You can smell it: The slightly greasy, perfectly salty smell pouring out of a steaming cardboard box with that glorious golden "M" stamped across the front of it. You know there's a bomb burger waiting in there for you just ready to become a part of a truly Happy Meal. With a small soda, some extra napkins to soak up the inevitable ketchup squirt across the table, and a little extra pep in your step, you pick up the handle to what's about to become dinner. But now comes the pivotal choice: Do you make a beeline straight for the burger, pick off the small box of fries, or truly decide to make a bold move and go for the little plastic-wrapped object lying in the bottom of the box? Unable to control your enthusiasm as a kid who has their very own Happy Meal, you grab the object from the corner of the box...And pull out something completely and utterly underwhelming. Your disappointment with the red-haired clown is nearly tangible and your burger and fries are now sad reminders of the toy-that-could-have-been.
We've all been there. Upon the excitement of getting your Happy Meal as a kid in the 90s, you thought that you would be promised something that would really, well, make you happy. After all, why call it a "Happy Meal" if the toy inside that you've been gifted with for choosing the golden arches wasn't perfection? Sadly, the disappointment you've felt is also something that kids all over the world felt at the realization that the toy in the bottom of their red box just simply wasn't going to cut it. Call it each generation's version of entitlement, but when you got that deluxe burger meal, you expected greatness when you parted those M-shaped handles. Sometimes McDonald's just couldn't cut it, but other times they totally nailed it -- Hence our list of the absolute worst 90s toys to grace our presence, as well as toys that are worth some serious dough (no pun intended) today.
30 Worst: Michael Jordan Fitness Fun...Or Not
We can't blame Michael Jordan for being an innocent bystander of this one. The Happy Meal was created in 1979 and from that point on the items included with it were hit or miss depending on the generation, the times, and, well, if it was something we could find easily in a gumball dispenser...Or on the grounds of a gas station. The 90s were a weird (but stellar) time in our history and McDonald's toys marked some of the strangest lunch and dinner moments we've probably had as kids. In the 90s, fitness was all the rage, especially riding off the wave of the late 80s and all the aerobics classes our parents were obsessed with. It's because of that same idea of fitness that McDonald's decided to make their mark (go figure) and the reception on the other end wasn't quite as great as expected.
In an effort to get kids up, active, and outside, instead kids got angry, disappointed, and annoyed.
McDonald's was just one of the fast-food chains to be taking on the fitness craze, and they used the basketball king himself as a front-runner for their new line: Michael Jordan Fitness Fun. The toys included a basketball, baseball, mini football, and a frisbee, all of which were fine enough, but the trouble came with the other half of the toys. There was a jump rope that was great if you were using it for an infant, a 30-second stopwatch that timed nothing except how long a child's disappointed reaction would last until they finally demolished their burger, and a water bottle that -- let's be honest -- got tossed in the back of mom's truck and forgotten for eternity.
29 Worst: Ronald McDonald Himself
Let's face it: Ronald McDonald was terrifying for kids who were afraid of clowns. It's one thing to be starving and a lover of burgers and the best fries on earth, it's another to be a child of the 90s and have to face a scary-looking, flaming-red-haired clown every time you crave sustenance. We get it, and that's why we're calling out this one circa 1996 toy that scared many upon pulling the scary yellow-and-white blur out of their Happy Meal box. The toy in question is Ronald McDonald himself, in all of his bendy, flexible glory. That's right -- this toy allowed kids to bend it in whichever way the wanted because what's more fun than posing Mr. McDonald in such a way that he's staring you down while you try and eat your fries? We can't think of a single thing (sarcasm).
This toy, as well-intentioned as it was, was simply just a fail on all levels. Ronald McDonald has done amazing things for charity and to make a difference in the world, so we're not putting down the company itself, but this toy looked like an extra from It. Only in the mind of Stephen King could this toy have been a good idea and all the proof you need is found in those devilishly wild eyes with the downtrodden clown (ish?) makeup and slightly sinister grin. Thank you, but we'll chow down far away from this clown before he starts referring to us as "Georgie".
28 Worth A Fortune: Happy Meal Changeables
Now we're talking. Happy Meal Changeables looked like normal toys from the outside, but once you really looked at them, you'd notice that there are specific levers and interchangeable pieces. That's because they actually transform and can flip into what became McDonald's version of robots, and it was pretty awesome. These tiny toys could easily be switched back and forth between a hamburger and a robot or a container of fries a robot with ease, and soon became one of the more notable toys that McDonald's was offering. They were fun, a solid toy, and totally representative of the decade and McDonald's as a whole. T
hey weren't worth anything except a free token for getting a Happy Meal in 1990, but now they're worth a fairly significant amount of money. You definitely won't become a millionaire by selling your Changeables (or any other Happy Meal toy from the 90s), but it might be worth it to take a look around your old childhood room and see what you've got going on in the bottom of your toy box. Depending on which convertible food item you have, they've been sold anywhere from $20 to $140 and anywhere in between.
27 Worst: Dinosaurs That Were Scarier Than The Show
"Not the momma!" Yeah, no...How about "not the right toy"? You know where we're going with this and it's not to a good place. Then again, something wiped out the dinosaurs in one foul swoop during the prehistoric era, so chances are that wherever they are isn't a great place either. In this case, we're not talking about real dinosaurs, we're talking about the ones that appeared on televisions everywhere in 1991.
For four years, Dinosaurs dominated ABC and brought laughter to some homes and an irrational fear of talking dinosaurs to others.
It was your typical 90s sitcom but with extinct animals. McDonald's, of course, decided to jump on this opportunity to include a new item in their Happy Meal boxes and ended up with this slightly confusing science experiment of a toy. Based off of first looks, the toy seems fine enough with some pretty striking facial features and accessories to accompany each character. The toys don't talk, so that's a huge plus, but they do have one other unique trait: They move. Oh McDonald's, always ahead of your time. In the days before robotics and fiber optic motion, we had to use something a bit more caveman, kind of like these toys. Attached to the back of each toy is a tube and attached to that tube is a button. When pressed, it was meant to activate movement in the toy whether it was Earl's arms or Ethyl's head, but sadly, many of them became stuck just like their ancestors did when tar turned them into fossils. It was nice knowing you, creepy Dinosaurs.
26 Worst: Impossible-To-Collect 101 Dalmatians
Who's idea was it to split up 101 different toys knowing that every single 90s kid on the planet would attempt to find and collect them? Realistically, that meant 101 Happy Meals PLUS the additional Happy Meals you'd have to get when you ended up with a double. Sure, you could trade dalmatians amongst your friends, unless you didn't have many (which in the 90s was a very real possibility) in which case you were out of luck with a few mismatched dalmatians. They were adorable and that just made the heartbreak all the more real. Without the full collection of dalmatians, they were just cute, sad little figurines that sat on the edge of your desk serving as a reminder of your failure.
This is one instance where McDonald's came out with a perfectly-designed toy that was high-quality and actually looked like who it's representing and a sad case of too many kids who just couldn't collect 'em all. We can't figure out if McDonald's knew what they were setting kids up for or if it was just an unintentional trial by fire, but either way, it was a hard pill to swallow. You only had so much time to collect as many as you could before McDonald's would nonchalantly switch to their next toy and if you were a huge Dalmatians fan, you were left scouring the town for anyone who may have the missing pups that you're lacking.
25 Worth A Fortune: 102 Dalmatians
We're not sure how you could get your hands on a full set of 102 Dalmatians other than buying and trading, as we just mentioned, and we're not going to assume you worked your way through over 102 Happy Meals -- Especially in a world that's very familiar with the book Fast Food Nation. However, if you happen to have every single dalmatian that is depicted in one of the two Dalmatians movies, you might be in for a surprise. 102 Dalmatians inspired McDonald's to run the same promotion they did for 101 Dalmatians back in 1996, and if you have either of the full sets, it might be worth some bucks.
The whole collection can, in all likelihood, be sold for about $70 but just with anything else, supply and demand applies. There may not be many more original Dalmatians sets left and with the rise of Disney once again, as well as the demand for collectible items, you may be looking at slightly more than that. It's nice to know that hard work doesn't go unappreciated, or rather, that a massive stomachache from eating too many Happy Meals doesn't go unrewarded. If you're feeling really extra, you can find yourself a unique carrying case for all your pups too, just to make it McDonald's official.
24 Worst: Toothbrush And Toothpaste...Really?
Everyone knows how important it is to brush your teeth following your Happy Meal! Wait, what? That's right, in addition to their efforts to make kids happy with a tripping hazard of a jump rope and a short-handed stopwatch, McDonald's tried to encourage good dental hygiene as well. This promotion actually began in 1983, and then nearly a decade later, McDonald's brought the infamous toothbrush 'n 'paste idea back for round two following its theory that every kid should have a healthy mouth. We can't debate them on this fact though, every kid really should have a healthy mouth. The problem is that pulling a travel-sized Colgate tube out of your Happy Meal doesn't quite have the same effect as, oh, pulling out something you can play with after eating.
For a time, McDonald's was turning the "Happy Meal" into a "Hygiene Meal".
We can definitely say that it put a damper on our burger trips as kids knowing that all we'd get out of lunch is an eighth toothbrush and another tube of toothpaste to throw in our bathroom cabinet. The confusion amongst kids was real and we weren't sure if it was some sort of elaborate prank or if McDonald's had arranged a deal with our parents...And our dentists.
23 Worst: Halloween Pails
This is Halloween, This is Halloween... No, sadly McDonald's did not include free copies of The Nightmare Before Christmas in their Happy Meals. They did, however, provide kids with Halloween pails to go and collect candy in on the sinfully best night of the year. In stark contrast to their dental hygiene "toys" that went bust, Halloween pails were something that 90s kids could actually look forward to receiving. Sure, they weren't as big as a pillowcase or as fancy as a candy bag...Well, actually, they weren't big at all. To be honest, they stunk. In honor of every child's 90s Halloween, this was a toy that was simply created to please parents and ruin the Halloween nights of many kids. It's bad enough that we'd get sprayed in the face with shaving cream from the high school kids, but on top of that, we had to deal with these tiny little buckets that held exactly two Kit Kats, a Reeses, and maybe a lollipop as long as it was a Dum-Dum. By that time we'd already eaten the Kit Kats and lost the Reeses to an older sibling under the threat of being kicked, that left us with a sad little Dum-Dum that was probably root-beer flavored and gross.
To top it all off, these pails had lids. Lids mean there's a literal cap to how much candy you can stuff in there, and not even the cute Jack 'O Lantern faces on the front of each pail made up for that travesty. Sure they were adorable, but McDonald's set all of us 90s kids up to fail from the get-go. If it wasn't the size or the lid issue that got you, it was the fact that the handle was designed to support exactly a third of an ounce before it eventually gave way. That fated "thud" as your pail hit the ground, cracked, and sent all four pieces of candy flying was also the sound of our hearts shattering as we searched for Dum-Dums in the dark.
22 Worth A Fortune: Snoopy World Tour
The adorable little pup we know as Snoopy quite literally took the world by storm in 1998 when Asia ran a promotion with 28 different themes from various places around the world. Each of the 28 different Snoopy figurines was designed to be representative of one of the locations included in the promotion, which made this toy highly collectible and most people knew it would mean some serious money later on. Snoopy became iconic with the classic Charlie Brown cartoon and comic series, and while you could find the adorable duo in the Funnies pages of your newspaper, you could now find one of them in your Happy Meal as well.
Just like the Dalmatians, McDonald's created a special display box for these figurines as well, and soon enough the promotion had people hooked. The late 90s became the time of collecting, and 28 is a much more attainable goal than, say, 101 or 102. The sets go for various prices all over eBay and other popular home-based selling sites, and prices fluctuate between roughly $115 and $200. The price is dependent on the shape that each figurine is in along with the original display box, but it may hold more of a sentimental value to some people, so even if you're not taking to the internet with your International collection, know that you have something valuable.
21 Worst: Simba's Pride Should Be Simba's Shame
Oh man, did McDonald's attempt to show effort on this one. We can't exactly give them an "A" for it, but we can detail exactly how wrong it was to find one of these in our lunches post-Lion King movie. For starters, plush toys and greasy, hot food just don't mix. While we applaud McDonald's for trying to include variety and something soft and fluffy in their Happy Meals, thousands of kids would find themselves the victim of a grease-stained Timon by the end of their meal. Speaking of Timon, let's discuss out these plushies actually looked IRL.
Anyone who has seen the movie knows how incredible the facial dimensions were for a 90s cartoon film but featured here we have, well, something that slightly resembles a Lion King character...Maybe? What makes things even worse is the fact that these toys weren't released in Happy Meals until 1996, after the sequel to the first Lion King. You'd think by that point they'd have a handle on how not to make plush toys look disturbed, but alas, we're left with an off-kilter Timon, a flat-faced Rafiki, and Nala the dog. Luckily most of us were happy just to collect all of the characters to display on our shelves at home if nothing else but for a good laugh from time to time.
20 Worst: Nickelodeon Game Gadgets
Nickelodeon was the golden age of television for 90s kids. It was our Hollywood era and brought us all the things that turned us into the greatest couch potatoes ever: Rugrats, Doug, Hey Arnold!, All That, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, KaBlam!, Ren and Stimpy, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters and so many more. They were good times and marked some of the most laughter filled days many of us have had, gave us comfort when we were home sick (or just pretending to be), and gave us something to do with our fellow grunge friends. Sadly, McDonald's used Nickelodeon against us, knowing we'd do anything for that beloved namesake, including dealing with some very sub-par Happy Meal toys. The Nickelodeon Game Gadgets were initially something to be excited for until you actually got one of them in your hands and realized that yes, this is the gumball machine-grade toy you had feared.
The "gadgets" were simply nothing but lightweight plastic gimmicks that did nothing but exploit Nickelodeon's logo in neon colors and left a trail of sadness on their path to each kid's home. The toys were as follows: Applause Paws which were applauded for nothing but regret, Loud-Mouth Mike which allowed kids to verbally express their disappointment, Gotcha Gusher Squirter so we could take out our resentment anger via sad water fights, and Blimp Game just to reinforce the fact that McDonald's had failed.
19 Worth A Fortune: TY Teanie Beanie Babies
Ah, finally -- the much-debated Beanie Babies. Selling Beanie Babies is tricky because they vary so much in price from one collection to the next, obviously with Limited Edition Beanies being worth much more along with rare and extinct Beanie Babies. Fear not, because we're going to answer some questions for you, all related to the mini TY Beanies that caused such an uproar in the late 90s. For starters, anyone who has Beanie Babies knows that the TY tag makes all the difference and shame on those of you who were reckless 90s kids and simply ripped the tags off.
TY tags mean money and could mean the difference between a few hundred bucks and five dollars.
First generation Beanies are worth the most; Those that came out from McDonald's in 1993 and shortly thereafter are considered the first generation and, as such, carry the price of being the first to be produced. The first generation Beanies have black and white tags and are not book-like like the later-produced ones are. The generation model can easily be found by taking a look at the white tag (not the TY tag) that's usually on the bottom of the Beanie, and it'll say "Copyright 1993". One example from lovemybeanies.com has a first generation Humphrey the Camel selling for $395, while one without the tag goes for only $99. The difference between the generations is much more significant, with first selling for upwards of $100, and later generations, like a fifth generation, selling for $1 to $5. As with anything else, do you research! You might find that you have some serious money on your hands.
18 Worst: Yo Yogi! Makes A Poor Comeback
Oh, no. Poor Yogi bear. This cartoon may have held its popularity in the 1960s, but for 90s kids, we simply just didn't understand what was so cool about a bear who rode around on a scooter. We certainly didn't understand it in our Happy Meals and, to this day, are still mystified as to why McDonald's thought it would bring us great joy. While Saturday mornings often included the reboot of the popular bear, we were still hung up on how grossed out we could be by Aaahh!!! Real Monsters and how many things we could get right on the repeat episodes of Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?
It was a confusing time because the toys themselves weren't the worst thing in the world, they just felt on a scale of neutrality and "meh-ness". This was a McDonald's toy that brought neither joy nor sadness, but didn't really make the cut as far as the other toys went, either. Yogi Bear and his friends will always make a cute addition to our 90s collection shelf, but when it came down to it, this tiny bear definitely held more sentimental value for our parents than for us.
17 Worst: Sky Dancers, More Like Fail Dancers
If you can find a single girl who wasn't excited to get a Sky Dancer in her Happy Meal, we'll tell you we don't believe them. Sky Dancers even held appeal for boys because of the idea that if you tilted them in just the right way and pulled the cord with just the right amount of force, you could totally deck someone right in the face. For girls, it was being enamored by the sheer beauty of dolls with wings that spun and "flew" through the air. It's not like the novelty lasted very long because really, how long could you make a doll twirl around without running out of ways to play with it due to her non-posable arms and permanently crossed hard plastic legs, but it was fun nonetheless.
That's why when McDonald's started putting mini versions of these pretty Sky Dancers in their Happy Meals, kids all over rejoiced. The heartache came when you'd pull the toy out only to immediately get a sinking feeling that no, this was not going to work like your full-sized Sky Dancers at home. Nevertheless, we tried and, in an effort to send the Sky Dancers off on their maiden voyage, they instead wobbled, came to a devastating tipping point, and then fell flat...Literally.
16 Worth A Fortune: Power Rangers
In 1995, the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers hit the big screen and got their own movie. McDonald's, who was essentially a pop-culture time marker at this point, celebrated as well by producing some of the most awesome figurines to pop out of a box of fast-food. For free, McDonald's included Power Rangers "devices" which were gear-like toys and included the PowerMorpher Buckle, Power Com, Power Siren, Alien Detector, and Power Flute. In addition to these fun little sets, McDonald's offered additional items for purchase, and this is where the real investment took place. The additional Happy Meal items were actual Power Rangers figurines that came with their own Zords. Each Power Ranger perfectly resembled their television counterpart, and it was a kid's dream come true in the 90s to have collected all of these with their matching Zords.
Only the coolest kids had Power Rangers to play with and now they're worth some pretty decent money... that is if you even want to part with them.
Various sets can be worth $40 or more, and each individual Power Ranger figurine varies in price based on rarity and popularity. Sets that are still in the bags are worth more as most unopened and untouched items are, but we wouldn't blame you if you couldn't help but rip the bags open as soon as you got them. Plastic bags are mere distractions for the strength of Power Rangers!
15 Worst: Food FUNdamentals To Scare You Into Not Eating
We'll just consider 1992 to be the Twilight Zone year of McDonald's toys. Food FUNdamentals was something initially created to help kids and make them believe that eating healthy was fun (you know, you go into McDonald's to learn about healthy food while chowing down on your burger and 2,000 calories of fries). It's here that we learn a big word with a lot of meaning: Anthropomorphic. It's a big way of saying that something normally inhuman has been given human characteristics. Like, say, a food group. This one, in particular, introduced Milky the milk carton, Ruby the apple, Otis the sandwich, Duncan the corn cob, and Slugger the steak. That alone should be enough of a harsh reminder to make all early 90s babies cringe at the thought of pulling one of these out with your burger, and all they really did was make you feel guilty for never picking up an apple or vegetable.
For the kids who were lactose intolerant, forget it, they were scarred for life by a milk carton that had eyes, as if they needed any more reason to fear dairy. Slugger looked like he'd slug you at the mere mention of a grabbing a steak over the burger that was slowly getting cold in your hands, and the sandwich...Well, it's best to not address the fact that it had eyebrows. Pass.
14 Worst: Space Rescue Toys That Didn't Rescue Anything
Fast Times at Ridgemont High may have been a standard for 80s kids, but in the 90s, we were relatively smart and enjoyed trying to figure out a challenge. Space Rescue Toys were simply not created to be easy, though, and the effort it took to figure them out and make them work far exceeded the effort it took to just toss them in the trash. The toys looked somewhat high-end from the outside, but once you picked them up you realized you were in for an adventure, and we don't mean the type you find in space. This adventure would end in frustration and wasted time once you realized that not only did these Space Rescue toys not work, but they literally made no sense. They were weird, oddly-shaped gadgets that were meant to be futuristic, but really only served the purpose of becoming a paperweight for our homework.
If anything, the fact that they were so bad became more of a distraction the longer we stared at them, trying to figure out what we were missing to make them actually work. The worst part was the neon drawing pad that had the simple concept of being able to be wiped clean after each drawing, that ended up permanently stained with the totally inappropriate drawing you tried to show your younger sibling before your parents could see what you were doing.
13 Worth A Fortune: Mr. Men
Mr. Men books were classic in the 70s and they soon became many kid's first read-along books. Each book followed the lives of various "men" referred to as "Mr's" and "Little Miss". Some of them were sassy with attitudes while others were cool as a cucumber (and may have even been shaped much like one). The books were so typical 70s with their geometric shaped-faces and bodies. They walked around like normal people, but had to deal with the emotions that designated them as such, like Mr. Happy and Little Miss Naughty.
They were classic children's books, fun and simplistic, and in 1996, McDonald's decided to go retro and bring them in as Happy Meal toys.
They were perfect because it meant nostalgia for the parents of 90s kids, but it also meant fun and entertainment for 90s kids. You never knew which Mr. Men character you'd get in your Happy Meal which meant that McDonald's trips were always a surprise in '96. We like to think that Roger Hargreaves would have approved of the 3D plush-like renditions of his children's book characters because 90s kids certainly enjoyed them. Complete sets matter when it comes to selling the classic Happy Meal toys, and one full set of 40 recently went on eBay for $90. Now that's what we call Little Miss Payday.
12 Worst: Magic School Bus Toys Lacked All Magic
There is no one in their right mind who hated the Magic School Bus. And if you did, it was only out of bitterness for the fact that you had no Ms. Frizzle to shrink your school bus so that you could travel down a fellow student's throat. The Magic School Bus took on some insane and crazy adventures and each time, Ms. Frizzle was there to guide, support, encourage, and teach her students in such a way that made us all a little bit jealous of Pheobe and Arnold. Unfortunately, Ms. Frizzle isn't real and neither is the Magic School Bus, which left McDonald's with no actual magic from which to create these toys that were intended to pay homage to the awesome television show.
What they ended up creating instead were some wildly disappointing mini toys that held a kid's attention for exactly 30 seconds before they realized they'd been duped. The toys were meant to be somewhat educational and included aspects of space, geology, and oceanography, but when it came down to it, they were just too poorly-made to have any real significance. There are only so many times you can snap apart a plastic volcano and piece the layers back together before you realize you'd have much more fun at home playing Magic School Bus games on Windows 95.
11 Worst: Who Knew Barbie Could Be So 90s
Cringe-worthy doesn't even begin to describe what McDonald's did to Barbie in 1991. They later fixed their transgressions, but initially, Barbie was just a solid block of plastic. For those of us who had real full-sized Barbies and took pride in making sure their hair was never knotted, pressing their clothes between the pages of heavy books to avoid wrinkles, and making sure their shoes never went missing or mismatched, seeing a solidified Barbie was a no-go. Understandably, McDonald's couldn't be giving out realistic-looking Barbies everywhere with every Happy Meal. But these Barbies were one step away from being stuck on shelves forever with no way to actually play with them because trying to was akin to making a toy out of Stonehenge.
We can't say they didn't try, though. Looking at Barbie was like looking at an emotionless shell of what could have been, with cold painted-on eyes, frozen-in-time hair, and a painted-on outfit. Granted they were nice to look at, but they didn't actually accomplish anything in the way of toys. It wasn't until 1993 when McDonald's finally got the point that kids needed hair to brush and clothes that actually moved, and finally made a change to overhaul and perfect all of their Barbie toys. With that being said, we'll just forget about the first two years.
10 Worth A Fortune: Full Furby Set
Furbys may have been an eerie replica of the Gremlins cast, but they're worth some pretty good money if you got them in your Happy Meal back in 1999. The smaller, more friendly version of the Furbys didn't have the creepy issue of turning on and off by itself or threatening to end you in your sleep, but they were cute and served as a fun way to collect various Happy Meal toys. As with anything else, McDonald's jumped on the Furby-induced obsession that the world was in and began producing their own miniature versions.
By the end of the promotion, there were 80 different Furbys to be found in any one McDonald's.
Since it wasn't as important to have a complete set as with the Snoopy World Tour or 101/102 Dalmatians promotions, collecting Furbys was more fun and much more of a laid-back, stress-free collectible game every time you got a Happy Meal as a kid. It didn't feel like you were taking a chance with every meal you got, because if you got a repeat, you could always just trade with a friend or declare the two identical Furbys twins. The pricing at this point is whatever you, the Furby owner, deem worthy. A full (and then some) set was attempted at a selling point of $899 and (surprise surprise) never happened, while a full set recently went fairly easily for $75.
9 Worst: Let's Go To Camp McDonaldland
Who wouldn't want to go to Camp McDonaldland? Don't lie, you know you were mentally raising your hand. In the 90s, 1990 specifically, McDonald's released four items that were part of a camping kit that was meant to encourage kids to love the Great Outdoors. What they didn't know is that even though many of us had televisions and access to a computer, we never stopped loving the outdoors. In an effort to drive home how great camping is, McDonald's introduced four items (we're calling them items because they are definitely not toys): A canteen, utensil set, collapsible cup, and a mess kit. This camping set would have been great if it wasn't the introduction to disaster, leading many of us to believe that all it took were those four items and then we were ready to go and camp.
Camp McDonaldland was a bit more friendly than an actual campsite and, in reality, a bunch of plastic spoons, a canteen that held enough water for a mouse, a mess kit that we're still trying to figure out, and a collapsible cup does not make for one solid camper. Rather, it makes for an ill-prepared camper with a bunch of lightweight breakable plastic...But hey, it made us feel like we had the idea that we could tackle all things outdoors.
8 Worst: Sad Little Tamagotchi Keychain
There are some mixed feelings about the Tamagotchi keychains of 1997. Tamagotchis were all the rage and you just simply weren't cool unless you had one... or eight. They weren't very forgiving and if you forgot to feed them or shake them for points, your Tamagotchi passed away and you had to start all over. Now, most of the 90s kids have real-life Tamagotchis called babies and some of us even have things that even more closely-resemble Tamagotchis called pets. Back in the 90s, though, it was Tamagotchi or bust. McDonald's caught on and decided to take it a step further by not giving kids Tamagotchis, but giving a replica of them in the form of a keychain.
This was great, except for the fact that many kids had no keys, nor a keychain to put a Tamagotchi on.
Despite that, the mini keychains were the cutest thing and came in little egg-shaped containers that resembled a real Tamagotchi and broke the heart of many a kid who thought they were about to adopt a new digital pet. Once you realized they had a giant egg-shaped crack down the middle, it would occur to you that you had to open it up -- And inside would be your adorable little keychain. The surprise and joy lasted all of two seconds before you realized you literally had nowhere to put this thing and no way to show it off. Thanks, McDonald's, kids don't drive cars at ten years old.
7 Worth A Fortune: Inspector Gadget Toy
Go-go Gadget! More like go-go get your butt to eBay if you have one of these toys on-hand. Inspector Gadget was popular from the 70s on through the 90s, which made it the perfect gig for McDonald's to get themselves involved in. This is a Happy Meal toy that McDonald's did spectacularly well, not just in likeness but in overall playability and quality. To be quite honest, if you were lucky enough to land one of these in your Happy Meal in the 90s, you could consider yourself one lucky kid. This half-gadget, half-detective was popular on television screens everywhere and it was rare that a kid wouldn't have heard of him. Moreso, it was rare if a kid's parents had never heard of him...t hat's how popular Inspector Gadget was.
McDonald's nailed Inspector Gadget down to the "G" emblazoned on his coat buckle and made sure that his facial likeness was what everyone had grown to know and love about the crazy character. The details that make him who he is -- the "gadgets" -- are perfectly in-place and in accordance with the actual Inspector Gadget, including his crazy arm that made him more of an X-Men than an Inspector and his trademark stretchy neck and futuristic right arm. You're looking at a potential $350 if you have this guy laying around and, for that price, you could probably make your own gadget arm.
6 Worst: Unsinkable Little Mermaid Figures
It needs to be said right off the bat: These were awful. It's beyond us what McDonald's was even thinking other than the fact that gold-plated is great, but it wasn't even gold that covered these helpless Little Mermaid Figurines, it was some sad imitation of a bronze paint. They were strange, to say the least, and even Ariel herself was bronze-painted and looked the same as her fellow underwater friends. The only one who isn't cast in shades of bronze is Ursula, who comes in the form of a blow-up toy. Yes, she was an actual floating blow-up toy. We're not sure if it's because she's much bigger than the rest or just because she's a much more menacing bathtime villain if she's in full-blown color with air slowly leaking out of her, but either way, this was a unique collection, to say the least.
The second thing that boggled our minds about these toys was the fact that some of the characters had moving parts while other didn't, which left us wondering if the creators of the Little Mermaid figurines were on the same page as each other when they started on this endeavor. Either way, if you were able to tell what these were underneath all the layers of fool's gold, more power to you.
5 Worst: Literal Beanie Babies
You'll notice that the TY Teenie Beanies made our list in two places, both as worthless toys and as toys that are worth a great deal. The reasoning for this is McDonald's put out mini Beanie Babies with their Happy meals from 1993 all the way up to the late 2000s, and it's a bit confusing knowing which ones are worth anything and why the others are just...Well, worthless.
The reason they made it to the "Worst" McDonald's toys section is due to the havoc and chaos they caused upon their initial release.
Beanie Babies were quite literally everything back in the 90s and early 2000s. Everyone wanted to get their hands on these adorable little fuzzy plushes that came with that irresistible (and highly notable) heart-shaped TY tag. When they were released and sold at McDonald's with Happy Meals, McDonald's locations all over found themselves selling out within weeks, if not days. They simply couldn't keep up with the demand and people were buying Happy Meals simply just for the prize of the miniature Beanie Baby that came with them. It was a dark time for Beanie Baby lovers as they were then being sold behind closed doors for even bigger money, getting stolen by employees, and causing fights between customers trying to buy their kids the adorable little animals. Other than the rioting, they were the perfect McDonald's toy.
4 Worth A Fortune: Super Mario
These are the things that really make us happy at TheGamer and something all 90s gamers looked forward to in their own Happy Meals. Super Mario will always be timeless and one of the greatest Nintendo hits of all time. McDonald's was smart to jump on the bandwagon (multiple times) to get some of that old-school platformer action in at mealtime, and to the delight of many a gamer kid, the sight of Mario or Luigi sitting next to their fries was cause for resounding, "yaaas!" The year was 1990, and it didn't matter whether or not the Super Mario toys were high-quality, because of the fact was they were inspired by your favorite game at the time.
All else was secondary when Mario hit the scene, especially when he was accompanied by Koopa Paratrooper, Luigi, and Little Goomba. Mario was set on a spring and had the ability to bounce around a little bit (not unlike the game), and at the time it was the coolest thing to ever tumble out of our Happy Meals. The full set from 1990 can be sold for up to $40, but if you have the just-as-collectible under-three toy, you can jack that cost up a bit. To Nintendo fans, however, a solid Super Mario set is priceless.
3 Worst: Halloween McNugget Buddies
What are you supposed to do with a chicken nugget that's dressed up as Dracula? Your guess is as good as ours and it's something we've been trying to answer since the early 90s when we first pulled these odd creatures out of our Halloween-themed Happy Meal boxes. McNugget Buddies began in the 80s, but it wasn't until the early 90s when the developers at McDonald's thought to add costumes to the sketchy-looking nuggets, and thus, the Halloween McNugget Buddies were born.
These nuggets resembled the Little Tikes pretend food you'd play with in preschool and had just about as much allure to them. The costumes varied and made for a resounding six differently spooky nuggets that were ready to indulge in the scariest of Halloween spooks with you. Not really, they would literally just sit on the table and look cute. While the idea behind them was great for collectibles, we couldn't help but think these nuggets more closely resembled potatoes and were just about as much fun. Good in theory, bad in reality. The most fun part about Halloween time was getting the actual Halloween-themed Happy Meal box, taking pleasure out of viewing every side and noting every spooky scene depicted on it, and then opening it up to see which repeat McNugget Buddy you were stuck with... and the fun ended there.
2 Worst: Not So Mighty Mighty Ducks Pucks
It's still unsure as to whether the Mighty Ducks Pucks can be considered "toys" so much as they were potential weapons and ways to get out some frustration. The idea behind these was cool if you were a collector in the 90s and seriously had a love for the slightly oddball Mighty Ducks television show, but the novelty ended there. They were essentially glorified paperweights for the rest of us who just didn't share the same hockey-playing duck love as the rest of the world, and so these became very old news, very quickly. If you didn't own a hockey stick, they were basically useless since you couldn't actually use them, but then again, why would you want to? One overcharged slapshot and you risk smacking the duck head right clear off of the actual puck and at that point, you're just left duck puck-less.
McDonald's really tried with this one and the effort to create realistic pucks doesn't go unnoticed, but we're thinking it was just a tad bit too much of a crossover to feature duck-head pucks as opposed to actual figurines that could be played with rather than stared at. If you were ever into hardcore exercise as a kid in the 90s, though, these made great hand weights if you had two of them.
1 Worth A Fortune: Muppet Babies
The Muppet Babies were originally on the scene in various McDonald's locations in 1987 and the popularity continued on up to 1990, with a second edition release. The Muppets are something that will never go out of style and much like the timeless charm of Super Mario, they've become a source of entertainment for all generations to enjoy over and over again. McDonald's must have recognized this in the brand because the Muppets that were released in Happy Meals in the early 90s are worth a pretty penny today. Included in the full set, if you could collect every single one of the Muppet Babies, were Baby Kermit, Baby Piggy, Baby Gonzo, and Baby Fozzie. Each Muppet had their own mode of transportation which made these collectible figurines that much cuter and endearing to those of us who found them in our Happy Meals.
One cool feature that McDonald's included was simple but made a big difference: Once you'd collected all four, the set could be hooked up to one another to form a train-chain. The full set goes for almost $40, while individually you could probably sell them for $8-$10. It's not a huge profit, but it's enough to support a solid gaming habit...And hey, isn't that the point?