Yesterday my daughter had her birthday party at Zap-Zone. Last year one of her friends had his party there and his mom told me it was “the easiest party we ever had”. I have to agree with my friend that it was a very easy party! My daughter and her friends had a great time. I will definitely be considering Zap Zone again next year.
Zap-Zone offers 3 party packages: Basic ($13/person), Ultimate ($17.95/person), and Supreme ($20.95). All of the packages include 2 games of laser tag and 2 for 1 coupons for guests and 2 free passes for the birthday child. We opted for the Ultimate Package which which also included pizza, soda, use of the party room (1 hour and 45 minutes), and a t-shirt for the birthday child. The Supreme Package adds on a game of bumper cars or cannon blaster. All party packages require a minimum of 10 guests. We did upgrade the Ultimate package with tokens for the arcade and an extra pizza. 100 tokens are $20 and can be bought as needed (we bought 2 sets of tokens over the course of the party). An extra pizza was $12. Zap-Zone asks that you confirm the number of guests at least a few hours before the party so that they know how much pizza to order. However, they will charge you based on the number of guests who actually show up (you may need to pay for extra pizza if your actual number changes the number of pizzas they would have ordered).
My daughter’s party was from noon-1:45p. Since their website listed their opening time as noon, I was surprised to arrive at 11:50a and find another party had already started and some of our party guests waiting for us. Evidently they open at 11a on Sundays and their website was incorrect. Had I known that they opened earlier, we would have arrived closer to 11:45a.
When we arrived, we added a $20 token package (100 tokens) for the kids to share. Especially with early arrivals, it was a great way to spend time until everyone arrived and the kids had their first game of laser tag. We parceled the tokens out 5 at a time and encouraged the kids to watch each other before refilling their token stash. We did get a second batch of tokens since we had a couple of late arrivals and didn’t start our first game until they arrived. We didn’t use most of the second batch of tokens and ended up bringing them home.
We were given wristbands for each paid attendee (only the kids playing laser tag, adults were free unless they wanted to play too). When it as time for heir first game, they announced for the kids and brought them into the prep room to explain the rules and assign teams. As the birthday girl, my daughter was able to pick three friends for her team and then the remaining kids were split by the staff into a second team and a few more for the birthday girl. For the first game, only our party guests played. For the second game, they were joined by other customers.
After their first game, they returned to the party room for lunch (see below for more information on the food) and to get their scores, I wish I had served lunch before the scores were brought in since they were obsessed with comparing their score sheets. I asked them to delay our second game since the kids were eating so slowly. After the second game, I asked them to let us sing happy birthday and serve dessert before bringing the scores in. It was definitely much easier to keep the kids attention.
When I asked, they told me that the party room comfortably holds up to 20 kids. We had invited 18 and had 12 guests able to attend. Personally, I think 20 might be a little tight with a few adults in attendance as well.
After dessert, we had a chance for my daughter to open presents. I know she always prefers when present opening is part of a party and she can see what the birthday child receives and see them open her gift. After presents, the parents started arriving so the kids redeemed their tickets for prizes or finished their tokens. We still had tokens that hadn’t been distributed, so we brought them home for a future visit (as the birthday girl, my daughter received two free passes).
Party prep was very simple. Since we live near Zap Zone and I had procrastinated on scheduling the party, I booked the party in person. You can also book by phone or through the website. I booked the party with just over a week’s notice. However, I have found parties easier to book that weekend because of its proximity to the holiday break. The party package includes paper invitations, but I decided to send invites via e-mail due to the short notice. I made an invitation in PicMonkey which I then emailed to the parents of the invitees.
Our package for 12 kids included 3 pizzas and 3 pitchers of soda. We added an extra pizza to account for the adults (my parents and my husband and I). With 4 pizzas, we split them as 2 cheese and 2 pepperoni. I am glad that we ordered the extra pizza since we had less than a pizza left (8 slices from a 10 slice pizza). Amazingly our leftovers were evenly split with 4 slices of each.
For the soda, I selected 2 pitchers of fruit punch and one of Sierra Mist. I probably would have been better off with the reverse since the Sierra Mist was finished before the first pitcher of Fruit Punch. They also brought us a pitcher of water at no charge.
We were able to bring our own fruit and dessert for the party. I brought pre-sliced apples, grapes, and pineapple to supplement the pizza.
My daughter is not a traditional cake fan. As usual she wanted brownies. However in years past she has asked for a decorated cake to match the party theme. This year, without a theme, she asked for cheesecake as a second dessert instead of a cake. I bought Cheesecake bites as a convenient way to serve the cheesecake and made a tray of brownies.
For party favors, we took advantage of the after Christmas sales for clearance candy and added fruit snacks. Our Zap Zone package included a buy one get one free pass for each child which we added to the bags. My daughter also commented that the kids would also get a favor if they traded their arcade tickets for a prize.
I agree with my friend who said that it was the easiest party she had ever thrown. There was minimal prep work and virtually no cleanup (just our food and the gifts). The kids all seemed to have a blast. The arcade was the perfect distraction for downtime in the party. I will definitely try to talk myself into a Zap-Zone party again next year.