McDonald’s Happy Meal toys have become a part of Americana. They first appeared in the summer of 1979. Beloved by kids in the USA, they are also prized in other countries. Kids know that their Happy Meals will include exciting toys that are right on-trend, as well as the usual fast food. These little toys have always been a clear reflection of exactly where pop culture is at. Some Happy Meal toys from Mickey D’s were more popular than others. While there are scads of McDonald’s toys to choose from, we’ve narrowed the field here, by focusing on ten McDonald’s toys that really got noticed. These particular toys definitely caused a sensation. It wasn’t just kids who collected these toys. Many adults collected mini FURBY toys, or Teenie Beanie Babies, too. Some would try to get all of the toys from preferred collections. I admit to trying to get all of the parts of Inspector Gadget for a special little boy in my life. I eventually resorted to buying the Inspector Gadget “body parts” at the McDonald’s counter, without ordering a Happy Meal each time. I didn’t manage to put the whole Inspector Gadget body together, but it was fun trying. Now, let’s look at ten McDonald’s toys that really caused a sensation. You’ll probably remember a lot of these fun little toys.
10. Mini Furby Toys Were In Demand
Remember Furby toys? The full-sized toys were robotic and electronic…and fuzzy! They were created by Tiger Electronics and they were released during 1998. Furby toys looked a bit like owls or hamsters. They were really popular, after being launched during the winter holidays, and sales stayed strong for two full years, before the Furby fad started dying down a little bit. The full-sized Furby toys began by talking in a language known as Furbish. Over time, they would begin to say things in English. It was like the toys were learning a whole new language. McDonald’s jumped onto the bandwagon by offering Furby toys that were compact enough to travel along with kids wherever children went. The McDonald’s Happy Meals toys didn’t make any noise. These silent and miniature versions of Furby toys may have appreciated by parents, because some people found the noise that full-sized Furbys emitted to be a bit annoying. Mickey D’s began offering these toys with Happy Meals in 1999. There were many different mini-Furby toys, in different colors. All had the same googly eyes and funny expressions. Kids could collect a bunch of these pint-sized toys, in hot pink, white, canary yellow and tons of other colors. The toys had a little bit of faux-fur on the tops of their heads.
9. Tamagotchi Keychains Were A Fun Novelty
The Tamagotchi keychains that were included in Happy Meals didn’t have all of the features of the Japanese digital toys, but both versions had distinctive egg shapes. A typical Tamagotchi keychain offered in a Happy Meal in the late 1990s included a plastic case with a special digital feature. In case you’ve forgotten, Tamagotchi toys were digital pets, which were launched in Japan in 1996. By 2010, more than 76 million of these toys were sold all over the world. So, each plastic egg came with a digital pet inside. The version offered by McDonald’s featured an egg that measured two and a quarter inches in height. Tamagotchi digital pets were inspired by real animals, or people, or objects. The versions sold in stores usually had three buttons which allowed Tamagotchi owners to interact with their digital pets. Tamagotchis were definitely one of the biggest toy fads during the 1990s. McDonald’s made a lot of kids happy to offering them stripped-down versions of these popular toys, right along with their french fries and other McDonald’s Happy Meal food. Kids could collect all of the Happy Meal Tamagotchis and the have fun playing with them, even though they didn’t have as many interactivity features as the original toys.
8. Changeables Got Kids Excited
Kids were McLovin’ it when the famous American fast food chain offered Changeables in Happy Meals. These exciting and whimsical toys started appearing in Happy Meals in 1987. Also known as McRobots, Changeables were transformable toys, except for certain toys which were made especially for the under three crowd. Kids loved Changeables. With a Changeable, a kid had the power to transform a burger into a fierce robot, or something along those lines. The figures were known for being well-made, with plenty of fun details. There were imaginative toys that kids enjoyed playing with. Thanks to these lovable little toys, McDonald’s food stayed on the minds of kids long after their Happy Meals were consumed. Ice cream cones, burger cartons and Big Macs were easily transformed into ultra-cool McRobots, which could battle other McRobots or just hang out with fellow Changeables. With this particular collection of Happy Meal toys, McDonald’s definitely succeeded in capturing the imaginations of kids. More than a few adults remember them fondly. Some have hung onto their Changeables, while others only wish that they had.
7. Inspector Gadget Toys Were Unique And Trendy
Some of the most adored Happy Meal toys from yesteryear now fetch a pretty penny at auction and Inspector Gadget toys are definitely prized by collectors. If you’re lucky enough to own all of the Happy Meal toys that form an entire Inspector Gadget figure, and there are eight toys required to complete the figure, you may want to sell your precious figure, even though you might find it hard to part with your treasure. Collectors are paying big bucks for completed Inspector Gadget figures. I know I tried to get all of the parts for a figure when the pieces were available at McDonald’s, but I fell a couple of parts short, because so many other parents like me were trying to complete the figures for their kids. This “go go Gadget” figure dates back to 1995 and people are paying as much as three hundred and fifty bucks for completed figures nowadays. The figure looks just like actor, Matthew Broderick, who played Inspector Gadget in the movies. This was a cute and fun McDonald’s promotion. The fact that you’d get a fairly sizable figure when you had all of the parts made it especially unique and intriguing. It was kitschy, fun and silly. That’s everything that a Happy Meal toy collection should be.
6. Sky Dancers Sparked Children’s Imaginations
Kids who were fans of Sky Dancers loved it when McDonald’s added Sky Dancer toys to Happy Meals. These toys started making their way into Happy Meal boxes in 1996. Sky Dancers were flying princesses, with romantic names, such as Swan Shimmer, Rosemerry and Princess Pegasus. Sure, these particular toys may have been a bit more popular with girls, but the Sky Dancers enjoyed sensational popularity, so maybe some boys loved them, too. Toys should be for any children who enjoy them. After McDonald’s starting adding small Sky Dancers to Happy Meals, they became even more popular. The Happy Meal promotion may have set the stage for a TV spin-off, which happened the very same year that the toys were given out to children in their Happy Meals. In the spin-off, characters got new names and then went to a dance academy. Sky Dancer toys could be launched into the air once they were propelled from their plastic bases. A string needed to be pulled to make the toys fly. Once they were airborne, their wings would spin like mini-propellers. Children appreciated these flying princess toys. They were special because they could do something that most toys couldn’t. They could move through the air, at least, for a little while. This gave these toys a magical quality.
5. Muppet Treasure Island Toys Were For Bath Time
The Muppet Treasure Island bath toys offered in Happy Meals were so cute. Most of us have a soft spot for the Muppets. Maybe we even have favorite Muppets. With these toys, kids – and possibly some adults – had the opportunity to soak in the tub as they played with one or more toys from the four-toy collection. When kids ordered Happy Meals during this promotion, which started in 1996, they might receive Kermit playing the role of Captain Smollet. Kermit sat in a little pirate ship and the ship’s cannon squirted water out of its front. Another possibility was receiving a toy of Miss Piggy as Benjamina Gunn. She relaxed on a pool lounger and the color of her skirt would change when it came into contact with warm water. Gonzo was also a part of this collection. He was in a boat that featured a paddle wheel on its underside. When kids pushed down on bundles of gold situated at the backs of the boats, the paddle wheels would spin. The last toy from the Muppet Treasure Island collection was Fozzie Bear. He played the role of Squire Trelawney and he floated in a barrel. Kids could push his head up or down. McDonald’s also offered “under three” toys for little ones, which were designed to be very safe. One example was a four-page book that could be read in the bathtub. Kids under three couldn’t play with the other “over three” toys because they had pieces which might be swallowed.
4. Pokéballs Were A Hot Craze
Pokemon Go was a recent craze that I personally tried, but not for long. It was pretty funny wandering around outside, phone in front of me, while other “too old for this” adults did the same thing. People of all ages were wandering around the neighborhood, trying to catch ’em all. In my defense, I was with my child, but I probably would have tried it even if I wasn’t a parent. While Pokemon Go was awesome and unique, and possibly a bit too distracting to be a totally safe activity, it certainly wasn’t the first Pokemon craze. Pokemon has been going strong for ages and McDonald’s once offered Pokeball keychains in Happy Meals, which were really popular with kids. These Pokeballs were crafted from plastic, like most Happy Meal toys, and they contained teensy Pokemon figures. Every ball would open up to reveal a miniature Pokemon. Kids wanted to get all of the characters that they loved best. Pikachu was often on their top of their lists. Trying to catch them all was part of the fun.
3. Hello Kitty Toys Were Beloved
Hello Kitty is a perennial fave with kids and adults alike, so it’s not surprising that McDonald’s has offered lot of cute and fun little kitty toys in Happy Meals over the years. Some were plush and adorable. They wore little McDonald’s outfits, such as Ronald McDonald-style suits or Hamburglar striped ensembles. It’s safe to say that many kids were thrilled to open their Happy Meal boxes and find Hello Kitty toys inside. McDonald’s has actually offered some amazing toys over the years and these ones are definitely standouts. Happy Meal watches and body stickers were also offered, to name just a couple of other examples. In 2016, another round of exciting Hello Kitty by Sanrio toys were offered, including a Chocolat Furniture Store, a Hello Kitty Fashion Boutique and a Hello Kitty House. Kids could customize the little plastic buildings with stickers that also came with their Mickey D’s kid’s meals. Collectors can find an extensive range of Hello Kitty Happy Meal Toys at eBay and other online platforms. There are tons of older Happy Meal toys for sale online.
2. Disney Masterpiece Collection Toys Were Special
If you’re into the Disneyverse, with its black-and-white morality, gentle princesses and evil queens, you’ll probably enjoy learning about Disney Masterpiece Collection Happy Meal toys. These toys came in mini-VHS-style boxes. The boxes contained plastic figurines, including Scat Cat from The Aristocats, Alice from Alice in Wonderland, Merlin from The Sword in the Stone, Aladdin from Return to Jafar and a few classic Disney princesses. Snow White and Cinderella were in the collection and Robin Hood was, too. These figures measured four inches in height and they were crafted from resin. They had awesome video cases that made them even more special. These keepsakes honored the superb animated classics that helped to build the Disney empire. I grew up on these older animated classics. They were a big part of my childhood. Today, kids are still digging Disney. If you want every figure in this collection, you should know that complete sets are available online. The whole set does look pretty cool when all of the cases and figures are displayed together. There are actually tons of Happy Meal toys for sale online. People are making money selling them, because collectors want them. But some of the toys are worth next to nothing, while others have impressive retail prices.
1. Teenie Beanie Babies Were A Sensation
Ty Beanie Babies were a mega-craze and McDonald’s took advantage of the popularity of these plush toys by offering a collection of Teenie Beanie Babies in Happy Meals. One notable example was a Grimace Beanie Baby, who had all of the charm of the purple and big McDonald’s mascot, albeit on a slightly smaller scale. McDonald’s mascots like Grimace are really pretty hilarious and they do have retro charm. There is a Texas McDonald’s which features these characters on the outside of the restaurant. The fast food joint is shaped like a giant Happy Meal. While you won’t get a Teenie Beanie Baby at this Dallas McDonald’s these days, and I believe that Spider-Man toys are being offered at local McDonald’s locations right now, it’s safe to say that a lot of kids loved getting Grimace Beanie Babies from Mickey D’s back in the day. This particular Happy Meal toy collection was launched in 1997. One hundred million of these plush toys were given away in just fourteen days. McDonald’s knew that kids would want these toys, but were surprised by the demand. Some toy crazes, like Beanie Babies and Cabbage Patch Kids, really motivated kids and parents. People would fight over the original toys at stores and things like that. Today, unlike some Happy Meal toys, Teenie Beanie Babies are not rare and valuable. They were in fierce demand, but so many of them made it into the hands of kids and adults. They don’t have any real value nowadays, unlike completed Inspector Gadget figures. Now that you have the inside scoop on the top 10 Happy Meal toys, be sure to let us know if you agree with our picks. We want to hear about your favorite Happy Meal toys.