For decades, it’s almost been a rite of passage for parents to take their kids to McDonald’s. Despite the issues of their food quality, the leader of the fast food world still has fame with Ronald McDonald, the play areas at their restaurants and the drive-thrus. But the biggest has to be the Happy Meal. McDonald’s basically created the idea of a special kids meal with a toy inside each package, something that’s been repeated by slews of other chains. Yet McDonald’s has a quality to themselves as they always use their brand name to connect to major studios and toy lines to produce some top notch stuff. Usually, it’s themed to a major movie of some sort and toys based on it can be popular. For a long time, they had a partnership with Disney that provided slews of huge lines that fans adored.
At the time, the toys could be run down as just cheaply produced plastic bits. But time has a funny way of making once-cheap stuff more expensive. It’s amazing just how much folks will pay for some items and the fact the McDonald’s toys have only a short life before being retired adds to their appeal. It’s astounding to realize just how much a toy that seemed so forgettable can go for on eBay or other places. From famous cartoons to little-known bits, McDonald’s has provided slews of hits. Here are 25 McDonald’s toys worth a lot of money.
The Madame Alexander line is known for its utterly beautifully crafted lines of dolls. Many are upscale ones sold to collector’s and on display instead of being for kids. However, they did have success with McDonald’s on a few lines. A notable one was based on the classic story and MGM movie with a full set of characters. Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, the Wicked Witch, Glinda and a couple of munchkins were all in wonderful detail. They can snatch up to $80.
This is historical because it is one of the very first Happy Meal toy lines ever. The lines came in a variety of themes from jungle creatures to sea creatures, spaceships, aliens and McDonald’s characters. They could also double as erasers for pencils. They may be low-key by today’s standards but kids loved them and they paved the way for the incredible Happy Meals toys that would follow.
Everyone knows Mr. Potato Head, that classic toy where you can mix and match snap-on additions for a giant spud. A Mrs. Potato Head followed and it remains popular with a variety of versions. In the 1980s, there was a cartoon show focusing on the kids of the duo who had the same nutty abilities to mix up limbs and bits for adventures. In 1992, McDonald’s crafted a set of toys bringing the kids to life. While not as full-scale, you could still snap off their feet and arms to mix up and thus having more than one was fun.
Of all the characters of Peanuts, Snoopy is probably the best known and loved. This beagle is famous for his unique insight, his appetite, and his amazing personas. From a World War I flying ace to “Joe Cool” and taking on a variety of sports, Snoopy has been the mascot for the brand for decades. In 2000, to celebrate the character’s 50th anniversary, McDonald’s worked with Charles Schultz’s estate for a special set of toys. Each was designed like a parade float to mark a different decade in Snoopy’s life with him as an astronaut, with Charlie Brown, Woodstock and more. The whole set can go for a hundred dollars and while there are other Snoopy sets since, this remains one of the most loved.
Sometimes, you think McDonald’s is just reaching in terms of toy line ideas. That they can’t make a deal in time or get figures out fast enough and thus go to some low-level thing like their “Space Rescue” line from 1995. It was just a bunch of tiny things that looked like really bad Star Trek knock-offs of a communicator, a telescope and some sort of “grabbing arm.” They were rather cheap and the entire thing was pretty forgettable. Oddly, they still have appeal.
One of the odder trends in the 1990s was for a classic cartoon to suddenly get a “hip-hop” makeover to market it for a new generation. Thus, the classic Yogi Bear suddenly became Yo Yogi! as he, Boo-Boo and the rest of their gang were running around Jellystone Park on skateboards, jet-skis, and motorcycles while doing bad rap songs. The show was a flop yet McDonald’s was committed to doing a toy line for it. As bizarre as it sounds, the show’s hated status just makes the toys more popular, going for a hundred dollars or so.
McDonald’s enjoys using the holidays to promote menu changes. There’s their “Shamrock Shake” for St. Patrick’s Day and holiday treats for Christmas time. For years, a constant was the special buckets they had for Halloween. They came in fun designs like ghostly white, witchy green and pumpkin orange and perfect for kids to use for trick or treating. Each also had a special toy inside themed for the Halloween season. Some folks kept them to pass down to their own kids and they remain a loved bit whenever new versions come out. Some can be pretty good in mint condition, going for a hundred dollars and show the Halloween spirit all year long.
One of the most loved of all Pixar movies, Monsters Inc focuses on how the monsters of another dimension scare kids so their screams can power their world. It was loved for its great animation and fun story and spawning a successful prequel. As natural for the time, Disney worked with McDonald’s for a special line of toys based on the movie. What made it notable was each figure came with a glow in the dark piece that made it stand out more. An unwrapped version of the entire set of ten figures can snatch over a hundred dollars.
Who would have thought a little plumber would become the most popular video game character on the planet? For decades, the Super Mario series has been the cash cow for Nintendo, everything from epic adventures to sports games and the brand’s mascot. Naturally, McDonald’s had to get in on that with a 2017 line featuring the iconic character. You had Mario, Luigi, Bowser, Yoshi and Princess Peach in various nice poses. There was also a turtle shell and a “1-Up” mushroom along with a special “powered-up” Mario. They’re even more popular in Japan with a full set going for a hundred bucks to show why Mario is tops among the video game world.
My Little Pony was one of the countless toy lines populating the world in the 1980s. It had its own animated series and kids (especially girls) loved to collect the various flying horses. It’s seen a new revival in the 2010s with a new animated series and toy line to appeal. Over the years, McDonald's has done several big promotions with numerous lines for the popular franchise. They’re basically just two different styles of figures with different paint jobs but fans loved trying to collect them all. A set of all 150 figures can reach over a hundred dollars and show this is a franchise that never dies in popularity.
The American Girl doll line is much loved throughout the world with little girls loving getting these various dolls. In the early 2000s, McDonald’s reached out to Madame Alexander in hopes of a doll line to challenge American Girl. Throwing in Disney just made it better with a selection of dolls based on classic Disney characters. From Mickey and Minnie to Cruella De Ville, Jasmine, Cinderella and more, this exquisite set was soon a huge hit. A single doll can go for $130 or more and showcase how teaming with two notable properties led to a successful McDonald’s line.
There’s an unofficial rule in toys: If a line becomes a huge hit, you can bet on slews of knock-offs. Such a case was when Transformers exploded in the mid-1980s and suddenly you had slews of lines of robots who transformed into vehicles or other items. McDonald’s had to throw their hate into the ring with their take on the Transformers in the early 1990s. Thus, you had this line where hamburgers, French fries, and even cartons suddenly transform into tiny robots. It’s pretty nutty but it actually had some popularity. Today, they can go online for about $140.
Once, Disney and McDonalds were closely tied together with slews of tie-in toys. But in 2008, Disney severed ties over concerns about McDonald’s lack of healthy foods. They revived that partnership recently. Back in 1996 when Disney had a live-action version of their classic 101 Dalmatians, McDonald’s had 101 total puppy dogs sold through their various Happy Meals. They matched it a couple of years later for a sequel and the total set can be about two hundred dollars. That’s taking puppy love to a new degree.
One of the most loved cartoons of the 1980s was the Muppet characters. At its height, McDonald’s had a line based on the popular characters of Kermit, Piggy, Fozzie, and Gonzo (with Animal as well) in a variety of vehicles. Thanks to how the show is so loved, each character can go for about fifty bucks.
Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Power Rangers franchise is as popular as ever. Kids just can’t get enough of the super-heroes. There have been several sets over the years thanks to how the franchise keeps changing itself with new themes. The most notable is 1995 when a big-screen movie was released and a set of toys mixing figures with their Zords were released with the Happy Meals. True, they can’t combine into a Megazord like on the show. But a mint version of each can fetch thirty to forty bucks and thus getting all six Rangers means a good price for what remains an iconic franchise.
It didn’t get as much attention in its prime due to how it aired on HBO. But Fraggle Rock is one of the most loved of Jim Henson’s productions. It examined a strange underground world of the Fraggles, a quirky bunch of wide-eyed and frizzle-haired creatures who engaged in fun adventures in this land. From the Dozers (a tiny race that did nothing but build buildings) to the giant Gorgs, kids loved these nutty puppets on screen. In 1988, McDonald’s released a set of the four most popular characters from the series in cars made out of vegetables. Like the show itself, they’ve achieved a cult popularity over the last 30 years.
If there’s one story you’d think would never become an animated Disney musical, it would be Victor Hugo’s dark tragedy. Yet in 1996, Disney managed to make it a surprise hit still regarded well for its animation. As they had a good deal with McDonald’s back then, a Happy Meal line was obvious. You had Quasimodo, Esmerelda, heroic Phoebus, villain Frollo and the trio of talking gargoyles. The movie was a very dark one for Disney but it was a hit and is better regarded today. Thus, a complete mint set of all five toys can go for over two hundred dollars.
Yep, it’s Madame Alexander again. While their Disney line was good, this turned out to be an even bigger cash cow. This selection of dolls are based on classic fairy tales and thus fans loved to get the sets. You had Alice and the Mad Hatter; Red Riding Hood and the Wolf; Jack and Jill; and others. It may have lacked the power of some big movie franchise but the detail was still top notch and made it an instant must-have for fans of the line. The Alice and Hatter dolls alone can go for $300.
The 50th anniversary set was one thing but another epic Snoopy McDonald’s set is worth even more. In 1998, the company worked to put out “Snoopy Around the World,” a huge collection of 28 figures of the famous dog, each set to a different nation. You had him in a mariachi outfit for Mexico, a kimono for Japan, looking like a leprechaun for Ireland, a soccer player for Brazil, a boxer for Thailand and more. The entire set can go for over three hundred dollars.
The popular 1980s cartoon focused on the title character, a man whose bionic parts gave him incredible powers as he fought crime such as Dr. Claw. The joke of the series was that the “hero” was basically a moron with no idea he was even in a dangerous investigation and it was his niece, Penny, who saved the day. In 1998, a big-screen movie featuring Matthew Broderick was made with McDonald’s crafting a special promotion. The idea was each Happy Meal could have one piece of Gadget and thus by getting them all, you could form the complete figure. It was a great way to make sure folks ordered more Happy Meals but made the complete set trickier to get. Thus, a total Gadget figure can go for $350.
When Despicable Me premiered in 2010, the idea was to focus on mega-villain Gru. However, his nutty yellow Minions ended up completely stealing the entire film. They were soon prominently featured in the sequels as well as their own hit spin-off film and a constant at Universal Studios. Fans just can’t get enough of these little yellow guys with the huge eyes and their various nutty antics. Despite how that Minions movie was only in 2015, the various McDonald’s figures are already worth a lot of money online. It helps if you have a complete set from that film as well as the other movies to help promote them. Thus, a full set can go for four hundred dollars, quite a price for a bunch of little guys.
In 1990, McDonald’s served up a selection of toys with no explanation of what they were. They seemed to be like the Changeables but not quite the same, some rather bizarre transformation toy but there was no story behind them. That mystery may be what’s added to their appeal as, incredibly, a full set can reach up to $400 dollars or more. Maybe there’s no explaining what they are but they sure are worth something now.
It may be long forgotten but in the late 1990s, the Beanie Baby craze was sweeping the nation. Millions got pulled into buying these tiny plush animals and convinced they would be collector’s items. Companies went wild with various versions based on everything from movies to sports figures. The bubble burst eventually and soon, they were available for pennies. But the combination of time and ‘90s nostalgia has led to them going up in price once more. That includes the 1997 McDonalds line known as “heirs,” each bearing the flag of a different nation. There was also another line devoted to Beanie versions of McDonald's characters. A complete set can go from up to $750.
The Furby craze took America by storm in the late 1990s. With no warning, almost every kid needed to have these tiny creatures who could record words and even “talk” to each other. It caused near riots at toy stores. McDonald’s naturally had to take part and capitalize on it. They were themed and came in a variety of colors, and the line was so huge that many a McDonald’s sold out fast. Their popularity may have died down but they’re still highly sought by collectors. A collection of eight sold on eBay for $900.
In 2001, Disney was doing a huge celebration of what would have been Walt Disney’s 100th birthday. Every Disney park did a huge event with parades and shows and various other tie-ins. That included a special Happy Meal Deal with the obvious idea: One hundred figurines of various Disney characters. From the Seven Dwarves to Aladdin, Chip and Dale to Winnie the Pooh and, of course, Mickey himself, it was a big success. The more obscure the character (say, Brer Rabbit), the higher to price it can fetch. The entire set can go for more than a grand.