Monday, July 15, 2024
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Dunkin Donuts Space Extravaganza!

Mr. TastyChomps and I became friends a few years ago when he was the current SGA senator representing my club, Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, at UCF.  As you all know, he is currently in Hong Kong on vacation.  As he wouldn’t be able to cover the Dunkin’ Donuts/KSC event (searchable on Twitter via #DDSpace), he instantly thought to ask me to cover for him because of my love and interest in the space community.  Naturally I leaped at the chance and that is what I am here to share to you all about.

Hosted by Dunkin’ Donuts of Central Florida @DDCentFla and Kennedy Space Center Visitor’s Complex @ExploreSpaceKSC, on Thursday July 15th other food bloggers/fellow space tweeps @familyfoodie, @thelittlekitchn, and @jenvargas, myself @my_linh under the @TastyChomps account, and our friends kicked off the day by first heading to the Orlando Dunkin’ Donuts located at 10395 Narcoossee Road for a complimentary breakfast thanks to owners Larry and Sonia Lemos.

Inside, the location is quite roomy and takes a leaf out of Starbucks’ and Panera’s books by having a cozy nook with comfy chairs, where patrons can relax and lounge.  They are also equipped with free Wi-Fi so both students and entrepreneurs can get some work done in a refreshing environment.

Having only ever ordering a donut, a toasted bagel with cream cheese, and/or coffee, I decided to expand my Dunkin’ Donuts gastronomic experience by going with the Turkey, Cheddar, and Bacon Oven-Toasted Flatbread sandwich and a Coffee & Vanilla Bean mixed Coolatta.  Their website describes the sandwich as “a wonderful blend of tasty sliced turkey, crisp bacon and melted cheddar cheese.” and I would have to mostly agree.  Though the sandwich was quite tasty, I disagree that the bacon is “crisp” and more on the chewier side, most likely due to the heat and steam of the hot sandwich.  The Coolatta has been around since 1997 but I am sad to say that I have never had one up until now.  After trying one however, I have to say that I am now a huge fan as they are delicious, refreshing and just the thing in the hot Florida weather.  They come in a variety of flavors and you can even mix two flavors together for a more unique experience.  Coolattas come in Coffee, Vanilla Bean, Strawberry, Tropicana (orange), Watermelon and the brand new Blue Raspberry.  Recently Dunkin’ Donuts has embraced this mixology by officially adding the more popular combinations to their menu.  I cannot wait to try the other flavors and combinations!  I did notice that they had a very festive munchkin called the Beach Ball Munchkin — basically a yellow cake donut hole coated in chocolate and rolled in bright pink and orange sprinkles.

A group shot with all of the #DDSpace crew
Upon arriving to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor’s Complex, we were presented with our own badges!
The first thing we went to was the Shuttle Launch Experience, it is as real of a simulation of what it feels like to launch into space.  I have to admit that I had forgotten how intense the experience is.  Note, it is marketed as an “experience” and not a “ride”.  All I can say is if you enjoy Disney Epcot’s Mission: SPACE then you’ll love this!  
Briefing room to prepare for the Shuttle Launch Experience Mission
True to life size External Tank (orange) and Solid Rocket Boosters (white) by the entrance to the Shuttle Launch Experience
 Space Shuttle Explorer, a true to life size scale model of a Space Shuttle

Space exploration has impacted the lives of people in many aspects, all the way down to being the standard for the food industry.
Then we went to watch the IMAX Hubble 3D movie, which was inspiring, beautiful and breathtaking.  The ending solidified my view that despite how vast the universe is, it is up to each individual to find a sense of purpose and to make their life worthwhile in order to make an impact and a difference. 
Next it was time for lunch with an astronaut!  On our way to the luncheon, we passed by the Rocket Garden — a commemorative place where old rockets could be displayed.
The Apollo Room for the luncheon with Astronaut Rick Searfoss, part of missions STS-58, STS-76, and STS-90 and current test pilot for XCOR Aerospace

A lunch buffet of salad, rolls, wild rice, grilled chicken with a mushroom cream sauce, vegetables, macaroni and cheese, and to everyone’s delight – corn dog nuggets was served.  For dessert, there was carrot cake, black forest cake and an assortment of cookies.  The rice and chicken were both excellent, tender and flavorful.  The macaroni and cheese was sub-par, equating to something found in the frozen food aisle.  The vegetables were decent enough and were seasoned rather than just steamed.  The corn dog nuggets were a hit with all the kids, as well as those young at heart.  The black forest cake was moist and delicious.

The #DDSpace gang with Astronaut Rick Searfoss (via @DDCentFla)

NASA’s “Up-Close” Tour: Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), the largest building by volume

Pad 39A, one of two launch pads all Space Shuttles launched from
Saturn V Building: Astronaut Snoopy!
Saturn V Building: Replica of the Apollo 11 Lunar Lander

This event was sparked by the fact that Dunkin’ Donuts is celebrating it’s 60th birthday this year as well as that July 24th, 1950 marks the 60th anniversary of the first successful rocket launch from Cape Canaveral!  As such, all of July has been a birthday celebration for both Dunkin’ Donuts and the Kennedy Space Center Visitor’s Center.  How so?  On Saturday July 24th at each participating non-Hess Dunkin’ Donuts location in Brevard County, one lucky person who enters DD between 10 AM – 1 PM will win a pack of four tickets to Kennedy Space Center Visitor’s Complex and have lunch with an astronaut!

What’s more is that from now through Saturday July 31st, all Hess and non-Hess Dunkin’ Donuts locations in Brevard County will be distributing $5 off coupons (valid up to six guests per coupon) for Kennedy Space Center’s Visitor’s Complex.  On top of this, if a KSC Visitor’s Complex visitor brings their admission receipt to any Hess or non-Hess Dunkin’ Donuts in Brevard County and buys any beverage, they receive one FREE donut!  What’s not to love?

Go enjoy a space filled day with delicious donuts and snacks, refreshing beverages, and a happy family!

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