chuck E. Cheese on Facebook (you’ll heard about great discount offers that way!)
2. Blogger love: Like Stuff Parents Need on Facebook
Be sure to enter my other current giveaways, found on the sidebar of my page.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary guest pass to facilitate this review. All thoughts and opinions are strictly my own.