#657 Memories of McDonaldland

mcdonaldland[digg=http://digg.com/travel_places/Trippy_Flashback_Memories_of_McDonaldland] McDonaldland was the trippy make-believe world where all the McDonald’s characters lived in harmony.

Growing up, we occasionally holed up in the corner of McDonald’s when someone’s cool mom dropped some bills on a deliciously greasy birthday party. There was usually a giant mural along the wall with all the McDonaldland characters living fantasy lives in their all-burgers-all-the-time world. If you were lucky, you might even have played on the McDonaldland playground equipment with some of these guys:

hamburglar• The Hamburglar. He’s dressed in black-and-white striped prison garb so we know he just escaped from the slammer. Maybe he broke out after a couple days of tuna melts and grilled cheeses. Anyway, I’m guessing he’s going to get caught again because that raccoon eye patch, oversized red tie, and Jackie O retro sunhat isn’t a great disguise.

mayor mccheese• Mayor McCheese. Even though his head is a giant, wobbly cheeseburger, this guy is as suave as they come. Just look at the top hat, diplomat’s sash, and fancy reading specs. I feel like this greasy politician (hey-ohhhhhh!)  stumbled into the Happy Meal universe by accident. He should be at the opera or something.

captain crook slideCaptain Crook. Did anybody else think some lazy ad exec watched Peter Pan the night before inventing this guy?

Ronald McDonald. Sadly, the red-haired clown was the most boring in the bunch. But then again, even though he looked like a hungover 30-year old in facepaint, he did inspire a generation of goths.

grimace playground jail

• Grimace. Everybody’s favorite, the purple giant played the lovable clumsy doofus of McDonaldland. Of course, in the original ads he had four arms, lived in a cave, and stole milkshakes. Just thinking about it gives me nightmares.

officer big macOfficer Big Mac. His giant two-all-beef-patties-special-sauce-lettuce-cheese-pickles-onions-on-a-sesame-seed-bun head prevents him from running fast enough through town to catch all the escaped convicts. That’s okay though, because his permanently frazzled eyebrows tell us he’s trying.

apple pie treeApple Pie Trees, Filet-O-Fish Lakes, and Hamburger Patches. In McDonaldland there were no beef processing plants, deep sea trawlers, or sugar kilns. Instead you just plucked hot hamburgers out of the patch, cast a line for Filets, and kicked the trunk of the Apple Pie Tree for dessert.

uncle ogrimaceyUncle O’Grimacey. Grimace’s Irish uncle visited in March and brought his delicious Shamrock Shakes with him. On another note, did anybody else ever wonder where Auntie O’Orangey was, because where did those delicious McArctic Orange shakes come from?

Fry Guys. These guys were called Gobblins, Fry Guys, Fry Kids, Pac-Man Ghosts With Legs, or Rollerskating Pom Poms.

mcdonaldlandcookiesBirdie the Early Bird. Poor Birdie was the only female in McDonaldland. She got out of bed early to tell us about the breakfast items. After that, I’m guessing she usually hit the pool hall or shooting range with Smurfette.

People, McDonaldland wasn’t a fictional place. No, it existed in the dimly-lit corner by the bathrooms and on the dangerous plastimold playground equipment in the parking lot.

It mcdonalds birthday partyexisted in the hearts and minds of kids everywhere because it was a place where we could be kids. Slam shots of orange drink, throw on some paper hats, play Pin the Arms on Grimace or Stack the Big Mac boxes, and scream as loud as you can. Then get bloated on sundaes, jump in the minivan, and smile a slow, sticky smile on the drive home.

Sure, maybe it was dangerous. Sure, maybe it wasn’t good for us.

But it sure was childhood.

And it sure was




Photos from: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here

Photos of kids in McDonald’s used with permission of Angela

75 thoughts on “#657 Memories of McDonaldland

  1. The visits that I brought to the McDonalds were for me a real gift.
    I’ve always amused me because of The McDonald clown. He was amazing but he was not always present. Luckily it wasn’t a reason to be sad. I’ve always amused me with the other child’s. When my parents called me to eat my happy meal, I was always too late for 5-10 minutes. Than my happy meal was already cold but I didn’t care. I was totally excited and happy!

  2. Apparently, they’re worth a fair amount of money as collectibles but I wouldn’t sell them for any price. My son is in his twenties now and these remind of all the fun we had together when he was little.

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  3. I am a nostalgic for “Little House on the Prairie” and “The Waltons”.
    In the late 60’s, there was talk of how the west was won, while Wagon Ho was dismantled, the mystery stayed, until…there it stood, magical, (like this post and web site)… McDonaldland!
    Considered by most then, forbidden food and fruits; a vexation of the spirit… I kid you not. So, whenever I was there for a special occassion, I always felt like sneaky l’l Hamburglar.
    When I had my own children, I took them there “occassionally”.
    My first child’s first words were “French fries!”
    Some birthday parties were there too, which was right beside a waterslide park. I felt a l’l like “cool mom”.
    I totaly remember the early commercial and I still feel alot like Hamburglar, if ever I should go. Old tapes die hard!
    “What a way to start the day…just get up and get away to Awesomeland!”

  4. I remember the McDonaldland Playground! Back in the 1970’s In Chula Vista, California, we had a McDonaldland Playground at the McDonald’s location on Third Ave and Napples. Now this McDonald’s has a bigger parking lot. I miss those days. I’m still searching for more fotos of this location.

  5. Used to have a mcdonaldland themed playground near me in the UK, it was totally kick-ass but it’s been modernised into a ‘Skills Gym’…… Which sucks really badly…. Nice memories of me scooting around that place though…

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  8. If I’m not mistaken. I had my first Big Mac the Chula Vista McDonaldland. I remember the orange and yellow foam box with the button at the bottom to open the box. My family used to drive down to Chula Vista from Port Huneme almost every month back in the 1970s. McDonaldland seemed huge back then. -I was in my single digits.-

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