Nostalgia alert! McDonald’s recently announced that it plans to bring back more than a dozen vintage Happy Meal toys as a fun way to celebrate the popular menu item’s 40th anniversary.
On Thursday, November 7, the chain is introducing a new menu item called the Surprise Happy Meal. Each of the limited-edition offerings will come with a fan-favorite throwback Happy Meal toy from the past four decades. More specifically, 15 beloved characters will be featured in Surprise Happy Meals sold around the world, while two additional characters will be available exclusively in the U.S.
Some of the returning critters include the Cowboy McNugget from 1988 and Power Rangers figurines, which debuted at the fast-food establishment in 1995, just as the group of colorful heroes was in the midst of a major pop culture moment.
Another returning toy with big ties to pop culture is Patti the Platypus, a Teenie Beanie Baby created to look just like her larger counterpart. Patti was sold along with Happy Meals in 1997, as Beanie Babies became increasingly popular around the world.
The following year, just as Tamagotchis were all the rage, a smaller version of the virtual pet was sold as part of millions of Happy Meals. Now, McDonald’s customers will have a second chance to get their hands on a tiny Tamagotchi, seeing as the keychain is another Surprise Happy Meal offering.
First introduced nationally as a Circus Wagon Happy Meal in June 1979, early iterations of the Happy Meal featured a decorative box including various toys, such as a spinning top and McDonaldland character erasers. The Happy Meal went international in 1982, and since then its global footprint has expanded to more than 38,000 restaurants in over 100 countries around the globe. Now, McDonald’s estimates 1 billion Happy Meals are sold globally each year.
“Since the Happy Meal was introduced on the menu, it quickly became synonymous with our brand,” said McDonald’s CEO, Steve Easterbrook, in a press release. “Today, this iconic red box creates delicious, lasting memories for billions of families annually across the world.”
What’s more? The toys included as part of a Happy Meal have made impressions on generations of McDonald’s customers. “Parents tell us how fondly they recall their favorite toys,” Colin Mitchell, McDonald’s senior vice president of global marketing, explained. “So, unboxing the Surprise Happy Meal together creates a real moment of bonding with their children. We hope these toys are something that they will treasure and remember.”
Regular Happy Meals today now include fruit and vegetable components as well as toys that reflect current trends. Recent options have included Hello Kitty figures and Pokémon-inspired games.
The Surprise Happy Meal will be available in more than 90 countries starting Thursday, at participating restaurants. Those in America can get in on the celebration until November 11, while supplies last.
Scroll down to see all 17 throwback Happy Meal toys returning to McDonald’s this month!