Saturday, March 3, 2012

2012 Slice-of-Life Story Challenge | 3

So, today was full of typical Saturday fare...  My husband kept Reid busy so I could sleep in, we dilly-dallied around until it was time to make the weekly pilgrimage to Super Target for groceries (and everything else I'm invited to 'need' while there); then for kicks, this week, we added lunch at McDonald's. 

Now I know, that may sound funny.  I mean, we have a two-year old.  So, McDonald's shouldn't be a stretch.  And, it really isn't.  But, typically we hit the drive-thru (and like bad parents) pass our toddler back bits of burger and fingerfuls of fries while we finish the trip home.

Munching on salads, fried chicken, and cheeseburgers galore at our oval table, my husband made an interesting observation: I thought all McDonald's stores have a Play Place.  Didn't they used to?  This one doesn't...  And, that idea turned my mind into a veritable card catalog of all the franchise locations I've driven by, stopped at, or driven through in the past few years.  You know what?  It's true.

In my Midwestern metropolitan area, the big push right now with McDonald's restaurants is rebuilding.  The company will close a store, tear it down, rebuild a modern one complete with the tandem coffee house (sorry, it'll never be Starbucks!), and then open it six weeks later full of up-to-date amenities like lounge chairs and fireplaces.  But, the one amenity which doesn't resurface is the Play Place.  In fact, I can only think of one store right now (and that's up near my hometown) that still offers the space.  Evidently, its number hasn't come up yet...

Reid doesn't even know to associate McDonald's with playing after dinner like I so lovingly did as a small child.  Some of my fondest memories include when my grandparents would take all my cousins at the same time once each year for dinner and playing at McDonald's.  For him, Chick-Fil-A is the new McDonald's because the posh play area is integral to the restaurant's design and overall company mission to serve families the best they can.  We never do the drive-thru at Chick-Fil-A because it's far more fun to eat inside  In honest terms, skipping the play area afterward would be darn near unacceptable.

So, why do places that claim to be for kids cut out the kid-friendly amenities?  An inquisitive slice for this Saturday...

Write on,


  1. Wow, I didn't even know McDonald's was making the change. We in Denver must be behind. I alway hated the Play Spaces, seemed like the house of germs to me, & I'm really not too worried about germs or I wouldn't be a teacher. Your question is terrific though. Why, if it is a fun place for kids with the requisite Ronald McDonald, are they putting in fireplaces and lounge chairs. Hm-m-m! A change in markets? Thanks for asking!

  2. I have not been to a McDonald's in fifteen years or so and have not noticed any changes as I drive by. Now I am going to be a bit more observant. With the coffee etc. maybe kids are no longer their focus. I was too old by the time the play areas arrived but my little brother loved them.

  3. This is shocking! I haven't given it a thought, but you might be right. I'm going to have to go on an adventure to find out. I used to take my kids there all the time to play. Now it is true that the world might be better off without the rough children playing in the play place or the massive amount of germs that likely lived there, but who really thought about any of that? I can remember many a long trip stopping to let the kids get out and play for a bit. They loved it. I'm going on a drive tomorrow.


  4. That's most interesting. I was at McDonalds today where I live and it still has the play area. But you are probably right, when they do rebuild, it will change. Something to think about. Thanks for sharing. Happy Slicing! :)

  5. Our McDonalds in the middle of town is now under construction. The drive thru is open, but everything else is encased in scaffolding and plastic. So now I'm wondering what will appear when they finish. My kids loved playing at McDonalds. It was a stress reliever to take the kids for dinner and play time when my husband traveled. How sad!

  6. I have noticed the remodeling work at various McDonalds but not being a customer I didn't know about the lack of Play Places. I have no doubt they have their fully-marketing-research-backed answer. Thanks for raising a good question and also making me a little interested in trying out a trip to McDonalds again.

  7. Like several others, I had not even noticed this about McDonalds. I adopted my boys when they were seven and nine, and they loved, loved, loved those play places. Sometimes, when I got really, really tired, I would take them to the play place, just because it gave me five minutes peace and quiet. They probably were a house of germs, like Linda said, but we sure loved them!


Hi! I'd love to hear what you are thinking right now, so please take a sec and drop me a line. I'm so glad you stopped by today -- thanks a billion. :)