Oh Valentina

February 4, 2006 at 4:21pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

It finally happened. Deep inside I knew it would happen eventually. I suppose I should be glad I got it out of the way. Yet I’m not comforted.

I went to Valentinaland last night. It’s the restaurant that Valentino’s is so ashamed of the company doesn’t even mention it on its website.

Valentinaland interior

My mom e-mailed me yesterday afternoon with the invitation. We haven’t really spent much time with my family lately, so The Missus and I felt compelled to go. As much as I disliked the idea—Upchuck E. Cheese is bad enough, a knock-off would surely be a hundred times worse—I especially wanted to see my niece, Morgan. Watching her have fun would make it all worthwhile, right?

Morgan enjoys Valentinaland

For the most part it did. But I’ll tell you, when I walked up to the door and saw their freaky mascot, I nearly turned around. Seriously, is there really any question what the artist was smoking when s/he created this thing?

Valentina and relatives, the Grateful Dead bears

(Is it just me, or does poor Valentina have five fingers on her right hand but just four on her left?)

The food is, well, it’s Valentino’s. Valentino’s pizza has always been one of my guilty pleasures, but I’ve become less and less fond of it over the years. Last night was really the first time I realized just how doughy and blah Val’s pizza can be. I feel horrible admitting that after being a Val’s defender for so long. I want to like it, if only for nostalgia’s sake. But as with Lincoln originals Runza and Amigo’s, the quality of food at Valentino’s just isn’t what it used to be.

The overall experience at Valentinaland wasn’t too awful. It wasn’t nearly as loud and obnoxious as I feared, but neither was it as large. In fact, it’s pretty tiny. I don’t see kids older than age ten staying interested for very long. Morgan managed to stay entertained throughout the evening. She especially loved grabbing the prize tickets when they came rolling out of the machines.

My evening turned out pretty well. I decided to play “The Claw” for a while, to live a Toy Story moment.

Buzz: This is an intergalactic emergency. I need to commandeer your vessel to Sector 12. Who’s in charge here?
All: [pointing up] The Claw!
Alien #1: The Claw is our master.
Alien #2: It decides who will go and who will stay.
Woody: Oh, this is ludicrous.

My first try went reasonably well. I got a Care Bear latched to The Claw for just a second, but, alas, I failed. I wasn’t going to try again—one try cost $.50, after all—but my dad and brother-in-law taunted me. I gave it another shot and holy heck, I won a Care Bear! I gave it to Morgan, of course, but not until after The Missus posed with my trophy.

The Missus poses with my Care Bear prize

And on that note the evening ended. Morgan had a great time and we all survived. I hope that doesn’t mean I have to go again.

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The Comments

Mr. T February 4, 2006 at 6:31pm

WTF?! Dude those little bears are the famous Grateful Dead dancing bears. I’m not sure what that other monstrosity is supposed to be. Strange. Very strange.

D.M.B. February 4, 2006 at 8:28pm

did it have a song similar to it’s a small world?

What about the robot dancing band type thing?

In a happy voice “Congratulations…”
In a grizzled voice “Bobby.”
In a happy voice “It’s your…”
In a grizzled voice “ninth”
In a happy voice “birthday”

*proceeds to sing some some sort of bastardized version of happy bday cause some loser has it copyrighted.*

shells February 10, 2006 at 12:18am

They had a DDR machine when they first opened, and our whole over 10 gang, along with other over 10 gangs, went to hang out a few times. Maybe Valentina didn’t like the teen-age crowd (which are often sans-parents) hanging around, because the DDR didn’t last long.

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