15 Happy Meal Toys Worth Big Bucks on eBay

ebay user hideho
ebay user hideho

It's time to go through the attic, the garage, and the boxes at your parents' house. If you saved your old Happy Meal toys, you could be sitting on a goldmine.

1. HAPPY MEAL CHANGEABLES // UP TO $140

A photo of transformed McDonalds Changeables Happy Meal toys.
ebay user kp11912003

These toys may have looked like mini versions of McDonald's fare, including a container of fries, a carton of chicken nuggets, and a milk shake, but with the right touch, they transformed into mini robots. The 1987 series was popular enough that McDonald's revisited the idea in 1989 and 1990. An assortment of the little guys are being sold for anywhere from $20 to $70, with one complete and sealed lot recently selling for $140.

2. MONSTERS, INC. // UP TO $100

A set of Monsters, Inc. toys in their packages.
eBay user 4bloomers

Five years before Disney put the brakes on its relationship with McDonald's (reportedly due to the health implications of fast food, although both sides denied this), they teamed up to promote the newly released feature Monsters, Inc., releasing a set of 10 toys with glow-in-the-dark pieces alongside doors or similar props. Individual pieces can easily sell for $5 a piece, but a complete, unopened set of the limited release toys can be yours for $100.

3. 101 DALMATIANS // UP TO $70

A box of 101 Dalmations Happy Meal Toys.
eBay user kingdaddy50

There’s a reason this complete set from 1996 is worth up to $70—there were literally 101 of them to collect. McDonald’s even released a special case to contain the pack of puppies.

4. 102 DALMATIANS // UP TO $70

A 102 Dalmations box for sale on eBay.
eBay user danddscifi

If you missed the first promotion, you got another shot at success in 2000: The 1996 tie-in was so successful, Disney and McDonald’s teamed up again for 102 Dalmatians—and a complete set of the pups will net you $70.

5. MADAME ALEXANDER DOLLS // MORE THAN $80

A set of 7 small Madame Alexander dolls dressed like Wizard of Oz characters.

eBay user piranhabt

Full-size Madame Alexander dolls are hot items among collectors—vintage dolls in good condition can sell for well over $1000. The Happy Meal-sized versions aren’t worth quite as much, but they’re still a decent return on the price of a Happy Meal. McDonald’s and Madame Alexander have teamed up several times over the years, but the Wizard of Oz collection from 2007/8 seems to be worth the most—they've sold for more than $80. (Someone put an autographed set up for sale for $599, but it didn't sell.)

6. DIENER KESHI // UP TO $80

Produced in the late '70s and early '80s, Diener Keshi figures are some of the earliest examples of Happy Meal toys. There were several series of the little rubber creatures, including sea creatures, dinosaurs, circus characters, and cars. Some sets are being sold for up to $80.

7. MCFURBYS // UP TO $899

126 mini Furby toys laid out in rows on a wooden table.

eBay user beyondtetra

McDonald's wholeheartedly embraced the Furby craze of the late '90s. From March 22 to April 22, 1999, collectors could get 80 different mini-Furbys with their Happy Meals. A whole set was put up for sale for $899. That one didn't sell, but a lot of 126 toys—not in mint condition—went for $75. While the 2016 release of Furby Connect brought a matching Happy Meal promotion along with it, it didn't quite have the same impact as the 1999 release.

8. POTATO HEAD KIDS // UP TO $80

Four Potato Head Kids Happy Meal toys.
eBay user avintageguy

Long before Toy Story brought Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head back into vogue, McDonald's made Potato Head Kids—little plastic spuds with removable pieces and a lot of personality—for its Happy Meals. Partial sets frequently go for $20 to $30, and a full set of 12, even with a few pieces missing, is on sale for $80.

9. SNOOPY WORLD TOUR // UP TO $200

A box of Snoopy Happy Meal toys in their bags.
eBay user esquiredeals

This promotion hit Asian markets in the late '90s, and, like the 101 and 102 Dalmatians series, this one came with a special display case to house the whole collection. A full box, complete with 28 international-themed Snoopy figurines, can set you back nearly $200 on eBay. (If you're curious, the themes are Fiji, Ireland, Mexico, Jamaica, China, Hong Kong, Russia, Venezuela, USA, New Zealand, Indonesia, Poland, Romania, Trinidad, Macao, Thailand, Yugoslavia, Japan, Australia, Panama, Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Hawaii, Holland, Finland, Korea, and Taiwan.)

10. SNOOPY 50TH ANNIVERSARY // UP TO $60


eBay user kanna01anna

Apparently there's always a market for Snoopy. The year 2000 marked Snoopy's 50th anniversary, and to celebrate, McDonald's released a series of toy parade cars, including Cyber Snoopy, Jammin' Snoopy, and Journey Into Space Snoopy. If you've got the complete set still in the bags, you just might have close to $60 on your hands. Unwrapped and slightly used may still be worth $43.99.

11. TEENIE BEANIE BABIES // UP TO $100

A grid of McDonald's Happy Meal beanie baby toys, including several themed like McDonald's characters.

eBay user vnwithers

Even McDonald's got caught up in the Beanie Babies craze that swept the world in the 1990s. The fast food giant's partnership with Ty in 1997 was so hot that employees stole boxes of Beanies and phone lines were flooded by customers asking about the latest shipment. McDonald’s ran other Teenie Beanie promotions after the '90s ended, but none was as crazed as the first. In 2004, McDonald's employees were able to order a collector's set commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Happy Meal, featuring Beanies named Golden Arches, Big Red Shoe, McNuggets, Fries, Burger, Happy Meal, and Shake. The set also included a few themed after Ronald McDonald himself, and his McDonaldland pals Grimace, Hamburglar, and Birdie. (What, no Mayor McCheese?) The limited edition box with beanies still in their packages was listed at $100.

12. POWER RANGERS // UP TO $40

A set of 1994 Power Rangers Happy Meal toys in bags.
eBay user kateunc2

Like Teenie Beanie Babies, Power Rangers has teamed up with McDonald's several times over the years to promote various projects and movies. Having any of those sets can earn you some extra cash—a set of 11 toys sold for for $35, while nine toys from 1994 were listed for $32.50.

13. MCNUGGET BUDDIES // UP TO $35

A set of McNugget buddies in Halloween costumes.
eBay user mcjantone

McNugget Buddies—anthropomorphic chicken nuggets dressed to impress—were intermittently featured in Happy Meals from 1988 to the mid-’90s. The nostalgia factor probably drives the price up on these bite-sized toys: Six of the Halloween-themed Buddies sell for $35, and certain figures might be worth more, like this McNugget dressed as a dragon for $18.99.

14. MR. MEN // UP TO $89.99

A purple Mr. Men Happy Meal toy.
eBay user ryehill_retail

If you have a complete set of these Roger Hargreaves Happy Meal characters, your friends might start calling you Mr. Rich. (Or at least "Mr. Lunch-Is-On-Me.") The Mr. Men have been featured in several McDonald's promotions across the world, including plush and plastic versions. This lot of 40 plushies is going for $89.99.

15. A FULL SET OF MINIONS // UP TO $399 FOR MULTIPLE SETS

Rows of McDonald's Minion happy meal toys on a wooden background.

eBay user bob_the_spy

McDonald’s has released Minions toys to coincide with a few of the Despicable Me movies and the Minions spinoff, with the most recent set showing up in Happy Meals just a few months ago. If you have a complete set of any of them or a combination of all of them (or a rare foreign example), you’ll definitely make a few bucks.

Visit Any National Park for Free on September 28—or Volunteer to Help Maintain Them

Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park
Nick Hanauer/iStock via Getty Images

By the end of September—which always seems especially busy, even if you’re not a student anymore—you might be ready for a small break from the hustle and bustle. On Saturday, September 28, you can bask in the tranquility of any national park for free, as part of National Public Lands Day.

According to the National Park Service, the holiday has been held on the fourth Saturday of every September since 1994, and it’s also the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort. It’s up to you whether you’d like to partake in the service side or simply go for a stroll, but there is an added incentive to volunteer: You’ll get a one-day park pass that you can use for free park entry on a different day. Opportunities for volunteering include trail restoration, invasive plant removal, park cleanups, and more; you can see the details and filter by park, state, and/or type of event here.

If you’re not sure how you should celebrate National Public Lands Day, the National Park Service has created a handy flowchart to help you choose the best course of action for you—which might be as simple as sharing your favorite outdoor activity on social media with the hashtag #NPLD.

National public lands day celebration flowchart
National Park Service

There are more than 400 areas run by the National Park Service across the U.S., and many of them aren’t parks in the traditional sense of the word; the Statue of Liberty, Alcatraz Island, and countless other monuments and historical sites are also run by the NPS. Wondering if there might be one closer than you thought? Explore parks in your area on this interactive map.

For those of you who can’t take advantage of the free admission on September 28, the National Park Service will also waive all entrance fees for Veteran’s Day on November 11.

And, if you’re wishing a free-admission day existed for museums, you’re in luck—more than 1500 museums will be free to visit on Museum Day, which happens to be this Saturday.

14 Facts About International Talk Like A Pirate Day

iStock
iStock

Ahoy, me hearties! As many of you know, September 19 is International Talk Like A Pirate Day, an annual phenomenon that’s taken the world by storm, having been observed by every continent, the International Space Station, and even the Oval Office since it first made headlines back in 2002. So let’s hoist the Jolly Roger, break out the rum, and take a look back at the holiday’s timber-shivering history.

1. Talk Like a Pirate Day was originally conceived of on D-Day.

Talk Like a Pirate Day creators John Baur and Mark Summer (who’ve since acquired the nicknames “Ol’ Chumbucket” and “Cap’n Slappy,” respectively) created the holiday while playing racquetball on June 6, 1995—the 51st anniversary of the invasion of Normandy. Out of respect to the battle’s veterans, a new observance date was quickly sought.

2. September 19th also happens to be the birthday of the ex-wife of the holiday's co-creator.

“[September 19th was] the only date we could readily recall that wasn’t already taken up with Christmas or the Super Bowl or something,” the pair later claimed. Summers claims to harbor no ill will toward his former spouse, who has since stated, “I’ve never been prouder to be his ex-wife!

3. Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist Dave Barry is largely responsible for popularizing the holiday.

Dave Barry was so smitten with the holiday after having been introduced to it via email in early 2002 that he dedicated an entire column to its publicity that September, turning an inside joke into a global sensation. He later went on to make a cameo appearance in one of Baur and Summers’s buccaneer-themed music videos in 2011 (look for him in the video above at the 3:25 mark).

4. Real pirates spoke in a wide variety of dialects.

Despite some extensive “English-to-Pirate” dictionaries that have cropped up all over the Internet the idea that all pirates shared a common accent regardless of national origin is historically absurd, as National Geographic pointed out in 2011.

5. Actor Robert Newton is hailed as the "patron saint" of Talk Like a Pirate Day.

So where did the modern “pirate dialect” come from? Summers and Baur credit actor Robert Newton's performance in Treasure Island (1950) and have accordingly dubbed him the “patron saint” of their holiday. Tasked with breathing life into the scheming buccaneer, Newton simply exaggerated his native West Country accent and the rest is history.

6. John Baur's family was featured on a pirate-themed episode of Wife Swap.

The reality show’s highly-anticipated 2006 season premiere pitted the Baurs (in full pillaging regalia) against a family which, according to John’s wife Tori (a.k.a. “Mad Sally”), “behaved as though ‘fun’ was something that had to be pre-packaged for their protection.”

7. John Baur was also on Jeopardy!

Baur was described to the audience as “a writer and pirate from Oregon” in his 2008 appearance. “I didn’t win,” Baur said, “but the introduction made Alex blink.”

8. International Talk Like a Pirate Day has become a cornerstone of the Pastafarian movement.

Bobby Henderson, founder of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, cited Earth’s dwindling pirate population as the clear source of global warming in his 2005 open letter to the Kansas school board which established the religion. Since then, Talk Like A Pirate Day has been observed by devout Pastafarians worldwide. 

9. A Florida mayor once ignited a local controversy for making an official Talk Like a Pirate Day proclamation.

In 2012, Lake Worth, Florida Mayor Pam Triolo lightheartedly urged her constituents to embrace the holiday last year, writing, “The City … is known to possess a spirit of independence, high spirits, and swashbuckling, all traits of a good pirate.” Her actions were criticized by the city’s former commissioner, Jo-Ann Golden, who took offense to the association with murderous seamen.

10. Day of the Ninja was created in response to Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Not to be outdone by their hated rivals, the pro-ninja community was quick to execute the first annual Day of the Ninja on December 5, 2002. For Summers and Baur’s take on the warring factions, see the clip above.

11. Pirates once celebrated Talk Like a Pirate Day aboard the International Space Station.

In a 2012 interview, Summers recalled being “informed that the astronauts on the International Space Station were awakened to ‘A Pirate’s Life For Me' and joined in the pirate talk from space.”

12. President Obama once celebrated with a costumed buccaneer in the Oval Office.

In 2012, Barack Obama tweeted this image on Talk Like a Pirate Day with the caption “Arr you in?”

13. A congressman later used the holiday to slam President Obama's tax plan.

In 2011, Florida’s 12th congressional district representative Dennis Ross used the festivity as a political punchline after Obama made a speech detailing his tax plan, tweeting, “It is TALK like a pirate day … not ACT like one. Watch ye purses and bury yr loot, the taxman cometh.”

14. It's an official holiday in the state of Michigan.

On June 4, 2013, state senator Roger Kahn’s proposal to grant International Talk Like A Pirate Day official acknowledgement from the Michigan government was formally adopted, to the chagrin of some dissenting landlubbers. 

This story originally ran in 2013.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER