This week we took the whole Baker/Waters crew to John's Incredible Pizza to celebrate Gallant's 4th birthday!
I (RJ) have lived in this area most of my life, and I remember when the Buena Park mall was a dark and desolate place...and the wig shop was the only creepy thing on the basement level.
It sure doesn't look the same now! John's Incredible Pizza has taken up residence, and it is a bright and colorful, loud arcade and pizza buffet. I had been to John's Incredible Pizza when it first opened, but not with a group of kids.
This week it's been super hot, it was Gallant's birthday, so we decided it was time for some good old fashioned arcade and pizza fun!
We liked the separate rooms! So when you get your food and go to sit down, there are about 6 individual dining rooms, off the main buffet space. Some were crowded, some were way too loud, each has a slightly different theme. We started out in The Vertical, a room close to the entrance that had long tables good for our group, had a big screen TV playing the Disney Channel, and wasn't too crowded.
We liked the food! Lots of fun types of pizza (RJ actually liked the spicy peanut butter pizza, Kacie thought it was disgusting, but it was fun to try), a salad bar, a dessert bar, a bar-bar for grown ups... everything seemed good and fresh, and the cinnamon rolls might have been the best cinnamon roles we have ever had.
We liked the games, although to be honest, we got hooked on ski ball early on and most of the kids spent most of their time playing that. There was also a "little kids only" play section with a small plastic slide that the babies enjoyed.
The place was small enough that Ander could wander around without having to stick with our group. I imagine that as the kids get older, it's going to be more and more fun to have places like that.
Everything is done with a card, so no quarters or tokens (I don't even know if anywhere does that anymore. Am I old?) and they worked really well while we played games, and to cash in and get our prizes at the end.
What we weren't fans of:
The crowds. We went on a Monday, and by the time we left it was getting just too crowded for us. It wasn't even the sheer number of people, but the fact that there were young teens pushing our little kids out of the way. That's a hard thing to navigate, and I wonder if it were less crowded if we just wouldn't have had the same issue since there would be more space between folks.
The price. It seems like there are always discounts and deals to be found on their website, or on groupon, and I would not go back without that. Join their VIP club if you're interested in going. Save photos of QR codes on your phone, because the place is in the basement and my connection was terrible.
The getting in process. It is all supposed to be automated with touch-screen kiosks, but they were incredibly frustrating and didn't work well at first. The folks helping just kept saying, "try again" - and eventually that worked, but our anxious kiddos were getting awfully squirming waiting around in line.
The separation of food and game play. If you're going, thinking that you could go and eat and keep eating and then play and keep eating all while watching the playing kids...you can to some extent, but the food is kept separate from the games, and so you would need a few folks to stay with the table, and other adults to go with the game players. With the ages that our kids were, we couldn't have let them just go play games without us - just too much space between.
All in all, we had a really good time and ate a ton. Vesper and LuLu might have had 6 ice cream cones between them. Gallant was happy with all the cheese pizza he could eat. I know homeschoolers are always looking for places we can spread out and stay in for hours, and I think that with the right group of people, on the right day, John's Incredible Pizza could be a workable place. Be prepared for the loud. Be prepared for crowds on some days. And come prepared with enough adults to go between eating and game playing sections.
Happy Birthday Gallant!