The quality of kids meal toys has dipped significantly over the years, so it’s no surprise that the fervor for Happy Meal trinkets isn’t quite what it used to be. The toys of yesteryear weren’t just inherently cooler, they were an overall higher caliber of product: better plastics, worthier IPs, and some downright weird crap to keep things interesting. Strap into the time machine and breathe in the fry grease—here are the top 10 kids meal toys of ALL TIME!!!

10. Food Changeables

I don’t think anybody could argue against McDonald’s Food Changeables being the king of all kids meal toys. The first two waves of these not-at-all-Transformers blew kids away, and taught us all that maybe it’s okay to play with your food. The third line of McDino Changeables, however, didn’t quite stick the landing.

9. McNugget Buddies

If there’s one thing kids love, it’s shameless corporate self promotion, and McDonald’s releasing toys of their own original (and most delicious) characters in a not-so-subtle takeoff of Mr. Potatohead hit that sweet spot juuuust right. Firefighters, rockstars, vampires, clowns, high school teachers-turned-meth dealers—this line had it all! (Okay, maybe not that last one, but you gotta admit a little Heisenberg outfit for these nuggets would be pretty sweet.)

8. ZBots

ZBots by Micro Machines was one of the most vast lines of poseable mini action figures ever made. Some merged together, others had chomping action or special camo gear! There were vehicles, playsets, the almighty MegaBot—and all of them were AWESOME!!! Which is why it was so exciting when Burger King released these sick BK-exclusives. 90s kids still dream of collecting all 5.

7. Power Rangers: The Movie Figures

When Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie hit theaters, it was at the height of the Super Sentai adaptation’s craze here in the US. And sure, Power Rangers have continued to have a strong foothold in the toy aisles of today; but in 1995, kids were punching, karate kicking, and calling upon 20-story Frog Zords to get their hands on these badass Happy Meal grails.

6. Disney Clamshell Figures

Before Disney owned everything we know, love, and cherish, it was its library of feature-length Disney animation that kept the House of Mouse afloat. The clamshell VHS tapes were iconic imagery in and of themselves, which is why it was a work of marketing genius for McDonald’s to package their Disney figurines in mini-clamshell cases of their own. I once saw a little girl stab a kid for an Oliver and Company Dodger toy.

5. Diener Space Creatures

If you’re talking straight-up badass character sculpts, no other kids meal toy compares to McDonald’s 1979 release of Diener Space Creatures. Each of these rubber erasers were based on monsters from all across the B-movie spectrum, including a veiny-brained alien from Invasion of the Saucer Men and a Ray Harryhausen-inspired cyclops.

4. SEGA Handhelds

By 2003, for many kids, video games had all but replaced traditional toys and action figures. But instead of panicking, Ronald McDonald saw dollar signs. A team-up with SEGA gave kids a chance to get their hands on handheld versions of Sonic the Hedgehog and Super MonkeyBall. Sure, the screens were tiny, and yeah, the graphics were shit, and of course these things stopped working after about 2 weeks, but what a glorious 2 weeks they were.

3. Backstreet Project

Okay they’re not all winners on this list, but I just couldn’t resist. In 2000, the Backstreet Boys teamed up with Stan Lee Media for a one-shot comic book and Burger King deal that turned the quintet of dreamboats into the Cyber Crusaders. The five, now-unrecognizable heroes with completely incompatible powers and gimmicks swore to protect Earth from alien invaders. So as it turns out, Nick, AJ, Howie, Kevin, and Brian weren’t just boy band icons with several platinum albums who taught us to “rock our body right,” they were—apparently—also super heroes?

2. Roy Rogers Critters

Admittedly, this one’s a deep cut, but with a list dominated by Big Mac and the King, a little third party representation felt necessary. Enter Roy Rogers, the now (mostly-)defunct fast food chain named for a Hollywood cowboy of the silver screen who would undoubtedly be canceled if he were still alive today. If you were a child of the 80s and 90s, you already had a few Ghostbusters toys, and these delightful knockoffs of Kenner’s Real Ghostbusters Mini Goopers fit right in on the playroom floor.

1. Teeny Beanie Babies

In 1997, Beanie Babies had more street value than any crypto currency today. People were foaming at the mouth to get their greasy paws on a Garcia the Bear or some kinda duck that was named after Princess Diana (probably). Naturally, McDonald’s took advantage of the craze by including Teenie Beanie Babies in every Happy Meal. Fast forward to today, and anyone who’s still hoarding away an old box of mint Beanies is probably wishing they instead invested in, well, anything else.

Greg Hahn is a TV writer who helped take Sonic the Hedgehog to new, irreverent (apparently extremely meme-able) heights as a writer and story editor on SEGA/Cartoon Network’s Sonic Boom, and has continued to bring his unique brand of action-packed, self-aware, comedy-forward storytelling to several animation projects, including Transformers: BotBots, LEGO Monkie Kid, SharkDog, Unikitty!, and more. He’s also produced web content for El Rey Network, developed projects for Nickelodeon and Gaumont Animation, and recently wrote an original story for DC Comics in issue #18 of Batman: Urban Legends.

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