During childhood, one destination stood apart from all others as the center off all kid-dom. It perfectly met our ideals of fun, gave us the best meals of our young lives, and once we climbed to the tops of those play-towers we truly felt like we stood on top of the world. It was the dreamland of McDonald’s. And we miss it.
McDonald’s Used To Be Better
Now we are too big for the play tubes, and we know better than to trust the nutritional integrity of our once-favorite chicken nuggets. However, our inner child experiences a string of grief when we see what Mickey-D’s has become. Happy Meals still bring smiles to kids today, but we can’t help but think they don’t know what they are missing. Take a walk down memory lane, and the difference is unmistakable.
#1 – Heavenly Happy Meals
These days, Happy Meals come with additions like milk, apple dipper slices, and yogurts. While this is a positive step toward adding healthy choices to a menu less than famous for its nutritional value, kids may not be so excited. When we were young, we had classic fries, nuggets or burger, and that good old soda with a signature yellow and red striped straw.
The simplicity of the meal never bothered us much, and the sacks they came in had enough excitement to hold our attention. Today’s sleek, red boxes sure look nice, but they can’t compare to the paper bags covered in our favorite characters, activities, and puzzles.
#2 – The Best Toys Known to Kid-Kind
The simplicity of our meals was more than made up in the most legendary toys. Gone are the days collect-them-all Beanie Babies, Inspector Gadget body parts, and Hot Wheels we sticker-decaled ourselves. They’ve been replaced by less than unique princess accessories, electric bugs, and maybe blocky caricatures from a popular cartoon. Of course, there is still appeal in unboxing any toy at all, but they used to feel a lot more special.
#3 – Play Places Like No Other
The play places of today are still functional, but we were treated to much better in our day. We enjoyed ball pits, tubes, and tunnels of all sizes – at minimum two slides of different speed and color. That wasn’t the end of the fun, though. Themed outdoor playgrounds used to be common in many locations. Let’s not forget the classic N64 gaming stations that allowed so many of us to play the hippest games we couldn’t get our hands on anywhere else. While we’re grateful MacDonald’s still provides a fun zone at all, the play places of today just seem tame in comparison.
#4 – The Supporting Cast
Back in the golden days, a trip to McDonald’s felt like more than just a fast food run. There was a sense of entering another world, like stepping through the screen into your favorite TV show. The McDonald’s brand had a whole cast of unique faces – Grimace, the Fry Kids, Birdie, and the infamous Hamburglar – to complement the leading man, Ronald McDonald. These characters made up wall murals, Happy Meal puzzles, and themed swivel seats that were just our size. Googly-eyes burger stools and other iconic pieces mad McDonald’s a fully immersive experience that you couldn’t get anywhere else.
The environment of McDonald’s has changed over the years, as most successful companies do. We’re sure the body of these changes are good for business, but not so kind to our nostalgia centers. While it was never a place to get a nutritional meal, it was always the best place for a kid to have the time of their lives.