Chuck E. Cheese’s

April 4, 2010 at 8:04 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 48 Comments

So I don’t know how this happened, but we ended up going to Chuck E. Cheese’s today. The original plan was to drive out with George and meet Jacky and Lynette for brunch… but somehow brunch turned into loitering outside the cafe for an hour asking one another questions like, “how much money would it take for you to lick the ground?” At some point Jacky suggested we check out Mario Kart Arcade, and given my undying quest to find the mysterious “Swiss Cheese Factory” that haunted me as a child, I was all for it!

They still have that animatronics band…

Yeah you know the one!

They also had this crazy machine where you held onto metal rods and let a giant King Kong electrocute you.

After a while, smoke will start coming out of his ears like this:

But by far the best one was the flying machine. You sit on a bike, and pedal in order to make the bike go up. It reminded me of something from Pippi Longstocking. Unfortunately I made the mistake of wearing a skirt today and wasn’t able to pedal the bike… but as you can see, Jacky had no trouble at all:

Oh, for those who don’t know… (which is essentially everyone I’ve ever talked to about this) the “Swiss Cheese Factory” was a giant maze in one of the Chuck E. Cheese’s I went to as a kid for someone’s birthday party. All the kids were terrified of it because we heard that a little boy got lost inside for 3 days (in retrospect this probably didn’t happen). The maze was both horizontal and vertical. You could crawl upwards through holes in the floor, and it was pretty easy to take a wrong turn and find yourself in a dead end full of funhouse mirrors. My friends and I went through it, but we’d always take the same path so that we wouldn’t get lost like the poor boy from our rumors. If anyone has ever heard of this maze, please let me know!


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  1. Did you tried anything there? I think I would like to try the electical King Kong πŸ˜€

    About the maze, do you suppose to go INTO the room of mirrors? But will it be more fun if you actually get lost and have to have someone pulled you out? LOL

    • Haha… yes I tried a bunch of the games actually πŸ˜› Mario Kart Arcade, a fighter jet game where the chair moved according to your steering, skee ball, basketball… We also found this thing that took your picture, converted it to a sketch, put the date on it, and printed it out for you to take home.

  2. By Swiss Cheese Factory, if you meant the one that’s attached to the roof, the one where all the plastic piping is up there and kids can climb up there, then yes, I have heard of it… I got lost for about an hour up there once… =_= Never enjoyed Chuck E. Cheese’s after that day…

    • Aw, that sounds awful! 😦 Actually, the Chuck E. Cheese we went to this past weekend had one of those plastic pipe things! The Swiss Cheese Factory on the other hand was more of a closed-off maze… you couldn’t see it from the outside because it was inside a separate room, and you had to crawl through Chuck’s mouth to go inside. It was like a big 3D maze inside of a sectioned-off room.

      • Oh, like a mirror house?? Been in one of those before, although not at Chuck E. Cheese’s… I love those things.:D
        Oh, by the way, how much money WOULD it take for you to lick the ground?

        • Ahahaha… it toally depends πŸ˜› I actually never answered the question. If I were allowed to use mouthwash afterwards, and the ground weren’t that disgusting (i.e. – the ground looked like stone, and it wasn’t covered with gum or cigarette butts), then it would be a lower amount. However, if it were a dirty bathroom floor (the kind where you feel like barfing just from looking at it… you know what I mean), then even if I could use mouthwash afterwards it would have to be something REALLY high like $100,000.

          • I’d go with $50,000 to lick a bathroom floor, that way whoever’s giving me the money is more likely to accept the deal. And besides, you can always wash your mouth out in the sink… :u

            • My friend (who is really afraid of germs) kept going on about how if you licked the ground you could get all these crazy infections and diseases that would cost a lot of money to have taken care of, so he wouldn’t even lick the regular ground (the one outside that didn’t look that bad) for anything less than 100K, haha πŸ˜›

              • haha, lol
                but then you could use the money to pay for the hospital bill, huh?
                I actually would lick a nice hotel marble floor for free, btw πŸ˜› it’s clean enough

  3. I totally remember that swiss cheese thing! When I was around 5 or 6 we went to a Chuck E. Cheese for my birthday and I crawled through that thing! I’ve never heard of a kid getting trapped in there though! haha. I don’t remember which Chuck E. Cheese I went to… That animatronics band looks kind of scary after all of these years. O_O

    • Seriously?! Ahh… finally someone else who has heard of it!! I really want to find it again. I should go on a mission to check out all the Chuck E. Cheese’s in the area, haha… after all, it’s free admission.

      • Maybe it’s only in older Chuck E. Cheese’s! And there’s a good chance they got rid of those, with everyone being all into safety and such these days… I’ve only been to one Chuck E. Cheese though and I recently noticed it wasn’t even there anymore. So sad! Who wouldn’t want to be shocked by an angry ape!

        • I don’t think it’s the safety they’re worried about as much as the way it scares the smaller kids. If I was still 6 years old I would be a little freaked out about that gorilla thing… lol I still am 😯

  4. Hahaha, that King Kong one is awesome. You are so cool Laura.

    • My friend started screaming when the King Kong machine first turned on, so I was like “oh my gosh is he really getting electrocuted?!” πŸ˜›

      • Ok, how was your turn at the King Kong? πŸ˜€

        • Haha, I actually didn’t do the King Kong machine… just watched πŸ˜› But I think if we go again I want to try it.

  5. I am so obsessed with the swizz cheese factory (how I found this site)…I also heard the same stories as you have. I live in Milwaukee and no chuck e cheese around here has them anymore, but if i could find one anywhere I would take a road trip that day. I’m just dying to find out if the cheese factory is as big, as cool, as scarry as i remember it being as a child. Please post if anyone knows of one.

    • Ahhh! Someone else has actually heard of the Swiss Cheese Factory! I have asked so many people if they’d heard about it and none of them knew what I was talking about, even though they’d all been to Chuck E Cheese’s as kids. I also really want to find another one, but none of the CEC’s in the area have them anymore (I wonder if a kid actually *did* get stuck inside or something which led to them being removed or something). Rest assured, if I ever find out that one exists I’ll make sure to post it on my blog πŸ™‚

      • Hello, I am from Pennsylvania, there was a cheese factory in the West Mifflin Chuck E Cheese. This is outside of Pittsburgh, PA. It was amazing! Ramps you had to crawl on up and down. Surprise holes in the floor that you had to climb ladders down. Small “mouse holes” in the wall that once you crawled thru, it was a small space with mirror covered walls. Secret doors that would lead you to different sections of the maze, telephones you could pick up to hear the characters conversations…there was a huge slide at the end, this was how you exited the factory.
        Wonderful memories… I wish they still existed for my children to enjoy!

        • …this would have been the early 80s

        • We had the same thing in danvers mass when i was younger i loved it. It was upsetting that they got rid of it

        • So… Does anyone have any pictures or videos of the inside of “Munch’s Mad House” or “Cheese E. Street”?

        • Yes, I remember the cheese factory at the West Mifflin (Near Pittsburgh, PA) Chuck E. Cheese and was trying to find pictures of it which is what led me to this blog post. I remember having to like pay an entry token or something to enter the start of the factory and running through what was a huge fun house / maze to get to the end. It had ramps and slides and tunnels to crawl through. I also barely remember sound effects and lights. I would run into the place over and over while my parents sat in the showroom with the pizza and sipped beers. I would estimate this was back in 83-85.

  6. I remember the “Dreaded Cheese Factory”. My cousin and I went through it in the early 80’s and got so lost, it seemed like the basement part. It was dark as hell down there and a ramp that we had to roll ourselves on our sides to get back up, we thought this was surely the end of us if we didn’t make it back up. I also remember near the exit was a window where the parents could view the kids come crying out. The next year there were arrows pointing towards the correct path. About two years later i guess the arrows didn’t do enough to prevent the trauma of “The Factory” and the place was changed into a room full of slides and jungle gym type things. Pretty much a plastic indoor playground. This was all before the 90’s, I think. I am also pretty sure this area is completely gone now as well as I was at my friends kids birthday a year or so ago and don’t recall it being there.

    • I also remember the Cheese Factory. Like Stacy above I’m from Milwaukee. I think the restaurant with the Cheese Factory there was in Bay View but I’m pretty sure they took it out during a renovation in the mid 80s. I remember it being poorly lighted with carpeting on all the walls. There were some fake machines moving wedges of foam cheese around I think. There were definitely no signs showing kids the right path, and I remember navigating the thing to be pretty complex (I was 3 or 4 at the time though). The other Chuck E Cheese nearer to my house had a similar maze under and to the left of its stage, but it didn’t have the cheese factory props and it wasn’t as large or complex. I think eventually these sort of enclosed, dark mazes were phased out at all Chuck E Cheeses. That’s probably a good thing since I remember the cheese factory as being kind of scary. And the last time I was in the cheese factory (1984 – 1986?) I remember it looking kind of ghetto so it was probably due for an overhaul or replacement.

      • I remember the cheese factory from the chase ave location in Milwaukee. The ramps were at a 40 grade slope that was nearly impossible to get out of. No rails to hold on to or nothing. Seemed like a fire hazard for sure.

  7. The cheese factory was AWESOME. The rumor here (Pittsburgh) was it got closed because a fat kid got stuck in one of the holes and they had to cut the whole thing out to free him. I only knew it as cheese factory, not swiss cheese factory, though.

    • The cheese factory is a very fond memory of my childhood. Im responding to Jodi bcuz im also from pittsburgh. I frequented the west Mifflin chuck e ceese cuz i lived like half a mile away and spent alot of time in the cheese factory. It was huge!! Had like 3 levels and took a good 15 mins. to navigate. There was a window where parents could watch and a little door that locked from the inside if you wanted to get out early. One of us would pay to get in and then goto thelittle door and let all our buddies in for free. My little bro got knocked out cold trying to scale a wall takin a shortcut by standing on the big yellow curly slide in the middle of the factory. Good times!!!

      • I also just did some research and it was called Cheese E. Street and there is a photo of it on Facebook under a group called pizza time which is either the parent company or subsidiary of chuck e cheese

    • I also remember the cheese factory and would love to be able to see one now. I am also from Pittsburgh and went to the West Mifflin one for a few Birthdays. I was one of the kids who got lost in there and my mom and dad sent my older brother in to get me and had he not gotten me I probably would have been that kid who was lost for three days lol. Sadly I don’t think they are in any chuck e cheeses anymore but my quest for pictures and such on the net has led me here and I am glad that I am no longer the I lynone who remembers it. Does anyone have pictures?

  8. I remember the one down by century 111 mall on 51 I had a few bday parties there and had fun going through there.I will look and see if I can find pictures and I doubt any would be around today because parents could not see inside and the only time they had an employee inside was when it was packed and usually it was where the slide was inside.

  9. Hello!
    I found your page specifically by searching for “Chuck E. Cheese Maze” on Google.

    I remember there was a strange tunnel underneath the balcony-style animatronic band at the Chuck E. Cheese’s in Alexandria, Virginia. You would get to it by climbing through swiss cheese holes in a yellow wall under the balcony stage. All I remember of what was beyond those swiss cheese holes is that there was a long, carpeted hallway with a step or two at the end of it that went up to a little platform that had, as I recall, a Pickett fence that covered some sort of entrance. I don’t remember it being accessible at the time (I think this was the late 80s), but, strangely, I seem to have memories of some of the things that you all have been describing inside the maze, that I was pretty sure I dreamed (e.g. vertical cheese holes and moving, factory-like stuff). Coincidence? Repressed memories? Who knows!

    I think my mom told me they closed it because people were doing naughty things in there.

    Here’s a video of the old-fashioned balcony-style show with one version of the maze visible under it (but not the one with the swiss cheese holes on the outside). (I think the version depicted in this video was called “Mr. Munch’s Magic Madhouse).

    Here’s another:

    I thought I saw one with the swiss cheese version but I can’t seem to find it right now.

    It’s interesting to revisit this blast from the past!

    • Thanks for the vids! Yes these are all things I remember too! I did just find this online too again nothing from inside which I would love to see but it is the outside.

      • You actually can see the swiss cheese hole entrances under the stage in the first video I posted, for example; 3:07.

        This is what the one in Alexandria, VA looked like (although the one in the video is actually in Phoneix, AZ).

  10. Hi,

    I am a Chuck E. Cheese’s Historian/Enthusiast. It seems that people are getting confused between Cheese-E-Street and Munch’s Mad House/Maze below the Animatronic Balcony Stage. They are actually two separate things. I have visited over 100 CEC stores and have seen pictures of every other store, and I can confirm that all Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theatre’s had removed Cheese-E-Street by 1988. The closest thing to it existing today in stores is the SkyTubes. Also, the Pizza Time Theatre page is a fan-made Facebook page, and has no affiliation to the modern CEC Entertainment Inc. All PTT’s underwent several remodels in the late 80’s through the 90’s and the parent company was renamed “CEC Entertainment Inc.” from ShowBiz PIzza Time Inc. in 1998. BTW, what store was this?

    -Chris (

    Cheese Factory (or Cheese-E-Street):

    Munch’s Mad House are the little holes and strobe lights under the stage.


    • I don’t know what location those videos are from, I just happened to find them on YouTube when I was looking for videos of this stuff.

      The one I remember visiting that had the swiss cheese tunnel under the stage was located in Alexandria, Virginia, but by the time I discovered that part, I think it had been shut down (you could go under the stage, but the entrance at the end of the little hallway under there seemed to be closed off).

      • Correction; the first video I posted a link to was from Phoenix, AZ.
        The second one is a training video and doesn’t say where it was shot.
        The one I remember going to was in Alexandria, VA.
        Did anyone else go to that one?

    • Hello – As the designer of Cheese E. Street, I am glad some people have fond memories of their experience. However, in several locations, I did not design the mazes. My facade design was used, but the maze was designed by the restaurant architect. Due to this some layouts were dark and scary. This was not my intent. I wanted Cheese E. Street to be a fun, exciting place.

      • Hi kip. Thanks for the info. Do you or reed Lawson have renderings or pictures of the original design?? Thanks!

  11. Ok, so you and I remember the same thing then. When I was a kid, under the stage where the band played, you could crawl into the cheese maze through holes in the wall. As a kid I’d play in there forever and it was awesome because your parents were too big to follow you in. Thankfully you remember something I remember from childhood. I knew I didn’t dream that shit up!

  12. Yes i remember it. I loved it until they got rid of it we were upset it was the best it had the mirrors and the bridge. It was in the 80’s

  13. I remember it. Mine was in Central IL around ’85. It was under the stage and was carpeted wall to ceiling in 70’s gold carpet. I remember almost getting stuck in it.

  14. I was so happy to find this page as I too thought I had dreamed up the tunnels. Our CEC, the old and good one, waa huge. We too had the balcony show area with the tunnels under the stage. That was one of my fave things to do when I was little. The CEC remained open, but at one point the tunnels were closed. Where I am from the rumor was that a kid got stuck during a fire and thats why the company got rid of all of the tunnels. Goes to show you how rumors change and spread. My CEC is in Rochester, NY.

    I was glad to see the training video as I thought I had also imagined the moving flags around the walls. We also had a ball pit, the one person ferris wheels, a seperate pizza eating room where there was a giant Elvis Dog Animatronic guy. There were tons of video games and the little merry-go-rounds made of half horse/chuck e cheese guys. We also had a bridge that you had to go over to get to the skee ball and cheese e street area as a little passanger train went around and behind that area and through tunnels. I remeber the train being very dark!

    So glad I’m not the only one wondering about the tunnels. Sadly it doesn’t look like any exisist anymore. It would be fun to find pics of the inside though.

  15. “The Cheese Factory”, or ” Cheese E. Street”. It was in West Allis, Wisconsin and gave every kid nightmares. I heard the story of the missing kid, too. I’m trying to find photographic evidence of it.

  16. I remember that maze! Was the best time and one of the scariest too. Seems like noone ever remembers this maze. It was such a great memory. I got lost and cried but I loved it. I wish i could see pictures or video of it to bring back more memories.

  17. Does anyone have pictures of the cheese factory? The Flickr link way below comes back as nothing. Thanks in advance.

    I also grew up in the Milwaukee one but couldn’t remember if it was the one on chase or in West Allis.

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