RememBear This: McDonald’s Happy Meal

I could probably go on and on and on and on about these little parties in a box. You got your top three food groups (meat, potatoes and sugar) plus they came replete with a toy! What more could a snotty nosed little whipper snapper ask for?

Back in my day they only had three choices hamburger, cheeseburger or chicken nuggets. I think they’ve got the basic three still but now you can get a salad or apple slices (with caramel dipping sauce, never quite understood the reasoning behind that “healthy option”). They’ve also got different juices and such.

I’m not sure why but none of the other fast food chains Kids Meals came close to the Golden Arches version. Was it the food? Was it the toy? Or the box? I really don’t know, all I do know is that I always wanted my Ronald McDonald’s Happy Meal. I remember sitting in the back of the blue ’91 Dodge Caravan (I hadn’t called “Shotgun” apparently) on our way to the good o’ Mickey-Dees.


I loved doing the trivia and games on the boxes….and the very best ones were the ones where the box was part of the toy. You know like where you could build something from the box like a race track, genius! Now that’s got to be one of the best jobs, creating the premiums and the boxes.

Now-a-days they’ve hooked us on the Monopoly game. They are such evil wizards. I must say, they are amazing at what they do. My family must have bought at least $200 extra worth of McGoodness the first couple of times they did it.

What toy was your favorite from the McD’s Happy Meal?

There were some misses though, check out this video of the Top 10 Lamest Mikey’s Toys. I don’t know about you but I personally loved the Foodchangables (anyone still have some around they’d like to send my way? :P)

30 comments on “RememBear This: McDonald’s Happy Meal

  1. Adam Bomb says:

    Holy crap, Bear! When I saw the link on Facebook for the Happy Meal post, the first thing I thought of was how much I LOVED the transforming McD’s food toys. And you posted the pics! Kick ass.

  2. Those were awesome times. The only thing in the world was to worry about which toy you would get. God I miss those worry free days.

    Found this site that has a lot of the toys. I think my favorite were the mcnuggets that you could change their costumes.

  3. Allovimo says:

    I totally remember Foodchangables! I know for sure I had the ice cream cone/dino dude…he was so cute!

  4. rob says:

    My dad refused to take us to McDonalds.

  5. Harleen says:

    I remember when these first came out, and my brother and I convinced my Mom to take us through the brand new drive thru to get them. I can’t even recall what the toy was, but I remember just how awesome it was to have that box with the food and toy, not to mention the three McDonaldland cookies in the little plastic bag! I miss how delicious they used to me, they’ve since changed the recipe and they’re nowhere near as good now.

    Back then, the only choices they had were a hamburger or cheeseburger with fries, a soft drink and the cookies, since the McNuggets weren’t available for another few years. (Now that I feel old…!)

  6. Jon says:

    Some of those aren’t lame. Nugget buddies, boats, and ET posters sound good to me.

  7. Raiders757 says:

    I can’t remember my favorite toy, as they came out in or around 1979. I can’t even recall if they had toys at first. I remember when there was no “Happy Meal” for us kids at all. Instead we looked forward to Looney Tunes and Star Wars drinking glasses with our drink purchase. Hell, I remember I used to get excited if I got a paper crown from Burger King. I was pretty easy to please back then.

  8. Bear Silber says:

    @Adam Bomb – Dude, they were the best!

    @Erin Brooks – Those little McNugget guys were awesome. Thanks for the link. I know there are some collectors out there that have huge hordes of McD’s toys.

    @Allovimo – Oh I had ’em all for sure 😛

    @rob – I pity the foo……who doesn’t get the thrill of opening your Happy Meal box and seeing if you got the toy that you wanted….and if you got a duplicate, if you could trade it with one of your brother’s.

    @Harleen No McNuggets?!? How could you live in such a barbaric era?

    @Jon – Haha, I know, right?

    @Raiders757 – Haha. That’s true…I remember getting excited about the King’s crown. The only time I ever got BK was when I went to the toy store (Texas Toys) because they were right next door to each other. So I was already pretty excited 🙂

  9. Harleen says:

    @Bear Silber There were no McNuggets when I was a kid, they didn’t come out until I was 13! I remember when they were closed at breakfast time….back when the dinosaurs roamed the Earth still….

  10. Bear Silber says:

    @Harleen – Man, looks like they weren’t around until 1983! (I was 1 year old)

    I don’t think I can…….no, I can’t imagine a McDee’s without Chicken McNuggets.

  11. Harleen says:

    @Bear Silber It’s so weird to remember how McD’s was in the seventies. No playplaces, McNuggets, or even breakfast for several years.

    I remember that one of my dad’s friends was a manager at a McD’s back then, and he got us a full set of the McDonald’s character glasses and Ronald McDonald stuffed dolls for free. I still have the doll somewhere.

    Happy Meals were the best thing ever, even though I was nine when they came out!

  12. and no McGriddles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    How did you survive you poor thing. Honestly, McGriddles need to be outlawed they’re so damn good.

  13. Harleen says:

    McGriddles and the bagel sandwiches with bacon are the best. The biscuits were a huge deal when they first came out. When I was almost 17 (in 1987), I worked at McD’s for the summer at breakfast time, and we actually had a woman who came in and did nothing and bake them from scratch! They evenyially changed them to shipped in frozen ones, and they haven’t been the same.

  14. I hate to even mention this, but I have a whole set of Foodchangeables still in original packaging. I need to hit up my parents to dig them out of their basement.

    I worked at McDonalds for 4 years and in the process, started collecting unopened Happy meal Toys. Hmmm, maybe I should make a new site….

    Happy Meals were and still are awesome. When I worked there there was just the Hamburger, Cheeseburger, Nugget varieties, all with small fries and in the boxes.

    Other note: When I was working there, the Original USA Olympic Dream Team was sponsored by McD’s and the extra large drinks (now the large drink) had lids that doubled as frisbees. That was trouble…

  15. @Greg – !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Whaaaaa!!!! Dude, you’ve GOT to get some pics of those up 🙂 They were/are SO awesome!

    4 years a McDee’s? Dang! I’m assuming your were a manager. Any interesting stories from behind the counter? Would you guys make up strange items to consume yourselves….like the McFarm Burger (Beef, Chicken & Fish patties all on one bun)?

    I don’t remember the Frisbee lids. Do you have any of those too? How many toys do you have stored up there?

  16. Adam Bomb says:

    I know adults who still get Happy Meals because it’s a smaller amount of food. At least that’s their excuse 😉

    A couple of people have mentioned breakfast at McD’s, so I’m going to take this opportunity to make a quick gripe that’s not really related to the topic:

    In my city, Arby’s is the only fast food place I can get lunch/dinner items during breakfast hours. It bugs the crap out of me that McD’s and BK don’t do burgers/fries/etc. around the clock even though they’re open 24 hrs. My BK used to do burgers and stuff at all hours, but they quit 🙁 Anybody else find this frustrating?

  17. @Adam Bomb – Ehhh, I don’t know, I’m not really a burger guy in the morning 😛 ….so it doesn’t really bug me but you’d think they could serve any item at any time. That way people could get their Big Mac at 10AM and their McGriddle at 10PM, I think that would do wonders for them. Think about how much business that would get. They really should consider it. I think Jack in the Box allows you to get any item any time.

    • Ryan says:

      Yeah JITB’s entire menu is available at any time. I wish Chick-fil-A would start selling their Chik-n-Mini’s passed 1030am! They are closed on Sundays so that seems like a fair trade.

  18. John Hoy says:

    They just released snack wrap happy meals at my store(#8075). They are not doing so hot because there is no marketing to back them up. Once in a blue moon tho we do get someone who orders it.

    My favorite happy meal toys have to be the kids bop CD’s that came out recently. They were so easy to put into a happy meal box. They laid flush on they bottom of the box and it was like nothing was inside lol. I could stack them all day while taking orders.

  19. Raiders757 says:

    @ Harleen

    You are indeed my age. That means you probably remember rotary dial phones, an early childhood with no cable TV, cartoons only came on during Saturday mornings, and having to actually get up to change the channels. I swear, I think we had it better back then, because of the less is more effect. There was something exciting about waking on Saturday morning, knowing that I got to have full control over the TV. It was a special morning for children all across America.

    I remember in my area, the only fast food place that sold breakfast back in the late 70’s, was Hardee’s. They had the made from scratch biscuits, and everyone went crazy for them. It was years later that Mcdonald’s copied them. I agree as well. The biscuits aren’t the same anymore at Mcdonald’s, and the same can be said with Hardee’s. Their teaming with Carl’s Jr. has ruined themas a whole.

    I remember when there was no McNuggets as well. When they came out, I got hooked on them like a crack addict. I even remember when McDonald’s did an oriental themed promotion for the nuggets one year. The cashiers wore those large hats the Chinese wear in rice fields, you got wooden chop sticks, and your choice of oriental flavored sauces. It’s rather sad that I learned to use chop sticks picking up McNuggets to dip in sauce. What the… ?

  20. Raiders757 says:

    LOL. Using Bear’s Wiki link, I foing the McNugget promotion I posted about. They did get it backwards though. It Shanghai McNuggets, not McNuggets Shanghai. I don’t remember the fortune cookie, but that was back when I was 16, so I am surprised I remember it at all. I also question the date. I could have sworn I was younger than 16. I wasn’t driving yet, when these came out. To be exact, I moved when I was 16, and the Shanghai Nuggets came out while I still lived in my childhood home.

  21. Raiders757 says:

    Sorry to post again, but damn, I am mistyping in a bad way today. I drank way too much this weekend.

  22. @Ryan – Haha, agreed! You would think.

    @John Hoy – SnackWrap Happy Meals?!? Yeah I’ve never heard about or seen them.

    @Raiders757 – I agree with most of that……especially the final point you make 😛

    Looks like in the 70s they did serve breakfast all day for a little:

    I knew there was a reason I like that time period…..and it wasn’t the bell bottoms. Did you know in Australia they have a freakin’ Massive McMuffin! It’s a sausage egg McMuffin with two patties and bacon! WTF!? Bring that monster to the states Mr. McDonald!

    Even better… about a Massive McGriddle!

  23. sweetspot says:

    Back in the 80’s I worked in an advertising agency that design these. I wish I had some of the protypes still but that was before the days of Ebay.

    My favorite toy is still the Halloween McNuggets. The chip had them listed as number 2 lamest but I loved them. My kids still loved putting them out at Halloween.

  24. @sweetspot – Oh my god, prototypes would be awesome to see. Any cool stories?

    These were pretty cool:

  25. Pasquinel says:

    I was a Carl’s Jr kid so didn’t buy too many Happy Meals. I did own those Foodchangeables though and the Super Mario Bros. 3 lineup:

  26. @Pasquinel – OMG!!!!!!!!!!!! I had forgotten about those. I totally rememBear 😛 them now! Those were some of my favs!!!! Thanks for bringing that up.

  27. keylab says:

    I remember those boats…and putting those stickers on…LOL we played w/ them in the bathtub.

  28. leslie says:

    I have to say, I was one of the many who grew up on McDonald’s. But, my parents were real young when they had me and had the bonus of working at one.

    One of my favorite parts of the happy meals was the dessert certificate I would get in each one. When you were done with your meal (or whenever you wanted to bring it back) you could go to the register and redeem it for a mini ice cream cone (I would get a twist, remember when they had chocolate and vanilla ice cream?), a mini sundae (it would be made in the lid of the sundae container), or cookies. I always opted for the ice cream in one form or another. To this day, a McDonald’s fries dipped into their ice cream is something I will always crave.

    Anyway, I asked my husband if he remembers this, but he just looks at me crazy like it was something I imagined in my pretty little (crazy) head. I was born and raised in Hawaii, so maybe it was just a Hawaii thing. Does this ring a bell for anyone?

  29. […] of school for a day for some quality bonding time at the Staten Island Zoo and then to pick up a Happy Meal for lunch.  When I received my Happy Meal, I opened the box and saw that I got a Moon Man toy.  I […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *