Surviving And Thriving At Chuck E. Cheese

Well, we all chucked it up (not upchucked, thankfully) at Chuck E. Cheese on Thursday. It’s always fun to see how the three personalities manifest themselves in places like this.

My little girl mainly wanted to ride everything she could.

This ride was her favorite, so she rode it four times. She never really got the point of using the reins to steer the horse. Instead, she just whipped the left one up and down the entire time, laughing hysterically as her horse crashed into walls.

My middle child was all about the roller coasters, so he rode the biggest one at this location about a dozen times. He wanted each member of the family to go with him at least once since the ride was a 2-seater, but my daughter balked at the last second and hopped off, and my eldest, who hates roller coasters with an unbridled passion, refused to even go near the machine. That meant the child’s parental units had to take turns riding each time with him, which actually turned out well, since this particular ride gives you a choice of 4 different roller coasters.

Plus, since I wouldn’t touch a real roller coaster on pain of death, this allowed me to live vicariously via a large screen and chairs that tilted. It was all good.

My eldest was all about video games, gravitating toward a battleship game in particular. Then, about halfway through his tokens, he shifted his focus to collecting the little tickets that spit out of many of the games after you play a round, trying to see what kind of prize he could get for all of his tickets.

One of the games was this wheel-spinning thing where, if you hit this one teeny, tiny spot, you’d get 100 tickets, and if you hit one other teeny, tiny spot, you’d get an undefined amount of bonus tickets, which my eldest found seductive because of its limitless possibilities. During this time when we were playing a few rounds and speculating on odds (LCB clearly had his mental calculator on rapid-fire trying to calculate the odds but he was trying not to be obvious), a little boy about three or so walked up and asked if he could play a few rounds. We said sure, and within the span of about 42 seconds, he managed to use up what I calculated to be about $5.00 worth of tokens. I shuddered, because that is what I call not getting bang for your buck, and I am all about getting bang for my buck. But then again, he seemed relatively satisfied with himself, so what do I really know anyway?

Perhaps the most fun moment for the parents was when an emergency alarm went off. I was just finishing up the last roller coaster ride with my son when it sounded, and as I climbed off of the ride I saw several parents moving at extremely rapid speeds toward the entrance in search of their kids. I scanned the room, and couldn’t help grinning when I saw an oblivious young employee who appeared to be calmly cleaning the emergency door at the back. There’s nothing like a potential “your child might be in danger” moment to get a bunch of weary parents to throw down their pizza slices and suddenly get “cardiovascular.” And here’s a 16-year-old, who has likely never been responsible for anything greater than his iPod in his life, who’s completely unaware of the dozen or so parents moving at their fastest speed ever, or the many racing hearts and potential mini-strokes he’s caused, or the additional gray hairs we all went home with that night.

And here, they didn’t even charge us extra for that excitement.

2 Replies to “Surviving And Thriving At Chuck E. Cheese”

  1. Would you believe that my poor, deprived children have never been to a Chuck E. Cheese? I laughed at the visual of that poor 16 year old trying to manage a crowd of fierce mama bears ushering their children to safety.

    1. Yeah, and you should have seen the papa bears!

      My kids were whining because I’d only taken them once (before Thursday). They even chose it over a handful of other options I gave them that I felt were all much more exciting. But I had promised them they could pick the activity for Thursday, so I had to stick with it.

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