Don’t worry, be happy, which should be easy once you’re holding one of the best Happy Meal toys of all time in your hands!
Can you remember the excitement of opening up a Happy Meal and wondering what the toy might be inside?
I can, incredibly vividly. I mean, I did also get a Happy Meal recently so that I could grab some Pokemon cards, but that’s beside the point.
Opening up that cardboard box in front of a mural of Hamburglar and Ronald McDonald while sitting on colourful-cushioned chairs with your family. Life didn’t get much better than that.
Nowadays McDonalds has become less for kids and more for everyone. Still, those toys from yesteryear keep people like me thinking about ‘the good old days’.
The days when the McFlurry machine was always broken but we didn’t care, because we had the best Happy Meal toys to keep us entertained.
So, let’s crack on and see which toys made the list and, more importantly, which took the top spot!
Table of Contents
If you’re a fan of Bruce Wayne’s escapades, then this Batman Returns Happy Meal Toys set will be right up your dark, bat-infested street.
The set came with four toys to collect (which is why the 90s was the best era of all time!). We had to eat our way through plenty of burgers to get Batman’s Batmobile, the Batmissile, Catwoman in her Cat Coupe and Penguin with his Roto-Roadster.
That Batmobile was the best of the bunch (as you can see from the image above), but they were a cool set that helped to promote Micheal Keaton’s stint as Batman!
The toys were eventually recalled because parents said they promoted violence… don’t get me started on that.
Tamagotchi Toyz take the 14th spot in our list of the best Happy Meal toys of all time!
Everyone had a Tamagotchi, right? If these had been in the UK as well as the US, I would have eaten my body weight in burgers to get my hands on them.
The pink-egged Glowagotchi was actually a Wallmart McDonalds exclusive too, the second-only Happy Meal set to push out an exclusive to America’s most famous supermarket chain!
I’ve always loved the Fraggles, and these Fraggle Rock Cars are the perfect collectibles for fans of Gobo and the gang.
There were four to collect in the set – Gobo driving a Carrot, Mokey in an Aubergine, Red in a Radish, and both Wembley and Boober in a Cucumber.
That won’t mean anything to those of you that have never watched the Fraggles, and if you haven’t, you need to rectify this ASAP!
Let’s keep the Jim Henson theme going with the the 12th entry in our list of the best Happy Meal toys of all time – Muppets Workshop Toys.
There’s no Kermit or Miss Piggy to be had here, but look how happy these characters are! We’ve got Monster in the Green, What-Not in Yellow, Bird in Blue, and Dog in Pink.
What-Not is undoubtedly my favourite of the collection, though you can swap and change all of the different hats and accessories on these guys around to make them look however you want.
These are the Monster Crazy Bones, and each of the bags that came in a happy meal had two of these figurines in.
There were 24 to collect randomly bundled together, which meant that happy meal fans had to do a lot of munching in order to get the whole set.
Back in 1991, McDonalds had a choice for their Happy Meal customers – Barbie, or Hot Wheels Cars.
The collection had 8 cars in it that all the motorheads amongst you will love. We’re talking ’55 Chevy in White and Yellow, a ’63 Corvette in Green and Black, a Camazo Z-28 in Purple and Orange, and a ’57 T-Bird Turquoise & Red.
The car in the pic above has seen better days, but it looks gnarly still!
Let’s get onto some handhelds; that’s what we specialise in here, right. These ESPN Handhelds included American Football, Motor Racing, Soccer, Tennis, Basketball, and (get ready for this) Tony Hawk Skateboarding.
Yes, Tony Hawk had a McDonalds handheld based on him. That’s got to be the pinnacle of his career, right?
You can pick up all 6 of these on eBay for around $25, which isn’t bad if you want a little slice of McDonalds history in your collection.
How To Train Your Dragon 2 Happy Meal toys take the 8th spot in this list of the best Happy Meal toys of all time!
There were 20 to collect all-in-all over the world, though not every character was available in every country.
I guess having a worldwide eating tour wasn’t on the cards when we were kids, but now, thanks to the internet, we can collect the whole set.
Collect everyone from Toothless to Hookfang and beyond, making your own little setups in your games room to watch over your tech when you’re out of the house.
As I sit here watching the Mandalorian while writing this article, it only seems fitting that I add these Star Wars: The Clone Wars toys into the mix.
The clone wars had some epic merch, and McDonalds didn’t waste any time jumping on the bandwagon.
As well as a Y-Wing Bomber and C3-PO, burger fans could get their grubby mitts on R2-D2, Yoda, miniature lightsabers, an AT-TE walker and more.
The Y-Wing has always been one of my favourite ships, and for $3 it can be yours too!
This McDonalds McNugget Tetris has caused quite a stir recently over the entire world, and you heard the news here first on Retro Dodo!
So what is this little nugget of goodness got in store for us?
Well, it’s essentially Tetris in a Chicken Nugget… and we’re completely mad for it.
I mean, who wouldn’t be? Chicken Nuggets are the greatest McSnack on earth; don’t try to take a bite out of this one though or you’ll end up with a mouth full of chips.
That’s computer chips, not the tasty kind.
Ah, the McDonald’s Changeables Transformers. I bet you wondered when you’d see this set of retro robots in our list of the best Happy Meal toys, right?
These were the first Changables in the series, dropping three years before the dino-licious Happy Meal toys that you’re about to see a little further down this list.
Collectors could grab hold of a Big Mac, McNuggets Box, Milk Shake and many more classic McDonalds meal items, all of which morphed into a little character.
I mean, did it get any cooler than that when you were a kid? Does it get any cooler than that now?
These are faces that you shouldn’t need any help recognising. Sonic The Hedgehog 3 remains one of our best Sega Mega Drive games of all time, and the four collectible McDonalds toys still bring us excitement today.
Dr Robotnik, Sonic, Knuckles, and Tails make up the complete set, Tails coming with a spinning mechanism so that he can glide through the air!
Tails seems to be the most tricky to get hold of these days, with most sellers just having the three characters shown above. Still, you can normally pick up a complete set for around $25.
Next up on our list of the best Happy meal toys of all time are these dino-licious McDino Changeables toys!
I know that they look just unsuspecting burgers, fries, and cartons, but there’s more to these meals than meets the eye. Move a few panels and hey – they are actually sneaky dinos in disguise!
Inside each McDonalds meal-shaped toy is a dinosaur just waiting to pop out a head or an arm and say hello!
I know that as transformers goes, they might not be able to beat the likes of Bumblebee and the gang, but they’re certainly some of the most nostalgic Happy Meal toys of our generation and they never fail to put a smile on our faces.
Let’s get back to handhelds again as we check out these epic Sega Handheld Toys!
Did you know that McDonalds had had such an affinity with handheld gaming over the years? Heck, they’ve even brought out their own GameBoy Color Game ‘McDonalds Grimace’s Birthday‘ in 2023!
Tails Sky Patrol, Super Monkey Ball; honestly, they’ve got it all here and more.
It might not be the Sega Game Gear Mini, but they’ll definitely keep you occupied on long train journeys and you can share them out with your friends!
The results are in, and these Super Mario Bros. 3 are officially the best Happy Meal toys of all time!
Come on, it had to be, didn’t it?
I mean, Sega Handhelds are all well and good, but having a jumping Mario and zooming Luigi was something else.
Add into the fact that McDonalds fans could collect a hopping Koopa and a jumping Goomba, and the fun became endless.
Just think of all the Super Mario Bros. battles you could create. Plus a zooming Luigi across the dinner table is still incredibly fun.
Diners also got a cool little sheet with extra games on it. We’re talking dot-to-dots, a maze, a spot the difference challenge and much more.
Ah, what a time to be alive!
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Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 33 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van.