McDonald's rolled out its first Happy Meal in 1979 and soon other restaurants like Burger King followed. These meals were a total hit and fast food restaurants, for a while, would agree that young kids are one of their most valued target customers. And who could blame the kids? The meals were in these cute and colorful cardboard boxes with a free toy inside! What wasn’t to like?
However, the current times have changed. Kids are more technological than they never were, making the toys that come with the meal less popular. Society is also becoming more educated and concerned about health. Fast food is eaten much less by families than it was in the past.
On this list, we are going to discuss the worst toys to come out of the Burger King and McDonalds kid’s meals. Some toys created controversy, such as what age group the toys were really targeting. Others were just lame and embarrassing. Then there were those that tried to trick children into coming back and collecting all the toys. We will discuss all of those.
To mix it up, we are also going to list the toys that have gained in price over the years. That’s right, as a kid, you may have gotten something for free that you could have sold for big bucks later. So enjoy this list of worst toys and some that can sell for good money.
29 Worst: Burger King Shrek 2 Toys
2003 was a Shrek-crazed time. In fact, have we ever really escaped the Shrek-crazed phase of society yet? The character lives on in a lot of memes.
Like everyone else, Burger King jumped on the craze. After all, they had toys for the first movie back in 2001. However this time the toys were not keychains. See that scary Donkey head? That’s a clock. You have to pull his mouth open to see the time. Then there is the book to store, what, a penny or rock in?
28 Fortune: McDonald's Monsters Inc. Toy ($75)
McDonald's had the right idea to jump onto Pixar’s wagon in terms of promoting their movies and characters. When Monsters Inc. was a hit, kids wanted their Monsters Inc. Happy Meal toys. The toys became decent collector’s items.
The collection featured different characters paired off with different doors.
You can sell one of these for about twenty-five dollars on eBay, which is a lot for something that was originally given out for free. An entire set even sold for 75 dollars.
27 Worst: Burger King Mr. Potato Head Toy
Ignore the fact that Mr. Potato Head is enjoying French fries. If you think too hard about where the fries come from, this scenario gets a little disturbing.
This toy appeared in Burger King kids meals in 1998. What made the collection so lame was that better Mr. Potato Head toys already existed. What made them better was mainly that you could actually take him apart. The Mr. Potato collection did not own up to his primary function, to take him apart and put him back together.
26 Worst: McDonald's Cave Man Minion
Oh, Minions, you annoying and over-marketed yellow beans did it again.
Out of the McDonald's Minion collection, one stood out and horrified parents. The caveman minion would speak in gibberish, but the gibberish suspiciously sounded more like a cuss word.
McDonald's commented that this discovery was a misinterpretation of the minion language.
"We're aware of a very small number of customers who have been in touch regarding this toy, and we regret any confusion or offense to those who may have misinterpreted its sounds. The allegation that this toy is saying anything offensive or profane is not true."
25 Fortune: Burger King’s Gold Pokémon Cards ($100+)
The Pokémon franchise was and still is a huge money pit. Burger King made the right call with its various Pokémon collection toys. The best of these collections though were the 23 karat gold cards that came in a Pokéball case. A complete set of these can sell for over 100 dollars!
The various cards that came in the set were Charizard, Pikachu, Mewtwo, Jigglypuff, Togepi, and Poliwhirl. They were so cool, that’s it is hard to believe they were kids meal toys.
24 Worst: McDonald's Spinning Naruto Toys
These were only given out in the McDonald's of Japan in 2012. These toys were so bad that they became a popular meme and parody material by the populace.
They were spinning toys that would windmill their bodies and arms.
Memes and parodies of this collection included manga pages with pictures of these toys inserted into the action scenes and gifs of the toys blindly spinning their attacks at each other. It’s all very funny content. Thank you, McDonald's for giving us this gift.
23 Worst: Burger King World Wrestling Entertainment Toys
These are the worst because how many kids watch World Wrestling Entertainment? Even if they did, the plush wrestlers are unsettling to look at. The collection included only three of them too: John Cena, the Undertaker, and Triple H.
They weren’t just strangely cuddly though, they also came with voice boxes. If you squeeze Triple H he says, “I am the game.” Undertaker’s sounds are just his entrance music. And of course, John Cena says, “You can’t see me.”
22 Fortune: McDonalds 101 Dalmatians ($150+)
What made these toys awesome was that there was actually 101 different Dalmatians to collect! That has to be a record for how many different kinds of toys there were available in one McDonald's collection.
Also, 101 Dalmatians was a Disney item, which already makes them destined for some level of success.
21 Worst: Burger King Fantastic Four Toys
The Fantastic Four was a Hollywood failure on numerous occasions. It was no different in 2007 when Burger King decided to give the superheroes a try as kid’s meal toys. What could go wrong? It won’t be like the movies.
Except the anatomy of these toys was miserably off. Maybe the toy designers wanted them to look more comic book-like and failed. Whatever the case, even big fans of the comics must have gone from excited to disappointed.
20 Worst: Ronald McDonald Glove Puppet
McDonald's made a grave mistake from the beginning by making their mascot a clown. Sometimes they look back at the mistake and say, “Let’s make this worse,” and make the mascot one of the free toys kids can get in their Happy Meal.
This was a very cheap toy, even by McDonald's standards.
It was just a plastic hand puppet. The difference between it and a plastic bag you get from shopping at the grocery store was not that wide a gap.
19 Fortune: Burger King’s SpongeBob: Lost In Time Toys ($90+)
SpongeBob’s Lost in Time toys were such a hit that the whole collection can sell for 90 dollars! Coming out in 2005, the 20 toy collection featured SpongeBob as different cultural stereotypes—I mean icons. Among these twenty were SpongeBob as a Viking, Tai Chi Master, Cowboy, Statue of Liberty, Royal Guard, Mariachi, Sultan, Sherlock Holmes, Pirate, Pharaoh, Caveman, Knight, and Classical Composer.
Why did it get so sought after and expensive? Maybe people just love SpongeBob and this was only out for a limited time.
18 Worst: McDonalds Michael Jordan Merchandise
Promote fitness through McDonald's? What a laugh.
Yes, in 1991, Michael Jordan put fitness toys in McDonalds Happy Meals. You could get a jump-rope, Frisbee, a deflated beach ball, a basketball that is clinging to life, a mini football, and a stopwatch.
Almost all of these items have Michael Jordan’s face plastered on.
The level of hypocrisy in getting fitness equipment with a McDonald's meal is stunning. At least they tried? They just wanted to hide their unhealthy shame.
17 Worst: Burger King Rugrats Tree House Toys
Back in 2000, Rugrats came to Burger King as a toy collection. The set of eight toys were each a section of a treehouse.
The sinister aspect of this collection is that the toys stunk unless you collected them all. So you would have to buy at least eight kids meals to even get a chance of having the cool toy. What use do you get out of having just a single section of a treehouse? The whole treehouse was a whopping 17 inches tall, too.
16 Fortune: McDonald's Madame Alexander Dolls ($80+)
It’s almost hard to believe these ever existed because Madame Alexander dolls are so high quality and sought after by collectors. Vintage Madame Alexander dolls can go as much as one thousand dollars!
McDonald's and the doll company actually did numerous collections.
Rumor has it that the most sought after collection is the Wizard of Oz-themed dolls. A collection of those sold for 80 dollars on eBay. Who wouldn’t want one? They are so miniature and adorable.
15 Worst: Burger King Twilight Merchandise
Twilight stole the hearts of so many teenagers that Burger King decided to hop onto the bandwagon. Burger King not only had merchandise come with Kids Meals, but they also had games between “Team Edward” and “Team Jacob” that they ran.
So it was not just a toy in a meal. They marketed the Twilight series hard. They even had commercials of young girls arguing between which character is better for Bella. They even mentioned Jacob’s rock-hard abs. Wow.
14 Worst: Mcdonald's Airport Toys
Yeah, these toys look like their age. They were from 1986, so they are one of McDonald's earlier toy collections. Sure, airports can be fun. Except these soulless plastic planes are the dullest toys to exist.
It looks like the sort of toy you’d find in a dentist office because they don’t care if it gets stolen.
Customers were actually meant to save the cardboard boxes the Happy Meal came in to turn it into an airport. Yes, the box with all the French fry grease stains. Best airport ever.
13 Fortune: Burger King Lord Of The Rings Figures ($100)
This promotion from Burger King featured 19 different toys. They were already cool on their own. If you collected them all, you could form an entire diorama with the “One Ring” at the center of it all. The figures each had different lights and sounds that would activate with the push of a button.
As one can imagine, collecting all 19 toys would be a challenge. So the entire collection is now sold online for one hundred dollars.
12 Worst: McDonalds Earth Day Toys
Stop pretending you love the earth, McDonald's. You’re a fast food joint. In fact, Earth Day’s website wrote about how much you stink, so that’s a little awkward.
Well, these gardening toys were found in Happy Meals in the year of 1991.
Instead of being presented in a box, the meal was in a recyclable bag that featured tips to help preserve the outdoors. Toys featured a shovel, rake, mini greenhouse, seeds, watering can, and hanging bird feeder. This is almost wholesome, but the greenwashing is obvious for a company that normally doesn’t care.
11 Worst: Burger King Angry Birds Toys
Angry Birds, also known as the phone app that marketers ran too far with. In 2017, Burger King decided to copy every other soulless seller out there and put Angry Birds in their kid’s meals.
These just look like garbage, just plastic garbage. That may sound harsh but com’on, the comparison is a phone app that can entertain your kid for hours. These toys are more current than others on this list and kids today are into the technology.
10 Fortune: McDonalds Furby Toys ($75)
One man’s nightmare is another collector’s treasure.
These Furby’s are a collector genre of toy. The craze was really big in the 90s though, and McDonald's hopped on that train.
The 1999 McDonald's Furby collection consisted of 80 different mini Furby toys to collect. That’s a lot of Furby!
A big collection of them has sold for 75 dollars on eBay. That goes to show that as unsettling as some toys are, they may still be sought after.
9 Worst: Burger King Beetlejuice Toys
Burger King released a Beetlejuice collection that consisted of characters like Lydia, the Sand Worm, Charles, Delia, and Beetlejuice himself. Though they are so cartoonish that they are barely recognizable. Why does Delia have pink hair?
Also, these are two-sided figures. In the back, they are different and are weird and Beetlejuicey. These are sort of spooky, but not in a cool way. Delia especially, she looks like she’s ready to eat your soul and steal your body.
8 Worst: McDonalds Changables
Wow, these things have their own Wikipedia page.
The McDonalds Changables appeared in Happy Meals three times, first in 1987, again in 1989, and lastly in 1990.
Since those years now have a nostalgic factor and since it’s been a while, this could have actually been a fortune item on this list as well, but they are also pretty dumb so they are also the worst.
Think Transformers but instead, it’s French fries and Burgers turning into robots. That’s what these are.
7 Fortune: Burger King Star Wars Episode III Toys ($60+)
This collection of Star Wars Episode III figures came in Burger King Kids Meals in 2005. They are alike to Funko Pops with the small bodies and large heads. While Episode III is one of the most disliked movies in the popular series, these toys were still a hit and can get you around 60 dollars online if you have a decent batch of them. That goes to show that you can’t go wrong with Star Wars, even if you’re marketing to one of its least loved movies.
6 Worst: McDonalds Fitness Tracker
Yes, McDonalds will keep trying to convince the populace that they are good for you. However, unlike the Michael Jordan merchandise, these got recalled due to burning kids. What’s worse than hypocritical Happy Meal toys? Happy Meal toys that burn children.
29 million of these fitness trackers were recalled. Parents reported the bands irritating skin and causing blisters.
McDonalds responded to concerns on their website with. “While we do not yet know what may be causing these incidents, we believe it is appropriate to recall these wristbands from consumers in an abundance of caution."
5 Worst: Burger King Spiderman 3 Toys
Spiderman 3 never should have even existed as a movie. Poor Burger King did not know that though and came out with Spiderman 3 toys for the Kids Meals. Kids will probably need to reenact emo Peter Parker anyway in order to slowly settle on the fact that that actually happened.
The Sandman figure was particularly bad. His hand is turning into a ball shape but it doesn’t look like sand. It looks like his flesh is molding. Ew.
4 Fortune: McDonalds Beanie Babies ($100+)
This was back before Beanie Babies got their nightmare galaxy eyes and tropical flavor bodies. Yes, back when they were actually dignified.
These were called Teenie Babies and they come from McDonalds Happy Meals in 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000.
They were basically miniature Beanie Babies. According to Moms.com, a complete set can be sold for at least 100 dollars. However, there are also rumors that they are worthless. Well, they don’t stink, that’s for sure. They are the perfect beings.
3 Worst: Burger King Pocahontas Finger Puppets
These are just two major errors put into one. First are finger puppets and second is Pocahontas. Yes, it’s a Disney movie but can’t we agree that it’s probably one of the worst? The art and music is beautiful, but the story is a major historical and cultural error. Learning about the real John Smith is a real childhood destroyer.
All the characters look like they are hiding until your finger takes control. See? These toys just created the worst sentence in the world.
2 Worst: McDonalds Popiods
From the early McDonalds years of the 1980s, Popoids were a Happy Meal item. It was a major failure because it counted on children gathering the pieces to build a toy.
That’s right; the kid would probably have to eat McDonald's for seven nights in a single week to collect the pieces in order to build an actual toy.
Even if they managed to collect the pieces and build the toy, it’s not worth it. It’s not worth the money or their health.
1 Fortune: Burger King Miniature NFL Jerseys ($250+)
It’s easy to imagine how this collection became a hit. Sports fans can be one of the biggest collectors out there. If you missed the opportunity to get these for free in a Burger King Kids Meal, don’t worry, someone is selling all of them for 250 dollars online.
But what can wear these tiny little Jerseys? Drink bottles? McDonalds’ Teenie Babies? Or is the owner supposed to be creative and hang them up in an epic sports art piece?