Written : 05/10/04

Youíve read the first installment of my Disney World log, right? If not, go here to check it out. If you have, youíll know that while we were touring in Orlando, we came across a big freaking McDonaldís. In fact, the biggest in the world. After seeing it on the Food Network, my mom and brother were determined to find this place while we were there. Not only did we manage to find it, but on the first day to boot. And as they had been raving for about a week at that time, it was really freaking big. So big, that it was advertising itís greatness on the M signpost outside, and several other signposts in the vicinity.

Just as a little preface, Iíd like to point out that a lot of my pictures of this McDonaldís turned out a little blurry. And by ďa littleĒ, I mean ďterriblyĒ. Iím not sure why, as almost every other picture I took turned out fine, but thatís the way it is, so youíre going to have to deal with it or go and do something else. The blur isnít so bad that you canít tell whatís what though, so you should be able to cope rather easily. Now letís get this party started.

So now weíll take a wondrous journey into one of the most amazing places that Iíve ever seen, and Iíve seen Disney World. Our tour starts outside, where amazingly, there is quite a bit to see. Just standing outside of this place, you can tell that itís going to be like no other fast-food restaurant youíve ever seen. You have to witness it first-hand to get the full effect of how spectacular this place is, but Iím going to do my best to give you a good general impression.

Well that one turned out horribly, but Iím sure you get the picture. Itís the big M sign seen in front of every single McDonaldís restaurant, so chances are pretty good that youíve seen one. Only instead of a sign saying that theyíve sold so many billions of burgers, itís got a fancy-ass electronic signboard that boasts about itís hugeness and greatness. It also gives details on current specials, what kinds of food they serve there, and just how popular the place is. I can imagine that itís running the 3 other McDís restaurants within 30 feet into the ground.

And the fact that there are other McDonaldís restaurants close by is the really sad part. I thought it was a pancake house that they had on every street corner, not a McDonaldís. But on that note, there were a lot of pancake houses around. Especially IHOP (International House of Pancakes, for those not in the know. I just learned that while I was there.). That seems to be the granddaddy of them all. And while pancakes are good and all (now that I think of it, I wonder what the breakfast menu is like hereÖ), Iím at McDonaldís, and thatís what Iíve got to get back to reviewing. So in conclusion, while in Florida, I ate no pancakes.

You might not be able to tell so well from pictures, but this place, as I may have mentioned before, is frickiní huge. Just look at it and compare it to things around it. Oh yeah, thereís also the whole two-storey thing going on. Thatís a big one. Not only is it huge, itís exuberantly decorated as well. The huge fry box motif, the art all over the walls, and the lights and decorative crap coming out of every which way, itís amazing just to look at. If you do ever visit, youíll probably be stuck standing in awe of this place for a good five minutes or so before you actually get inside. And it only gets more extravagant on the inside. If God eats fast food, this is where he goes.

When you walk in (and through automatic doors, no less) youíll notice that every bit of wall and possibly even ceiling is covered in something. To your right is the dessert bar, which Iíll get to later, right in front of you are swarms of people trying to get food, and to your left is the happy little scene pictured above. As you can see, weíve got ocean-painted walls, a huge map, a table for taking charity donations, and that token Ronald McDonald toy display. On the floor are some sort of funny footprints that point you to the exit (which you might miss with all this stuff going on around you), and the occasional shoe scuff, which might be unintentional.

Now this one is the real kicker. Look at all of that food advertisement and display. In the very back is the regular McDonaldís counter area, where you get your food. Right in front of them are more little cash register machines, where you order your stuff. This is all a lot more complex than any McDonaldís Iíve ever seen already. Then in front or that is their gourmet food displays. These contain pizza, real sandwiches, desserts, and seafood, among a bunch of other fancy stuff. You can see various signs posted around, like the black pizza sign above, the sandwich sign in the background, and that bistro gourmet sign to the left. Over on the right side, you can just barely get a glance at that dessert area and chef station. Thatís right. This McDonaldís has real chefs. That means food that wonít make you crap 5 minutes later (or block you for several days, as I would soon learn).

So while my parents stand in line to get us our grub, we decide to go explore this huge place. It might be the excess of people, or that fact that itís crammed to the brim with games, tables, chairs and odds ní ends, but it feels a lot smaller on the inside. Well, to be more precise, the first floor does anyway. The second floor is less jam packed, because the eating area is exclusive to downstairs, so thereís a lot more room to move around, but weíre still investigating the downstairs, so Iíll get back to that.

As you can see in the picture, there are not nearly as many people as I might have led you to believe, but there were still an ample amount. You can also see that the walls are still painted from top to bottom, and thereís decoration as far as the eye can see. Unless youíre looking out those crooked windows, because even downtown Florida, a place filled with more crap than you can imagine, looks bare compared to this single establishment. And you can also see a couple of the games along the back wall, and Iíll hint at it now, thatís one of, if not the best part of this McDonaldís.

Thereís the kidís/birthday area. Itís just as covered in fancy as the rest of the place, and itís even got those cool character chairs. Just looking here, can you imagine how exhilarating it must be for a kid to have his birthday party here? Even to attend a party here? Or Hell, if you were going to go to a party here, chances are that you live close enough to go whenever you so desired. And that would be great. A place like this is just one of those places you have to go to more than once if you ever get the chance. Just like Disney World, and I have been there twice. Not to boast or anything, though.

Ack! Itís the attack of the blurry camera invaders! I swearÖ Itís not that I screwed up. No. Iím good at taking pictures. Whatís that? I already admitted to screwing up at the beginning? Damn. Hoisted by my own petard. Now while that phrase makes very little sense according to dicitionary.com, Iíll take the Family Guy quote for what itís worth. Now back to the stuff and such, this is the opposite wall to the kidís area, and you can see that itís covered in games, and the floor is absolutely cluttered with eating place. Itís actually quite hard to move through the tables themselves, even when theyíre unoccupied. Going around the perimeter may be a longer trek, but it certainly is easier.

Oh gah! Itís even blurrier than the last. Luckily, this one I can chalk up to wanting to take the picture fast so that girl wouldnít think I was taking a picture of her. Itís just one of those things you have to watch for when you have a camera. You see the aquarium. Itís cool and blue, but the fishies inside leave something to be desired. Theyíre tropical aquarium fishies and all, but theyíre no eels or mantis shrimp or anything really awesome like that. Just plain old angelfish and other brightly coloured aquatic critters. It is pretty big though, so itís not a total loss. And even if they arenít special, fish are always fun to watch, in a bored sort of way.

You know, I think it might actually get better after this one. Iím not sure, but we can hope, right? This little corner is jungle themed for some reason that I canít explain. It comes complete with tons of leaves and flowers hanging from the ceiling, a little statue thing with some water in it, and a rather dark air altogether. It certainly is different from the rest of the restaurant, and it really shows that they were trying to please as many as possible. This way, plant lovers can bask in their flora, and goths can sit in a dark corner. Fun for everyone!

and now, we get to the best part of the whole entire place, and one of the biggest highlights of my trip. Yes, itís something that only I would get super-hyped about, and yes, I realize that it qualifies me as a huge loser, but damned if my heart didnít stop when I saw this beautyÖ

Mc-freaking-Donaldís has an F-Zero AX machine!!!! Just like it says in the title bar! Ever since GX came out, Iíve been searching the city for one, but up here in Canada weíre lucky to get cool stuff late, and most of the time, we just plain miss out on it. Iíll tell you this, If one of these machines does take up residence in Winnipeg somewhere (please inform me if you know of one!), I havenít been there, because I know I would have used or at least caressed it once by now.

To make my severe geekness a little more understandable, I love F-Zero. Iím not a huge racing fan, but the Nintendo racers have always had a special place in my heart. Mostly because those are the only ones that you can control without being a racing freak. Damn that Gran Turismo and itís complexity. Heck, damn all sim racers for being too hard for me to understand. But F-Zero, itís not like that. The car turns when and where you want it to turn. If you want to make a sharper turn, you hold the sharp turn button. None of this spin-out, drift and slow-down-when-turning funny business. Just me, the track, and 29 other racers. All set to awesome music and beautiful sci-fi scenery.

and the arcade game only capitalizes on everything there is in GX. For one, the seat moves around while playing. And since itís an extreme racer, it moves a lot. So much it needs a seat belt. And then the speakers are right in behind your head, so those awesome tunes are blaring in your ears all the way to the finish line. It may sound distracting, but anyone who doesnít like a hardcore mix of the Mute City music needs a serious re-evaluation of their musical tastes. Plus it sets the mood really well. Iíll even throw in this link, which you can follow to download every track from every F-Zero game. The steering was a bit touchy and oversensitive, but was easy to get used to.

Oh, just look at that. A perfect picture after all of that blur. Fitting, isnít it? Well, thereís yet ANOTHER great thing about this machine that I didnít yet mention. If youíve got an F-Zero GX game save, and you bring your memory card, you can slot it in here and unlock a bunch of new machines, tracks and parts to play on GX. Yes, you can unlock them without AX, but itís freaking hard. Just ask anyone whoís played the game. Finishing the races on the AX machine is a helluva lot easier. And even though it might cost you a couple bucks to do it, the experience is definitely worth it. This is one of the greatest arcade games Iíve ever played, topped only by Pac-Man, Ms Pac-Man(which was also at this particular McDonaldís), and Bust-A-Move.

So now that Iím done with that little rant, itís about time that we moved upstairs. Like I said earlier, up here there were no tables or chairs, so it was a lot less crowded, and access to games was much more convenient. If you turn around while heading upstairs, or happen to be on your way down, youíll see the scene pictured above. While the downstairs was built around the premise of eating and playing F-Zero, the upstairs is a much more patriot-friendly place. But of course, only for the American visitors. Foreigners like me feel completely out of place, eh.

Holy crap. Now that one is bad. More patriotism with the flag-bearing Lady Liberty, and behind her is a huge and brightly lit wall. Inside that wall is the prize room. Not only is this place awesome, it also takes the premise of Chuck E. Cheeseís before it and implements a ticket/reward system. All the prize-type games might have been upstairs, but Iím not sure, since I didnít even give most of them a second glance. I was far too caught up in F-Zero. Itís kinda very sad that Iím obsessing so much about a single arcade machine, but Iíve been looking for one for months, so I technically could have had a orgasm when I saw it and still been in the right. But I didnít, so Iím not totally screwed for finding a girl yet. (Note: Even I have a limit when it comes to video game hype.)

And the monstrous ball pit/climbing structure is something you just canít ignore. This thing, like the restaurant, it huge. I couldnít go in it, of course, but you know I wanted to. All the twists and turns and windows and things inside. Itís a spelunkerís paradise. In the first picture, you can see a Rollercoaster Tycoon sign of some sort; itís a pinball game. I thought it was pretty cool, but not cool enough to earn a picture. And in the second, you canít really see anything. Iím almost ashamed at how bad these pictures turned out, but itís not like itís something I can just go back and re-shoot any time I want, so theyíll have to do.

I played a mere two games while I was here. That may sound quite odd, but you already know about the F-zero AX situation. ďWhat was the other game?Ē you ask? Well, in my entire life up to this point, Iíve only spent money on one woman; Ms. Pac-Man (I make things for my mom, or get my dad to buy stuff. Iím not totally heartless). Now seeing as that statement pretty much ensures me to be single for the rest of my life, I might as well keep going, as Iíve nothing left to lose. ÖStrange. I think Iíve typed out a phrase similar to that in an older article. Maybe itís just one of those inaccurate feelings of dťjŗ vu. I donít know, and I donít care enough to check. Now bring out the next picture!

Youíve all played one type of Cyclone game or another. Unless youíve never been to Ruckerís or Chuck E. Cheeseís, but thatís impossible, so Iíll assume you all know how it goes down. In any case, they had both this Cyclone machine, and an identical machine called ďTitanicĒ almost side-by-side. Maybe itís in case of a busy day, maybe theyíre just being redundant. I donít know, Iím not a doctor, but I do know what didnít kill her. Smoking. Ah, now thatís two Family Guy quotes that donít quite fit. Oh well, they bring back good and funny memories, so Iíll leave Ďem there. Family Guy rules.

And now that weíve seen pretty much everything there is to see in this Super McDonaldís, itís time that I leave. It had to happen, but not after one final race across Mute City. Well, after that, I was done, we had to leave for real, and on good timing, too, because there wasnít anything else I really wanted to take pictures of. But on the way out, thereís one thing that stares you in the eyes through the whole long walk to the exit.

The ice cream bar. The most magical gift the human race has ever been given, and my last stop in the worldís biggest McDonaldís. There wasnít a huge selection of flavours to choose from, but all the best ones were there; bubble gum, cookies ní cream, mint chocolate chip, rainbow, chocolate, chocolate swirl, yellow, and a couple less noticeable ones. I, the ever-hungry pile of human I am, decided that I would delight myself with some of this ice cream even though Iíd just eaten 4 double cheeseburgers, a super-sized drink and 3 portions worth of fries. I got the yummy bubbly gum flavour that I havenít had in the years since the awesome ice cream place we used to go to closed down. That was a sad summer for everyone.

See? Blue. It also matched the sign outside if held up properly. You might also notice that it says ďinternetĒ in the window. Yes, they had internet. Yes, I could have made a little post while inside. But it cost money and it was a touch screen, and I had racing and dot-eating to do. So I opted not to and simply went on my way.

And thatís the end of that adventure into the wilds of fast-food land. Actually, if you compared it to the rest of fast-food land, it would be like the throne room where the king sits and get really fat. And now that Iíve typed over 3100 words about a McDonaldís restaurant, I have to go and wonder why Iím not doing this for money. Seriously. I would love to get paid for the site, but itís not going to happen. So while I flush that pipe dream, Iíll leave you with a couple closing statements.

1. If youíre ever in Orlando or anywhere remotely close to it, make sure you visit this place. Even if you donít like McDís food, theyíve got something for every taste. Theyíve probably even got caviar if youíre into that kinda stuff.

2. Buy me an F-Zero AX machine for my birthday. Itís still 4 months away, but youíll need to start saving now. If nothing else, get me GX and a racing wheel so I can pretend.

3. Yes, they have a Bill Cosby standy. If thatís not reason enough to travel down to Americaís wang, I donít know what is.

~Ryan
E-Mail: Tuominenator[at]gmail[dot]com

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