Chuck E. Cheese is all about kids having fun. It has video games, rides, music and a dancing mouse. And with all that fun comes some good news and some not-so-great news. The good news: kids do have a ball. The bad news: lots and lots and lots of kids have fun at Chuck E. Cheese. So, when you decide you want to bring your little sweetie, consider taking them in the morning or early afternoon. We went one rainy Wednesday morning and there may have been about six other people in the entire place. It was nice and quiet.
We live in the Southtowns, so we went to the Hamburg location for the first time. There also is a Chuck-E-Cheese in Amherst (4994 Harlem Road) which I haven’t been to in years.
I will say this, it wasn’t the way I remembered. First of all, there are no more tokens. I know, right? That is fabulous because I always thought those little coins were dirty and a pain to keep track of. So, I was glad about the new deal. You get a card called a play pass. It's like a credit card that gets filled with play points.
It is free to get in. They do still stamp everyone in your party with the same number and then check when you leave. I always thought that was a good safety feature, and still do.
We bought the No. 3 special. It came with 80 play points (on the card), a large, one topping pizza and four large drinks for $49.99. It’s a bit much, but considering it was lunch for five of us and an afternoon of playing games, it didn’t seem bad. They offer several other specials or you can buy what you’d like off the menu, get play points separately – or not eat at all. You can go there just to play.
The place is split up into three sections. One is for toddlers and preschoolers, then bigger kids video games and finally the games for teens and adults. Most games give you tickets to cash in for small toys or candy.
If you remember the old-school Chuck E Cheese and the dancing robotic bears that performed every 30 minutes, you’ll be surprised. No more robots. There is a large mouse that walks around and performs twice an hour. He does a dance with the kids and throws tickets up in the air. It lasts about five minutes and then Chuck is escorted back behind closed doors and the kids go back to playing.
My 4-year-old loved the fun house. She must have gone through it a dozen times (and yes, it does cost play points to go in). I loved that they have a series of monitors on the outside so you can basically follow your child through the entire thing thanks to a series of cameras set up inside. Emma still talks about that fun house. My baby girl, Ella, loved going on the little rides that move along quite slowly. They all have safety belts and play cute music as they sway or bounce for two or three minutes. M girls were off to play video games, so it was a win-win for everyone.
To be honest, the pizza was not bad at all. It was tough to get everyone to sit down, but we managed. It was a nice, relaxed atmosphere. I know it gets crazy, especially on the weekends. I think that would overwhelm my girls – at least the baby.
Back to the food for a moment. In addition to pizza, there are wraps, sandwiches and chicken nuggets. A salad bar is priced per person ($7.49) and has quite a variety of foods.
The bathrooms are very clean and have a changing station for babies. The entire place was neat and clean. The staff members were very nice. We played for about two hours, cashed in our tickets for a few little toys that I’m sure are already lost or broken, and we left. I have the card in my wallet for next time, since we didn’t use all of our points. Much easier than carrying around those tokens.
I don’t think it’s a place we would go weekly or even monthly, but we will go back.
4408 Milestrip Road, Hamburg
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday; and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday