It’s Only a Happy Meal Because Of the Toy

I have no answer for you. I cannot tell you why. There is no reason for why my parents chose to keep and protect a plastic bin full of old, fast-food restaurant kid’s meal toys. I am not sure if they thought my brother and I would want to pass them on to our children or if they considered the toys may be worth money someday or maybe they thought they could be used as currency in a future apocalypse. Though I cannot fathom the reason behind them keeping such a random and weird artifact from my childhood, I am certainly glad they did.

During a recent visit home, my dad brought out this box of ancient artifacts and we went through them for a old-times-sake. It was entertaining and heartwarming and puzzling all at the same time. Some toys I remembered fondly, some toys I can’t even believe were made and some toys I have absolutely no idea who they heck they are. I pulled some of the most entertaining toys from the box, did a little bit of research on each one and wanted to share my findings with you all in hopes that it will bring back sweet memories of sitting in the drive-thru, smelling that glorious scent of french fries and anxiously awaiting the surprise of what toy would be including with your meal. Bon appetite and enjoy!

BUSTER BUNNY TINY TOON ADVENTURES WACKY ROLLER

What is it from?

“Tiny Toon Adventures” cartoon series

When was it released?

1992, according to www.complex.com

What does it do?

When you push Buster’s car, the dome that contains a small basketball and hoop, shoots the ball and attempts to make a basket

What is the current list price on eBay?

$14.97 for the complete set of 8 cars

This has to be one of my favorite toys we found in the whole bunch. Besides adoring the cartoon show as a kid, Buster’s car can actually make a basket! The car STILL works, although not every shot is a basket. I am sure I received more than one of these cars as a kid, so I was confused as to why there weren’t more in the collection my parents saved, until I started rolling it and it made this crazy-loud clicking noise every second. Now, I understand. #sorrymomanddad

BARTMAN ACTION FIGURE

What is it from?

“The Simpsons” television show

When was it released?

1990, according to www.buzzfeed.com, although this particular toy doesn’t look like it belongs with the rest

What does it do?

Pose-able legs and arms

What is the current list price on eBay?

Not listed, although similar figures are selling for $5.45

Anybody else immediately start singing the “Do the Bartman” song? It still amazes me that they were able to produce and include numerous lines of Burger King Kid’s Club meal toys of “The Simpsons” – it’s not exactly the most kid-friendly show. I suppose that is what made is so alluring to us young-folk, back in the day. Telling your mom, “Don’t have a cow, man,” was the ultimate in rebellious cool. That was, until you got grounded and your Bartman figure taken away…

ALF FIGURINE

What is it from?

“ALF”, a sitcom series from the late 1980s

When was it released?

1988 for the hand puppets, according to wikipedia.org, but the figurine isn’t listed as part of that collection

What does it do?

Literally nothing, much like the actual Alf

What is the current list price on eBay?

$12.58

I am still not sure if this is actually a kid’s meal toy or not, but I had to include it because it demonstrates how much my family enjoyed the sitcom. This toy does NOTHING. It’s not even posable! Yet, we chose to keep it because of that crazy alien, trying to eat the cat, that always made us laugh. Cheers to you, Alf!

FRAGGLE ROCK CAR

What is it from?

A classic Jim Henson production, “Fraggle Rock”

When was it released?

1988, according to muppet.wikia.com

What does it do?

Able to roll by manual push only

What is the current list price on eBay?

$3.99 (new in package)

Nothing is catchier that the darn theme song to “Fraggle Rock.” Nothing! I confess, I had no idea which Fraggle this actually was. If you’re wondering, his name is Gobo Fraggle and he is driving a carrot. The thing about this toy that had my dad and I in stitches was that if you look closely at the picture, you will notice a letter “K” drawn on the car. That stands for my brother’s first name, which means there was some kind of squabble over whose car was whose when we first got them. Yes, we even fought over Happy Meal toys. #siblinglove

DOC BROWN IN THE DELOREAN

What is it from?

If you live under a rock, it is from the epic film, “Back to the Future”

When was it released?

1991, according to www.retrorobotreview.com

What does it do?

In it’s prime, it was a wind-up car that emitted sparks when pushed

What is the current list price on eBay?

$12.50 (new in package)

This may be the most radical Happy Meal toy ever included with a burger and fries. First of all, it is a wind-up car, not a simple push car. Second, it allowed you to re-create the scene from the movie with the water tower with as much accuracy as a 5-year old kid could. Also, if you want a good laugh, check out the original commercial by clicking this link to www.youtube.com.

MCDONALDS CHANGEABLES AND DINO CHANGEABLES

What is it from?

I guess… McDonalds and The Transformers?

When was it released?

1988 and 1991, according to www.amazon.com

What does it do?

These seemingly delicious mini-eats transform into robots or McDinos by flipping and turning different parts of the toy

What is the current list price on eBay?

$24.00 for the full set of 8

Leave it to McDonalds to make their food into toys themselves. The immensely popular Transformer toys of the 1980s seem to have inspired this line of Happy Meal toys. Although, these toys don’t have as many nifty parts and pieces. A variety of McDonalds foods were used as these transformers including Chicken McNuggets, French fries and the popular Big Mac.

MCDONALDS FRY KIDS 

What is it from?

The McDonalds cast of custom characters

When was it released?

1989, according to www.buzzfeed.com

What does it do?

Nothing

What is the current list price on eBay?

$7.00

Also known as Fry Guys, the Fry Kids were part of a larger group of characters that McDonalds created. Among the motley crew was Ronald McDonald, Grimace, the Hamburglar, Mayor McCheese and McNugget buddies. What kid didn’t absolutely adore the McDonalds gang? Although, I have to say, I am not sure why these are called Fry Kids when their hair just looks like colored dreadlocks. #theworldmayneverknow

101 DALMATIONS

What is it from?

The Disney classic, “101 Dalmations”

When was it released?

1990, according to www.youtube.com

What does it do?

Pose-able arms and legs

What is the current list price on eBay?

$6.50 for two

McDonalds actually released a few editions of “101 Dalmations” toys in the 1990s. They usually coincided with a release of one of the many live-action remakes that starred a devilishly good, Glenn Close as Cruella DeVille.  Because these toys are white, you can see the wear and tear and dirt on them, which I actually love. You can tell we really enjoyed playing with them. I can remember using Pongo as a dog for my Barbie dolls, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Jurassic Park action figures. I guess I just thought adding a dog made everything so much better… I guess I still think that.

BO PEEP SPINNING TOP

What is it from?

Another Disney classic, “Toy Story”

When was it released?

1996, according to www.etsy.com

What does it do?

Originally, it came with a mechanism to wind the top and spin it

What is the current list price on eBay?

$6.99

Fun Fact: Burger King and McDonalds, at different points, each had rights to use Disney characters for toys. Toy Story was released when Burger King had rights and Toy Story 2 was released when McDonalds had the rights. We’ve lost the mechanism to help spin the top, but Bo Peep still spins great! A very well-made toy. My dad and I could not stop spinning it!

CHIP N DALE RESCUE RANGERS MIX N MATCH CAR 

What is it from?

“Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers” cartoon series

When was it released?

1989, according to www.buzzfeed.com

What does it do?

These cars were push-able AND had parts that could be interchanged – they were awesome!

What is the current list price on eBay?

$17.99 for a set of all 4

Disney made some memorable afternoon cartoons and Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers” was just one of them. The series even spawned an attraction at Disneyland called “Gadget’s Go Coaster” that still attracts quite a crowd. By mixing and matching the parts included with these tiny vehicles made kids feel like part of the Ranger’s team. Also, do you know if it’s Chip or Dale in the car pictured above? If you answered Chip, you are correct! The way to remember is that Chip has the dark or “chocolate chip” nose, and Dale has a red nose.

DONALD DUCK’S RACE LOCOMOTIVE

What is it from?

To celebrate Mickey Mouse’s birthday, McDonalds and Disney collaborated to make these race cars

When was it released?

1989, according to www.buzzfeed.com

What does it do?

They can be pulled back and raced and even included a box that could be folded into a tunnel

What is the current list price on eBay?

$25.00 for a set of all 5

This little train still packs a pretty big punch when pulled back. Four other characters were released for Mickey Mouse’s birthday festivities and each had their own vehicle to race in. Mickey had a roadster, Minnie had a convertible, Pluto had a rumbler and Goofy had a sport-coupe. What a great way to celebrate everyone’s favorite mouse!

TINY TOON ADVENTURES FLIP CARS 

What is it from?

“Tiny Toon Adventures” cartoon series

When was it released?

1991, according to www.buzzfeed.com

What does it do?

Basically two toys in one, the cars had features from two Tiny Toons characters and could be flipped to alter which character was driving

What is the current list price on eBay?

$0.99

I am completely shocked by the list price on eBay – these were some of the coolest Happy Meals toys from the 1990s. The one we ending up keeping features Montana Max and Go Go, each adding their own flair to parts of the vehicle. A famous tagline from the commercial was, “collect all 4, get all 8.” The double characters made it easier to get a complete set. We all know how hard it was to convince the family to eat at McDonalds about eight times in just a few short weeks. I was able to find the original ad for these toys, too. Click the link to www.youtube.com to view it.

During my research, I was able to find a TON of YouTube channels and websites dedicated to reviewing and appreciating these kid’s meal artifacts. If you have any hanging around like I do, definitely do your homework. Some of these toys can be worth big bucks if you’re lucky! Drop a comment below and let me know which toys you still have laying around. Don’t forget to follow us on social media for more flashback favorites!

25 comments

  1. One of our neighbors recently gifted my girls an old box of toys when she moved away – including some old happy meal toys. I didn’t know most of them and they have limited value from wear, but my girls sure do enjoy them! What a cool thing your folks did, saving those.

  2. Omgosh! I loved Fraggle Rock. I even found a DVD of a couple of the shows for like $0.99 at the dollar store and bought it thinking my kids would love it. They hated it. #MomFail

  3. OMG! talk about blast from the past. I had most of these too lol The McDonalds changeables are fun and remind me of food transformers. Thanks for bringing me back to my childhood.

  4. My folks, too, saved a giant box of McDonald’s toys. Too bad the Happy Meal toys of today aren’t even worth playing with.

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