This is a sponsored post from BlogHer and McDonald's.
Last month I was invited by McDonald's to attend a The Family Time, Happy Time Getaway in Oak Brook, Illinois. I did not hesitate to say yes.
McDonald's was a part of my childhood-- there was one across the street from my parents neighborhood. I had many happy memories there. I remember washing cars to earn enough money so I could treat my family to burgers and fries. I remember walking there to have ice cream cones with friends. I remember trips with my grandparents to have burgers and fries.
I was thrilled to participate in this event, especially because my entire family was invited. That, like, never happens.
I was impressed with McDonald's from the very start. The event was organized-- packed with information and fun activities for the family.
There was a nature scavenger hunt.
There was bean bag tossing with Ronald McDonald.
There was a cool "in the kitchen" with Chef Dan Coudreaut experience, where we got to make fruit kabobs and smoothies with our children.
It wasn't all fun and games. The adults spent hours learning everything there is to know about the company. We were told nothing was off limits, we could ask any questions and write about everything that we saw, heard, learned.
Before this experience, I had no idea how much thought goes into menu items. We took part in a "sensory taste test" in which we learned the aspects McDonald's considers when making menu items. This was by far my favorite part of the trip and I'm not just saying that because I got to eat a McGriddle AND an Egg McMuffin. It was a completely different experience biting into an Egg McMuffin once they explained how "sensory science" works-- appearance, texture, aroma, taste, and even the sound food makes when you bite. It was kind of amazing to me how good my food tasted when I paid attention to those things. (And when my food wasn't drowning in ketchup.)
There was a lot of focus on Happy Meals and McDonald's commitment to giving kid's healthier choices. My kids love McDonald's and we eat there a few times a month. Mostly because it's convenient, but also because mommy loves their diet coke. As a parent, I appreciate the healthier choices, such as the apple dippers and milk instead of soda. McDonald's assured us that they understand parents are concerned with things like sugar and sodium and are constantly working to improve the nutrition of their products. Even if McDonald's is not something we eat regularly, (it's more of a treat, a couple times a month) I do feel more secure in my decision to let my children have a meal there knowing how much thought and consideration goes into the menu and knowing that they are continually striving to improve based on customer feedback.
The most moving part of the experience for me and my family was visiting a Ronald McDonald House in Chicago. It was wonderful to see firsthand the amazing home this charity provides for families in their time of need. From home cooked meals to a clean, peaceful environments- this place is a refuge for families facing the most stressful of times. (As of June 25th a portion of each Happy Meal and Mighty Kids Meals sales are now benefiting RMHC)
This is experience was a positive and informative one for both me and my family. My husband and I appreciated how much consideration went into the care of our children and to ensure that they had a good time and were well fed. I appreciated McDonald's willingness to answer any and all questions that each blogger asked.
McDonald's has given me a Family Fun Prize pack (worth $100) to giveaway to one of you. To enter to win, simply leave a comment telling me what you're favorite Happy Meal toy was as a child. ([confession]my favorite Happy Meal toys were the Ty Beanie Babies, which of course means I was not a child when they came out. I still have them in a box in the garage./[confession]) You may also ask me any question you may have about my experience (that will count as an entry) and I will be happy to answer! You must include your email address in the comment in order to be eligible. You can read the giveaway rules here. Please visit BlogHer to read more stories from the weekend and more chances to win!
(Comments are now closed)