The 3-Stage is an animatronic stage format found at some Chuck E. Cheese's restaurants. The format is found in locations that originated as ShowBiz Pizza Place restaurants. In most cases, the animatronics on the 3-Stage are manufactured by Creative Engineering.
The 3-Stage contains characters across three separate stages.
Center stage is decorated to resemble a rooftop. The backdrop is designed to resemble a cityscape, and a large lit sign that reads "Munch's Make Believe Band" is located behind the characters. Center stage contains the following characters:
Stage right contains a black rain curtain backdrop, a neon sign, a star that lights up in certain songs, and a television. Stage right contains Chuck E. Cheese.
Additionally, the Wink, a sign containing an image of Chuck E. Cheese with an animated winking eye, is located on the valence over center stage
The 3-Stage format was originally designed for ShowBiz Pizza Place restaurants to house The Rock-afire Explosion animatronic show, which operated on three stages.
Due to changing relations with Creative Engineering, which owned The Rock-afire Explosion, ShowBiz Pizza Time moved to replace The Rock-afire Explosion with a different stage show. To that end, ShowBiz test marketed the use of licensed characters, ultimately deciding to test Hanna-Barbera's Yogi Bear and Boo Boo at three ShowBiz locations for a one-year period.
The Rock-afire Explosion was ultimately removed from ShowBiz Pizza Place restaurants via Concept Unification, which replaced the Rock-afire characters with Chuck E. Cheese characters as Munch's Make Believe Band. This was accomplished by replacing the cosmetics on the existing animatronics, changing the locations of animatronics on the stage, changing stage backdrops, and upgrading equipment. All of the former Rock-afire animatronics were reused, with the exception of those used for Billy Bob and Earl Schmerle, which were completely removed and like other unused items were likely either destroyed, put into storage, or sold to collectors.
The first Munch's Make Believe Band 3-Stages were first installed at Arlington, Texas and CEC Department 18 in 1989.
During Concept Unification, the animatronics were fitted with latex masks, similar to the masks on Rock-afire Explosion characters prior to Concept Unification. Beginning in November 1999, in a cost-cutting measure, the latex masks on the animatronics would begin to be replaced with ones made of thin plastic at all locations .
In the early 2010s, three of the 3-Stage locations were converted to the CU 1-Stage format, which utilizes the Creative Engineering animatronics on a single stage with "Chuck E's Make Believe Band" wording on the valence, and a new backdrop behind the characters. Only Chuck E. Cheese, Helen Henny, Mr. Munch, Jasper T. Jowls, and Pasqually are used in this new format.
As of October 2016, 53 3-Stages remain in operation in the United States.
The 3-Stage in Wilmington, Delaware has neon lights around the buildings in the background as of 2015.
The 3-Stage in Wilmington, North Carolina is the last known 3-Stage to have both Munch Jr. and the helicopter light. However, Munch Jr is no longer operating. This particular 3-stage also lacks a "Munch's Make Believe Band" sign and, as of August 2016, has a Helen with red hair instead of black-and-white.
Before its closure in 2016, the 3-Stage in Guatemala City, Guatemala was the last known 3-stage to still have a Latex Jasper and a Latex Pasqually. It was also the only known 3-stage to feature a Chuck E Cheese light from a 2-stage. It was also the only known 3-stage outside the United States. The 3-Stages in Lynnwood, Washington and Guatemala City feature an LED display that reads "Chuck E. Cheese" in color changing lights; They are the only known 3-stages with this feature.
The 3-Stage in Madison, Wisconsion has a teal and silver Beach Bear Guitar, while the one in New Orleans, Louisiana has a black and green Beach Bear Guitar. This is note-worthy as most 3-Stages have red and silver guitars.
The 3-Stage in York, Pennsylvania has the Munch's Make Believe Band sign placed on Stage Right next to Chuck E Cheese instead of Stage Center behind Mr Munch like the other 3-Stages.
The 3-Stage in Greensboro, North Carolina is one of three stages in North Carolina to have the Rockstar Pants, the only other Stage in North Carolina to have this is the Road Stage in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The 3-Stage in Visalia, California is the last remaining 3-Stage in California, their Chuck E. Cheese animatronic has shoes unlike most 3-Stages.
The 3-Stage in Pensacola, Florida has a Red Beach Bear Guitar and has the Ticket Blaster positioned between Jasper and Pasqually where the speaker used to be.
The 3-Stage in Roanoke, Virgina is one of the few 3-Stages that no longer feature The Wink.
The 3-Stage in Phoenix, Arizona is the only one in the state. West Mesa had the second to last stage until it was removed in the year 2000. It also has a helicopter light. This particular 3-stage has Jasper wearing Pasqually's spat shoes, Pasqually wearing Jasper's red tennis shoes, and also lacks a "Munch's Make Believe Band" sign. It is the oldest existing 3-Stage currently and it was installed in November 1989.
The 3-Stage in San Antonio, Texas also lacked a "Munch's Make Believe Band" sign before the 3-Stage was replaced with a Circles of Light stage.
The 3-Stage in Huntsville, Alabama had several cosmetic modifications made to it by the location's technician. Pizzacam now has a black plastic body and an antenna. Munch's keyboard has a personalized front with the initials "CEC" on it. Jasper's guitar was completely repainted to red, white and blue with a few extra ornamental features added.
The 3-stage in Darien, Illinois is one of the few stages where Chuck E. Cheese is not positioned on top of a black triangular pedestal like in most other locations. Pasqually was also moved to the center of his stage after removal of the location's Pizzacam.
The 3 stage in Irving, Texas at CEC's corporate offices, Department 18 also has Helen with orange pigtails instead of black & white. The big screen TV next to Chuck has been removed, though the light extension on top was saved. The neon sign was moved to the left of Chuck. Pizzacam, Munch Jr., Building, and Moon have been removed from the corporate stage as well and destroyed likely due to no longer being programmed. The stage now more resembles a CU 1-Stage, rather than a 3-Stage.
The 3-Stage in Billings, Montana is the last 3-Stage to have Mr. Munch wearing his hat.