Shoeless in the Parking Lot

My subject matter for today can be quiet controversial. Additionally, I seem to be in the minority with my way of thinking. So here it is, I actually like going to Chuck E Cheese. There, I said it. Don’t close your browser just yet, hear me out.

My girls love going to Chuck E Cheese. They will do just about anything I ask them to for two weeks if the reward is a trip to see the mouse. They love riding the little horses, cars and motorcycles. Every kids loves pizza, so that’s a no brainer. They enjoy competing and are so proud of themselves when they get a few tickets.

They also enjoy watching the little show, although they did discover today that the characters on stage must be “examples”. Examples? I had to ask:

Mom: “What are examples?”

Morgan: “They look just like the real characters but they are not real.  They just are examples.”

Mom: “Why do you think that?”

Morgan: “Because I am smart. I saw the real Chuck-E-Cheese walking around hugging the kids and that one was still one up on the stage.”

Can’t argue with that. I love that they still believe the characters in costumes are real.

I will conclude my argument with a few ground rules that you have to follow in order to have an enjoyable experience:

  1. Never, ever, under any circumstance go on a weekend, after 3pm, a holiday or any time that school is out.
  2. Use coupons and tell the kids ahead of time how many tokens they will each get. Don’t bring any other money inside the restaurant, seriously.
  3. Sanitizer is essential. Carry it with you and use it as often as possible.
  4. Work your way through the arcade and only allow them to do things in that area. This is essential if you have multiple kids.

There you have it! Think I have it all figured out now, don’t you? Well did you notice the title of this blog? As we walked out I was proud of an enjoyable trip,  I assured myself that it wasn’t a terrible place to go. Emily started crying “Mommy, it’s HOT!!!”. I looked down at my shoeless baby and we ran right back in. So much for having it all figured out.

So, do you love or hate Chuck E Cheese? Do you, like me, feel the need to help your kids out on games from time to time to ensure they get the maximum number of tickets?


26 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. cafechez11
    Feb 20, 2012 @ 15:01:51

    Chuck E. Cheese is a great way to spend face-to-face time with my husband.
    Here, Ernie….here’s 5 coins. Come back when you run out.
    (10-20 minutes later)…here’s another 5 coins. (Repeat for hours!)


  2. Morticia
    Feb 17, 2012 @ 11:26:56

    I really like Chuck E. Cheese. I completely agree with your advice too.
    Kids can get really overwhelmed in there with all the options.
    If they have those boundaries set ahead of time it helps to keep everyone on the same page.
    And oh heavens, yes to the sanitizer!!


  3. deborahbeyer
    Feb 16, 2012 @ 20:54:25

    I am with you. I love Chuck E. Cheese, too. All I have to do is look back at the pictures of my kids’ faces on the rides or eating pizza and the sheer joy is enough to win me over. The pizza’s not bad either. I sometimes find myself “helping” my kids use their tokens. I am getting pretty good at Guitar Hero!


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  5. MJ, Nonstepmom
    Feb 16, 2012 @ 19:19:25

    In our area we do not have a Mouse House (single tear down cheek) but we have 2 places filled with inflatables and a glow in the dark/neon indoor mini golf !


  6. lifeinthetoylane
    Feb 16, 2012 @ 16:19:57

    My children are still too young to know about Chuck yet. I think it is kind of expensive, but I’m sure they will be a frequent visitor for special occasions as they get older (oh yah!). They have been to John’s Incredible pizza a few times and that place scares me when I have both of them with me. It is so easy to get lost in this big place and so many freaking kids! The last time we went I turned around and didn’t see my almost 2 yr old, I started yelling as people were looking at me like I’m crazy, my daughter was right behind me.


  7. the Mad D Dad
    Feb 16, 2012 @ 16:05:46

    I know right? I can’t say I’ve ever let her do that, my daughter isn’t to keen on basketball not that I wouldn’t have. Kids already believe that adults get to have all the fun, the whole no rules thing, not having a bed time, and getting to watch what ever we want. So there’s no way they’re going to let us intrude on part of their world. That’s not to say that we don’t try.


  8. Seriously Sassy Mama
    Feb 16, 2012 @ 14:44:30

    I love taking my three girls to Chuck E CHeese. They love going there. I always get there between 0930-10. No one is there, and you can get free tickets from the guys working on the machines. We eat pizza at 1030, and are usually out of there by 1100 when all the other kids are coming in. I am always checking the Sunday paper for coupons. We are going this Monday with my parents, and I have coupons!!!!!!


  9. Nancy
    Feb 16, 2012 @ 14:27:48

    Sounds like you’ve got it figured out. I’ll follow your example next time we go. I haven’t taken my kids since my oldest was about 2 1/2 and my youngest was still a baby. It was easy enough to handle one while carrying the other. We’re planning an outing there this weekend though. Wish us luck! 😉


    • MamaMoo
      Feb 16, 2012 @ 14:44:32

      Good luck Nancy, the game changes when you have two mobile kids. Use the “you may only use one of these 4/6/8 games” rule. Really, whatever you can see at any given time. Move your way around the facility or you will be running a marathon. Also you should be the token holder, that way they always have to come back to you for another token. It will keep them close for sure.


      • Nancy
        Feb 16, 2012 @ 16:30:13

        Excellent tips! I especially like the idea of me being the token holder so they always have to come back to me. Thanks!

  10. irishsignora
    Feb 15, 2012 @ 22:01:26

    I LOVE Chuck E., and shamelessly play games to win strips of tickets for our four children. Our theory is that the Chuck E years are so few that we don’t want to miss a single chance to see our kids having fun being, you know, little kids — or any excuse to be little kids again ourselves 😉

    For the record, I freakin’ rock at the balloon popping game.


    • MamaMoo
      Feb 16, 2012 @ 14:45:39

      I know the balloon popping game well, the bee is my friend. I do feel like i become a kids again, especially when i start to interfere on their games to earn them extra tokens.


  11. Fraha
    Feb 15, 2012 @ 19:30:11

    We too only go in the morning when they open even when school is out. It seems as long as you get there right away you have a couple hours before it gets to crazy. But what I can’t stand are all cheap prizes that my son comes home with. And why do I feel the need to change my clothes and shower and lysol the kids when I get home, you end up feeling like you are covered in germs.


    • MamaMoo
      Feb 16, 2012 @ 14:49:48

      Fraha, I know what you mean about the cheap prizes but, they are cheap prizes to us, not to everyone. What I mean by that is this, i let my kids play with them until one of two things inevitably happens, they break = trash or they end up in the bottom of the toy box. Every month while the girls are out i clean out the old cheap toys and put them in a bin and save them for either or i send them to my sister who does missions work in el salvador and she gives them to the kids. Eliminates clutter here and brightens someones day overseas.


      • Fraha
        Feb 19, 2012 @ 13:14:02

        Yes, usually they end up broken and in pieces around my house and they get tossed “secretively” as my oldest I think has a hoarding problem 😉 I’m glad that if your prizes survive that you can repurpose them to make another child happy!

  12. KL
    Feb 15, 2012 @ 18:23:41

    In Australia, or at least in Sydney, I think the closest thing would be ‘Wizzy World’. No games specifically, just a big netted climbing contraption with all kinds of obstacles and places for kids to crawl into and generally go wild. I find the kids tend to go a bit bonkers in there, so I try to avoid it if possible. I am proud to say though that when we do go, my son even with his ‘issues’ is NOT the wildest one there!


    • MamaMoo
      Feb 16, 2012 @ 14:51:37

      Isn’t it a great feeling when your kids is not the most wild? I love places where my kids can just release the energy and be kids, and be as wild as they want.


  13. Perfecting Motherhood
    Feb 15, 2012 @ 16:27:54

    I love your advice before entering Chuck’s. It could be apply to any casino!


  14. barrentobonkers
    Feb 15, 2012 @ 16:26:21

    I like Chuck E. Cheese too! I convince my kids they need help at Skee ball (I’m pretty good at it I must say). We decide ahead of time how many tokens each kid will get and then just give them a third to start and then another third when they ask again and then finally, “These are the last of the tokens.” So it lenghtnes their play time.

    Hey at least you niticed she was shoeless before you got home, done that before.


    • MamaMoo
      Feb 16, 2012 @ 14:53:41

      Got all the way home with no shoes? That hasn’t happened yet but i am sure it is on the horizon with our crazy life! good idea about the 1/3 at a time.


  15. Karla J.
    Feb 15, 2012 @ 13:54:32

    We LOVE Chuck E Cheese. At 9am, any weekday (except when school is out, as you said) is the best time to go. Nobody is there, and they are refilling the tickets in all the machines. We get to s of extra tickets all the time! And Carter gets to save up for a big prize. We go once a month as a special treat…and he talks about it until the next time we go! 🙂


  16. the Mad D Dad
    Feb 15, 2012 @ 08:33:34

    There isnt a Chuck’s anywhere around here, but we have the next thing, a Billy Bob’s Wonderland! He’s the backwoods bear rendition, complete with coveralls and a lack of shoes. Like you, I certainly feel the need to help out my daughter, sometimes I get a little carried away with myself. As shes angrily shoving me out of way trying to reclaim her turn on the Wack ‘a Mole. Or better yet, Ill even go so far as to play my own games and sandbag the ticket count. It’s not everyday we get to revert back to children, so when in Rome.


    • MamaMoo
      Feb 16, 2012 @ 14:59:22

      yeah i never understand why my kids wont let me help. Don’t they know how good i am? Have you ever given your daughter the ok to stand up on the basketball dispenser so she could be closer to the goal?


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