After more than a decade apart, McDonald’s and Disney are renewing their relationship by bringing Disney toys back to Happy Meals. The cross-promotional partnership is expected to start just in time for the upcoming releases of Incredibles 2 and Wreck-It Ralph 2, which are Disney’s two biggest films of 2018.
For years, these two iconic companies maintained a close and mutually beneficial relationship, as Disney would promote its newest movie via McDonalds’ iconic Happy Meal toys. But things went sour about a decade ago when Disney decided to cut ties with the fast food megachain. The reason? Childhood obesity rates were on the rise and many began to blame restaurants like McDonald’s for providing meals to kids that were unreasonably high in calories and fat.
But this year, McDonald’s announced it was changing the Happy Meal menu to promote healthier foods and removing unhealthy options like chocolate milk and cheeseburgers. And while parents can still order the ousted menu items, the initiative is expected to bring McDonald’s in line with Disney’s nutrition guidelines by the summer. The change of heart was apparently enough to convince Disney to rekindle its flame with the fast-food chain.
Said Tiffany Rende, senior vice president of corporate alliances at Disney, on Tuesday: “McDonald’s commitment to balanced Happy Meals allows our two companies to collaborate on new ways to bring the magic of Disney to McDonald’s consumers.”