Nowadays, the McDonald's Happy Meal has its very own website; yes, the times have changed since the Happy Meal’s debut back in the late-70s. Happy Meal toys weren’t always as glamorous as they are today. Back then, kids were satisfied by fun puzzles and games. However, once McDonald’s started partnering up with films in the late 1980s, they slowly started taking their toys to the next level.
That led to a boom in the 90s and in fact, lots of the toys issued on this list come from that decade. In the case of a certain valuable toy, the release led to absolute chaos as consumers rushed to several McDonald’s in order to get their hands on this Happy Meal toy. If you can believe, the law even got involved, not to mention employees getting caught trying to steal the toys. We’ll have more on that specific Happy Meal toy in the final entry – let’s hope you kept the set, it's worth a lot of money these days.
On the flip side, we’ll also laugh at some of the most short-sighted Happy Meal toys of all-time. These toys turned out to be major flops with no value whatsoever. We’ll look at five extreme cases in this article.
Enjoy folks and like always be sure to share the article with a friend. Without further ado, here are 15 Happy Meals toys we should have kept and 5 that are good for the trash. Let’s get started!
20 Valuable - Inspector Gadget Toy
It all started with Star Trek. McDonald’s took their Happy Meals to the next level by making agreements with certain films. This took the toys to a whole other level. Back in 1999, Inspector Gadget was a film that hit the theaters. The movie had decent box office success and a lot of that was because of the younger audience.
Those that were fortunate enough to hang on to their gadget toys might be pretty darn happy to learn that the set is worth more than $300 these days. Let’s hope mom kept it. The half man half robot Inspector Gadget toy in particular has a really big worth.
19 Worthless - Michael Jordan McDonald’s Stop Watch
In the past, McDonald’s attempted some fitness related gadgets. Now some were pretty cool like the watch step tracker for children. It makes kids want to move which is a nice idea. However, this particular throwback Happy Meal toy from the 90s really didn’t do much.
Making matters worse, it wasn’t even close to becoming a collector’s item given the cheapness of the Happy Meal toy. This is easily something anybody could have found for dirt cheap at a dollar store or flea market. Looking back at this lackluster toy, we assume MJ is none too pleased.
18 Valuable - The Underwater Monsters
They might not be the best looking toys. Therefore, it is likely that a family member threw these out a while ago. However, they hold some serious value these days, a set hovers around a value of over $300, according to MSN.
Released back in the late 70s, these toys were meant for underwater purposes - a toy that anyone could have brought in the tub. However, putting them to use might have sent the value down. Condition is also a big factor when assessing these toys. Let’s hope if you kept them after all these years, tub use was limited.
17 Valuable - Lion King Plush Toys
The Lion King turned it to a major hit during the 90s. Lots of fast food establishments looked to pounce on its success. Burger King was another fast food location that issued Lion King toys during its booming popularity.
McDonald’s did so on multiple occasions releasing both plush toys and regular plastic toys. The Plush toys hold a greater value these days. Especially with the remake set to hit theaters soon, collectors can expect the value to skyrocket that much higher. With Disney and McDonald’s back together, it is very possible that Lion King toys get released once again prior to the film’s release.
16 Valuable - Super Mario Toy Collection
It is pretty surreal to think about but still today in 2018, McDonald’s continues to release Super Mario Happy Meal toys. Take into account that it was also released for the first time in 1994 and later in 1998. Talk about longevity, Mario remains popular with the younger folks more than two decades later.
In terms of value, the 1994 and 1998 collections stand as the highest. According to MSN, complete collections still in the packaging and in mint condition can be worth over $200.
15 Worthless - Ronald McDonald Plastic Hand Puppet
Back in the 70s and 80s, Happy Meal toys were nowhere near the quality of the 90s or today. That was apparent with toys like the Ronald McDonald plastic hand-puppet. Even the most enthusiastic kid might have grown bored of this toy in just a couple of minutes. It didn’t help that the material used was totally cheap and literally made out of plastic.
McDonald’s released several Ronald McDonald toys but this one is up there among the very worst. A close second has to be that weird Ronald McDonald mask they decided to hand out during Halloween. If scaring children was the goal, they succeeded.
14 Valuable – Star Trek Games
In 1979, Happy Meal took things to the next level by releasing a Star Trek line. It was the first time McDonald’s partnered up with a movie, a theme they would continue to use over the years and till this very day. The goal was to promote Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
Toys weren’t released at that point but instead various images and games. It also came with different comic-strips; the goal was to collect them all. The box came with different comics on it - they sell for a lot these days.
Later in 1982, McDonald’s would release toys but they were quickly called back due to being regarded as hazardous for children.
13 Valuable - 101 Dalmatians Toy Set
Grossing over $320 million, 101 Dalmatians became a huge success with 90s children. The remake had quite the impact on the youth and of course McDonald’s decided to capitalize on the release.
The set was so unique due to all the different Dalmatians that were in the collection. It became one of the most popular toys of all-time and a set most 90s kids still remember today. If mom kept those 1996 toys in decent shape, according to MSN, they have a worth of over $200.
12 Valuable - Snoopy World Tour Collection
Back in the 90s, these Snoopy toys became a major hit. What was cool about this particular set is that each Snoopy represented a different country. The set wasn’t easy to complete as lots of different Snoopy’s existed. For those that were lucky enough to purchase the entire set, you’ll be pleased to know that they have an estimated worth of over $150 according to MSN.
Similar to Super Mario, Snoopy still succeeds today. Most recently in 2018, McDonald’s launched another Snoopy Happy Meal line with ten different Snoopy toys to collect.
11 Valuable - Hot Wheels Collection
For 90s kids, it wasn’t uncommon to buy a set of Hot Wheels and spend the entire day playing with them around the house or wherever your parents took you. That was the case for 80s kids as well, back in 1983 McDonald’s looked to pounce on the Hot Wheels success by making it a Happy Meal item. Full collections have a worth of over $50 which is pretty darn good if you ask us.
Along with McDonald’s, various other fast food chains have worked with Hot Wheels in the past. We don’t expect that to change even today.
10 Worthless - Gardening Tools
During the 80s, McDonald’s issued a couple of questionable toys. This one has to be up there among the absolute worst ever to be released by the fast food restaurant. Not only were they gardening tools but the design really left no wiggle room for enjoyment.
The tools were limited in every sense; they’re reminiscent to tools you can find at any dollar store retailer for a dollar or even less. We assume most 80s kids threw these out pretty quickly and seriously, we don’t blame you if that was you!
9 Valuable - Power Rangers 1994 Collection
Not only was Power Rangers a beast on television but it also replicated the same success on the big screen. Putting McDonald’s aside, Power Ranger toys sold like hot cakes as is at the likes of Wal-Mart, Toys-R-Us and other stores that sold children’s toys.
McDonald’s pounced on the trend with some great looking toys back in 1994. The toys came with an added vehicle making it a two-piece set. Even by today’s standards these toys are seriously great to look at. Factoring all of that in, according to MSN, they rank in at number four in terms of the most valuable Happy Meal items. The set has a worth of over $300.
8 Valuable - Fraggle Rock Toys
This set is considered the most valuable from the 1980s decade. According to MSN, these toys combined together have a worth of over $250.
The toys were made for a younger demographic given the playful design of these toys. Among the four characters includes Gobo in the carrot car, Red in the radish car, Mokey in the eggplant car along with Wembley and Boober in the cucumber car. In addition, McDonald’s released two extra toys for children under three – Gobo holding a carrot along with Red holding his radish.
7 Valuable - Potato Head Kids
Who can forget those classic Potato Head Kids back in the late 80s and later in the 90s? Although they were funny to look at, kids didn’t adore these all that much due to limitedness of the toy. Nonetheless, 80s kids should have hung on to these as they have a worth of over $100 today.
Burger King tried to replicate the same kind of success back in the later 90s with their Kids Meal. To their credit, Burger King took things a step further in terms of design. Nonetheless, the McDonald’s toys hold a greater value.
6 Worthless - McDonald’s Tooth Paste
At the very least, Burger King put a funny spin on their toothpaste creating a Whopper flavor. McDonald’s however, created an actual toothpaste while partnering with Colgate. There was no special flavoring but instead a classic winter fresh gel sent.
As you might expect, this didn’t sit well with children. It was a onetime only type of Happy Meal item for a reason. Although McDonald’s likely meant well, the result wasn’t the same. It seems like a gag to think that McDonald’s released such a Happy Meal gift.
5 Valuable - Minions Jerry Whizzer Toy
Despicable Me toys have a big value both in and out of McDonald’s. In fact, the Jerry Whizzer toy holds the most value amongst the recent toys to be issued. Unlike the others toys that are considered vintage, this one is actual pretty recent being offered by McDonald’s in 2013.
The value for this toy is over $100. Once again, condition and the packaging can only boost the value of these items. Who says current McDonald’s Happy Meal toys can’t be collector’s items! Despicable Me enthusiasts can easily find this toy selling online via platforms like Amazon.
4 Valuable – Furby Toys
McDonald’s is wise to capitalize on the toy trends. That was the case with the Furby toys that became an overnight sensation as it seems back in the late 90s. The Furby toys thrived in 1999 selling over 14 million Furby toys worldwide. From 1998 till 2000, over 40 million Furbies were sold worldwide.
McDonald’s capitalized in 2000 and the item turned into a hot Happy Meal toy, perhaps among the most sought after. The full collection has a decent worth these days of over $100.
3 Valuable - McDonald’s Food Changeables
In both 1988 and 1990, McDonald’s issued these changeable toys that would go onto become among the most iconic Happy Meal Toys of all-time. Putting the value aside, kids remember these toys to this day - that speaks volumes to the impact the toys had during their time.
They can still be purchased today and in mint condition at that. The value is slightly above $75, which is still pretty darn good for a toy that was given for free at a fast food establishment.
2 Worthless - Jellyfish Toy
Part of the Ty Tennie Beanie MIP collection, the Goochy the Jellyfish toy doesn’t have the best reputation. The reason is pretty obvious. Just take a look at the lackluster design and it’ll become pretty evident that perhaps both the creators and McDonald’s should have thought twice before releasing this item.
For that reason, it holds no value whatsoever and in truth, it’ll give anyone a good laugh instead. Despite its lack of value, this toy can be found on various websites such as Amazon. If you’re looking for value, don’t buy it. In any case, well, just don’t buy it...
1 Valuable - Teenie Beanie Babies
In 1997, the Teenie Beanie boom began at McDonald’s. The Happy Meal item got so out of hand that it led to injuries, arrests and so more chaos. Even the employees were charged with theft believe it or not! Yes, they were that sought after to say the least.
Full collections sell for up to $3,000 if you can believe on websites like Etsy. These are full sets from McDonald’s still in the packaging. In terms of actual worth, MSN values the 2000 set at over $350, making it the most valuable Happy Meal item there is.