Through the mists of time (OK — I’m exaggerating — throughout my lifetime) there has been an unequivocal link between children’s happiness and McDonald’s.
Our family are not regular patrons of fast-food eateries but my parents would occasionally stop at a motorway services, or take us out on a weekend, and treat us.
And it really was a treat.
The excitement induced by a Happy Meal was undeniable and a trip to McDonald’s is something that I’ve always associated with happy family times.
I remember so vividly when the first one opened in my home town.
It had a ginormous train along one wall — with booths inside — that you could sit and eat your food in.
My sister and I loved those occasions that our mum and dad took us all out for a McDonald’s treat. Those memories are synonymous with good times.
The McDonald’s Effect
Roll on thirty years and Maccy D’s still has the same inexplicable draw.
Even when my tiny boys had never even been near a McDonald’s restaurant — let alone set foot inside — the lure of those golden arches was strong.
How they knew what was beyond the doors was a mystery.
We took them for their first Happy Meal last year, which was met with much enthusiasm.
Although in their excitement they got the name wrong; and were convinced the golden ‘M’ stood for Mini-Meadows (which has stuck).
It struck me that — decades on — a trip to McDonald’s is as much a family treat, nowadays, as it was when my sister and I were younger; it’s not lost it’s charm.
Mini-Meadows McDonald’s invited the boys — and some of their friends — along to a sneak preview of one of their new ‘Character Visits’, the excitement (from all of us) was genuine.
Family Good Times
McDonald’s have 2,600 events planned around the UK, this year, ranging from ‘Family Fun Days’ to ‘Character Visits’
Over the next few months — in various McDonald’s restaurants across Britain — there will be fun, free, family-focused events; which will transform a lunchtime treat into something extra special.
The events last for an hour and a half; and feature games, activities, songs — and photo opportunities with the character.
The Angry Bird character visits will be happening from 3rd October until 20th November 2018 (which includes the half term holidays!) and will elevate a trip to McDonald’s into something really memorable.
You can find your nearest ‘Character Visit’ — and when it will be taking place — by using the postcode finder at http://www.mcdonalds.co.uk/familyevents
Up Close and Personal
To say my boys enjoyed getting up close and personal with Red, the Angry Bird, at our local branch of McDonald’s, would be a massive understatement. They were totally thrilled.
The Happy Crew managed to tame over 20 excitable children — ranging in age from 5 to 12 — and keep them all entertained, with games and activities.
It was like watching the Pied Piper in action; the kids were spellbound.
But the noise levels were FEROCIOUS!
I’ve never heard anything like it!!
If you’ve got a family birthday coming up, it would be well worth checking to see if there’s an event happening near you.
It would be a brilliant way to celebrate.
And best of all, your entertainment would be free.
Our local branch was bedecked with balloons and the Happy Crew were some of the best childrens’ entertainers I’ve ever seen. It had the look and feel of a very well organised birthday party.
An Extra Side of Magic
It was such a brilliant afternoon.
A great opportunity to hang out with family and friends and — although the Character Visits are very much aimed at children — all the parents who came along really enjoyed it too.
It was lovely to see our children so animated and excited.
The ‘Character Visits’ bring some of our childrens’ favourite Happy Meal characters to life; and, in doing so, make the McDonald’s magic even stronger.
If there’s a Character Visit happening the next time you visit a branch of McDonald’s — you might just find that there’s a little more on the menu than usual.
From my septuagenarian dad (whose preference is a Big Mac) to my little boys (who favour chicken nuggets), McDonald’s really seems to have something for everyone these days.
But combined with the Character Visits, each meal is served with an extra side of magic.
Fries might be optional but fun — and a big dose of happiness — comes as standard.
To see what happened during our Character Visit, have a look at my little film (thankfully the sound has been muted so you can enjoy it without your hearing being compromised)!
Many thanks to the lovely team at McDonald’s Daventry for accommodating our family and friends. It was absolutely a day to remember!
I’m working in a paid relationship with McDonald’s UK and BritMums highlighting the Family Events at McDonald’s restaurants around the UK, for the #familygoodtimes campaign.
Although this is a collaborative post all thoughts, words and images — as ever — are entirely my own.