I have lived in East San Jose most of my life. I was born and raised here and have very fond memories of this great town. One story that I will never forget involves a haunted toy store that later turned into a family restaurant!
Nestled quietly at the corner of Highway 101 and Tully Road, in San Jose, is a three story building that has a familiar rat sitting in the middle window. There are actually three of these giant windows and they were home to three two-story tall toy soldiers. This was back in the mid 1970’s to early 1980’s if I remember correctly. No one can seem to remember the name of the toy store, but everyone remembers the red, blue and yellow toy soldiers that stood guard in those windows. You could see them as you drove past on northbound 101 through East San Jose. I remember many of my young friends telling me stories of the haunted toy store. I don’t remember ever going there as a kid, but my friends did. They said it was scary.
The toy store eventually closed and Chuck E. Cheese Pizza Time Theater moved in. Instead of having three giant soldiers, they were replaced with a giant Chuck E. Cheese rat in the middle window. To this day you can still see it as you drive by. (See above photo.)
The haunted stories have come from many different people over the years. One story is about a little face that has been seen in the windows of the third floor. Even though it does not have public access, and is for storage and employee use only, strange sounds have been heard that make people wonder if it is haunted. Urban legend tells of a little girl who fell out of the third story window to her death below. No one knows if this happened when it was the toy store, or as the restaurant, but people say they see the face of the little girl as they walk away in the parking lot.
Another story involves a little boy looking for his mother and falling down the stairs. A similar story involves a little girl who broke her neck falling down stairs, too. Who knows if these are the same haunted stories or separate incidents. Rumors have it that you can hear the little boy call out for his mom, and the little girl who fell out the window still haunts the third floor.
I frequented this two-story Chuck E. Cheese quite a bit as a young teen, and then again as a Mom with my young son. This is the largest Chuck E. Cheese I have ever seen. When you walk in, there is an enormous seating area for parties including a stage with singing and dancing animatronic characters that entertain guests as they enjoy the wonderful food.
The gaming area is large and takes up two floors. The bottom floor is dedicated to the younger, toddler crowd with its coin operated rides and ticket games. The second floor has video games for the older kids. Because this Chuck E. Cheese is large, you will want to keep an extra eye on your toddlers. We all know they are very fast and there are plenty of places to hide. They do have the standard Check-In at the front podium that involves the parent/guardian and the child having matching hand stamps. They are stamped at arrival and checked upon leaving.
This Chuck E. Cheese might have its ghost stories and is the largest around, but for the security, I do feel safe taking my children there. They do check the stamps and question parents. As with all large gatherings, do not leave your children unattended.
See you there and maybe we will see a ghost on Halloween!