Kids love McDonald’s Happy Meals, and most adults remember them fondly. Obviously, everyone knows that the best part of a Happy Meal is the toy… except when it’s not. Some Happy Meal toys are great, some are just sad (looking at you, Happy Meal toothpaste), and others… well, others tried their best. When it comes to depiction of our favorite characters, Happy Meal toys aren’t exactly always spot on. Comparing the original character to the toy can sometimes feel like comparing the Big Mac in the ads and the Big Mac you actually get.
Sure, they’re free toys from a fast food chain, so expectations shouldn’t be too high, but some of these toys look so different from the original characters, they’re almost scary. Not ideal for small children! To be fair, however, a lot of the toys on this list are vintage 90’s and 2000s McDonald’s toys, and, while you might have trouble remembering the character they’re depicting, they’re sure to strike up a bit of nostalgia. And some of them are actually worth a bit of money (not much— we are talking about McDonald’s toys after all) if you sell them on eBay!
However, there arguably have been McDonald’s Happy Meal toys that were not this terrible. Remember when you could get little Beanie Babies in your Happy Meal? That was cool. As far as some of the other toys on this list are concerned, though, we’re not lovin’ it. Without further ado, here are 25 McDonald’s toys that look nothing like the original characters!
25 These Poor Peter Pan Pals
Flying to Neverland seems like a dream, but these toys are the stuff of nightmares. Just look at poor Jane’s eyes—she’s hardly recognizable. She’s looking in two different directions, and they positioned the toy to make it look like she’s executing a military salute.
As for Captain Hook, sure, he’s the villain, but I don’t remember him looking that scary. With his uni-brow and his demented smile, this plastic pirate is downright scary. Thankfully, Peter Pan himself isn’t scary—albeit a little cross-eyed.
24 These Frightening Aristocats
The Aristocats is a charming tale about a family of French cats and their adventures. With its comical villain and adorable characters, it’s possibly one of the cutest Disney films out there… as long as you don’t look at these McDonald's toys for too long These truly have the potential to ruin your childhood. The kittens, all lumped together in a vaguely cat-shaped bunch, barely look like the original characters, and take a look at Thomas O’Malley’: his unflinching eyes are giving me chills.
23 These Toy Story Characters
I'm not sure these characters will manage to get to infinity and beyond. Every single one of these figurines has their eyes painted on wrong, which means that sure, they look a bit like the original characters, but something about them just feels... off. Just look at Buzz Lightyears' face. If I saw this figurine without knowing anything about Toy Story, I'd think Buzz is a villain based on his expression. We all know that's really not true, so it's a shame that these toys were painted like this!
22 This Bakugan
Well, this certainly brings me back. I bet some of you had all but forgotten about Bakugan! This show aired between 2007 and 2012 and clearly drew its inspiration from other popular anime that involved card games like Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! or that involved figurines, like Beyblade. You bought the little toys with their cards; they looked like spheres that unfolded into monsters thanks to a magnet. This McDonald’s figurine, however, looks neither like the original toys nor like the characters from the show.
21 This Strawberry Shortcake
Poor Strawberry Shortcake also got the McDonald’s treatment. She may not be as unrecognizable as some of the entries on this list— but there’s still a notable difference between this toy and the original character.
Her hat, skirt, legs and shoes are uniformly pink, like they weren’t painted completely, her arms are at an an awkward angle, and most noticeably, her hair is wiry and tangled. She looks like a version of Strawberry Shortcake who’s had a rough couple of days.
20 These Unfortunate Hercules, Meg, And Hades
Where to start? Megara’s hair flops over her face in a way that would make '90s scene and emo kids proud, Hercules’ eyes are two different sizes, his eyelids are blue, and the Hades figurine is probably the scariest we’ve seen yet.
His face looks like it’s melting, or like it’s being pulled backwards by some invincible force. Bit undignified, for an ancient, powerful god, if you ask me. It seems like McDonald’s versions of Disney characters simply can’t catch a break!
19 This Timon From The Lion King
There’s absolutely nothing regal about McDonald’s Lion King plushies. McDonald’s released a line of Simba’s Pride plush toys, and, frankly, none of them look like the original characters. This Timon, for instance, looks like he needs to nap for a hundred years.
We definitely don’t remember the happy, bouncy Timon looking this tired. His eyelids are drooping so much he’s almost unrecognizable, and his limbs seem very oddly proportioned, with one shoulder in particular looking way bigger than the other.
18 This Unrecognizable Na’Vi From Avatar
The only thing that’s familiar about this Na’Vi figurine is that it’s blue. Well, sort of. This McDonald’s toy is made of semi-transparent blue plastic, which makes the toy’s chest almost see-through. This figurine's terrible upper body is almost enough to distract the eye from the lower body, which is a beige, wrinkled mess.
And, once again, his eyes are almost scary, with one pupil reduced to an indistinguishable smudge. What you can see of the figurine’s hair doesn’t do anything to salvage the final product; in short, this toy is a mess.
17 These Star Wars Bobbleheads
Whose idea was it to put the head of beloved Star Wars characters on spaceships? These McDonald’s Happy Meal toys go beyond not looking like the characters: they’re frankly ridiculous. Of course, these are McDonald’s toys we’re talking about, so we can’t expect the quality to be good (and it’s not— Chewbacca’s head is basically a piece of brown plastic with blue eyes), but the design of these toys had us scratching our heads in confusion. To add insult to injury, the ships are also hard to recognize.
16 What Happened To The Thing?
We suggest you avoid looking at this particular McDonald’s figurine in direct sunlight—its colors are bright enough to hurt your eyes. This toy, which is meant to be The Thing from Fantastic Four, looks like it goes to the same tanning salon as a certain orange US president.
The color might not be so bad if it didn’t clash with the shiny blue plastic shorts so much. Finally, the toy’s teeth are so badly painted on, it looks like the character is foaming at the mouth.
15 These DC Characters
Ah, more characters who have vehicles instead of bodies. Since none of them have arms, it’s a bit hard to tell apart the character’s torsos from the vehicle they’re sitting in. Batman and Catwoman are iconic enough that’s it’s hard to mess them up, but the third figurine…well, I don’t think I could tell you who that’s supposed to be. The vehicle is described as the Joker Roadster, but the character looks more like a poor imitation of the Penguin.
14 This Zekrom From Pokemon
I’ll be honest: I would have been pretty happy to get this figurine in my Happy Meal as a child. This toy is not nearly as bad as some of the others on this list. It’s still a grey hunk of plastic, as is to be expected from a McDonald’s toy, but Zekrom is pretty uniformly grey and black anyway, so it’s not completely unrecognizable. It still looks like poor Zekrom had a long, long week, and it’s by no means an accurate depiction of the Pokémon, but at least it’s not nightmare-inducing like some of the other unfortunate toys on this list.
13 This Impractical Inspector Gadget
Kudos to McDonald’s for trying to fit all of Gadget’s accessories in a line of toys— but the result looks a bit cumbersome to play with. This toy was a limited edition, representing the movie version of Inspector Gadget, played by Matthew Broderick, rather than the more familiar cartoon version. With all his gadgets, this inspector is 15 inches tall— pretty impressive for a McDonald’s toy. However, it’s hard to say it really looks like the character. Good try, though.
12 This Spongebob Squarepants
There are plenty of terrible Spongebob Squarepants toys out there, and unsurprisingly, a lot of them are McDonald’s Happy Meal toys. This toy is no exception. It’s definitely not doing justice to everyone’s favorite sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea.
Poor Spongebob has seen better days! Like many of the toys on this list, this unfortunate figurine pretty much looks like a hunk of plastic. To be fair to McDonald’s, however, they actually have produced okay-looking Spongebob toys.
11 These Yogi Bear Characters
These toys are actually considered rare now— if you have them in your home, you could probably sell them on the internet for a couple of bucks. Rare or not, they still don’t look anything like the original characters. As with many of the toys on this list, their eyes aren’t painted on right, which makes for a pretty unsettling look. On the bright side, three out of these four figurines actually have bodies instead of just being a torso sticking out of a car!
10 This Batman
For the second Batman entry on this list, we’re looking at this figurine clad in black and red. Remember how I said iconic characters like Batman and Catwoman were hard to mess up? Yea, you guessed it, they messed up this one. To McDonald’s credit, this figurine actually isn’t bland and monochrome, but the way his limbs are positioned is beyond confusing. Is he fighting? Dancing? Not only that, but one of his arms looks like it’s fused to his cape.
9 This Terrible Aquaman
In case the recent movie starring Jason Momoa has made you forget what Aquaman looked like in the comics, you can look at this toy for a refresher… or not, because this is really a poor imitation of Aquaman. The whites of his eyes are barely visible, one of his pupils is a smudge, and as for his costume… well, it looks like it was painted on him by the world’s worst body painter. Seriously, this poor toy looks like it was successively dipped in buckets of green, yellow, and orange paint.
8 This Not-So-Incredible Mr. Incredible
Mr. Incredible would probably be very saddened to see this toy. I mean, his arms aren’t where there should be. Someone please tell the designers over at McDonald’s that’s not where normal human (or superhuman) arm sockets go.
His face is all scrunched up and his eyes are once again painted on wrong. They make him look almost evil, which really isn’t the point of this particular character. Also, the black part of his costume is bulky and looks like a diaper. Edna Mode would not approve, dear.
7 This Luigi From Super Mario Bros
Now, for collectors, this Luigi has a bit of value. It will fetch a whole 8 dollars on eBay! More seriously, it is a rare toy, but that doesn’t change the fact that it looks nothing like Luigi. At least its eyes look pretty normal! The rest of the toy isn’t so great, however. His cap is a monochrome bit of plastic, and you can hardly see the signature “L.” His hands are a white mass, almost indistinguishable from the cloud he’s sitting on. Definitely not the worst toy out there, but not great.
6 This Jack Sparrow From Pirates of The Caribbean
To be fair, I can imagine it’s not easy to represent a hardened criminal like Jack Sparrow in the form of a cuddly plush toy. Still, this toy looks like a child tried to draw Jack Sparrow with crayons. For a McDonald’s toy, it’s surprisingly not bad, but it definitely doesn’t look like Jack Sparrow! With its wide, cartoony eyes, this plush toy has a comical, permanently surprised expression on its face. It may not look accurate, but it’s cute, if nothing else.
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