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Chuck E. Cheese just got major makeover — and axed the animal band

TODAY logo TODAY 11/14/2019 Aly Walansky
a sign above a storefront on a brick building: Old Chuck E. Cheese restaurant exteriors featured red and yellow awnings with a large cartoon mouse. © Mark Schiefelbein Old Chuck E. Cheese restaurant exteriors featured red and yellow awnings with a large cartoon mouse.

Soon fans of animatronic mouses will no longer be able to enjoy a robotic show at Chuck E. Cheeses. The arcade-restaurant chain is about to give all of its locations a big makeover — and they're officially getting rid of Munch’s Make Believe Band for good.

Chuck E. Cheese first announced that changes were on the way in 2017. But this week, the brand unveiled the new store design and it looks nothing like the family-friendly chain featured in 1990s commercials.

a sign on the side of a building: TODAY, product courtesy of merchant site © Chuck E. Cheese TODAY, product courtesy of merchant site

In addition to ditching the band, the brand's redesign at its 600-plus locations will include a lighted “interactive dance floor” where a larger-than-life Chuck E. mascot will mingle with kids, dance and pose for photos with partiers.

"Next time you visit your local store, you simply choose the time you want to play, starting at just $9 for 30 minutes of play," a representative told TODAY via email. They added that the new system will ideally make it easier for parents to keep track of how much is being spent at the restaurant and how long their kids are playing.

a stack of flyers on a table: TODAY, product courtesy of merchant site © Chuck E. Cheese TODAY, product courtesy of merchant site

The menu, reflecting the changing times, is also seeing an upgrade, with items like a cauliflower crust pizza and an expanded salad bar being added.

The chain, which started in San Jose, California as a "pizza theater' in 1977, credits itself with being the first pizza chain in the U.S. to incorporate arcades and live entertainment into the family dining experience.

In the early years, it was known as Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theatre. The name was shortened to Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza as the restaurant expanded nationally before execs ultimately dropped the "pizza" from the name in the early 1990s.

The company's latest completely redesigned Chuck E. Cheese restaurant opened this week in Skokie, Illinois.

Related video: Mac and cheese 2 ways: With truffle and topped with pizza

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