Last time we covered some McDonald’s toy fails such as scary Ronald McDonald masks, gardening tools, and an MP3 player that only played the American Idol theme song. That list was pretty sad but to the dismay of McDonald’s-eating kids everywhere, there are a lot more of these unfortunate toys. These are the Top 10 Saddest McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys Part 2.
10. Swearing Minion
Whether you love them or hate them, you can’t deny the fact that minions have been everywhere since the release of the first Despicable Me in 2010. Kids love these little yellow creatures so it was to be expected that McDonald’s would release a line of minion toys for the promotion of the film Minions in 2015. It’s extremely common for McDonald’s to collaborate with current kids movies and normally the toys are quite loved, but there was a slight problem with these minion toys. The toys were little plastic figurines of the creatures who spoke a few different phrases when you tapped the bottom of them on a hard surface. The three phrases were “ha ha ha”, “eh eh”, and the gibberish minion language phrase “para la bukay”. These all sound innocent enough, but some parents listening to their kids playing with the new toys thought otherwise. Many people claimed that they heard the minion figurines saying, “what the f***” and deemed them inappropriate for their children to interact with. McDonald’s received many angry calls from customers but refused to pull the toy from its Happy Meals, stating that the minions were not actually saying any profanities and that the parents were simply mishearing the nonsense words. There are plenty of videos of the toy speaking on the internet, so take a listen and see what you hear.
9. Michael Jordan Fitness Fun
Michael Jordan was one of the most popular players in the NBA during the 80s and 90s, and even kids who didn’t like watching basketball would know who he was. Similarly to how McDonald’s collaborates with movies to create new toys, they sometimes did the same thing with athletes. So in 1991, a Michael Jordan themed set of sports related Happy Meal toys was released to the public. The combination of the fitness craze and the face of a sports superstar was supposed to get kids wanting to go outside and be active, but it wasn’t very successful in doing so. The set of toys included 8 different ones: a jump rope, a basketball, an inflatable soccer ball, a stopwatch, a water bottle, a football, a frisbee, and a baseball. The stop watch and frisbee both have Michael Jordan’s smiling face plastered on them, while some of the other items look like they could be from anywhere. This set actually sounds pretty cool, but in reality there were a few problems with the products. The jump rope was quite short, making it difficult for some taller kids to use, and the water bottle was also pretty tiny, which isn’t the most practical. The stopwatch only counted to 30 seconds, so we’re really not sure what that was supposed to be used for. And unsurprisingly, the sports balls were low in quality and were not the best to actually play with. And on top of that we do need to point out the irony of an unhealthy fast food restaurant promoting health and activeness to kids as they eat greasy burgers and chicken nuggets.
8. 101 Dalmatians
As we mentioned before, it’s common for McDonald’s Happy Meal toys to be in collaboration with the newest children’s movies that are out in theatres. For the promotion of the live action version of the film 101 Dalmatians, released in 1996, McDonald’s decided to release a set of toys based off of the film. The restaurant released a set of little dalmatian figurines in honor of the film, but here’s the thing: there were 101 different ones. Now this is perfect when it comes to accuracy, but sets of McDonald’s Happy Meal toys were usually something that kids would try to collect, and that was fairly easy if there were only 5 or 6 items. But to collect 101 different toys meant that a kid would have to eat at McDonald’s 101 different times in the period that the toy was being promoted, which would be nearly impossible. However, there is a positive note here, as the people who did manage to collect the entire set can make some pretty big bucks now. The full set is considered one of the rarest Happy Meal toys and you can find full sets selling online for hundreds of dollars. So while most kids were disappointed knowing that they would never be able to collect them all, at least some of them managed to fulfil the dream.
7. Hello Kitty Whistles
Hello Kitty is a popular Japanese figure in the world of kids TV and basically any product you could buy worldwide. For the 40th anniversary of the character in 2014, McDonald’s decided to release a line of Happy Meal toys in her honor. Instead of simply being figurines though, Hello Kitty has a red whistle attached to her. This whistle could be detached and then blown into to make sound. However, there were some problems with this product. Shortly after the release of the toys, there were two reports of children choking on pieces of plastic that fell out of the whistle while it was in their mouths. Thankfully, both children were mostly unharmed, but one of them did need medical attention after the incident. The parents of the children obviously complained about the poorly manufactured product and informed McDonald’s that it was a choking hazard. McDonald’s took action immediately and warned parents to keep the toy away from their kids if they already owned it, and then started to recall the ones still being sold in its restaurants. 2.3 million Hello Kitty Whistles were recalled around the United States and Canada and the Happy Meal toys were replaced by another one.
Everybody knows that oral hygiene is important and you have to take care of your teeth. Even though kids are taught this from a young age, it’s still sometimes hard to get them to do it. In the early 1980s McDonald’s determined it needed to help this issue and promote better oral hygiene to kids so it decided it would be a good idea to place a toothbrush and toothpaste in its Happy Meals, to get kids to scrub off all that grease from their teeth after eating the fast food. While it’s a great idea to get kids to care more about their health, it’s also well known that toothbrushes and toothpaste definitely do not count as a toy. Parents might have loved seeing these in their kids’ Happy Meals but no kid would be happy upon seeing a toothbrush after anticipating a toy. After all, this isn’t a trip to the dentist. McDonald’s actually used this promotion multiple times throughout the 80s, but it’s unlikely kids ever started liking it. Some of these toothbrushes featured the mascot Ronald McDonald’s face on them, but others were just plain colors, so you couldn’t even tell that they were a Happy Meal toy by looking at them. Eventually, the restaurant did stop giving kids toothbrushes and toothpaste in their Happy Meals, so kids today will hopefully never have to live through the same disappointment some kids in the 80s had to. Those were some tough times.
5. McDonald’s Airport
Before the whole McDonaldland marketing concept was dropped from the restaurant in recent years, it was common for some McDonald’s Happy Meal toys to feature popular characters from the series. These characters included Ronald McDonald of course, along with others such as the Hamburglar, Grimace, the Fry Kids, and many, many others. Unfortunately though, some of these toys ended up being some of the worst ever released by the restaurant, like we saw with the Ronald McDonald themed glove puppet, mask, and sunglasses. In this case the toy was a set of plastic airplanes featuring a different McDonaldland character as the pilot. Released in 1986, it featured Officer Big Mac, Grimace, Ronald, and Birdie, among others, flying things like helicopters and seaplanes. Each figurine was a different solid color with little detail in the design. They were a hard plastic with no moving parts, so that probably makes them some of the cheapest, most boring toys to come out of a Happy Meal. On top of that, McDonald’s encouraged customers to unfold their Happy Meal boxes to use as an airport. The greasy cardboard along with cheap plastic planes doesn’t exactly make the most exciting toy, and even though we shouldn’t expect much from a Happy Meal toy, there still was depressingly little effort put it into this one.
4. Camp McDonaldland
This next toy combines themes of two previous categories of bad McDonald’s Happy Meal toys we’ve seen: encouraging kids to be active and go outdoors, and basing things off of McDonaldland. Kids love camping, there’s nothing better than spending some time outside in the wilderness, and imagine just how much better camping would be if it was McDonald’s themed? In 1989 McDonald’s released a set of camping themed Happy Meal toys to get kids ready to go to the fictional Camp McDonaldland. The set included 4 different items each decorated with images of McDonaldland characters. There was a set of utensils composed of a plastic spoon, fork, and knife with the face of the Fry Guys on them, a collapsible cup with the face of Ronald McDonald on it, a mess kit with the face of Birdie on it, and a canteen with Grimace on it. Now this would have been a great idea to get kids outdoors if the items had actually been practical. But we have to remember that this is a set of cheap McDonald Happy Meal toys so we know they won’t be the best. The quality of the products wasn’t good enough for them to actually be used properly, and if they were just being used as an indoor toy, they couldn’t have been much fun to play with.
3. Mighty Ducks Pucks
While hockey isn’t as popular a sport in the United States as it is with our Northern neighbors, it has gained some traction over the years, and many kids do play the sport. In 1992, the Disney film Mighty Ducks was released, gaining lots of popularity and grossing over 50 million dollars domestically at the box office. This led to an animated television show spin off that featured actual half human half ducks who played hockey. Shortly after the release of the show in 1996, McDonald’s released a line of Happy meal toys based off of it. The line of toys released featured a set of 4 different hockey pucks, each with a figurine of the torso of a Mighty Ducks animated character sitting on top of it. This sounds like it could have been one of the more successful ways to get kids active that McDonald’s has attempted, but unfortunately that was not the case. Hockey is a pretty intense game, and as we know McDonald’s toys aren’t exactly made of the best quality, so these pucks were nowhere near the actual quality needed for them to be used in a game. When the pucks were hit with a hockey stick, the Mighty Ducks figurines on top of them easily broke and fell off, turning the toy into just any old cheap hockey puck. And if kids didn’t use the pucks for hockey, then what were they supposed to do with them? Just leave them on a shelf and stare? Maybe McDonald’s does need to stop trying to get kids active.
2. McWrist Wallet
When the McDonald’s Happy Meal first made its debut in 1979, its toys were pretty basic. This was before the days of collaboration with kids’ movies and famous sports players, so the restaurant had to come up with ideas on it’s own. The first ever Happy Meal toy set included a McDoodle stencil, an ID bracelet, a puzzle lock, a spinning top, a McDonald’s character shaped eraser, and most bizarre of them all, a McWrist Wallet. The McWrist Wallet came in several different colors and looked like a plastic wrist watch, except there was no clock on it, just a blank circle. But that circle opened up into a compartment that you could put stuff in. This compartment was so small though, that it’s hard to imagine what else could be stored inside of it other than a penny. Though the product claims to be both a watch and a wallet, it actually fails at being both, as it doesn’t tell the time nor carry enough coins or anything else to be able to qualify as an actual wallet. Thankfully Happy Meal toys have developed a lot since then, and even though there’s some occasional duds, overall the toys have been pretty decent in recent years.
1. Teenie Beanie Babies
Beanie Babies were all the rage among kids in the late 90s and nearly everyone you know had one, or even an extensive collection. The immense popularity of the toys led to McDonald’s using miniature versions of them called Teenie Beanie Babies in its Happy Meals between 1997 and 2000. The 1997 series included 20 different Beanies, 1998 included 12, 1999 included 16, and 2000 included 32 different ones. It’s said that McDonald’s sold over 100 million of them, and fights even broke out in the store over trying to buy the remaining ones near the end of promotions. While this was a great toy to receive at the time of their release, it’s making this list because of how the toys are received in today’s world. Beanie Babies were a hugely popular collectible in the 90s and 2000s, but the problem is that too many people collected them. Nowadays, some Beanie Babies are worth thousands of dollars if they’re really rare, but millions of kids tried collecting these McDonald’s Teenie Beanie Babies, leading to them being worth a whopping zero dollars. So if you have any left over from your childhood, unfortunately if you were counting on these to be your retirement fund, you’re out of luck.