Chuck E. Cheese’s

Chuck E. Cheese’s: Pizza, Prizes and Parties, Oh My!

Believe it or not, I had not been to Chuck E Cheese’s since I was about 7-years-old. I have memories of fun birthday parties filled with pizza and games, but had yet to take my two children to experience our close-by, Dulles location.   

Chuck E Cheese’s sent us a fun goodie bag filled with some toys, tickets, game tokens and food vouchers, so we decided a maiden voyage to meet Chuckie himself was in order. Our good friends were also able to join us in the fun, making us a group of four children (ages 2-5) and three adults.

When we first arrived at the Dulles location (in the outer ring of the Dulles Town Center Mall), I was impressed to find out about their program, Kid Check, which stamps each guest’s hand with a UV ink number that links children to their adult chaperone. Upon exiting, the greeter will not let any child out the door without the adult that has a matching number. We did an unintentional check of the system when my son and husband went to leave. My husband had arrived separately from us, so he had a different number. The greeter kindly said they could not leave because their numbers did not match, and waited until I arrived at the door. This added layer of security made me feel a bit better when my son would disappear suddenly (running off to games and his friends) and that initial mom panic would set in.

The restaurant/game center was not too busy when we arrived at 5 p.m. on a Thursday evening, and the floors and tables were very clean. We went up to the counter to order our pizza and drinks and get some game tokens. The employees were very friendly and got us playing very quickly. Each child received a gaming card loaded with 15 “play points” (instead of the old tokens) and headed off to find their favorites.

My 2-year-old daughter alternated between a water shooting game, train ride and the free climbing structure the whole night, while the older kids tried just about everything from skeeball to driving games. The variety of games and toys make it a fun place for families with children of different ages, as there is something for every age. An employee was constantly roaming the floor, checking the machines and giving the kids an occasional free play, which I thought was a nice touch.

After about 15 minutes of playing, our pizza arrived. Chuck E Cheese’s recently “reinvented” their pizza, boasting a thin, crispy crust.  We tried both cheese and pepperoni versions and liked them. The crust was indeed crispy, but a bit heavily doused with a garlic oil/butter. The pizza was a big hit with the children, cut in smaller than normal slices, which were easy for them to grab and eat. While they ate, they watched the animated, life-sized Chuck E. come to life and sing, keeping them entertained just long enough to fill their bellies. They have a few other new menu items as well, including wraps, wings and a salad bar that we didn’t try out but looked tasty.

When the pizzas were all gone, the kids headed back to finish up their play cards on their favorite games. Once those were complete, they cashed in their tickets and headed to the counter to choose prizes. The selection was a bit slim and filled with plastic toys, but it was what I expected. The lady working at the counter was very patient and helpful to each child picking out their perfect prize. My 5-year-old son took a long time deciding what to choose, yet she stayed friendly, happy and showed him everything he wanted to see before making a decision.

Overall, we all had a great time at Chuck E Cheese’s. The kids were very excited and all talked about their favorite games afterward. My son also had a great time socializing with his buddies in a new environment, while my daughter loved all the things to explore.    

It is not the most frugal option for children’s entertainment (our package with 1 large pizza, 4 drinks and 30 game tokens normally costs about $34), but it will stay on our list for a fun family outing/treat. Coupons are always available on their website, so check before you go. They also provide lots of birthday party options and have a great party seating area, something to consider when planning your next event. We were very thankful to Chuck E Cheese’s for giving us the opportunity to check it out!

Chuck E Cheese’s by CEC Entertainment, Inc.

Ticket prices start at $10.  Family Value Packages available at each location with tickets and food.

Kept my Children’s Interest: 5

Appealed to Advertised Age Range: 5

I Would Recommend to Others: 4

I Would Return: 3

Overall rating: 4

All ratings on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being highest.

Meet the Reviewer!

Christy Petrak is a Systems Engineer currently taking a leave of absence to raise her two children, Thomas, age 5 and Eliza, age 2. She enjoys spending time with her family, swimming and baking/decorating cupcakes.

About WF Staff

Washington FAMILY Staff

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