Thursday, June 17, 2010

I've Never Been To Chuck E. Cheese's



Growing up, it drove me crazy to see commercials for a fun and fantastic looking pizza/arcade place called Chuck E. Cheese's. Smiling kids alternating between playing games and chowing down on cheap-looking frozen pizza made me incredibly jealous! I'd think to myself, where the hell is this magical place because it sure as hell isn't in Nassau County, Long Island. That was back in the 1980s.Today, Chuck E. Cheese's are everywhere!

Founded in San Jose, California in 1977, Chuck E. Cheese's has become much more popular over the years. If you're a mom, you probably have taken your child to a party there or maybe even hosted a Chuck's party. After going through several transitions--for example Chuck E. Cheese's began as Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theatre--there were some lawsuits and stuff I don't want to bore you with. The point here is, yes I'm over the age of 12, yet am still curious as to what goes on at Chuck E. Cheese's and how's the pizza?


Five Fun Facts About Chuck E. Cheese

  1. The company was started by Atari and Pong founder, Nolan Bushnell. 
  2. The very first Chuck E. Cheese opened in San Jose, California in 1977. 
  3. By 1994 the official name of Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza dropped the "pizza" and became, Chuck E. Cheese's 
  4. In 1999, became CEC Entertainment, Inc. and acquired Discovery Zone.
  5. Unless accompanied by a child, I will never experience the famous Chuck E. Cheese's excitement. To protect against sicko predators, Chuck E. Cheese's does not allow adults without children to sample the place.
Here's a retro Chuck E. Cheese's commercial from the '80s for you.


57 comments:

Copyboy said...

I went there once. Believe me you didn't miss out. The pizza tasted like cardboard. Though I did get to the 3rd level in Jr. Donkey Kong. Not bad, right?

Rebekah said...

It totally depends on which C.E.C. you go to. Our Chuck is in an old Gymboree kind of building where they have a whole wall of windows and it's smaller than most C.E.C.s. But there are lots that are really dark and really loud and COMPLETELY obnoxious. Ours has an indoor playground and two sections, one for little kids with smaller less complicated games and a section with bigger more exciting games and of course Skee Ball. And now, instead of having to take all your tickets to the counter, you put them into this machine that spits out a receipt for you. And the "prizes" at our CEC are pretty much just as lousy as they've always been.

Chrissy said...

I never went until I had kids... Back in the 80's it was good for a party because the price was fair..and who wants the mess at home? Food wasn't that great and from what I hear, it hasn't improved... Pizza tasted like cardboard, the games passably worked, and the prizes were a joke.

Margie said...

I know if you enter with a child, you both get a tag on your hand. If they child tries to leave with someone, those tags better match or else, no go.

I'm going to be 34, I guess having a party there, for me, is out of the question since I don't have kids. BOO-URNS!

Gilligan said...

Where I lived, there was no Chuck E. Cheese - only an exact replica called Showbiz Pizza. I wonder which came first.

These places are not for the easily distracted - the noise is mind numbing, and children run around like it's Lord of the Flies.

The video games, the crying, the whining, the music, the yelling, MAKE IT STOP!

Babes Mami said...

You are NOT missing out Ally!!

Mamma has spoken said...

Yes I took my sons to Chuck E Cheese's in the 80's. Agree that the pizza was horrid AND overpriced. The games were lame, but for any kid under the age of 10 during this time, they saw them as great. You would win tickets to turn in for prizes that I could have gone out and bought a lot cheaper than what I just paid for them to play that many games.
Our CEC had the animated talking figures that moved, and sang (think oversized Teddy Repkin). One son as a preschooler went there and was so scared of them, that he would never go back (which was totally ok by me).

BigSis said...

Just thinking about CEC makes my head hurt. I think you are lucky to have never been.

My favorite thing about the ones here in VA is that they serve wine and beer. It makes the noise level much more bearable!

Jules said...

Do NOT GO. I repeat. DO NOT GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Melanie's Randomness said...

I think Chuckie Cheese is hilarious to go too at like 9pm. It's open usually til 11pm by me which I can't fathom but I've gone in there waiting for a club to open. Its like a kiddie version of Dave n Busters when there are no kids around. The pizza is okay, but you can get 40 game tokens for 10 bucks. I like the sound of that.

M.W said...

Wow! It was a memory catalyst to see this post!

As an 80s child (born in '74) growing up in Orlando, I remember drooling at the commercials...though as Gilligan said we also had Showbiz Pizza. There was a Chuck E, Cheese, but it was further away. My parents would never have taken me, but my best friend's family was super indulgent and included me all the time, so we'd go sporadically.
I vividly remember playing Qbert, jumping in balls and being creeped the hell out by the creaky, jerky, wacky-voiced animatronic show! I always wanted to go to Chuck E.'s because he wasn't as horrific looking as the Showbiz characters- and that's not saying much, huh? :)

I quickly got older and realized that the pizza sucked and couldn't hold a candle to Pizza Hut (god, that was the ULTIMATE to us!)....and realized that I hated being around tons of wild kids. I was very meek and well-behaved. That was it. But still the nightmares of Billy Bob the fleshfaced bear thing who played the banjo and inadvertently did the robot at all times.....

LOVE your blog!

(here was a commercial I remember well for Showbiz...catchy!)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3cVevnyw6I

Jenn said...

I so remember that commercial!! I went there once when I was younger for a friends birthday. I remember it being so much fun...so much to do!! At the time the pizza was fantastic in my eyes, but uhmm.... I don't know now, my tastes sure have changed! Thanks for the memories!!

LaraAnn said...

I was there once and that's only because my friend wanted to go. I didn't really care for it - the atmosphere or the food.

Hagler Happenings said...

There weren't/aren't any CEC here in the boonies. My 1st time was when I was teaching & went with my students. It is Cheeeesey!!

Brittney said...

i had several bday parties there when i was a kid, i remember the pizza being good, games fun, and prize counter expensive lol! I however have since taken my son to that same CEC and they have not updated it since 1989 lol

Caution Flag said...

The pizza isn't bad at ours, but it's just so crowded. Yuck.

Finley and Oliver said...

You're not missing out! The pizza is gross and I always feel the need to take a hot shower when we leave. CEC is a scary, scary place. However, my 2 and 3 old love it!

Joe Cap said...

Actually, The Daughter had a good time going there for a while...when she was very young, like 8. The games amused her, and it was fun to hang out with the other parents.
Yes the pizza is thick and greasy though.
Of course, she outgrew it long ago.

The Cupcake Cauldron said...

I use to LOVE going to Chuck E. Cheese when I was a kid! I was probably around 5 or 6 when I first went. I loved the ball pit the most. The thought of it today makes me cringe with all the cooties and germs...but I LOVED it when I was a wee little one!

One Blonde Girl said...

I've never been either, and I probably never will, but I'm okay with that.

Kathie @ Just a Happy Housewife said...

I never went as a kid either, but it really wasn't that popular with the kids where I lived...I mean they went, but it didn't spark jealousy from those of us who didn't. As an adult, I finally went one time for my niece's birthday party and thought, this is it???? I didn't miss out on anything! What an obnoxious place, I feel sorry for anyone who works there.

Marlene said...

I've never been, either. They didn't have them where I grew up in the great white north. Sounds like I didn't miss out, though...heehee.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

ICK. If that place had a ball pit it was a hazardous materials zone. Chuck-E-Chese is where you go to catch ebola and when you want your dreams to die. It's so tacky and soul destroying that you think you are in post war East Germany. Are we having fun yet?

Andrew said...

Next to United Skates, Chuck E Cheese was the most popular place to have birthday party back in the mid to late eighties. I used to love the arcade and the ball pit. I can't believe you never went there - you must have told me this. Hope you are having a good day baby.

Kristie said...

Wow, I cannot believe you've never been to Chuck E Cheese. I had a birthday party there when I was 7 and loved the bouncy house and the balls, all the little kiddie rides and ski ball. You'd get tickets for scoring well on the games and get to buy cheap ass prizes with the tickets. I always liked Showbiz Pizza Place a little better though. It was always so magical when that animated band started playing. The pizza did taste like cardboard though. Good times. Great post, Ally.

You're Lucky I Don't Have a Gun... said...

watching the commercials as a kid, chuck's seemed like the kind of place where dreams came true. however, things quickly took a turn for the creepy once i actually got to experience it firsthand.

i nearly had a 6 y/o panic attack in the ball pit because i was afraid of drowning if my head went under balls (i was naive, ok). the haunted animatronic Chuck and friends coming to life every 30 min nearly gave me nervous, explosive diarrhea. and my wisecracker decision to tug on the "real" Chuck's tail only left me worrying about him eating me alive when i was playing Whack-a-Mole. needless to say, that trip ended in night terrors.

as a teenager, my bff worked there. to this day, she complains about the shite pizza and how it always smells like feet when they heat them.

purseblogger said...

LOL you crack me up! I have experienced this place and yes, you are not missing anything. My hubby and I have a rule for our kids when they choose which restaurant they want to eat at for their bdays: They can go anywhere EXCEPT Chuck E Cheese and Cici's Pizza. :)

Ashley King said...

i was totally waiting for Pat to chime in on this one.... there pizza didn't used to be good, and the games used to be expensive, HOWEVER, they have definitely stepped it up a notch with the pizza, and the games are all 1 token now. =) everytime we go, we try to save pizza to take it to pat. he loves their pizza.

we really only go if there is a fundraiser going on for the kids, or if it's taylor's pick to eat out and that's what she chooses, BUT we must have a coupon. you get a large pizza, 4 drinks and like 100 tokens for 29.99. not to bad. 100 tokens= 100 games. it lasts for a good amount of time.

the downfall is that some parents use chuck e cheese as their playground or babysitter... they don't watch their kids, they just let them go nuts.... and kids on the loose, ehhh, not good when you don't have a ton of patience like myself, but i always wonder if pervy people are there. like i can't imagine letting my kid just roam around without keeping your eye on them, ya know? anyway, sorry that was way off topic.... not gonna lie, i like to play ski-ball and the bumble bee game. ;)

Shell said...

The pizza is not very good, but my boys love it there. *shudders*

I already follow you, but I'm stopping by to welcome you to SITS!

Salt said...

I have never been there either! Mostly due to the fact that as a small child, I was TERRIFIED of that mouse. And now that I am an adult, I am TERRIFIED of those ball pits and I understand that they have those there.

My husband was a Chuck E. Cheese assistant manager when he was in high school and he assured me I wasn't missing much.

Riot Kitty said...

I hated that place!

sara said...

Hooray! Chuck E Cheese's!! I used to go mental for that place. AS a side note I worked at Discovery Zone...ahhh...good times...

Ms. Anthropy said...

Haven't been there, in years. If I never have to go again, I can totally deal with it.

Mimi said...

I loved Chuck E. Cheese. I remember when it first opened in our town. Wow that was so exciting. My older teenage cousin at the time got a job there and he got to BE CHUCK E. CHEESE. Talk about awesome.

Michelle Pixie said...

You aren't missing out on a thing! I loathe that place! Actually since we moved 3 years ago my kids have asked but I just tell them I have no idea how to get there and they haven't questioned it. Thank god! Even though I have navigation and we have driven by it about a dozen time in those 3 years. If they say they want to go I tell them to wait until they go to Grandma's because she has been dying to take them! My poor mom doesn't have a clue I am letting the bus run her over. ;-)

foxy said...

I have to say, you're really not missing anything. I've been and it does NOT rank high on my list of favorite things. Not even close. Do they really not let in people sans kids? I never knew that... huh.

Sandy said...

Never been there!

Welcome to SITS! It's great to have you in the SITStahood!

ScoMan said...

We don't even have Chuck E Cheese's in Australia.

Of course it shows up from time to time in an American sitcom and I've always wondered what the place was like.. but I guess, like you, it's unlikely I'll ever find out.

Hutch said...

You've never been? This makes me sads for you...I had many many a birthday celebration there!

Melisa with one S said...

You're not missing much, trust me. It's a magical place for little kids, though. My boys are teens and I'm SO happy we don't have to go anymore! I always used to take Tylenol before going there, to prevent the inevitable headache I'd quickly get!

FabuLeslie said...

We always went to Showbiz Pizza Place, and I keep meaning to do a post on it, but you beat me to it! Fond memories.

Steve G. said...

I don't think anyone has brought it up yet, so here is an obvious answer - Crime is what goes on at Chuck E. Cheese:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122878081364889613.html

I went there once when I was a little kid, but I barely remember it, except that I wasn't a fan of the animatronic mice.

Mass Hole Mommy said...

HOLY CRAP, this is soooo funny. Growing up there were always ads for Chuck E Cheese and I wanted to go to one sooooo friggin bad. Someone told my father that there was one in Hyannis (cape cod) so we were on our yearly trip there one year and my dad said he's take us. We drove around in circles for like an hour and never found it. This was waay before cell phones and GPS. Me, my sister and brother were in tears. Come to find out there was never even one there...or anywhere on the cape. As soon as I turned like 13 or something one opened about 5 minutes from my parents house, but by then I was too old. And since I've had kids, I've been twice and that is twice too many times for me.

Erin said...

I have never been and my kids haven't been...I hope to keep it that way based on what I've heard. LOL!

Christiejolu said...

My girls LOVE Chuck E Cheese....The pizza sucks though....

cathyjoy said...

i have never had the joy of experiencing chuck e. cheese either...dang! no wonder my life feels so empty! i'm followin you now since you were so kind to stop by my place!

TS Hendrik said...

I went to Chuck E. Cheese's once when I was a kid and found it to be alright but nothing special. I then went as an adult taking my youngest neph... I may have liked it more than a grown man should.

It's funny cause I just watched this funny thing this show put together about local news stations around the country reporting on various crimes committed at Chuck E. Cheese's.

Jennifer said...

As a kid, my parents too me there all the time, now that I have my own kids, it only took us going one time before I said never again. Let's just say there is a reason they serve beer there.

Cheeseboy said...

Up Chuck-E-Cheeses was what we always referred to it as.

shortmama said...

Seriously consider yourself lucky!

RawknRobynsGoneBlogWild said...

I vote with everyone else. The pizza is the worst, kids are running wild like crazy there, it's loud and chaotic, and Chuck E. isn't even cute.
xoRobyn

Dan Alexander said...

I grew up going to Showbiz Pizza Place, which was within walking distance of our house (you had to climb down a mountain to get there, but as kids, we didn't care). Showbiz had animatronic singing animals, including a gorilla named Fatz that scared many children.

Showbiz became Chuck E. Cheese many years ago. The magic the place had to me as a kid is long gone. All the old robotic characters were removed, and now there's just one (of Chuck E. Cheese) and a bunch of video screens.

pika23 said...

OH you lucky ducks with the showtime pizza! Rock a fire explosion was the best animatronic band ever! I saw vids on youtube. I used to go to this place in South amboy/Sayerville NJ called Razz Ma Tazz...same thing as CEC and showbiz. They had a knock off Alvin and the Chipmunks band. They were their "cousins" they announcer said.

It was really fun! Back in the day, Point Pleasant Boardwalk's Martels bar/restaurant, had a repurposed Gorilla from the showbiz pizza chain. They called him Bubba and he had a talking tree named woody.

MiMi said...

I can see why kids love it...but to adults it just looks like a clown puked and that's their theme.

Heather Taylor said...

The pizza is good, but I have bad memories of Chuck E. Cheese. I may or may not have gone to a birthday party I wasn't invited to and cried the entire time and behaved like a little shit to the other kids because they weren't talking to me.

Cashier said...

I haven't been there in forever. I loved that place! I asked my fiance the other day if we could go there and he told me, 'hell no'. I guess I'll have to make a secret trip out there. :-D

Tara said...

i spent more time at chuck e. cheese's as a teenager than a kid. in hs my friends and i would go there on a fri or sat night, play the games, and win cheap prizes. my fave was a toy that i wore as a necklace. it was a pipe, and the "chain" part was a string. when you blew on the pipe, the string was blown through it around and around. LOVED it!!

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