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by Billy Kirk June 28, 2017

Forget astrological signs. You want to really gain insight into who you are as a human being? Look no further than Happy Meal toys.

So much fuss is made over what star you were born under, but really, if you were birthed during the time of the Tiny Toon Flip Car can you really expect to be a romantic match with a Camp McDonaldland kid? 

No. No, you cannot.

But seriously, while we’re not sure what your Happy Meal toy may or may not say about you, it’s nonetheless a fun exercise to know what McDonalds was giving away with their uber-healthy kids’ meals the year you were born.

Let’s take a look:

Camp McDonaldland | 1990


McDonalds eschewed fancy tie-ins this year for the down-to-earth appeal of their Camp McDonaldland-branded set of toys/utility items for children. If you were a six-year-old planning on leaving home to go on a spirit quest or something, the fast food giant had exactly the professional gear you’d need to survive: this canteen, mess kit, utensil set, and collapsible cup.

Tiny Toons Flip Cars | 1991

McD’s got their licensing deal mojo going this year, bringing in the talents of the Tiny Toons to give their pack-in Happy Meal toys some pop. These flip cars each featured TWO Tiny Toons characters, one on each side. Boom. (This writer loved Tiny Toons as a kid, for the record.)


Nickelodeon Game Gadgets | 1992

Nickelodeon in the 90s was a magical channel, so it only makes sense that the home of Chicken McNuggets would turn to them for some sweet pack-ins. There were four in this set, including a goofy hand-clapping gun, a microphone that vibrated through the use of a spring-loaded design, and a Nick blimp that acted as a water gun.


Barbie | 1993

Early 90s Barbie Happy Meal toys were entirely stiff and plastic. But 1993? Your birth brought glad tidings and good times, because these Barbie dolls had “real” hair you could brush. Hot damn.


Happy Birthday Train | 1994

1994 baby? You’re lucky af. This marked the Happy Meal’s 15th birthday, so McDonald’s went all out with the Happy Birthday Train. The “train” was comprised of collectible reissues of toys from the Happy Meal’s past, all of which could be connected together. Standouts include Tiny Toons, The Berenstain Bears, The Little Mermaid, ET, and more.


Spiderman | 1995

Fan of the wise-cracking web slinger? Peter Parker was the hot item at McD’s in 1995, alongside a selection of baddies that included the Hobgoblin in a… bulbous pink vehicle with eyes, for some reason. Also featured: Doctor Octopus (Otto Octavius, for those in the know), Venom, and other fan favorites.


Disney Masterpiece Collection | 1996


Figurines of some of your favorite Disney protagonists, stored in a container designed like a VHS movie box? (You know, VHS, that ancient tech before DVD and Blu-Ray?) Yeah, these were pretty cool—Aladdin, Pocahontas, Tigger, Woody, et al. (Full disclosure: Some of this collection was released in 1997.)


“Mighty Ducks” Pucks | 1997

“We’re Team USA and we’re going all the way.”

Oops, sorry—wrong pop culture reference. These pucks were based off the animated series  which, while loosely based on the smash-hit movies, is actually about humanoid alien ducks existing on an icy planet in a far-off galaxy. Yup.

Still, we can’t help but look at these and recall the epic showdown between Gordon "The Minnesota Miracle Man" Bombay and Wolf "The Dentist" Stansson. That rivalry shall live on forever.

Tamagotchi Keychains | 1998

If you were born in ’98, your Happy Meal toy hitched its star to this ridiculously popular late 90s fad. Unfortunately, these “Tamagotchis” weren’t anything like the real thing, instead featuring limited functionality. But hey, at least you could fool some people—the childhood equivalent of a fake Prada bag, maybe?


“Inspector Gadget” Body Parts | 1999

Those freaks at McD’s really outdid themselves in ’99. They chopped Inspector Gadget up and strew separate pieces of his detached body throughout different Happy Meals. That poor man’s family. :(

But really—there were eight separate pieces and if you bought enough Happy Meals you could combine them into one fully-functioning Inspector Gadget, undoing the grisly slaughterhouse work performed by those suited-up savages in the McDonalds executive board room. Here’s a video:

Billy Kirk
Billy Kirk