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If you’re a parent or close to people with small kids, you’ve probably noticed some over-the-top birthday extravaganzas with price tags of several hundred dollars. But what the kiddies really want to do is run around, play games, win prizes, go on rides, and eat some pizza — so that’s why a Chuck E. Cheese birthday party is still a pretty legit option.
Chuck E. Cheese has been around since 1977. And back in my day, you were the coolest kid in the class if you had a Chuck E. Cheese birthday party — even cooler than the kid who had a McDonald’s birthday party, and that’s saying something! But despite all of the amazing birthday party options available to kids these days — from laser tag to paintball to spa parties and more — Chuck E. Cheese is still rockin’ at a reasonable price point.
We did some digging into the details to help you decide if a Chuck E. Cheese birthday party provides good value, along with tips on how to book the most awesomely cheesy celebration ever.
1. Chuck E. Cheese is giving away more than 500 birthday parties on Sept. 7.
The top 10 most popular birth dates are between Sept. 9 and 20, so Chuck E. Cheese has announced a big party to celebrate birthdays. On Thursday, Sept. 7, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., the Chuck E. Cheese Big Day of Birthdays will hit every one of their locations across the U.S. and Canada.
Every location will hold a drawing for one lucky kid to win a free Ultimate Fun Birthday Party Package for up to 10 kids, featuring unlimited game play, a live show with Chuck E., pizza, drinks, and even Dippin’ Dots® Ice Cream. Plus, five winners from each location will receive a $50 coupon voucher for their upcoming birthday celebration.
Chuck E. Cheese is also having a special games offer on Sept. 7 — get 30 free minutes of play when you purchase 60 minutes.
2. Use coupon code BDAY free through Dec. 3 and the birthday kid celebrates for free.
Chuck E. Cheese is bringing back their popular “Birthday Star Free” promotion. If you’re the birthday boy or girl and you’ve got a party with 12 or more paid guests, you get to celebrate for free. Just use the code BDAYFREE when you book your party at ChuckECheese.com. This offer is available now through Dec. 3.
3. Chuck E. Cheese birthday party package prices start at $25.99 per person.
When pricing out a Chuck E. Cheese birthday party, you may notice that the cost is slightly different depending on where you live and the date and time you select. That said, the per-child price will still likely beat just about any other kids’ party place these days.
To give you an idea, I priced a party at my local Chuck E. Cheese for 8 kids and was offered the following options:
- $25.99 per person for the Super Fun package
- $31.99 for the Mega Fun
- $37.99 for the Ultimate Fun
We’ll get into what each of these packages offers in a second… but the important thing here is that if I went with the lowest package, it comes to around $208. Even when factoring in taxes, tips, and party day extras, I could keep the whole thing under $300.
TIP: Adults are free to attend, but food is not provided, so anything you order for them will be extra.
4. The ‘Mega Fun’ Chuck E. Cheese birthday party package offers the best value.
Obviously, you’re going to pick the kind of party you have based on budget and preference. For all three Chuck E. Cheese packages, you’ll get a two-hour reserved table with party setup and party host. Each child will get two slices of pizza and unlimited drinks. The birthday child (called the “birthday star”) also gets to try out the Ticket Blaster (see the photo above), and gets a shoutout during the live birthday show.
You also get free online invitations that you can customize and send via email or text.
Now, you can totally go with the bottom package and provide a great time for all, but for a few bucks more per person, there are a few extras thrown into the Mega Fun package that really make it worth it. For example, instead of the kids getting 45 play points each, they’ll get an unlimited amount for the duration of the party, which means you don’t have to worry about anyone running out.
You could go for the top package if you don’t want to deal with making goody bags and want to feed the moms and dads who hang out, but if you’re looking for a bargain-priced party, then those are extras you can probably do without.
Also, look for deals and coupons on the Chuck E. Cheese website — you may just get lucky. You can sometimes find specials on Chuck E. Cheese birthday party packages. For example, one special that was running when I checked was free entry for the birthday star if you have 12 or more paid guests.
Super Fun: $25.99 per person
- 2-hour reserved table with party setup/host
- 2 slices of pizza
- Unlimited drinks
- 45 play points
- Play pass and coil wristband
- Party Hat
- 1000 total bonus e-tickets for the birthday star
- Birthday star Ticket Blaster session
Mega Fun: $31.99 per person
Everything included in Super Fun, plus:
- All you can play during the party
- Dippin’ Dots ice cream
- 50 bonus e-tickets
- Collectible free refill cup
- 2000 total bonus e-tickets for the birthday star
- Chuck E. Cheese tote bag
Ultimate Fun: $37.99 per person
Everything in Mega Fun, plus:
- 100 Bonus e-tickets
- Goody bag
- 1 large 1-topping pizza for adults
- 3000 total bonus e-tickets for the birthday star
Note: Your party hosts get everything set up, cleaned up, and make sure you have everything you need. They accept tips, so keep that in mind as you set your budget.
5. You can book a Chuck E. Cheese birthday party online from 60 days to 24 hours beforehand.
You can book your party as early as 60 days in advance, but you’ll need at least 24 hours advanced notice. To hold your reservation, you have to make a non-refundable $50 deposit, which is not the most consumer-friendly policy. But, you can make changes up until the party with no penalty.
On the day of the party, as long as the minimum party amount is met (which can vary by location), you can have up to two no-shows for free; beyond that, you’ll have to pay. If you cancel, you can use your deposit toward another reservation within one year of the original party date.
6. Cake isn’t included; you can buy one from Chuck E. Cheese for $10+ or bring your own.
While Chuck E. Cheese generally doesn’t allow you to bring in outside food, they make an exception when it comes to cake or dessert for birthday parties. But if you want to let Chuck E. Cheese handle the cake duties, they have a selection of cakes for purchase with personalization options, including an 8-inch round cake with 10 slices for $9.99, and a 1/4 sheet cake with 18-20 slices for $16.99
You can also bring in your own decorations and paper goods if you choose, although Chuck E. Cheese offers those items for free.
Tip: Make sure you sign up for Chuck E. Cheese Rewards before you book a birthday party. You get 1 point for every $1 spent, in the restaurant, in the app or online. So a $208 birthday party would more than earn you enough points for the top reward — a choice of 60 minutes of play time, a large 1-topping pizza, or 2000 e-tickets.
7. Chuck E. Cheese also offers an ‘at home’ party pack for $60.
If you’re wanting the best of both worlds — the pre-planned Chuck E. Cheese party and the more traditional birthday party at home — Chuck E. Cheese has an option for you. Their “at home” party pack doesn’t include the video games or a visit from the mouse, but it does offer some pretty good perks. For $60, you get the following things delivered to you:
- 2 Large, 1-Topping Pizzas (reg. $21.99 each)
- 1 Round Cake (reg. $9.99)
- 3 Goody Bags
- Chuck E. tablecloth, plates, napkins, plastic forks, cake cutter & photo backdrop
- Birthday Star Gifts: 1000 E-tickets, 30 Play Points to use on your next visit
- Chuck E. plush toy
8. You could always self-host a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese — but you won’t be saving all that much money.
If you wanted to forgo the official birthday packages and just bring a bunch of your child’s friends instead, you can do that, and likely save a few bucks. Pro tip? Do it on a Wednesday. On Wednesdays, kids get one hour of unlimited play for $17.99. If you ordered two pizzas for $21.99 apiece, your total bill for 8 kids would be $187.90 (with no drinks included). You also wouldn’t be guaranteed a table, and your birthday star wouldn’t get any special recognition.
So, even at the discounted rate, you’re only saving about $20 by not going with the official package — and you’re missing out on some necessities (like drinks) and some good perks (like tickets and birthday recognition).
9. You have to be OK sharing your party space.
One thing you’re not going to get when you book a Chuck E. Cheese birthday party is the place all to yourself. There could be several parties going at once, as well as open play to the public. In other words, at any given time, there could be a LOT of kids running around.
That said, you could try choosing a less popular time slot such as first thing in the morning for fewer crowds.
10. Remember: Chuck E. Cheese Birthday Parties are aimed for kids under 8.
Though Chuck E. Cheese won’t turn kids of any age away for a birthday party, there’s a good chance that once your little ones hit a certain age, they won’t want to step foot in there. The games, live show, and overall set up is geared mostly for kids under 8 or so, so keep that in mind if you have a mix of ages that you plan to invite.
And if you’re worried about your kids getting freaked out about the animatronics, fear not — Chuck E. Cheese has fully removed all animatronics from their locations (although I miss them).