I remember several trips to Chuck E. Cheese’s when our kids were younger, and while part of me enjoyed the kitschy-ness of it all, after about 30 minutes I was ready to go. Hearing the same songs over and over, and watching the inevitable meltdown of one kid after another, was enough to test anyone’s patience.
But it was with a little bit of sadness that I read that Chuck’s has announced plans to replace its iconic animatronic singing band as part of a rebranding effort. Apparently today’s kids aren’t impressed with a singing, dancing gigantic mouse.
But perhaps the most interesting part of the story was the corporate policy allegedly enshrined in the bylaws of the Chuck E. Cheese corporation. Apparently it is standard operating procedure to destroy the animatronic figures, and one reporter caught it on video at a store in Illinois. Warning: the video may be disturbing for those of you who are overly sentimental and have a thing for big plastic mouse heads):
It’s a sad way to the end of such a part of Americana, but at the same time I wonder how many of us have secretly harbored fantasies of wanting to do the same thing to one of those animatronic figures.
I just hope this sort of character demise isn’t part of Disney’s modus operandi.
I’d hate to think that’s what the plans are for the Country Bears or the inhabitants of It’s a Small World.
And I shudder to think of what would happen to all of those presidents.