Visiting the World's Largest McDonald's

Humans have always been fascinated with the "-est".  That's why people travel for miles to see the world's tallest building, the world's longest bridge, the world's largest ball of string.  That's why people are willing to buy tickets a year in advance and queue for hours to watch the highest, fastest, and strongest athletes compete in the Olympics.  

That's why I was so excited to find out that McDonald's had built the world's largest restaurant for the Olympics -- and that I was going to get the opportunity to visit.   McDonald's invited my family and I to a day at the Olympic Park and lunch at the World's Largest McDonald's with Rick Wion, McDonald's Director of Social Media, and Molly McKenna Jandrain, McDonald's Director of PR.

The world's largest McDonald's restaurant is located inside Olympic Park in East London, just a few hundred feet away from the Olympic Stadium (note, there is a second McDonald's restaurant inside the Olympic Park, on the other side of the Olympic Stadium, but it's much smaller; there's no doubt about which one is the world's largest).  The entire building measures 32,292 square feet, which is quite a bit bigger than the previous recordholders, McDonald's in Orlando, FL and McDonald's in Vinita, OH (29,135 square feet).

Click here to

Disney Drinks

Last week I wrote a post about healthy foods at Disneyland; this week I wanted to give a shout-out to some of their drinks.  There's the usual sodas, lemonade, coffee, tea, and bottled water, but there are also some fun things to drink if you know where to find them.  Here are my 3 favorite watering holes around the Disneyland Resort:

Dove® VisibleCare Renewing Body Wash

When you're a busy work-at-home parent with three kids, you take your "me" time whenever and wherever you can.  Over the years, I've perfected the art of finding "me" time, and now I can chill out and find my inner zen in the most ordinary of places:

* Driving on the highway
* Sitting in the dentist's chair
* Singing in the shower

I'm singing extra loud in the shower these days, now that BlogHer has sent me a bottle of Dove® Visible Care Body Wash.   I've always associated Dove with richness and moisturizing (growing up in the Philippines, it was difficult to find Dove bars, and my mother would give first priority to my baby brothers because she said Dove was the best thing to keep the moisture in their skin!), so when Dove Visible Care claims to give visibly  more beautiful skin in just 1 week, I don't have a difficult time believing it.

Healthy choices at Disneyland

I'm a big believer in personal responsibility, so you're not going to find me vilifying fast food companies like McDonald's or soda companies like Coca-Cola for making the products that they do.  I truly believe it is possible to incorporate these foods into your diet, as long as you keep in mind that it's an indulgence (and by indulgence, I mean occasional, not every other day) and watch your portions when you do indulge.

That said, I always appreciate it when big companies acknowledge the huge influence their food and their marketing practices have on the average consumer, and work to inform and educate the consumer, as well as provide healthier options.

Olympics: how sweet it is

My obsession with the Olympics continues... the Brits are beginning to look at me strangely, because I can't seem to stop taking photos whenever I see a product with an Olympics logo.   I was at Selfridge's Food Hall last week, and there was I was impressed by the number of Olympics-themed edibles (both licensed and unlicensed) the Olympics-crazed consumers could consume.  From candy to cookies to cakes to crisps to coke, companies are offcompanies are taking the word "consumer" literally!  Here are my favorites:

Would you pay a premium for Official London 2012 cookies (or, as the British call them, biscuits)?  Sure, the frosted mascot and Olympic medal designs are cute, but it's not like you can keep them as a souvenir.   They did have cookies in special Olympics tins, which I would totally buy: after the cookies are gone, I can use the tin to store my souvenir Olympics pins, key chains, pens, snowglobes, coins... on second thought, maybe the frosted cookies would be better for my budget.

London Prepares: Olympics decorations around London

It's less than a week till the London 2012 Olympic games, and the whole nation is excited!  All the newspapers have daily Olympic inserts featuring Olympic athletes and updates on the preparations for the games.  It's not all good news -- there are reports of lost athletic equipment, 4-hour detours, and traffic congestion and confusion due to the special Olympic traffic lanes around London and the other games venues.  But for the most part, everyone is getting into the spirit.  It's hard not to, what with the whole of London putting on its Olympic party clothes!   Here are some of the Olympic trappings I've seen around:

Would you like chips with that Big Mac? (McDonald's in the UK)

When we visited France two years ago, I wrote a post about the local menu options at McDonald's.  I've always been fascinated by how McDonald's customizes their menus to cater to local palates and tastes, so now that we're in the UK for a while, I thought I'd show everyone the different kinds of McDonald's dishes you can order here!

Pin trading at Disneyland

Every time we go to Disneyland, I like to buy the kids a Disney themed t-shirt.  This time around, we found that the shirts I got them for our previous trip still fit them, so I decided to buy them some pins and lanyards instead. 

Olympic Torch Relay, Day 54: Salisbury

Today, The Pea and I attended our first Olympic event: we saw the London 2012 Olympic Torch pass through Salisbury!  The torch has been making its way around the UK since mid-May, with 8,000 torchbearers carrying the flame through more than 1,000 cities, towns and villages.   June 11 was Day 54 of the Olympic Torch Relay, and I was determined to see it.

Olympics-themed candy

Olympic fever has definitely hit England.  Many English households have their homes decked out with British flags -- they were originally put up for the Queen's Jubilee, and the owners have let them stay up for the Olympics.  The papers and tabloids all have an Olympics section with a daily countdown and daily feature of a British athlete.  Stores are filled with Team GB logowear (Olympic logowear is rare; I'm assuming only the official London 2012 stores will have them) and you can buy Olympic-themed everything and anything you want.  Here's a sample of some of the Olympic-themed candy we've been munching on:

Disney's World of Color lights up the night

Disney's World of Color never fails to give me goosebumps.  I love the light-up characters, the Bellagio-style fountain show, the Disney movie music that brings back wonderful memories of childhood.  I didn't think the show could get any better, but I was wrong.

London 2012 Official Programme

I don't buy many physical books or magazines these days; thanks to our Kindle and iPad, we can read pretty much any book or magazine we want, without adding bulk or weight to our luggage.  But this Official Programme to the London 2012 Olympic games is a keeper.  We like buying souvenir programmes to all the events we attend, and since this is the world's biggest sporting event, it's worth the space it will take up on our library shelf.    And since it's probably not going to be available on Amazon or Barnes and Noble, I thought I'd share what's inside:

American Girl Place, LA (2nd time around)

Two weeks ago The Pea and I visited the American Girl Place at the Grove Shopping Center in LA.  It was my second time to visit the store (my first visit was 2 years ago), and although the main purpose of our visit was to have lunch at the Cafe, we made sure we had some extra time to walk around the store and soak in all the American Girl magic.

What's in your backpack?

I like to travel light, but the 13-lb weight limit for Virgin Atlantic's carry-on bags in economy class really makes things challenging.  I have roll-on bags that weigh almost 10-lb without anything inside!  And with all the electronics (not to mention their chargers) that I like to carry with me, I really had to go with my ultralight version when figuring out what to take along for my flight to the UK.  Here's what I packed with me:

California Classico 2012: SJ Earthquakes vs. LA Galaxy

City derby matches always produce the most intense and exciting soccer matches.  The most famous ones even have their own name:  think Manchester City vs. Manchester United (Manchester Derby), Liverpool vs. Everton (Merseyside Derby), Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund (Deutschland National Derby) and Real Madrid vs. FC Barcelona (El Clasico).