1986 Chuck E. Cheese Visit!

Updated: Nov 10, 2019

I was rummaging through photo albums the other day, specifically to find great blog content. They did not disappoint. Enjoy these never-before seen vintage photos of Chuck E. Cheese.


Let's start this outing with a trip to the ball pit, my first stop on every visit. What a rush it was, plunging into a vat of bacteria-laden plastic! These days, I don't even want to touch the cart handle at Wal-Mart without a sanitizing wipe.

'80s Chuck E. Cheese ballpit ball pit.

All that floundering worked up an appetite, and it looks like my friends and I made short work of that pizza. Looking at these photos is making me hungry.

Vintage '80s Chuck E. Cheese photo.

The animatronic band that all '80s kids remember, The Rock-afire Explosion has a dedicated preservation effort. The robots were retired in 1992, and private collectors work hard to obtain and repair them. Check out the 2008 documentary of the same name for an idea of how far people will go to keep their childhoods alive. I could have sworn this room was a lot bigger.

Rock-a-Fire Explosion '80s Chuck E. Cheese arcade photo.
I have a figure of the drummer in storage, nine states away. Maybe one day, I'll get a photo and add it here.

There was a snaking, yellow-padded tunnel going under the band's stage. Inside was an incredible place, where adults couldn't fit. What awaited us was not just the aforementioned tube, but a small room lit with a strobe. It was something we could only try to describe to our parents. The passageway was eventually boarded up, as kids understandably refused to come out. I would have loved to have seen some of those dramas unfold.


Here, we catch some fleeting glimpses of the restaurant's real draw: the arcade! Some of my earliest memories are of watching my dad play Tron and Donkey Kong. My love for coin-op gaming has never waned: While you're on Retro Injection, check out my arcade cabinets, visit New York State's largest game room and be blown away by this incredible home arcade.

Vintage '80s Chuck E. Cheese arcade photo skee-ball Whac-a-Demon.

That rocket reminds me of Danny Torrance's sweater in The Shining:

Character Danny Torrance in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining.
Courtesy: Warner Bros.

This is the same Chuck E. Cheese where, before 1986's end, I would be introduced to a very special monster.


And finally, what trip to Chuck E. Cheese would be complete without a visit from the mouse himself? (The answer: No trip. It was a rhetorical question.)

Vintage '80s Chuck E. Cheese photo.
Don't I look thrilled?

I've always made it a point to go to Chuck E. Cheese throughout the years. It's a lot less creepy, now that I'm married. To close out this article, here's my wife and I visiting one in 2016. Even she, a chef by trade, loves the pizza!


Love the '80s and junk food? You'll want to check out our unbelievable vintage McDonald's photos, a retrospective on one of the greatest Happy Meals ever and a tribute to the McDLT. This place is a coronary bypass of fun!


If you have arcade memories you'd like to share, feel free to use the comment box below. Or just keep them to yourself.

Chuck E. Cheese black and white photobooth printout.

#80s #chuckecheese #arcades