So, for ExplosiveWife's birthday, ExplosiveDad gave her $50 worth of gift certificates to Incredible Pizza. We had never been before, but I knew they had pizza, video games, mini-golf, go-karts, and bowling. We decided to finally take the kids there this week, but our expectations were pretty low.
First of all, we knew going in it was going to be expensive, but we had no idea until we got there just how expensive it would be.
Every person entering the building HAS to get the buffet, and a drink. Even if you want water, you pay the soda price. We thought this was the biggest ripoff since the CueCat.
You really can't enjoy the place unless you get a video game card to play in the arcade. They had a special for a 90 minute unlimited game card for $12, so we bought two. The total bill came to $71, which, for a night out with the kids, is WAY more than we normally spend.
(As an aside, ExplosiveWife is, without exaggeration, the most frugal person on the planet. Seriously, I will do a whole separate blog post on how she is.)
So, we are in the door, and we head to the buffet. Basically, this place is Cici's Pizza when it comes to the food, but the selection was pretty bad. I never have trouble finding something to eat at CiCi's, but there were only about 5 total pizzas to choose from at IP. I wasn't happy about that, but we were able to eat.
After eating, we made our way to the arcade. The unlimited cards pretty much let you play almost any game in the place, save for a select few (such as the big crane games, for example). We unleashed the cards on skee-ball, games that simulated jump ropes, shooting galleries, and even games that you can win tickets to redeem for prizes.
This is where my opinion of the place started to change. In their lifetimes, ExplosiveKids have NEVER been able to experience what it is like to just let loose and go, especially at an arcade. Usually there is all sorts of rationing going on about which games to play, biding their time for the perfect situation, and they spend 90% of their time deciding. The unlimited cards allowed them to be totally free, and play whatever they wanted, for a full hour and a half. They were truly liberated for one evening, and that was totally worth it. Rarely, in their short lives, do they get an opportunity to be "spoiled". We are a very fiscally responsible family, and we do not spoil our kids by any imagination. Trust me, a night out at Jack In the Box is exciting to them, even though they only get 2 tacos and a Jumbo Jack (for $2), and they have to drink water. Remember my frugal wife? This is just one example. So, to see them just go crazy and really, truly enjoy themselves really had its rewards.
A couple of other things:
- At least three times while we were in the arcade, an employee came up to us and asked us if we needed any help. Either we were having trouble scanning our card, or we looked lost, or even one employee who told us that there were 2 credits on a machine that "needed to be used", we found everyone there to be extremely helpful, and it looked like they enjoyed their jobs.
- The place was really clean. I was surprised, to say the least.
- The desserts were really good, if not a bit generic.
- You might read into what I am saying here a bit too much, but there was an element of "upscaleness" to the place. For example, if you have ever been in a Putt-Putt arcade, you know what I am talking about. A million kids running around, unsupervised, making things really crazy. The fact that you have to put down a decent amount of money just to get into the place kept that element to a minimum. That was nice.
- Not once did we encounter a machine that didn't have tickets in it. We didn't have to spend any time waiting for a machine to be serviced.
- The unlimited cards are good for Mini-golf, go-karts, bowling, everything. So, you can use your card until there are two minutes left and go play mini-golf. Sure, it wasn't the best mini-golf, but the kids enjoyed it.
- The best part of the night came when the kids played mini-golf and my wife and I got to go sit down by ourselves and enjoy dessert for 20 minutes. That was really nice, to have kind of a mini-date with the kids safely busy.
Needless to say, I did a complete 180 while in Incredible Pizza. Where we might not go terribly often because of the price, we will go again to enjoy ourselves in ways that we don't always get to do.