Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Aliens, Roswell, Flying Saucers and McDonald's?

VIPs toast launch of UFO McDonald’s

Tara May
The Roswell Daily Record

A red carpet and “Welcome to Earth” sign greeted VIPs who attended a party Monday evening for the new UFO-themed McDonald’s.

Aliens in small spaceships adorned the children’s play area, as Roswell kids raced for high scores on the restaurant’s video games. “This place is so cool,” 7-year-old Bryse Kwasney said. “It’s really good.”

Owner John Snowberger, who also owns other McDonald’s locations in Roswell and Carlsbad, said he was “extremely excited” and “overwhelmed” to see the newest restaurant open.

“Welcome to the unofficial crash site,” Snowberger said. “This is in a class all its own.”

The VIP party included dance routines, champagne and strawberries, musical entertainment, a visit from a Ronald McDonald impersonator and TV host Caleb Crump from UPN-50 television.

A pastor from Church on the Move said a prayer for the celebration.

The McDonald’s will open today mostly for training purposes. The official grand opening will take place all day Saturday at the restaurant, which is along Main Street just north of downtown.

Snowberger said that of the more than 30,000 McDonald’s on the globe, “this one is the most unique.” The themed restaurant is inspired from the 1947 Roswell Incident, in which a UFO purportedly landed on a ranch just north of Roswell.

Snowberger said the restaurant has taken about seven months to build – about twice as long as it takes to build a regular McDonald’s. He said it was particularly difficult to take a circular UFO shape and attach it to a rectangular building. “Think about designing a round room, decorating a round room. Think about just making the roof not leak,” he said. “This was such a challenge.”

He thanked city officials for their support throughout the project. “Don’t take this too lightly,” he said. “The city has been immensely helpful and supportive in making this come together.”

Mayor Bill Owen returned the gratitude. “This McDonald’s literally is a tourist attraction all in itself,” Owen told Snowberger. “It’s done in such a positive way, and in such a classy way. “We’re very excited about this facility.”

The current McDonald’s next door is more than 30 years old.

The new children’s play place is glass enclosed, located where the “hatch” of the UFO opens in the front of the building. The side-by-side drive-through lanes should help speed up order-taking. The same employees from the current McDonald’s will work in the new location.

Snowberger threw an opening party for his staff and their families Sunday evening.
About 190 people are employed at the two Roswell McDonald’s. “My staff is where it’s at,” Snowberger said. “Everybody you see when you walk in this location has put in overtime, worked graveyard shifts, just worked so hard to make this happen.
“I really appreciate my people.”

Roswell resident Robin Willingham said she and her children can’t wait to visit the new location. “It’s out of this world,” she said.

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