McDonald’s isn’t a company to let a promotional opportunity go by unnoticed. We’re talking about the restaurant that has a special milkshake for St. Patrick’s Day, which is just not a thing. So the 40th anniversary of the debut of the Happy Meal is not going to go
Mickey D’s is celebrating one of its most successful long-term promotions with what it hopes will be one of its most successful short-term promotions. Starting November 7, it’s launching the Surprise Happy Meal, a kid-sized meal that will come with one of 15 Happy Meal toys inspired by what the company calls “iconic” toys from its history.
The original Happy Meal was actually called the Circus Wagon Happy Meal. It “featured a decorative box including various toys, such as a spinning top and McDonaldland character erasers,” progenitors to the toys that have defined the Happy Meal for generations, 15 of which are being revived to celebrate the anniversary.
- Cowboy McNugget (McDonald’s): 1988
- Fireman McNugget (McDonald’s): 1988
- Mail Carrier McNugget (McDonald’s): 1988
- Hamburger Changeable (McDonald’s): 1989
- Grimace (McDonald’s): 1990
- Dino Happy Meal Box Changeable (McDonald’s): 1991
- McDonald’s Hot Wheels Thunderbird (Mattel): 1993
- Hamburglar (McDonald’s): 1995
- Power Rangers (Hasbro): 1995
- Space Jam Bugs Bunny (Warner Brothers): 1996
- Patti the Platypus (Ty Beanie Baby): 1997
- Tamagotchi (Bandai): 1998
- My Little Pony (Hasbro): 1998
- Furby (Hasbro): 1999
- Hello Kitty (Sanrio): 2013
Seven of the 15 possible toys were inspired by the company’s own intellectual property. Ronald didn’t make the cut, but both Grimace and the Hamburglar are here, along with a veritable Village People of McNuggets from the earliest years.
The remaining toys date to the early ’90s and later and are tie-ins to entertainment properties (Power Rangers and Space Jam) and popular toys (Hot Wheels, Beanie Babies, Tamagotchi, My Little Pony, Furby, and Hello Kitty).
These special toys are available while supplies last, and the press release says “fans of all ages are invited to join in the fun and discover what old or new favorite awaits them.” So while you’ll probably feel silly waiting in line for the chance to get a Space Jam Bugs Bunny toy, you’ll definitely be allowed to snag a piece of your childhood (along with some of those fries).