If you picture yourself visiting Chuck E. Cheese as a kid, what part of your experience stands out the most? While the signature pizza and arcade games are undoubtedly major parts of the chain’s allure, it was the bizarre yet beloved animatronic bands that made Chuck E. Cheese unique given that no other pizza restaurants boasted anything similar. But in the very near future, that iconic attraction will be no more at most of Chuck E. Cheese’s locations.

Chuck E. Cheese plans to phase out its animatronic bands at all but two locations by the end of 2024, the New York Times reported. According to CEO David McKillips, the change is part of a major transformation to replace animatronics with more screens, digital dance floors, and trampoline gyms.

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“Kids are consuming entertainment differently than they were 10, 20 years ago,” McKillips said during an interview with the publication. “Kids, really of all ages, are consuming their entertainment on a screen.”

Chuck E. Cheese Munch's Make Believe Band
Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Officially called Munch’s Make Believe Bands, the group consisted of vocalists Chuck E. Cheese and chicken Helen Henny, canine guitarist Jasper T. Jowls, the purple monster Mr. Munch on keys, and the pizza chef Pasqually on drums. Chuck E. Cheese’s decision to oust the bands came just a few years after the chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy amid the COVID-19 pandemic and temporarily shuttered some locations (it later emerged from bankruptcy in 2021). It has been working to modernize its business ever since then, per the New York Times.

The elimination of Munch’s Make Believe Bands is already being met with some pushback from fans of those nostalgic animatronic musical performances.

“A tragic day in American history. So many good memories,” one commented on an X post about the news.

“Big mistake,” another wrote.

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However, not everyone is upset that Munch’s Make Believe Band will soon play its last shows at most Chuck E. Cheese locations. Some have declared the children’s attraction “outdated” or even “terrifying.”

Chuck E. Cheese did not immediately respond to our queries for additional comment on the decision to phase out Munch’s Make Believe Band.

The loss of Munch’s Make Believe Band is only the latest major development at Chuck E. Cheese in recent months. In December 2023, the chain launched its first-ever food menu geared toward adults rather than children. The new selection includes several specialty pizzas, saucy meatballs, and a handful of new wing sauces and rubs.

“As pioneers in the [Family Entertainment Center] industry, Chuck E. Cheese continues to evolve, ensuring that every visit is not just a trip down memory lane but an exploration of new tastes and experiences for our youngest guests and the millions of parents and adults who visit us each year,” McKillips said in a statement at the time.

Zoe Strozewski

Zoe Strozewski is a News Writer for Eat This, Not That! A Chicago native who now lives in New Jersey, she graduated from Kean University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Read more about Zoe
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