Wilmington, NC (4389 Oleander Dr)

From Cheese-E-Pedia

Street View of the store's Exterior in March 2019 (PC: Google Maps)


4389 Oleander Dr, Store #210/2070 was a Showbiz Pizza Place/Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza/Chuck E. Cheese's that opened on July 23, 1984, with a Rock-Afire Explosion, which closed October 13, 2020.

This location received Concept Unification in 1992 and had the last original Munch Jr. animatronic until they closed.

History

Wilmington opened July 23rd, 1984, as the 4th ShowBiz store in North Carolina (Following Charlotte, NC, Fayetteville, NC, & Asheville, NC) with the RockAfire Explosion. Although very little documentation exists (Besides two photos from the Wilmington Morning Star Newspapers from 1984 and one video from 1991) back in the ShowBiz days, it can be determined that Wilmington was one of several locations to receive an Uncle Klunk show package (and a Santa Claus retrofit package as well) sometime after opening. Like many ShowBiz locations in the late 1980s, Wilmington received the Showbiz Pizza Campground upgrade. Wilmington would however not receive the 1988 Remodel until sometime before Concept Unification in 1991; then converting the RockAfire Explosion into Munch's Make-Believe Band.

This store's 3-Stage was also featured on the Chuck E Cheese Live Show Highlight Film back in 1992 (The store was featured alongside San Jose, CA (2445 Fontaine Rd), Albuquerque, NM (4418 Wyoming Blvd), Mesa, AZ (856 S Alma School Rd), Dothan, Harrisburg, Erie, Tallahassee, Merced, & Tracy) which showed footage of the 3-Stage when it was freshly converted from the Rock-afire Explosion[1]. Wilmington would receive another remodel (Phase 2) in Late 1997 which involved raising the ceilings, completely remodeling the exterior facade (which was completed Q1 1998), adding bigger windows, replacing the Road Sign, & removing elements from the 1988 Remodel (The Blue & White Awnings, checkers around the store, & neon lights). In 1999-2002, they received Plastic masks (Except Pasqually) & removed the Munch's Make-Believe Band Sign and Neon Signs. By March 2003, Chuck's Tux & Derby was replaced with the Cool Chuck outfit. Later that same year, Pasqually received a plastic mask & the stage was recarpeting (Munch Jr was originally supposed to be removed that year). In around the Mid 2000's Munch Jr's vent was replaced, & extra hairs were added to Jasper's mask to prevent the mask from cracking.

In Q1 2008, Wilmington underwent a major 2005 Remodel which involved moving the Salad Bar to the front of the store, removal of Showroom Walls, Balcony Seating, speakers that were on the sides of the stage, & adding purple walls. Around this time, Chuck's outfit was also replaced with the Avenger outfit as well. In 2013, Chuck's cap was removed; and replacing the Road Sign once again. In April-May 2014, Helen's pigtails were replaced with Cheeto colored ones seen on the walkaround costumes, Helen's hands were replaced with Cyberamic ones a couple years later. Around this timeframe, they would receive a Studio C Beta and the Jasper walkaround from Danbury, CT (20 Backus Ave) which was left unused and in storage. In Mid 2018, Pizzacam was modified with a working LED light. In Mid 2019, Chuck's outfit was replaced with the full Rockstar. Munch's mask was replaced not long after. In July-September 2020, there were plans to reopen the store including restoring the 3-Stage and replacing the ceiling tiles with new ones. This was the last CEC in North Carolina to have the Kid Check sign above Kid Check. The store finally closed on October 13th, 2020, due to numerous issues. The exterior and road sign somehow remained behind.

As of June 2023, the store is currently being converted into the headquarters for CleanEatz (They purchased the building back in November 2022)[2] which involves the interior being gutted and the windows and doors being replaced. The "Chuck E. Cheese's" sign and Avenger logo was removed in 2023. Nowadays, the original building is completely unrecognizable. For now, the road sign has been left behind.

Stages

Originally when the store opened, they had a Rock-Afire Explosion, as all other Showbiz locations had. Wilmington's show was manufactured in January of 1982, being batch number 1. They would have the RAE for a few years, until 1992, when they would receive Concept Unification, this was the process used to turn the RAE into the Chuck E. Cheese characters. They would have the 3-Stage until they closed. They would have the last Munch Jr. animatronic in-store. They would also be the only location so far to have the full "Rockstar" outfit (shirt and jeans), other than Dept. 18's programming show.

Stage Installed Removed Notes
RockAfire Explosion July 1984 1991 Reused show from an unknown ShowBiz Pizza Place that opened in 1982. 4th Showbiz Store to open in North Carolina. One of four Showbiz locations in state to open after SPP/CEC Merger.
3-Stage 1991 October 2020 Last 3-Stage with all prop characters (Building, Moon, PizzaCam, & Munch Jr.)
Studio C Beta 16m Never Installed October 2020 From Danbury, CT (20 Backus Ave) which was closed in 2013, Never Installed and later trashed after closure.

Animatronics

Animatronic Serial Code Whereabouts
Chuck E. Cheese / Rolfe DeWolfe 1-82 1-1 Owned by a Private Collector.
Pasqually / Dook Larue 1-82 2-1 Owned by a Private Collector.
Mr. Munch / Fatz Geronimo 1-82 3-1 Owned by a Private Collector.
Jasper T. Jowls / Beach Bear 1-82 4-1 Owned by a Private Collector.
Helen Henny / Mitzi Mozzarella 1-82 5-1 Owned by a Private Collector.
Billy Bob 1-82 6-1 Unknown
Pizzacam / Looney Bird 1-82 7-1 Owned by a Private Collector. Received working LED light in Mid 2018.
Munch Jr. / Choo Choo 1-82 8-1 Owned by a Private Collector.
Building / Sun 1-82 10-1 Owned by a Private Collector.
Moon 1-82 11-1 Owned by a Private Collector.
Antioch N/A Destroyed
Wink N/A Destroyed
Chuck E. Cheese 16m (Animatronic) N/A From Danbury, CT (20 Backus Ave); Never Used, Destroyed.
Pizza Time Clock N/A From Danbury, CT (20 Backus Ave); Never Used, Owned by a Private Collector.

Gallery

YouTube Videos

Link Description Filming Date Published Date
Link Footage of Wilmington not long before Concept Unification. April 4, 1991 October 5, 2021
Link Wilmington's 3-Stage featured in the CEC Live Highlight Film in 1992 Mid 1992 April 13, 2007
Link A video showcasing the store, games, and 3-Stage in 1992. October 4, 1992 August 29, 2022
Link Wilmington's 3-Stage preforming "Going on a Picnic" from Summertime 2006. August 2006 August 23, 2006

Trivia

  • Before Franchised CECs were renumbered to four digit numbers in 2010, Wilmington was Store #210 according to the old chuckecheese.com website from 2009. It was renumbered to Store #2070 when Corporate renumbered Franchised stores with four digit numbers. The store number is now the store number for the Billings, MT location after it was bought out by Corporate.

References