The 9 coolest toys that ever came in a Happy Meal

Pulling up to the drive-thru now is always a thrill, but it's never quite as exciting as when you were a kid. Back then, driving up to the window meant you were getting a sweet new toy. Sure, you'd lose it after a month or get it confiscated for driving your parents crazy with it, but for those 30 days, it was the coolest thing in the world. So let's take this Flashback Friday to look back on some of the sweetest toys to ever come out of a Kid's Meal bag for free* (* = with the purchase of a nutritious value meal) instead of us having to buy them like grown-up chumps.

1. McDonald's Robot Transformer Changeables - 1989

Jumping on the robots-in-disguise train, McDonald's created their own super crew of mild-mannered foodstuffs that transform into robots that can save the world. The only member of the team missing was you, the mild-mannered kid with the dexterity to change their fast food forms into powerful bringers of justice - because robot suits do not come with thumbs.

PS: If you have any of these Changeables hanging around, you could try to sell them. One lucky changemaster was able to sell their's for $50.

2. The McDonald's Menu Record - 1988

Back when just about everyone had a record player, McDonald's decided they'd put out a tune of their own: Enter the $1,000,000 Menu Song". The lyrics were all the items on the McDonald's menu and the song invited you to try to memorize the whole thing, much to your parents' delight, I'm sure. Each record ended when the singers, inevitably, flubbed some of the words and if you had one of those records, you didn't win $1,000,000.

Out of 80,000,000 records sold, only Charlene Price of Virginia got the prize money. But we all still have the lyrics in our heads forever to remember the record by.

3. Fraggle Rock Veggie Racers - 1988

If you were a kid in the '80s, you were a fan of Fraggle Rock; and if you were a kid in the '80s in the drive-thru at McDonald's, you were a fan of the Fraggle Rock Happy Meal that came with themed meal boxes and character race cars.

Miss having Gobo and the gang in your life as a grown up? Feed your Fraggle Fever by picking up his carrot car, Red's radish car, even Wembley and Boober's cucumber car on Amazon!

4. McDonald Labs' Microscope - 1976

Don't think that McDonald's was only concerned with selling toys that reminded kids of their favorite TV shows. In '76, the fast food chain decided to inspire inquiring kiddie minds by giving them microscopes. While not exactly the most useful microscope (you could not analyze burger patty structure with these), the toy still came in handy when you were pretending to do experiments in your room while wearing your Dad's bathrobe as a lab coat.

5. McNugget Buddies - 1989

If you're anything like me, you'd do anything to take chicken nuggets with you wherever you go; and back in the magical '80s, you totally could! You could dress them up; send them to work - they were the '80s' modern, independent fast food treats! The job thing might be where I draw the line, though - I can't own a toy that went through more years of schooling than me.

6. Little Golden Books - 1982

While in retrospect it feels like Little Golden Books were only put into Happy Meals because parents were tired of stepping on pointy, squeaky toys, I was always grateful to McDonald's for giving me dinner and a show, via Little Golden literature. The books riveted young readers with the adventures of the The Poky Little Puppy; and captivated them with the socioeconomic implications of the Country Mouse and City Mouse.

Or you know, they kept us quiet in the McDonald's dining room long enough for our parents to hear themselves think - either way, everyone won with Little Golden Books.

7. McDonald's Restaurant by Life-Like Buildems - 1969

When McDonald's first started selling toys they figured, "Kids like McDonald's, right? Maybe they'd want to take McDonald's home with them?" Enter the Buildems "McDonald's Restaurant" set. But the toy ended up being more than just a recreational item. Kids could practice valuable skills such as being the foreman of a McDonald's construction site. Or they could work on people skills as the pretend manager of their own McDonald's franchise...

Come to think of it...this set seems a lot more like a crowd sourcing campaign for future McDonald's employees than an innocent fast food toy...

8. Space Jam Plushes - 1996

In one of the greatest collaborations of all time, McDonald's and Space Jam came together to bring us the coolest stuffed versions of the coolest basketball team in the universe (Sorry, Monstars). And the greatness of the film, and these plushes, continue to live on forever, especially for the one plush collector who got $50 for his collection of 6. Toon Squad for life.

9. McDonald's Space Rescue Toys - 1995

The awesomeness of McDonald's toys didn't stop at our planet. In '95, the chain introduced the Space Rescue line of Happy Meal Toys, bringing fast-food toys to a whole different level of high-tech. The set featured a Lunar Grabber, Astro Viewer, and Space Slate. They might look like just a claw grabber, a kaleidoscope, and a notepad, but they aren't.

They're tools of space travel.

Very advanced.

What's one of your favorite throwback fast food meal toys? Share them with us on our Facebook page, @TheListShowTV.

Scripps may get commissions for purchases through links in this story.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments
WCPO - ABC
Cincinnati, OH
KMGH - ABC
Denver, CO
KGTV - ABC
San Diego, CA
WRTV - ABC
Indianapolis, IN
KSHB - NBC
Kansas City, MO
KERO - ABC
Bakersfield, CA
WXYZ - ABC
Detroit, MI
KNXV - ABC
Phoenix, AZ
WFTS - ABC
Tampa, FL
WMAR - ABC
Baltimore, MD
WEWS - ABC
Cleveland, OH
WPTV - NBC
South Florida, AZ
KJRH - NBC
Tulsa, OK
WALB - NBC
Albany, GA
WXIA - NBC
Atlanta, GA
KUIL - MyNet
Beaumont, TX
KNIN - FOX
Boise, ID
KFVS - CBS
Cape Girardeau, MO
WCIX - CBS
Champaign, IL
KLJB - FOX
Davenport, IA
KRVU - MyNet
Chico-Redding, CA
NECA
Eureka, CA
WFIE - NBC
Evansville, IN
WFTX - FOX
Fort Myers, FL
WISE - NBC
Fort Wayne, IN
WDAM - NBC
Hattiesburg, MS
KFVE - MyNet
Honolulu, HI
WJXX - ABC
Jacksonville, FL
WTNZ - FOX
Knoxville, TN
KTNV - ABC
Las Vegas, NV
WSYM - FOX
Lansing, MI
KARE - NBC
Minneapolis, MN
KPEJ - FOX
Odessa, TX
WUPL - NBC
New Orleans, LA
KMTV - CBS
Omaha, NE
KCWX - CBS
San Antonio, TX
KMSS
Shreveport, LA
KONG - IND
Seattle, WA
KLTV - CW
Tyler, TX
WGBA - NBC
Green Bay, WI
WKBW - ABC
Buffalo, NY
CW
Little Rock, AK
NBC
Milwaukee, WI
KWBA - CW
Tucson, AZ
WPTV - NBC
West Palm, FL