West Bloomfield resident and Lone Pine Elementary student Elena Hirsch was selected as a finalist in the McDonald's Happy Meal Chefs contest and won a trip to the London 2012 Olympic Games for her and her mom, Sarah. Elena's dad and brother also traveled to London to coincide with Elena's trip to the Olympics.
Mom Sarah is sending daily updates to share Elena's experiences at the Olympics. Posting by Leslie Pardo on behalf of McDonald's.
We arrived on Thursday (July 26) to a London that is decked out and ready for the games. The city has placed decorated statues of Wenlock (Olympics mascot) throughout town, painted icons of the sporting events along the river walk, draped participating nations' flags from the lights beside the Thames, and adorned the iconic Tower Bridge with Olympic rings.
On our first day, we visited the Tower of London where we saw the Crown Jewels, the medieval palace, and assorted weaponry. We also visited Hyde Park, which currently is home to one of the many jumbotron screens temporarily set up to air the games. On Friday morning, we went to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guards.
On Friday afternoon, we began our time with McDonald's. We joined a group of Happy Meal Chefs contest winners and finalists from around the country and world, including Mexico, Italy, Germany, and Australia. The entire group went on a duck tour--a vehicle that travels both on land and in water. We saw a variety of sights, including Big Ben, the London Eye and more.
Following the tour, we were driven to dinner at the Purple Dragon, a wonderland for kids that contains an indoor playground as well as activity rooms (music room, arts and crafts room and children's kitchen) and games. Fun finger foods were served (chicken strips, wrap sandwiches, stuffed mushrooms and tempura vegetables, with brownies for dessert) and then the kids played. They all had a great time decorating cupcakes, making bracelets, getting temporary tattoos and singing karaoke.
According to Elena, "Everything has been so much fun. McDonald's has made this experience even better than just the Olympics by having a Duck Tour and welcome party. My favorite part was the welcome party."
Background about the McDonald's Happy Meal Chefs contest: Open to parents and guardians with kids ages eight to 11, the Happy Meal Chefs contest sought out inspiring stories from families who enjoy cooking with wholesome ingredients at family mealtime. The young chef and her mom Sarah entered the contest by answering a brief questionnaire and submitting a short video online that creatively showcased their family mealtime. At the Olympics, Elena along with the two winning Happy Meal Chefs and seven other contest finalists will meet Olympic athletes, attend Olympic sporting events, participate in cooking activities that promote balanced eating and have the exclusive privilege of playing with athletes at the Olympic venues.