We recently look Isabella and the twins to Chuck E. Cheese. I had my doubts about there being enough age-appropriate games and rides to keep an almost three-year-old occupied and entertained, but after hearing glowing reviews from Chas and my friend Dianne, who both have daughters around Isabella's age, we decided to give it a go.
Isabella was in a state of blitzed-out euphoria from the second we walked through the door.
And fortunately for us, our cloistered-for-bad-public-behavior twins were too.
Since I'm all about cheap (or free) entertainment these days, I was really satisfied with the deal we used, courtesy of a coupon from their website. For $18.99, we had a large pizza, four drinks, and 25 tokens, which was more than enough for Isabella to have a great time for two hours. Each ride or game was only one token. You can sign up for their website deals here.
For an extra .99 cents, I bought Isabella this cup, purely for the future blackmail photo op it provides.
There's a toddler area for kids with rides and games scaled down to their level. I would say Isabella was almost too old for the rides, but she really enjoyed the games and the playset/slide.
What really intrigued her was the tickets. You remember the deal. Play a game, and when you're done, the machine spits out a ticket (or many tickets). Isabella loved grabbing the tickets and handing them to me. When we were just about to leave, we fed them into a machine that tallied them up (no more counting them yourself), and then we took her over to the counter of
crap toys to cash them in. She left with a ball, a sheet of stickers, and two plastic fish and was completely thrilled.
The pizza was just as bad as I remember it being. Of course, I was starving so that didn't stop me from eating three pieces. Isabella, however, thought it was great. The twins abstained from pizza citing something about a mouth full of gums and not much else.
As we were eating in the nothing-like-I-remembered "theatre" area, who should emerge from a door by the stage but Chuck himself. He walked right over to our table and encouraged Isabella to give him a high-five. She not-so-politely declined. He walked away pretending to cry, and then returned. Isabella then obliged.
Luci was very suspicious of the rat.
All things considered, we would go to Chuck E. Cheese again. It was inexpensive. Isabella had a blast. And there was enough excitement and stimulation to keep the twins quiet for a couple hours.
But if you were a Chuck E. Cheese regular, as I was in my youth, you may be disappointed. It bears very little resemblance to the place I remembered. There is no train that runs around the place. No ball pit. No super-cool stage show with waving international flags. No Swiss cheese crawl under the stage. The kids visiting there today won't know any different, of course, but it's my opinion that the CEC of the 1980s was much, much cooler.
And now it's time to soak my dentures and sip a nice cup of Sanka while yelling at the neighborhood kids for throwing their ball in my yard.