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McDonald’s Adult Happy Meal – Is it Worth it?

Mcdonald's adult happy meal

This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s fall editorial intern Brianna Allison. Find her on Instagram at @ballison7. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at

Get ready to reminisce with me for a minute – close your eyes and think of yourself riding home from soccer practice in your booster seat listening to Shania Twain. Next thing you know, your mom’s minivan turns into the McDonald’s parking, and she asks the highly anticipated question, “Do you want a happy meal for dinner?”

Your little heart starts to explode because there is nothing better than getting a McDonald’s Happy Meal! You get your chicken nuggets, fries and orange Hi-C. Most importantly, you also get the new Finding Nemo Dory toy that spoke whale to you and think to yourself, “this is the best day!”

Okay back to reality: now that we’ve recalled the joy and nostalgia of getting the red happy meal box with the golden arch handle, I have exciting news. McDonald’s announced at the end of September that they were introducing adult Happy Meals to their menu, and they’re officially here!! Could you think of a more beautiful idea?

Now before all of us jump in our car and drive ourselves (because we’re old enough for that now) to the closest McDonald’s, there are a few things you should know about the adult Happy Meals!

What’s included in the meal?

The adult Happy Meal is a limited-time collaboration with Cactus Plant Flea Market, one of the most notable brands in street fashion right now. The brand designed an exclusive box with their eye-catching and familiar style that’s almost as recognizable as McDonald’s golden arches.

With this box, you can be transported back to your childhood… just with bigger food portions. Inside, you’ll find your main course; you have the choice of a 10 piece chicken McNugget or a Big Mac, as well as fries, a drink and a toy! Now we all know that the toy has always been the best part of the box, so let’s talk about that for a minute.

Your Happy Meal may have a familiar face, like the Grimace, the Hamburglar and Birdie. Or it may be a new character, specifically Cactus Buddy, a new toy that Cactus Plant Flea Market created specifically for this collab. All of the characters are designed with four eyes and have a modern twist to them.

Is it worth it?

This was the first question that came to mind after learning about the new limited menu item. Is a McDonald’s Happy Meal really worth it now that I’m 23? This seems to be a common question amongst consumers of the new adult Happy Meal.

Some people have shared online that they weren’t satisfied with the Happy Meal because it either came in a regular brown McDonald’s bag, it didn’t have a toy or their McDonald’s didn’t have the Happy Meals at all. So without a toy or the special edition box, what’s the point of ordering a Happy Meal?

Customers aren’t the only ones that are annoyed with the adult Happy Meal. Employees of the fast food restaurant are begging people to stop ordering the Cactus Plant Flea Market boxes. Many workers went to the internet to vent about the stress that the promotion was causing them. They shared that there have been about two to three times more orders for Big Mac and nuggets. This slowed down their production and led to angry customers. And if they didn’t have the box or toy to put in, people grew even madder.

So, is it worth it? Each person is entitled to their own opinion, but I’m leaning towards no. I would say just get your go-to next time you go to McDonald’s and enjoy it. Don’t waste your money on a toy you might not even like that’s in a specialty paper box (if you’re lucky) that’s just going to get thrown out.

My experience ordering an adult Happy Meal

Birthday Party Mcdonalds GIF by Adult Swim - Find & Share on GIPHY

But, with all of that being said, I of course had to go to check out the adult Happy Meal myself after doing all of my research. And it wasn’t off to a great start. I had to go to 3 McDonald’s to find one that had the box in stock. It was then that I was told that the app will tell you if a location near you has the Cactus Plant Flea Market collab or not… that would have been nice to know. But luckily, my third stop was my last one!

I was nervous to order after many McDonald’s employees commiserated about their experience with the new Happy Meals. Thankfully the woman who served me was beyond friendly throughout the whole process. However, I live in a beach town, and it’s currently the off-season. I’m sure it was pretty empty all day, so she could have just been happy to have a customer.

My friend and I ordered the chicken McNugget Happy Meal with a large fry and Dr. Pepper. We anxiously awaited our Happy Meal and discussed which toy we wanted – I definitely felt like a kid again. We were so happy when we received our meal in the exclusive Cactus Plant Flea Market box and even happier to learn that we also got a toy! We opened the package and discovered that we got the Hamburgler, which is such a nostalgic character. Our total bill was $11.70, which probably is a little higher than normal since we got a large. But I really do think you’re definitely paying a higher price for the toy and box.

So if you’re interested in rekindling some of those same feelings that you felt as a little kid with a Happy Meal, you better act fast! McDonald’s started selling the box on October 3rd, and they will continue until supplies last. They’re available to be purchased inside their restaurants, in the drive-thru, by delivery or through their app.

McDonald’s shared that those who buy the Cactus Plant Flea Market box directly through their app will automatically be entered for a chance to win exclusive merch of the collab every week, such as t-shirts, hoodies, sweatpants and even a chair that looks like Grimace. Some of the merch is also available for purchase.

Does this adult Happy Meal take you back and fill you with happiness? To me, it’s the perfect way to remind us that we don’t always have to be an adult.

Have you tried McDonald’s new adult happy meal? Share your experience below and if you think the happy meal is worth it!

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