Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I'm a big kid now

Welcome to Restaurant Reviews, an all-new non-regular feature here on IYROOBTY. Today, I will be writing about the midscale Italian eatery and entertainment chain known as Chuck E. Cheese.

There is nothing like a kid's very first trip to Chuck E. Cheese. Why, I still remember mine like it was last week. And that's because it was.

Last Sunday, I ventured into one of Chuck E's 542 locations. My first impression? It was like Aladdin's Castle had started serving pizza!

Remember when you were a kid and your mom would come and get you out of the arcade and tell you it was time to go eat and that maybe you could come back later but there was never a later? Well, problem solved.

At Chuck E. Cheese, you can play and eat, then play some more. Kids of all ages can enjoy the fun. Well, except for the climby thingie, which apparently has an age limit even though there was none clearly marked. I really don't think there should be an age limit on fun.

Now on to the ratings:

Entertainment - 8.5 (out of 10)

Kudos for the number and variety of arcade games. There was also the climby thing and a giant slide. Plenty to keep you, er, your kids, occupied.

I deducted half a point here because the football toss game stopped giving me tickets. And I was dominating, too! Also, Mario Kart was NEVER open.

I took away another point for the animatronics stage show which is going on pretty much the entire time you're there. I mean, it was interesting enough. I just think if those kids ever figure out that's just a bunch of metal and wires and not a real person up there, you're gonna have some crying kids. It'll be like finding out there's no Milli Vanilli.

Can I be completely honest? Going into the whole thing, I thought Chuck E. was really gonna be there. It's a little disappointing, that's all.

Food - 5.5

Well, there's pizza. And I think I saw a salad bar on my way to the restroom. Honestly, you don't even really notice the food so much. You just wolf it down as quickly as possible so that you can get back to the games.

Ambience - 8

Fun. Noisy. Laid back. I deducted two points here for the rude six-year-old girl who kept climbing onto the ramp and stealing my skeeballs then throwing them down the wrong lane. I mean seriously, where was her legal guardian? What a dark day for parenting.

Also, if the thought of forty kids running around mostly unsupervised all over the place bothers you, then that'll take the ambience rating down a few notches to about a... negative twelve.

Value - 10

Where else can you do a half a million things, all at a quarter to three? Oh, wrong slogan.

All games cost one token. Granted, each game lasts an average of forty-two seconds. But still, high marks for making things simple. Most kids find the ticket counting machine pretty fun, so you can usually kill an extra ten minutes or so per kid on that.

Then there are the prizes. We cashed in our tickets for a cool glider airplane, an inflatable hammer, and some Pop Rocks. At what age will I stop being amused by Pop Rocks? You might think it would have already happened by now, but apparently not.

Overall, it was an enjoyable experience. However, I would like to make a couple of recommendations. As I do have my very own blog on which I sometimes write restaurant reviews, I think I've earned that right. Number one, be sure to come well-stocked with hand sanitizer. Also, if they could like maybe put kids who steal other kids' skeeballs in time out or something, that would be great.

"You can hear the cries from the carnival rides, the pinball bells and the skeeball slides..."

22 comments:

  1. WOW first time to Chuck-E-Cheese? I haven't been there in years, and when I say years I mean YEARS!

    I'm glad you had fun. When I was younger I would get so frustrated at C-E-C. I was horrible at the games and I wouldn't get very many tickets. I usually ended up with the worst prize because I only had 45 tickets and Sister #1 would have 80. It was sad.

    I always liked the show from the fake Chuck-E-Cheese Band. I mean, it gave us something to watch while we ate.

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  2. I've never been to a Chuck E's, and thanks to your comprehensive review, now I will never have to go. I couldn't take someone stealing my skeeballs.

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  3. I love your post today but I haven't been to Chuck E Cheese before, EVER. Can you believe that? Sound like you had fun though and that's all that counts. Shame on the girl who stole your skeeballs. Hope all is well. Have a great day.

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  4. Ah yes for me those days are long gone. My kids are 22(his birthday is today) and 18. I have not attended or hosted a party there in a very long time. Maybe we should go there tonight for dinner for old times sake.

    Seriously Bone you are the only person I know that can make Chuck - E-Chesse sound inviting. You know like I'm missing something because I haven't gone there in YEARS.

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  5. Last time I was at Chuck E. Cheese the sign clearly stated parents were allowed in the climbing thingy. And a mate & I took advantage of that, although we are both big, tall guys so it was a little cramped in there...especially on the slide.

    My local Chuck E. Cheese has a Nascar Pinball machine in the corner. It's the only Pinball machine there, it's the only machine that doesn't reward tickets, and like the rest of the machines it's just 1 token per game. Where else can you play Pinball for a quarter a game? I'd prefer it were The Addams Family, but beggars can't be choosers.

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  6. OMG! First EV-AH C-E-C review I've read. Too funny!
    For a grown up version try Dave & Buster's if you run across one. They do not have the climby thing, but plenty of games. I used to work at one in South FL -I was a hostess and Coordinator of Murder Mystery dinner theater. Every day at work was a blast.
    Glad you had fun!
    Oh and I have to say that POP ROCKS still ROCK!

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  7. I have been there when Chuck E. is alive and in person. And let me tell you...it's amazing how a big Chuck E. coming to shake hands can send MANY kids in tears! Animation is good!

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  8. I suppose it is a right of passage that every adult at one point in their life is subjected to this place. When I was a kid we had something like C-E-C but a different rat...what is it with a rat selling cardboard with greasy cheese on it that is so appealing?

    At any rate DD is not a fan. She will go, but she doesn't really like to. In fact she calls it Yucky Squeeze. Which makes me most appreciative of my girl. It is too noisy in there, I think someone should mention the decimal levels in there are high enough for permanent hearing loss.

    Oh and I would highly recommend hand sanitizer in the jumbo gallon size!

    And we've met Chuck E in person...he comes out occasionally tossing tickets in the air and posing for pictures.

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  9. OK Chick - Yes, it was my first time. I thought maybe the local news would do a human interest story about it--local 36-year-old kid takes first trip to Chuck E. Cheese. But no.

    Susan - I'm glad to know I'm not the only one here who finds that extremely irritating.

    Michelle Johnson - Thank you. Well I'd probably have more trouble believing that had this not been the first time I'd been there myself :)

    PennyCandy - Thanks. Does that mean I can put you down as a reference when I apply for a marketing position with Chuck E. Cheese?

    Capn John - Ooo, Addams Family pinball!!!! They used to have that at the bowling alley. The Mamushka! Multi-ball! I loved that game.

    Daily Panic - Thanks :) I've heard of Dave & Buster's but never been to one. Sounds like a fun job though. I'll have to google it and see where the nearest location is.

    Working Mom - I hadn't thought of that. But I have seen kids cry when meeting Santa Claus, so I guess the same principles would apply.

    Renee - We used to have Showbiz Pizza, which I think was pretty much the same thing, but I never got to go there either.

    Yes, they really should pipe hand sanitizer to all the tables.

    Tickets? How about tossing out free tokens, Chuck? I can win my own tickets!

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  10. There is nothing like a kid's very first trip to Chuck E. Cheese. Why, I still remember mine like it was last week. And that's because it was.

    LOL Man, I knew this was gonna be a good read from that line on.

    While I can't believe you made it this long before going to CEC, I must confess I've gone way more as an adult -err, big kid- than I ever did growing up.

    Will you be having your next birthday party at CEC? You might be able to request a visit from Chuck E. himself.

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  11. P.S. I hope you never outgrow Pop Rocks. I know I never plan to. Pop Rocks, well, rock.

    Personally, I think that if I were you, I'd be planning a trip back to CEC just to get some more of those.

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  12. Oh good idea TC...Yes, have your bday at CEC!

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  13. I have NEVER been to Chuck E Cheese, despite having a friend when I was in high school who worked at one.

    I have, however, been to Dave and Busters. It was very fun. Much fewer children, especially after 9pm. I suck at the games but I still have a good time.

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  15. This was hilarious, Bone. LOL...ahh, the memories. I haven't been there in about 14 years now, Thank God. The last time we were there, my daughter got a lump the size of a golf ball on her head from some vagrant toddler who was climbing up the big tube slide the wrong way (while she was coming down). We had to make a trip to the emergency room. But I'm glad you enjoy the place, and at least if you're on the slide you have the advantage of size to avoid injury. *lol* :P

    Chuck E's has been in the news a lot this year...well, the ones in Pennsylvania, anyway. Lots of violence going on (among the parents, not the toddlers). Seriously...altercations of all kinds, right in front of the children. What is this world coming to??

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  16. I'm awarding extra points for the Huey Lewis reference!

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  17. I was going to Chuck E Cheese back when it was still called Show Biz Pizza. I loved that place. We have one in town and I'd be lying if I said I've never been there. It's the place where a kid (and adult pretending to be a kid) can be a kid.

    Oh, and the pizza? Don't remember what it tastes like. Who goes there for the pizza?!

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  18. TC - Thanks. That was the line that kept running through my head during my mental preparation for this post.

    I think Chuck E. should be there all the time. I mean, what else has he got going on?

    OK Chick - Must you encourage her? :)

    Xinh - You're the second person to mention Dave & Buster's. I suppose I need to check it out.

    Russianbrides - Svetlana?? Is that you!?!? Why won't you return any of my calls?

    Fledgling Poet - Thank you. I don't know what it is that makes kids want to go up the slide the wrong way. Probably the same thing that makes me always wanna go up the down escalator :)

    Violence among the parents? Geez, sounds like a little league baseball game.

    Mama Zen - Yessss! Working Huey into a post is not as easy as it looks.

    Charlotta - It's the place where a kid (and adult pretending to be a kid) can be a kid.

    My thoughts exactly!

    So Showbiz changed into Chuck E. Cheese? I didn't know that. But I did wonder what happened to Showbiz.

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  19. the first time i went to chuck's i was a teenager. my friends worked there. they had under 21 nights and played music. our chuck's round here have police protection on the weekends cuz 'baby daddy' and new baby daddy get into fights. nice.

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  20. I have had some mighty fine times at Chuck E. Cheese, though not recently; the neices are all in college, now. I think it's COOL that parents can drink beer there, which makes it much easier to giggle at the games and animated bands.
    It's so sad the there have been so many incidents of fights at these restaurants! The big kids and adults should be ashamed of themselves.(If you don't know what I'm talking about, just google "fights at chuck e cheese")

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  21. they also need to hand sanitize their balls..
    wait..let me re-phrase that..
    Their ball pit needs a major hosing of bleach!!
    did u see THE chuck e cheese??
    he sings and scares the crap out of the young kids.
    One day my son got scared in that climby thingy and GuESS who had to climb up and save him??

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  22. I second TC in the line that made me laugh out loud.
    I have never been to a Chuck E Cheese though I was invited three times. Not bragging or anything....

    I could have read and not commented as I do so tend to lurk at other blogs but then I wouldn't be up for the most amount of consecutive comments in Boneland award.

    It's the one award I truly want as Bone is my tee and has come so far in the past four years

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