Munch's Make Believe Band Residency

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The Munch's Make Believe Band Residency is a permanent keeping of a 2-Stage at Northridge, CA & Studio C Beta at Nanuet, NY for preservation of Chuck E. Cheese animatronics.

The decision was made as a response to fan backlash towards the removal of animatronic bands, as part of the CEC 2018 2.0 Remodel Program. Fan response to the move has been mixed, with many still lamenting the imminent loss of all other remaining stages across the country; this decision came with the confirmation that all other stores hosting animatronics are set for removal of the stages.[1]

Description

The MMBB Residency was created as an official response to the backlash from the destruction of animatronic shows from the CEC 2018 2.0 Remodel Program by having the Northridge, CA (8425 Reseda Blvd) keep its 2-Stage alongside the Video Wall and Dance Floor being installed on the opposite side of the showroom.

Viewing of the Northridge stage during the "Live Announcement" video on November 2nd.

CEC Corporate would denote this location as important because it was "long been visited by our fans" and "in celebration of the location's 40th anniversary", despite the location's 40th anniversary actually having taken place 2 years prior in September of 2021.[2][3]

CEC would directly confirm that once all CEC 2018 2.0 Remodel Programs were completed across all locations, Northridge would be the only store left with animatronics.[1] They would also note the location to be permanent showcase for "all legacy Chuck E. Cheese nostalgia".[4] CEC would deflect all comments begging for their local stores to keep their animatronics with stating that Northridge was "the perfect location to keep the animatronic fun going strong".[3]

Residency Changes to Store Procedures

Showtapes at the location play the same main segments and advertisements on the Video Wall as other stores, but their intermissions are replaced with additional show segments that are either programmed to the animatronics or not programmed at all. So far this is only two segments in a given showtape, alongside lives and birthdays being programmed.

Future 2024 Plans

CEC would release a survey about future plans about Retro stores, New store remodels, & the keeping of one or more stages from non Northridge stores. In May of 2024, Nanuet, NY was chosen as the second Residency, with it's Studio C Beta being saved[5]. Future plans for locations have been confirmed to also be happening.

Exclusive Showtapes

History & Original Concepts

The original concept for the residency was much larger than its finalized state, originally being dubbed by fans during its planning phase as the Chuck E. Cheese Retro Store, but officially called by CEC Corporate as the Destination Stores. These were plans originally to either create a brand new museum to host all variants of CEC animatronics, or later to have a multiple separately branded stores each keeping different stages.[6] In the end, this was reduced to just one location.

Museum Concept

At an unknown time prior to mid-2022, CEC Corporate began discussions of a possible location using permanent animatronic attractions while their stores were currently going through the CEC 2018 2.0 Remodel Program. This first idealized into a possible museum being opened in Orlando, FL, with others likely being in Dallas and San Jose. These museum stores would host one of each major stage type, being Cyberamics, 3-Stage, and Studio C.

Store Acquisitions

Around the time of these discussions, certain stores that were closing or going through a remodel were selected to have their items sent to the Showbiz Pizza Time Distribution Center or Chuck E. Cheese's Corporate Office for possible use.

Retro Store Concept

At some point in the discussions of the museum concept however, it was pointed out that a museum would not keep customer retention for long compared to CEC's usual restaurant and party experiences.[6] The priorities then shifted to instead turning select stores back into previous remodels, mainly focused around the 1992 Major Remodel. This would reduce costs of creating brand new attractions, while still keeping the Retro branded stores within usual restaurant systems and procedures. By mid-2022 however, the idea would be put on hold while the CEC 2018 2.0 Remodel Program was still siphoning time and resources.[6]

Northridge Chosen

Remodeled exterior to Northridge (August 18, 2023)

On July 25, 2023, Northridge, CA (8425 Reseda Blvd) would begin to go through a remodel. After around a week of normal proceedings, it had been noted that the store's SPT Parody Awards were wrapped up behind a set of arcade machines, and its stage had not been dismantled despite the current progression of the remodel. Rumors would begin circulating that the store had suddenly gone through with a change of plans and would be keeping its animatronic show.

The CEC 2018 2.0 Remodel Program would continue to go through, installing the video wall and dance floor, however, the 2-Stage in the store would be kept, alongside the artwork being brought back to display on the walls. Many of the other 1992 Major Remodel parts of the store were still taken down, such as the entrance awning and checkered tiles. The store's exterior sign would retain the same shape, but with the new 2.0 logo.

The residency would be celebrated with the 2023 Northridge Grand Reopening Party on November 10, 2023.

2024 Future Planning Survey

In the 2024 CEC Future Planning Survey, the survey would ask participants about if they had visited the Northridge location. A follow up question would ask about having more locations, now referred to as "animatronics display", closer to the participant. Participants could type any store they wish to become one, and additionally clarify why they think the location they chose would be worth keeping the animatronics.

The Retro Store concept would return later in the survey detailing uniquely themed CEC locations.

"Retro Chuck E. Cheese (1980-1990s): Experience the magic of Chuck E. Cheese with a nostalgic twist! Imagine arcade classics, iconic games, memorable Chuck E. memorabilia, and a menu inspired by fan favorites. Relive the glory days with themed parties, retro music, and an ambiance that takes you straight back to the best of the 80s and 90s."

The choices for what would go in the restaurant are also similar to what was proposed prior.

  • "Retro décor & memorabilia
  • 80s/90s music & karaoke nights
  • Retro costume nights
  • 80s & 90s candy
  • Nostalgic merchandise
  • Interactive history exhibit
  • Retro arcade zone
  • Adult dance parties
  • Classic menu items
  • Themed birthday party packages
  • Retro game competitions
  • Vintage photo booth"

These concepts also bleed into the section of the survey on the Chuck E. Fan Club.

Nanuet Chosen

Nanuet, NY (250 West Route 59) was chosen in May of 2024 to be the second Animatronic Store. The Store having a Studio C Beta. The Store is also confirmed to be getting a Chuck E. Live Stage.

References