October 25, 2011

THE LION KING and the Fast Food Memories of the Past

If you were a kid or even alive during the 90's, how awesome was it to get a new Disney toy in your Kids Meals at various fast food joints? Yes, we understand that you can still pay for a Mighty Kids Meal at McDonalds, or a even a Big Kid's Meal at Burger King and still get a small toy. But no longer will you find Mickey Mouse or Goofy next to your greasy french fry bag. During 2005 when Disney had a new shift in management, the company felt that branding their characters and new feature film releases with something that is deemed "un-healthy" for kids wasn't something they wanted to continue doing. So they cut their deal with McDonalds, and other various fast food establishments and we are left with Disney-less Happy Meal Toys.

This move was something that I remember upset a lot of people. Not only for kids, but for toy collector's as well. I remember when Disney would have a newly released animated film; you always knew McDonalds would have an awesome toy set for the movie. Whether it was a small or big set, you had to collect them all. Take for instance THE LION KING, when it was released in 1994. Something rare about the early Disney releases in the 90's was that they offered toys at both Burger King and McDonalds. (Later in the decade, it switch to just McDonalds) But take a at what they had to offer.

These toys ranged from puppets, figurines, and even a series collectors cups!  Fast food places had toys for when THE LION KING was released in 94', when it was re-released in winter of 94' and when it came out on VHS and LaserDisc.  There even was a toy line offer for the Timon and Pumbaa cartoon series! 

When the first sequel to THE LION KING came out in Fall/Winter of 1998, THE LION KING II: SIMBA'S PRIDE, McDonalds offered a small plushie collection to commemorate the films release.  Then a few years later, during THE LION KING's re-release in theaters and IMAX in 2003, McDonald's offered plastic/talking finger puppets from the animated classic.

Something that we noticed for THE first time was that Disney popped up at Subway this year. While it's still a food chain, it's a much healthier choice for the company to brand their IP with. So for the first time in almost 5 years, you can finally see Disney at your local Subways when you buy a sub. While the offer here is only collector bags, they are still cool to have/collect.

So you may never be able to open a fast food bag with an awesome Simba toy looking up at you, but we can remember a day when Disney and McDonalds stood tall hand in hand and created magic. Magic in the form of awesome memories as a kid; begging the heck out of his/or her parents to take them to McDonalds or Burger King to get the latest toys. “Have It Your Way”

If you haven’t yet, check out our NEWEST video where we play a very odd LION KING flash game!


  1. The only McDonalds Lion King toys I remember having were a bunch of the Lion King 2 plushies. :) I also still own Lion King spoons I got from cereal boxes that change color in milk, they're pretty awesome, haha. (Although cereal has nothing to do with fast food :p)


  2. Aww man I had a Mufasa plastic finger puppet but I can't find it anymore. :( I think I remember it speaking but I'm not sure.