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McDonalds honors the Happy Meal's 40th anniversary with vintage toys from the past four decades

Image: AP Photo / Jeff Chiu

McDonald's announced last week that its popular Happy Meal is celebrating a major birthday and we — meaning the people of the world — are invited to celebrate! To honor the 40th anniversary of the first-ever Happy Meal, McDonald's will be launching a line called the Surprise Happy Meal series, filling its boxes with some of the popular Happy Meal toys from the last four decades. 

This offer is slated to be a limited-time release and will be available in over 90 countries around the world starting on Thursday, November 7, and ending November 11, while supplies last.

The toys themselves vary in decade, style and franchise, making them a nostalgic trip for people of all ages. A list of expected prizes was released to the public, and many will recognize these pieces from their own McDonald's orders of dinners past. 

From 1988-89: Cowboy McNugget (McDonald's), Fireman McNugget (McDonald's), Mail Carrier McNugget (McDonald's) and Hamburger Changeable (McDonald's)

From 1990-99: Grimace (McDonald's), Dino Happy Meal Box Changeable (McDonald's), McDonald's Hot Wheels Thunderbird (Mattel), Hamburglar (McDonald's), Power Rangers (Hasbro), Space Jam Bugs Bunny (Warner Brothers), Patti the Platypus (Ty Beanie Baby), 101 Dalmatians - U.S. Exclusive (Disney), Tamagotchi (Bandai), My Little Pony (Hasbro) and Furby (Hasbro).

From 2000-15: Sorcerer's Apprentice Mickey – U.S. Exclusive (Disney) and Hello Kitty (Sanrio).

Any of these sound familiar?

McDonalds Twitter announcement, October 2019.
In a list entitled 6 reasons eating a Happy Meal® will make you smile, the iconic fast-food restaurant said, "Remember the feeling of excitement and anticipation you felt as a kid opening your Happy Meal? Well, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first-ever Happy Meal, we're unlocking that magic with the limited-edition Surprise Happy Meal, featuring some of the world’s all-time favorite toys from the past four decades."

The Happy Meal was added to the national menu formally in 1979. The first marketing promotion was for Star Trek: The Motion Picture in December 1979. So our big question is — why no toys from 1979–88? Sure, they were much simpler in the beginning (the McWrist Wallet, anyone?), but we Gen-Xers would like to get nostalgic, too.

What was your favorite fast food toy?

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