Our son turned eight earlier this summer and his birthday fell during our family’s vacation to Ontario to see my dad and stepmother. We’d toyed with the idea of taking the kids to Canada’s Wonderland for the day but it felt too expensive — especially considering neither kid would be tall enough for any of the “good” rides yet.
Then I remembered my dad mentioning there was a Chuck E. Cheese’s nearby in Mississauga. I didn’t really know anything except there would be pizza and games — I kept picturing the Whack-a-Mole one. I also knew their tagline, probably from watching United States commercials as a child: “Where A Kid Can Be A Kid.” It sounded perfect.
I Googled a three-minute Chuck E. Cheese’s commercial and played it for the kids — they were enthralled. This place was REAL?! They were going to GO THERE?! They were as excited as if we’d planned a trip to Disney World. (Not gonna happen.)
They bounced inside, starry-eyed and could barely hold still long enough to get their kidnapping-prevention stamp. (Parents and kids have their hands stamped with invisible ink codes, so no one can leave without their proper guardian. It’s great!)
Instead of tickets or tokens, they were armed with plastic swipe cards called Play Passes that would work on any of the games or rides.