30+ Things You May Have Forgotten About McDonald’s If You Grew Up In The 80s Or 90s

By Anna Collins 10 months ago

1. Ronald McDonald!

Image source/ YouTube

Who remembers the iconic image of Ronald McDonald? The face of McDonald's...until everybody decided that they were terrified of clowns and poor Ronald was cut from the marketing of McDonald's completely. Maybe some people from the 80s/90s still miss this guy.

2. The old packaging designs

Image source/ lovefood

In one way it looks a lot different to what we have today...yet if you look, has it actually changed that much really? There's something very 80s feel about those repeated little 'M's in neutral colours. Maybe this style should come back as a nostalgic throwback.

3. All the styrofoam!

Image source/ liketotally80s

Not only is this not environmentally friendly at all but it also gave your food that weird kind of plasticky taste to your food...so we're definitely glad this has gone. Also, that squeaky sound of styrofoam - who doesn't shudder at the sound of that?

4. The kid's activity sheet

Image source/ Reddit

Everyone loves a word search and a little maze that you have to weave your pencil through. These classic puzzles used to be great fun as an 80s/90s kids? Maybe McDonald's didn't think this generation would enjoy the entertainment of a dot to dot in a world of iPhones and Xboxes.

5. The kids seating area

Image source/ Ranker

Not only did McDonald's used to have an entire separate seating are for kids...but they also had cool kiddy seats with different character shapes. As a kid, it was always special when you'd go here with your friends or your siblings and get to choose which cool seat you'd get.

7. Super Mario 3 toys

Image source/ YouTube

Super Mario 3 toys...now if you got one of these toys in your Happy Meal then you were delighted. They were all the rage and the toy everybody wanted - and you could collect them! These were the days when you used to get really cool toys in your Happy meals.

8. The McNuggets' awaaayy advert!

Image source/ 5factum

McDonald's advertising used to be very different from what we get now in terms of their advertising. It was a little bit more whacky and adventurous than we get nowadays. This McNuggets awaaay advert, everyone from the 80s and the 90s will remember this one, surely!

9. McDonald's food transformers

Image source/ Pinterest

Another amazing McDonald's Happy Meal toy was the McDonald's food transformers where their plastic food replicas turned into cool transformer figures. This one was great to play with because you could watch it transform from a plastic bag of chips to a strange kind of robotic creature.

10. The pullback racing cars

Image source/ 90sbabies

Who didn't love a pullback toy? Yes, they may not be as advanced as an electric or controllable car. Yet, pulling them back and watching them fire in the direction you aimed was extremely satisfying. So, it was a good day at McDonald's when you found one of these.

11. The nugget toys

Image source/ macciesreview

Oh, the nugget toys. They didn't exactly look like nuggets they definitely look more like a potato. But they were undeniably cute, nonetheless. These were another thing you may remember if you're from the 80s, but sadly if not, you won't remember these cute little nuggets.

12. Mayor McCheese

Image source/ throwbacks

Mayor McCheese, who remembers him? He was at one time, the mascot of McDonalds and for some time and the mayor of fictional McDonaldland. However, his guys were also discontinued due to a lawsuit being filed. So, it was bye, bye forever to Mayor McCheese.

13. The McDonald Highchair

Image source/ blogspot

Now we have just plain wooden highchairs in McDonalds. But at one time, there were these cool little highchairs with themes and characters. McDonalds seemed to go for a more simple and minimalistic style in their restaurants and all of these whacky little extras went.

14. The old drive thru menus

Image source/ Pinterest

These drive thru's look seriously old. Now we are used to these screens with touch systems and everything. But when you drive up to the drive thru this is what you used to see. There's no electronic screen here yet. This would have to be manually changed each time an item on the menu or a price changed.

15. And the Mcdonald drink stirrers

Image source/ Reddit

Now we have little wooden stirrers instead of these themed plastic stirrers. Again, this is way better for the environment than throwing away one of these, every time you'd used it. All that plastic that used to be wasted. Yes, we no longer have the classic M on the end...but who really cares when they're just stirring their coffee?

16. Some McDonald's had a Nintendo N64

Image source/ throwbacks

Were you one of the lucky ones who had a local McDonalds with a Nintendo N64. Some branches had one of these for people to pay on. And this was equal to the excitement you felt getting a McDonald's Happy Meal. Of course, these weren't in every chain. Juts a select few.

17. The Mac Tonight Moon Head campaign for the out of hours McDonalds

Image source/ throwbacks

This advert was a little bit strange. Do you remember the Mac Tonight Moon Head advert? It was advertising out of hours McDonald's, back when 24 hours McDonalds weren't a regular thing that you could find pretty much anywhere you wanted. At this point, it was a new concept.

18. McPizza....

Image source/ drivepedia

Now this sounds great, doesn't it? But, when it was introduced in the 80s the product didn't sell nearly enough, and it was a huge flop. So, it was taken off the menu everywhere and it has even made a comeback again. It also took 11 minutes to prepare which by McDonald's standards is slow.

19. Or spinning on the cheeseburger seat?

Image source/ YouTube

Oh, the cheeseburger seat. Who didn't love to go for a swim on this. All the people from the 80s and 90s will remember these things as a part of their McDonald's experience. And now all of these little extras and quirks have completely gone from the layout and structure.

20. The Halloween buckets

Image source/ Eatthisnotthat

We love the fact that McDonald's used to get in the festive spirit, in the theme for Halloween with spooky themed decorations. They had these Halloween buckets. These were brought out every year and were a staple part of the Halloween McDonald's visit.

21. These Halloween gift certificates for a freebie

Image source/ Pinterest

Even better than little Halloween buckets were the paper Halloween gift certificates. If you were lucky enough to get your hands on one of these certificates, then you had yourself a freebie. It wasn't much - maybe a free drink. But it felt like more.

22. Getting Beanie Babies in Happy Meals

Image source/ Pinterest

Beanie Babies are another icon from the 80s and 90s. Everyone loved these little beanie toys. And even better - you could actually find their mini versions tucked away inside your Happy Meal. Now these were so much better than the things we get today inside Happy Meals.

23. The burger jail

Image source/ Reddit

One of the strangest things to have come out of McDonald's in the 80s was definitely the playground burger jail. After climbing into the cop burger's mouth, you ended up in this jail. Kids loved it. But this was scrapped. And now we have no playgrounds at all...

24. The fast-food wars

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In the 80s/90s there were a string of fast-food chains popping up and trying to compete with McDonalds. There were multiple adverts from different branches such as Wendys who were aiming them at McDonalds. For example, the 'where's the beef' advert. Which aimed to call out McDonald's lack of meat quality.

25. The freebies during the Olympics

Image source/ throwbacks

In the USA, if there was a win in the Olympics then your chances of winning also increased and it was very likely that you won a freebie. In fact, in the 80s during the Olympics McDonald's gave away twice the number of Big Macs than they had thought, due to them doing so well int he Olympics.

26. The prices were SO low

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Prices used to be crazily low. A burger cost around 4o cents. 40 cents! Can you even imagine this now. So, if you were sure that prices were way lower in your youth and people just thought it was a sign of you being out of touch - you were absolutely right. The prices have massively gone up.

27. Garfield Mugs

Image source/ blogspot

Everyone wanted these. There was pretty much nobody at the time who was not a Garfield fan. And these collectible glasses were extremely cute. It was the thing that everybody wanted when they went to McDonald's during this time. We wonder if anyone still has these 80s McDonald's memorabilia.

28. The $1,000,000 prize to sing the jingle

Image source/ Pinterest

In the 80s there was the chance to win a heck of a lot of money, if you were able to sing the jingle the entire way through when asked, without making a single blunder. In the end the very lucky winner was a 13-year-old boy who sang the whole thing perfectly.

29. The professor scientist

Image source/ drivepedia

The professor of McDonaldland actually existed in the 70s. But it was the 80s when he was introduced as a bigger and talking character (previously he had been silent). It was this character who was a part of the story of making the chicken nuggets come alive.

30. The McDLT

Image source/ lovefood

There was the McDLT which was introduced in the 80s. It was a new revelation of McDonalds that there would be fresh lettuce and tomato on the burger. The big thing was the packing. One side kept the burger hot; one side was to keep the salad cool. It was an environmental nightmare and scrapped in the 90s.

31. The Dinosaur Transformers

Image Source / BuzzFeed

The Transformers toys at McDonald's were an absolute big deal, but they got even better - because there were Transformers you could get that would turn into dinosaurs! Look how cool they are, even the dinosaur inside the two burger buns.

32. The Batman Forever Drinking Glasses

Image Source / BuzzFeed

McDonald's was forever giving out amazing mugs and drinking glasses with meals, and these usually came with a theme to celebrate a new release of a movie. These drinking glasses were released alongside Batman Forever when it opened, and they're the perfect collection!

33. That Orange Drink

Image Source / BuzzFeed

Did anyone actually know what this delicious orange drink was? It was available on tap whenever you wanted, but it got discontinued (which just makes you think it was probably full of sugar, which would explain why it was so delicious... But is there any cooler name than 'orange lavaburst'.

34. The Big Yellow Cooler Delivery Service

Image Source / BuzzFeed

To make that amazing orange drink even better, you could actually get it delivered outside of the restaurants! In this great big yellow cooler to boot. They'd deliver the drink in this big thing usually to events like school events or sports games. So everyone can enjoy a cup of orange!

35. The Sign's Number Counter

Image Source / BuzzFeed

When you were getting close to the big M and trying to think what you were going to order, they used to have a counter on the sign which displayed how many people they'd served. The day it hit 99 - because it couldn't go on forever with the numbers - it just switched to 'billions and billions'!

36. Chocolate Twist Cones

Image Source / BuzzFeed

Vanilla cones have always been a staple dessert no matter where you go, and McDonald's was no different - that is until they introduced two other cones alongside in delicious must-have flavours: the chocolate cone and the twist cone!

37. The Birthday Parties

Image Source / BuzzFeed

You felt like a true boss when you're hired out the entire space of the restaurant for your own birthday shindig. You'd end up inviting kids you didn't even like just to get those epic numbers up and have that birthday cake wheeled out by the staff exchanging smiles with tired parents.

38. The Dinosaur Hand Puppets

Image Source / BuzzFeed

Do you remember these things? Anything to do with dinosaurs is going to be an epic toy, and McDonald's obviously knew that with their amount of dinosaur-themed toys, but these hand puppets were a whole different ball game. They were so much fun!

39. Sitting On A Bench With Ronald Himself

Image Source / BuzzFeed

If you're going to sit on a bench at McDonald's, then you don't want just any old bench, all plain and boring. So why not park yourself next to a not-creepy-at-all statue of Ronald McDonald himself? This was a great place to sit to let those fries settle a bit before going home.

40. The Halloween McNugget Toys

Image Source / BuzzFeed

What was better than the standard McNugget toys? Halloween themed ones, of course! These toys were amazing - A* for effort for McDonald's, because they didn't just release one or two of them, they released a whole bunch of them, including a witch, ghost and Dracula.

41. The Toys That Looked Like Menu Items

Image Source / BuzzFeed

The only problem with this is if you weren't paying attention (or had kids that liked to, ya know, put absolutely anything in their mouths) you might get them mixed up with real food! Looking at them now, they don't look very appetising - but they do look cool.

42. McDonaldland Cookies!

Image Source / BuzzFeed

There's nothing else to be said about this other than YES. They were cookies, so that's a win. They had cool themed face on them, so that's another win. And they were from McDonald's, so big win. And the packaging was super funky and colourful, too!

43. Looney Tunes Superheroes

Image Source / BuzzFeed

What's better than just getting a regular Looney Tunes toy? One that's dressed like a superhero, of course! Not only did this range of your favourite Looney Tunes characters come as superheroes, they even had little clip on costumes you could take on and off!

44. Those Little Flip Cars

Image Source / BuzzFeed

These little flip cars were possibly better than those pull-back cars that shot forward, because these were so much more fun - like fidget spinners you could just keep on flipping! Better yet, they were Tiny Toons themed, in case you preferred this to Looney Tunes!

45. The Disney Toys In Fake VHS Boxes

Image Source / BuzzFeed

Is there anything more nostalgic than a VHS tape? Oh wait yes - one of the most nostalgic Disney films along with it! McDonald's really went creative with this range of toys, too, because instead of being actual VHS tapes, they were dolls of Disney characters hidden inside!

46. The McDonald's Playgrounds

Image Source / Daily Record

It wasn't just inside the restaurants where it was all happening with the parties, toys and food. The outside of the restaurants was a heaven for little kids (and adults who needed something to keep the little ones entertained) with these colorful playgrounds complete with twirly slide!

47. Ronald McDonald And Friends

Image Source / Daily Record

Ronald McDonald was of course the famous mascot of the restaurant, but he's retired in recent years due to people having a problem with a clown + kids, apparently. But back in the day, you could expect to see Ronald McDonald 'and friends' out and about, including Mayor McCheese and the Hamburglar.

48. The Children's Area

Image Source / Daily Record

Back in the day, there were specific areas of the restaurants that were tailored only for children with the decor - and as a kid, it felt like a whole other world. This was like the VIP section when you were a kid, and it was definitely the place to have your birthday parties.

49. Those Classic McDonald Uniforms

Image Source / Daily Record

And who better to serve you in those awesome children's sections where you're having your birthday party than these guys in their retro uniforms? Complete with striped shirts, short-sleeved shirts and big ties, they definitely looked the part with their paper hats!

50. McDonald's Ashtrays!

Image Source / Daily Record

Before the smoking ban came into place, ashtrays were a staple item in most indoor places - and that included McDonald's! Not only did the restaurants have ashtrays, but they had their very own versions with their own logos, while varying between aluminium and glass.

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