Our party host was superb! She took care of us from beginning to end. When we arrived, the plates and cups were set up.
The only thing we brought from home was goody bags, some snacks, and a few extra decorations (none of which were really necessary though.)
The hostess confirmed our food choices and went over the schedule with us. She asked if we wanted to buy any token packages. After having read other reviews before coming, I knew I wanted to start with 100 tokens for $20 and ration them out. I passed out 10 tokens to each child as they arrived. If they ran out, I encouraged them to cheer their friends on, but within minutes, we were called for our first game of laser tag anyway.
Having never played before, we had quite a few little friends that were nervous about what to expect and they almost didn't want to play, but the host said that parents are allowed to walk through with the children and as long as they are not playing, you don't have to pay! Well, that just calmed everyone's nerves and the kids were off chasing each other in no time at all!
Birthday girls are team captains.
When the first game was over, the score cards, pizza and drinks were waiting in the party room for us. It was neat to look over the scorecards and see who got hit, who hit who and how many times. I was so glad we were able to play another round yet, because after the first, the kids felt like pros and really wanted to up their game.
The pizza from Mancino's was delicious and I had forgotten how good fruit punch can be. I found myself going back for cup after cup! Two pizzas was plenty for a group of 10 young kids like ours. Because it wasn't exactly meal time (4:30pm), people weren't too hungry. However, I think the real reason there were any leftovers at all was because the kids were to eager to play and not sit down and waste time eating! We also had some popcorn, pretzels, and applesauce pouches sitting out that the kids could help themselves to any time during the party.
For those that finished eating early, instead of losing them in the arcade again, I was thankful to have goody bags that they could dig into and play with in the party room, as I knew we would soon be called for our second round of laser tag.
When we were done with laser tag, we moved straight over to the bumper cars. The group was split up into two sessions. The birthday girls were able to ride during both. For the group that wasn't riding, they went to play in the arcade. Not only was I impressed with how long each round of laser tag was, the bumper cars were also a good amount of time.
When we finished up with the attractions, we headed back to the party room for cake and presents. Those that weren't interested in watching presents went back out to finish up with their tokens and pick out a prize. That in itself took up a lot of time, as choosing a prize can be quite difficult, and then of course you have to play with it and show it off to everyone!
Parents had arrived by then. We actually ran a half hour late, but the hostess told me that we were the last party of the day and to feel free to stay in the party room as long as we like. Many of the parents ended up buying their kids additional tokens and either played alongside them or relaxed and chatted with other parents as the kids were off and running.
A brief overview and a few tips--
Arrive a few minutes early to set up any extra food or decorations that you may have.
Postpone starting your first attraction until all your guests arrive. 20 mins was good for us (but then again, we ran a half hour past).
Ration out tokens as kids arrive and wait for other guests. Hand out the rest of the tokens at the end.
Parents are free to walk through the laser tag and help out the younger ones if needed.
Have another activity/game planned in the party room for the kids who finish eating early. Opening goody bags is a good time for this.
Work through your attractions as early as possible. Plan on the main arcade play to be at the end of the event. It is hard to keep wrangling the kids up to move from attraction to attraction.
At the end, when kids are out of tokens, they will enjoy picking out a prize and parents will be arriving.
Leave a tip for the host/hostess. They work hard at making sure your kids have a great time and that the birthday person feels extra special.
I asked our girls what they liked best about the day and they said they loved it all! We will be back often!
DexterKids would like to thank Zap Zone for the complimentary party package in exchange for trying things out and sharing our honest opinion with our readers. A special thank you to the staff at Ann Arbor's location, especially Julia, for making it an extra fun and easy day for all of us!