July 13, 2012

Chuck E. Cheese Is Not The Evil Hellhole You Think It Is

I'm always seeing parents complain about how much they hate Chuck E. Cheese. And I'll tell you a little secret- we love it there. Totally love it. Even I do. We usually go every year for birthdays (sometimes even mine), so I'm an old pro now. I'm going to share my tips for making CEC actually enjoyable.

1. NEVER GO ON A WEEKNIGHT OR WEEKEND (or holiday). And when I say never, I mean never never never never ever ever ever. CEC on a weekend is a massive hellhole. One Friday night we tried to go and couldn't even get in the door. We always go on a weekday, and we go as early as possible. Check your location's hours- ours opens at 9. And guess what? When we go that early on a weekday, IT'S EMPTY. There's never been more than 10 people that early. Often, we've had the whole place to ourselves. Also, check out how late your CEC is open. Ours can be open as late as 10- and one weeknight we did go around 7:30-8, and it was manageable.

That one other kid in the background? She was with us. 
2. Get your paperwork in order. Damn that CEC pizza is expensive (and it's not even that good). A few days before your trip, sign up for the mailing list to receive some great coupons. The mailing list coupons are always better than what you can print out from the website (and your first set of coupons is usually extra great), but I would never encourage you to sign up with multiple e-mails to get the best deal. I would never do that. Make sure you enter your child's birthdate- they'll get free stuff for their birthday, and you can use more than one coupon at a time. There's also usually a game on the CEC website you can play to get tickets for prizes- do this for all your children! Have no shame. Walk proudly through that door with your fistful of coupons. They'll get your money one way or another. You might as well get the best deals possible. 

3. Plan your strategy. Ok, you've got your coupons. You've picked a time when you don't think it will be too crowded. Now- are you eating there? Do you have coupons for pizza? Will you be buying soda, or bringing water bottles? Are you bringing snacks and skipping meal time? (I could never do this- the kids love that mediocre pizza. I always plan to eat there, and I get either the cinnamon or apple dessert pizza or the salad bar. French fries are an inexpensive option but aren't very good.) How much money do you want to spend? Do your kids have socks to go in the play equipment? Are you wearing something with pockets to hold tokens and tickets?

AND YOU ARE READY. I have gifted you with all of the knowledge from my many years of experience at Chuck E. Cheese. I know it seems like a lot for a silly CEC trip, but just keep these tips in the back of your mind. I promise that you and your kids can actually have some fun, and it won't even cost you your sanity. 

I don't think I need to say that Chuck E. is not affiliated with this post. I doubt they'd like the name of their establishment paired with "hellhole" in a blog post. 


  1. Oh! You have just reminded me that one time a friend and I did take our kids to CEC on a week night, and you're right! TOTALLY AWESOME. I even played some games, which ordinarily I never do, because I am not the least bit interested in whacking moles or blowing up assassins or kicking ninjas or what have you, but that firefighter game? Where you get to spray that giant virtual cannon hose? Whoo, that was fun! I played with me nephew and acted like a total lunatic and we laughed and laughed. GOOD TIMES.

    1. See, it is fun! It can be done. My sister and I have also scoped out the place and know which games have the best ticket pay out.


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