The animatronic band will take a final bow as part of a company-wide remodel
As kids, Chuck E. Cheese was our favorite birthday party locale. As adults, it’s apparently our favorite multi-parent brawl locale. Through it all, there have been some happy constants, and one of them is the creepy, animatronic band that plays while the kids get all sugared up during parties.
Sadly, that band is about to be a thing of the past.
CBS News reports that the kiddie-focused pizza chain is undergoing a company-wide remodel, and one of the first things to go? The musically-talented, robotic furries and their weirdly out-of-place Italian pizza guy drummer.
Honestly, what was up with that?
Next to the giant Hamburglar playground prison I used to regularly get stuck in at the McDonald’s play place my grandma took us to, the Chuck E. Cheese band gave me the most nightmares.
But they were fun nightmares. Look at those animals, moving and singing in perfectly disturbing harmony. Aside from the fact that they would totally tip-toe into your bedroom and stab you in your sleep, it was pure, childhood magic.
The reason for the big switch-up in entertainment? Our kids are tech snobs, basically. Leverton explains that since 1977 when the chain opened, kids have gotten a lot more sophisticated in their entertainment tastes. “The animatronics became a side show,” he says.
The remodel will also mean more toned down colors in the restaurant, an open kitchen, and a dance floor where a live Chuck E. will come out to bust a move. “It’s the biggest thing we’ve done for the look and feel of Chuck E. Cheese for two decades,” says CEC Chief Executive Tom Leverton. “The kids stopped looking at the animatronics years and years ago, and they would wait for the live Chuck E. to come out.”
Well then. What’s next? Our kids won’t want Gushers fruit snacks? Little Hugs juice barrels? Rugrats reruns?
But actually, it’s our loss. One of the only reasons a dreaded trip to the Chuck as adults is somewhat bearable is the promise of seeing that goofy band we remember from when we were kids. Now, things have to get all fancy. Time marches on, we suppose. And so will our favorite fake animal musicians.
The revamp will begin with four locations in San Antonio, Texas and will then hit the Kansas City, Missouri area. The new design will compliment changes the chain has already made to their menu in an effort to appeal to parents. Along with their regular offerings, a selection of wraps, gluten-free pizza and a thin-crust pizza are now available. “We are trying to make sure while we are focused on being a kid business, mom and dad will have a great experience,” Leverton explains. He says parents “shouldn’t have to sacrifice” when going out to dinner with their kids.
That’s all well and good, but we would prefer a dose of childhood memories while eating that gluten-free pizza. Bye-bye, dead-eyed, animal robot band. See you only in our nightmares.