Pros: with good planning it doesn't have to be expensive
Cons: children want to play and play, so without limits it can be expensive
I read some of the reviews. I noticed many people wrote Chuck E. Cheese is expensive. It can be, but with careful planning, it doesn't have to be. Every month our Sunday paper has coupons for Chuck E. Cheese. I think you can get a pizza, 4 drinks, and 32 tokens for $19.99. Or you can get a few more tokens for a higher price. For 27.99, receive any pizza, 4 drinks, and 80 tokens. For a family of four this isn't too bad. Another money saving idea. If you have a Biggs grocery store around you. They sell a book of coupons called "The Zone". I'm pretty sure it is $20 and sometimes is discounted to $10. Inside the book there are coupons for Chuck E. Cheese and many other places. It is much like the Entertainment book sold nation wide. Without the fancy restaurants and more family type restaurants. There are coupons in there for Chuck E Cheese. Buy any large pizza and receive 100 free tokens. Buy $10 worth of tokens and receive $10 worth of tokens for free. Also if you go to Chuck E. Cheese.com, sometimes they will have a good coupon you can print out. I hope these ideas help you.
Our Chuck E. Cheese is located in Florence, KY. About 30 minutes drive from us. We went on a Saturday afternoon. When we arrived it was pretty crowded, but usually is on weekends. The first thing they do is stamp your hands when you come through the doors. This is to keep the right parents with the right children. A safety thing that seems to work pretty good. There are three of us. My wife, my daughter, and me. We ordered a large pizza with two toppings, two pops, and my wife ordered water. With the coupon, we received 100 free tokens. The bill was a little over $16. Not too bad for a family of three and 100 tokens. The pizza at our Chuck E. Cheese is pretty good. I delivered pizza for 12 years, so I should know. I'm sure some of the Chuck E. Cheese restaurants aren't good because they are a chain. Most chain restaurants are like this, some good, some bad. They also offer a dinky salad bar that looks ok, but I don't buy it. Pizza is enough for me.
The games are a little old in Chuck E Cheese. Although, I heard an advertisement on television saying they were changing their games. To something newer and more fun for children. Each game costs one token except for the car that takes pictures of your children when they ride it. This one takes 2 tokens. They have a basketball game. You get tickets depending on how many baskets you make. They have the mole hitting game. also you receive tickets based on how good you do. My favorite game is the bowling like game. You roll a heavy little ball down the isle and try to get it in the holes. Depending on what hole you roll it in, you receive 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, or 100. The 100 is the hardest one to get. You get 9 balls and you receive tickets based on your total. I usually get between 8 and 16 tickets for each game played. you can receive a jackpot if you reach 450 points, but I never received it. I play the game for two reasons. I like it and I know without my help, my daughter wouldn't receive many tickets. They also have many games which are like gambling games for kids. they insert their token and receive tickets for where their token goes or lands. Their are a few more games, but most aren't interesting to my daughter. After using 100 tokens, we received 500 tickets. We ran them through the machine and received a paper for next time. The girl at the counter told me each ticket is worth a penny. Therefore, we could buy anything worth $5 or less. The prizes are junky, so we decided to save our points for next time. Some of the bigger prizes are ok, but they take between 1000- and 5000 points. The smaller prizes are usually candy or little toys just big enough for a parent to step on when your child is done with it.
They have one big climbing toy that doesn't cost anything. The children have to take of their shoes. They climb in it, go through the little maze, and slide down the little slide. It is ok. Keeping my daughter busy for about 10 minutes. Not too impressive.
Away from the games you can watch the puppet show. Not really puppets, more mechanical characters that move and sing. Chucky and the gang as I call them. I don't know the others names. They are cute and sing a lot. The little children seem to be amazed with them. My daughter will be 7 in two weeks. She looks at them for a moment and runs away to play games. In this area you can have your child's birthday party. I never did. From what I have heard, it is too expensive. I don't have coupons for this, so I stay away. I am not rich enough to throw money away like this. If you are on a budget, stay away.
There are plenty of seats in Chuck E Cheese. We have never had to wait to be seated. Sometimes it is so crowded you cannot play the game you want to. Sometimes you feel like you are walking in to children and parents everytime you turn around. They don't have enough parking for all this mess. Our Chuck E Cheese has between 30 and 45 spaces. If you are early enough you will get one. If not you can park further away in a different parking lot. A little incovenient if you have smaller children.
As you leave, three things seem to happen. You hear voices. I want a prize, i have to go to the bathroom, and can I see your hands. My daughter always wants a prize, but we saved our points last time. All the kids are piled up near the counter to see what they won. The children are happy with the junk. The parents are crying inside when they think about what they spent. Since I spent only $16, I am happy. They have an ice-cream machine for $1 on the way out. I spend my 17th dollar on that, sneak past the bathrooms, and we make our way past the hand checker. He checks us to make sure we belong together and we are out the door. Total elapsed timed, 2 1/2 to 3 hrs. Time to drive home and take a rest.
I hope next time the games are better like they promised