Flashback Friday: McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys

by Eden on August 31, 2012

Its time for some flashback Friday.

I’m sure most of you have sworn off McDonalds but if you’re like me and grew up corrupted by the pure ecstasy that was the trip to McDonald’s then maybe you can relate to this post.

But this post is not about the food.

I could go on and on about how genius combination of chicken McNuggets with sweet and sour sauce was, but instead, I’m gonna talk about the Happy Meal toy.


This toy was essential to the childhood McDonald’s experience.

So I’m gonna go over some of the most popular Happy Meal toys.


Teenie Beanie Babies

Beanie Babies were the new black in the 90s.

So McDonald’s came out with “Teenie Beanies” in 1997 and it became the best-selling Happy Meal. So much so that I read that McDonalds had a serious issue with food wasting, as many adults were purchasing the Happy Meals solely for Teenie Beanie purposes and throwing the food in the rubbish bin (I like using the word “rubbish”, makes me feel British and lovely).

McDonald’s had to actually sell them separately! Good lord we were stupid back then.This was like a big “fuck you” to Somalia.


McNugget Buddies

You just don’t see good fried food children’s character action figures like you used to.

These days, have these healthified “Veggie Tales” but I was way happier with some smiling fried nuggets. Clearly, this was a time before parents had any access to relevant nutritional information.

The idea itself is kinda creepy, but this was surprisingly my favorite happy meal toy ever.


McDonald’s took note about appealing to collectors from the beanie baby bonanza.

These were even more retarded than the beanie babies because they had eyelashes.


Halloween Pails

These were terrible.

Caution: object way smaller than they appear.

I bet the pitch meeting went like this,

“If they’re not going to get anything nutritious from us, we might as well throw in the towel and limit their candy consumption by offering un-fun tiny Halloween candy pails.”

We were  far better off with a pillow case. I have no idea why, but my mom never threw mine away and it ended up being where I’d keep my crayons.


McDonald’s  Changeables

These were like Transformers gone greasy.

The fries could turn into a robot or, get this, a milkshake could also turn into a……..yep, you guessed it, a robot!

I guess super lame now that I think about it. Different variations started popping up like the Dino-Changers, Disney movie changers, etc. If only they made one that turned into an iPhone.



Fuck you, Mc Doanlds.

Fuck you for aiming Happy Meal toys to health-conscious adults.

Completely disregarding any demographic success the chain had ever had, they devised a brilliant strategy to put salads, water, and cheap, virtually non-functioning pedometers into Happy Meals. Aimed at people watching their weight. Irony was also included.



Did you have a favorite/least favorite Happy Meal toy? Which toy would you like to see them make?

Enter Your Mail Address

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Ellen August 31, 2012 at 2:46 am

They were a bit before my time I think, but my bro and I had Astrosniks, and they were amazing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astrosnik


Eden August 31, 2012 at 8:54 am

Holy shit, amazing!


lindsay August 31, 2012 at 4:00 am

changeables all the way. Hey, i’m easily amused.


Amanda @ .running with spoons. August 31, 2012 at 8:25 am

Is it sad that I remember pretty much all of these? And probably have a lot of them sitting in a box in my parents’ basement somewhere? The beanies were my favorite… but I remember them doing a lot of Disney movie themed ones, and I always liked those too because then I could re-enact em 😀


Ryan August 31, 2012 at 11:57 am

I remember my very first happy meal. The toy that I chose was a Barbie and I was so pissed because the toy I got was a pathetic excuse for a barbie. It was only slightly bigger than polly pocket, and it was really cheap and crappy looking. I felt so ripped off.

Furbies really creeped me out. What exactly is it? It’s like a hybrid of a penguin and a mouse, with eyelashes. And it has a creepy little voice.


umbrellasr4sissies August 31, 2012 at 8:57 pm

i can’t believe i actually got a stupid toy from Mcdonalds onceeee. i hated it, so i gave it to someone, my psychotherpist at the time. i recall it was a little dog, but don’t know what commercial or animated thing it was supposed to be associated with.


Mike September 1, 2012 at 8:09 am

My grandmother use to collect all the McDonalds toys for me. Man back in the day the toys were so cool. Now there kinda lame.


Eden September 1, 2012 at 9:36 am

I bet the toys are super lame these days. They probably just give out wooden sticks.


Bid September 1, 2012 at 11:20 am

I put out my McNuggets every Halloween.. You’re right.. best fried toy ever..


Katherine September 1, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Thanks to McDonalds, my mother didn’t have to buy me a single toy for the first 8 years of my life. I really wish I was kidding. Also, you’re right, the Halloween nuggets were, in true 90s style, the bomb.


Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) September 5, 2012 at 8:31 pm

I used to love the Barbie toys when I was a kid … and the little cars. We would put the cars on the road and wait until they got ran over, and then grab the remains, lol!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: