Eating at McDonald’s

Are you familiar with that fast food chain called McDonald’sยฎ? There are at least a handful of them. You might have heard of it.  

When I was a little girl, I LOVED McDonald’s. I loved the commercials. I loved Ronald and Grimace and the whole McDonaldland gang. I also loved the outdoor playground. 

McDonald’s was magical. 

I would beg my mom to go:

macdonalds 1

But she usually said no. She hated McDonald’s and thought it was gross. Her negativity wasn’t from a “fast-food is bad for you” standpoint (that standpoint was invented later) it was from a “this food is really disgusting” standpoint. She just didn’t like the food. 

But every so often (only about once or twice a year, sniff) I would convince her to take me to McDonald’s.

I would get my happy meal and head out front to the most magical playground in the world. (Okay, the most magical playground in the tiny Wisconsin town we lived in – but that was my world then so it counts.)

mcdonalds 2

Sigh. Remember the 80s? Everything was awesome and dangerous in the 80s. Like the metal play structures. The head-trapping burger jail! The knock-your-teeth-out Grimace bouncer! The 3rd-degree-burn metal curly slide! (not pictured but it is totally there, man) I loved this place.  

But it also made me nervous.

I knew that the Hamburglar could make an appearance at any moment. 

mcdonalds 3

And he would steal my food.

I saw the commercials. I was familiar with his methods. I always secretly feared he would show up and lock me in the burger jail. Then he would run away with my happy meal muttering “robble robble”.   

He scared the shit out of me.

So I always inhaled my food as fast as possible. To be safe.

Then I’d happily play on the structures until I got hurt badly enough to go home. 


Let’s skip to the more recent past, shall we?

Six months ago…

My kids have never eaten at a McDonald’s. In fact, I don’t think I’ve eaten at one for about ten years.

It isn’t that we’ve avoided going there, it is just that there have always been better options available. Like In-N-Out Burger or Chipotle or even Wendy’s. Or eating paint chips from the side of the car.

We just haven’t been in a situation where we’ve decided to go. 


mcdonalds 4

We found ourselves in the middle of nowhere with two hungry kids who also had to pee. The McDonald’s was an oasis in the center of nothing.

We park the car. Crappy Papa helps Crappy Baby unbuckle and get out of the car seat. I’m walking through the parking lot with Crappy Boy, who asks:

mcdonalds 5

It occurs to me that they have never been to a McDonald’s! 

I daydream about my own childhood experiences and realize that they are in for a magical experience! I start mentioning the characters:

mcdonalds 6

And then I realize that McDonald’s doesn’t even use those characters anymore.

Now I’m really curious to see what they think of it, now that all the fun stuff is gone. 

Is it really all gone? Not a single character anywhere?

Yep. Crappy Papa and I look all around the restaurant and can’t even find a single image of Ronald. The magic is gone.

They get happy meals. We sit down at a booth.

Crappy Baby picks up his apple juice box, points at a tiny photo of Ronald McDonald on it and says:

mcdonalds 7

Bingo! Ronald McDonald! He found the one and only image of him.

Wait, he is a clown?

It has never registered in my mind that Ronald McDonald was a clown. He was such an iconic character that I saw him as only him. Not as a clown. I was clown blind. 

Then I say this out loud. Big mistake. Crappy Papa teases me for the next five minutes with, “How could you not realize he was a clown? The white face? The big red shoes? You can’t get more clown than that.”

After he finishes, I stick up for Ronald. I try to explain to the kids that he isn’t a scary clown, that he is the mascot. That he helped kids when they were ice skating. He was one of my childhood friends! He isn’t scary!

Ronald is a good guy.

But Crappy Boy disagrees:

mcdonalds 8

And Crappy Baby rejects his juice completely:

mcdonalds 9

Crappy Papa and I are laughing our heads off across the table. 

I start to explain more about how awesome Ronald and his pals used to be but then stop myself. Why am I trying to convince them that McDonald’s is awesome? What the hell am I doing? Shutting my mouth is what I’m doing.

Moments later, they are done. They inhaled their food so fast I couldn’t believe it:

mcdonalds 10

Perhaps they were afraid the scary clown would show up?

We leave and forget all about it pretty much.

Time goes by.

Then one day we have plans to do something across town and we mention that we’ll go out to eat afterwards.

We weren’t thinking fast food, we were planning to go to a proper restaurant but the kids had another idea. A worse idea:

mcdonalds 11

I tried to say “No, it’s gross.” 

mcdonalds 12

But I just couldn’t stop laughing. 

Apparently, the magic is still there. Scary clown and all.  


Listen. I know. Fast food is one of those dividing hot topics. Right up there with politics and toilet paper orientation. A few of you are thinking, “Oh no! We only eat healthy food! We would never go to McDonald’s! I can’t believe you did this.” While another few of you are thinking, “Oh no! We ate at McDonald’s today! Are you judging me?” 

Guess what?

A. I don’t care what you eat.*

B. Still don’t.  

C. Nope. 

*Cannibalists excluded. Because that is just plain wrong. Well, unless you are really hungry I guess.

This entry was posted in crappy pictures, food, outings, parenting. Bookmark the permalink.

324 Responses to Eating at McDonald’s

  1. jill b says:

    lmfao! I’m crying with laughter at this entire post. The scary clown and you not realizing he was a clown! lol

  2. Deirdre says:

    Now I’m wondering what tiny town in Wisconsin you grew up in! Can’t have been mine, though, because ours never had the head-trapping burger jail. Ah, the good old days. Nowadays, my husband and I celebrated because we made it through an 11-day road trip (NY to Wisconsin and back) and never ate at a McDonald’s, even with the temptation of a scary clown.

    • Caly says:

      I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin too, and we did have the the head trapping burger jail, the knock your teeth out bouncer and all the other fun stuff that Amber had. Ronald though, scared the hell out of my brother then, and still does today and he is 35. Not so magical for him.

    • Katie says:

      I also grew up in a small Wisconsin town. We did have the Grimace bouncer and the curly slide, but I’m not sure about the Burger jail. I know there was a teeter totter of some sort, too. I knew Ronald was a clown, but he never scared me! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • j.b. says:

      Not only did I also grow up in a small Wisconsin town, for a period of time we lived in an appartment complex in Madison above a Ronald McDonald actor who we often saw in his full RMcD dress. One day we stopped to say hi and there was just this plain guy at his appartment (him without the costume but in civilian dress apparently) my mom was delivering misdirected mail to him or something like good neighbors do and I suddenly saw the big red Ronald shoes in his foyer. I think I was about five, I asked him if Ronald was there and if I could talk to him and he got real nervous and couldnt explain where Ronald was. I remember feeling very suspicious that he might have caused Ronalds mysterious absence /disappearance that day. Ha. My mom loved embarassing me with that story for years!! I didnt see him as a clown either. Apparently! And yes, the Hamburgler always made me very nervous also, your post made me laugh out loud, as always…

    • Christina says:

      I too grew up in a small town in Wisconsin and we had the grimace bouncer, the twisty slide and that hamburger jail thing. How funny.

    • Missy R. says:

      I also grew up in small town Wisconsin and we definitely had the burger jail it scared the pants off of me! I witnessed several kids get stuck in it and I felt very claustrophobic whenever I got up the guts to give it a try! And it smelled bad. :p

    • Angie says:

      Now I know why you’re so awesome, you’re a small-town Wisconsin girl!! In our small Wisconsin town we had the Grimace bouncer, but I’m blanking on the burn-your-ass-off slide. The whole McDonalds crew scared the shit out of me!

    • Rebecca Primm says:

      crazy how many of us are from small Wisconsin towns – represent!

      If you ever get back to Wisco, there’s an awesome camp ground in Tomahawk called North Forest that still has the original McD’s play equipment – my crappy kid TOTALLY burnt her ass on the metal curly slide last summer.

      • Melissa says:

        Being from a small Wisconsin town would definitely explain some of your awesomeness, and your wacky sense of humor! (I am also a small-town Wisconsinite!)

    • Susan says:

      Which town, Amber? (It wasn’t Stevens Point because we actually had a bunch of decent playgrounds.) And I totally related to your post. The food has an icky aftertaste to me now, but as a child, a chicken nuggets happy meal made me ecstatic. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Phridae says:

      Small town Wisconsin here too! But really, is there such thing as a “large town Wisconsin?” ๐Ÿ˜‰ This is why I’ll always love Wisconsin best.

      We had all that “dangerous” play stuff, then they replaced it with someone plastic, and now its just GONE. Covered patio. Because I love enjoying my food outdoors in the thick of the humid summers. NOT.

    • Jennifer says:

      I am from WI as well and can fondly recall the crappy McDonalds playgrounds, I wish I could remember the town(s).

  3. Rebekah C. says:

    Yeah, I smugly thought we’d never eat at McDonald’s and we avoided it for the first year or two of parenthood, but now we totally do.

    • stacy says:

      Same here. I was Shocked and Appalled at the very notion of kids eating at McDonald’s for the first couple of years of this parenthood gig. I’m over it now. McDonald’s happens.

    • jamie says:

      Yeah, me too. The reality is that it’s the only place nearby with a drive through (our town banned drive-through everythings), and I’m so sick of pulling my kid in & out of the car seat on errand day that I’ll bend rules to avoid it.

      • Shelley West says:

        My husband and I were just talking about this Sunday. It’s the only restaurant close to our home with a drive-thru…and the next closest restaurant is also a McDonald’s with a drive-thru.

      • Phaedra says:

        They can actually BAN drive-throughs! Why?!

    • Annette says:

      My pre-kid self would have scoffed at the idea of me bringing my precious children to McD’s. 5 years and 3 kids later, the ability to let my children run wild while I sip a McCoffee and utilize the free wifi have won out. I still don’t do it very often (their food really is gross) but sometimes you do what you must to survive.

      • Maja says:

        Yup, that’s the only thing it’s good for. I used to love it that the kids could play in the playground and I could watch them from the other side of a glass wall (they’re fairly tame kids) – yes it was pretty average coffee, but at least it was quiet! For a long time the kids didn’t even know you could eat foot at McDs. Unfortunately the new town we live in doesn’t have a proper playground with requisite glass wall of silence ๐Ÿ™

        • Maja says:

          Eat food that is, they’ve never eaten feet at McDs.

          • Trish says:

            I used to do this too. Take my twins to McDs so I could sit for a spell while they climbed around In the tubes. I waited until they were about three, though, and their immune systems were built up. My friend referred to it as the germ factory. I also had to rescue them occasionally when they ventured somewhere they couldn’t get down from. But it was good for 15 minutes of rest, usually. NOw they have seen the documentary on how McD makes their nuggets and won’t go near the place ๐Ÿ™ I’m so old, I remember when you could only walk up to the window!

  4. Lisa says:

    I had a recurring nightmare as a child that involved me cutting up Grimace into little pieces and putting him in the wicker trash can in our living room, and lowering the garage door on the hamburgler.

    • neal says:

      That sounds more like a nightmare for Grimace and the Hamburgler than for you. For you, it appears to be your way of working things out without ending up Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs.

      • Laura says:

        Holy shit Neal! I just let out a loud snort in the cube farm. Neighboring stall mates are peeking over in curiosity.

      • Rebecca says:

        omg neal I just woke up my daughter from laughing so hard….

      • Lora says:

        I took a big swig of water right before I read that. With skill and determination, I was able to not spew it all over the computer. But it was tough. Thanks for the laugh ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Shelley West says:

      Wow, interesting. From a psychologist point of view, how does that make you feel?

  5. Tanya says:

    We did eat at McD’s yesterday but we only do it a few times a year, your disclaimer nearly made me spit out my water.

  6. Arena T. says:

    Wow you nailed the drawing of the old McDonald play stuctures! I am seriously having childhood flashbacks right now!

    • AmyS says:

      Me too! It brought me back instantly!

    • Helen says:

      Absolutely!! They had the play structures in Atlanta, too! My sister and I loved them. There’s an antique shop not far from me that has the Big Mac jail (perfectly rendered in your crappy picture) outside. I oh so want to buy it for the back yard!!!

      • Liz says:

        I 100% agree. When I saw the head-trapping burger jail it brought me right back. I loved that thing. Best part was – the burger jail opening was too small for adults, so you could go up there and parents could never make you leave the playground.

        • Janelle says:

          I’m certain we hid in the burger jail too. Ah memories…

        • J says:

          When I was 13, we were on a band trip and I tried to climb up into the burger jail. I got stuck in the column part. Much like your spanx ordeal, I thought I would need the jaws of life to get me out.

      • Jocelyn Stover says:

        I’m from ATL too! I know just which antique store you’re talking about!

    • Patricia O says:

      Toronto, Canada here! I totally have a picture in the burger jail from when I was little!!
      I COMPLETELY forgot about it until I saw your drawing!!

    • Lisa says:

      Your drawings gave me a total childhood flashback too. I’d completely forgotten those play structures. I haven’t been in a McDonald’s in about 15 years but your post made me realize how much McDonald’s has changed since I was a child. Good to know they don’t target children anymore.

    • Annie says:

      Oh me too! We used to go to one exactly like this every Thursday after violin practice. I used to always think I would get my fingers pinched off under the Grimace shakey house tummy thing.

    • Lindsay J says:

      I loved the burning hot hamburger jail. I think I got third degree burns, because I did not grow up in Wisconsin, but Texas.

    • Emma says:

      Yup, we had those same play-structures… even all the way in teeny-tiny New Zealand! Yay for globalization!

  7. Childless Harpy says:

    Ohmigosh yes that hamburger-head play structure! I remember trying to go inside it once after I was clearly too big and nearly getting stuck.

    I don’t think I thought about Ronald being a clown in the same way that Bozo is.

  8. TJone says:

    hahahahaha laughing so hard at this. I am so lucky in that my kids HATE McDonalds. They ate it when they were younger but now at 8 and 10 they would rather eat anywhere else. They actually throw a fit if McD’s is the only option.

  9. Angela says:

    I never think of him as a clown either. Ronald was just my friend who helped kids.

    • Liz says:

      I didn’t realize he was a clown until I read this blog post! Don’t fret, Amber – I’m with you ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Cristy says:

    Can I just say that ‘I LOVE YOU!’ Seriously! That is exactly how I felt at that glorious playground in the scary jail head. And now for my own kids we experience the same things. so funny ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Christine says:

    I would love to see what you thought of a visit to a play place. Occasionally they make me mad on so many levels, occasionally they are an oasis in the winter.

  12. Christin says:

    I usually get a little chuckle and a giggle when I read your stuff but I found this HILARIOUS!

    I guess I never noticed he was a clown either :/

  13. Heather Lee says:

    I love the nostalgia. I remember the playground exactly as your so crappily illustrated it! I even received a 3rd degree burn on my bum as a toddler on the twirly slide! (No. There is no scarring.;) Your accuracy is astounding! <3 Thanks for the trip!

  14. Karen says:

    I’ll confess that I like McDonald’s and I go there at least once a month. The sweet tea was my summer guilty pleasure. Thanks for the disclaimer, I’m happy to know you won’t judge me since I”m not a canniabal.

  15. Samantha says:

    Love it. ๐Ÿ™‚ We go to McD’s for breakfast once a week, on “errand day”. Yep, it’s unhealthy. Yes, I could make it cheaper at home. But you know what – there is something magical about the “hot cakes” and sausage.

    • wilma fingerdoo says:

      Two words:
      Shamrock Shakes.
      It’s an annual tradition.

      • Jocelyn Stover says:

        my birthday is march 17th, saint patrick’s day, and my dad told me when i was little that they made those shakes just for me! imagine how disappointed i was when i realized the truth!

  16. Sam says:

    And remember the collectable juice glasses? Even though I pretty much hate all that is McDonalds now, I still wish I had those glasses.

    • Laura says:

      We had the Muppet ones, the E.T. ones, and the Peanuts ones. Not at the same time mind you. We would break them in enough time to need the new ones when they came out. Seriously, who makes glass cups to appeal to kids?? Plastic existed in the 80s!

      • Sara says:

        I just broke one of my Mom’s Muppet ones this summer ๐Ÿ™
        She’s still got some, including ET ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Amanda says:

      My grandmother still has a bunch of the collectible glasses…..

    • Emily (the other one) says:

      Do you remember the halloween buckets? I loved those! I used those all the time to hold barbie stuff, collect rocks, as a purse! LOL

      • Lora says:

        They still do the buckets! They aren’t nearly as cool as they used to be, but my daughter gets a kick out of getting her Happy Meal in a bucket before Halloween.

  17. Stephanie says:

    OMG! Hilarious! My grandpa owned a McDonald’s when I was growing up, so it was what I ALWAYS ate! ๐Ÿ™‚ I love this post! And, yes, the playgrounds in the 80s were SOOO much more fun! Those inside tube things always smell like pee and either you are too little to play in it, but want to, or you’re big enough and just don’t care about it anymore.

  18. Angela Gardner says:

    This is ABSOLUTELY hilarious!! I used to love Mc Donalds too when I was like 3. I remember all of the characters too. Where did they go? Did the scary clown eat them or something?

  19. Mandi says:

    Oh my, i haven’t laughed so hared in a while! Scary clown hu? and i’m with you, i never realized he was a clown until i had kids who were scared of clowns. Gotta love the childhood memories.

  20. Jacquelyn says:

    Oh my gosh, the scary clown place. That’s epic!

    PS – The disclaimer at the bottom is awesome. Toilet paper orientation is a big deal in our house! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  21. Steph says:

    As always, this cracked me up! My mom was the same as your mom, except she thought the Play Place was gross. She always imagined kids peeing in the ball pit and then me playing in it.

    I didn’t even realize that McDonalds let go of all their characters -that makes me sad!

  22. Brittani Cook says:

    My kids love McDonald’s! Love today’s post, totally needed a good laugh!

  23. OHmygosh! The playground! The one by my house had the same set-up plus the french fry-guys that you could ride on – like a springy-horse-thing only it was a springy-fry-guy-thing.
    I had a friend that had a birthday party there as a kid. Back in the day, Ronald would make an appearance at parties. But she was afraid of him so her parents told the restaurant not to have him there. He came anyway and she FREAKED! Your kids are right – he is a scary clown!

    • Julie says:

      I loved those fry guy rocking horse things. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I loved those things!!!
      I had many birthday parties at McDonalds… don’t eat there any more though… ok well there was that one morning, but I am pregnant and wanted cinnamon rolls and it was the only place nearby!

    • I wanted to have a birthday party there SO BADLY! And finally, I had one when I was 8 or 9 – and I can still remember how nasty the birthday cake was. I can almost still taste it. But back then, I’m pretty sure I thought it was magical. ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. v says:

    so funny! love crappy baby’s comments. AWESOME!
    (i will go through the Mickey D’s drivethrough to get myself a soda. i never tell L the name of the place we are going. when my parents take her, they get the yogurt or the oatmeal.)

  25. Mike says:

    I just laughed out loud for the first time at a blog post. Keep writing, well done.

  26. Sarah says:

    Your post-script comments are truly too awesome. As is your rendering of the McDonald’s playground. It used to be so much better when it was dangerous….thanks for the nostalgia! ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. wendy says:

    I love this! We didn’t eat at McDonald’s as a kid either because it was gross. Still don’t. With the exception of the ice cream cones. I don’t want to know what they’re made of. I just know we can go to “the M place” and all get a cone for $1.50ish. And that’s ok by me. Occasionally.

  28. Kate says:

    when I was a kid, McDonald’s was a really big treat for us, (considered “going out for dinner” because it cost money that we didn’t always have, but it was better than mom’s cooking) we didn’t get it often. During Grade School, it was a special once-a-month hot lunch treat. Fast forward to raising my kids, and they loved McDonald’s too. They also got it as an occasional “hot lunch” at their grade schools. Now, after all the health conscience information we have been fed, none of us eat it with the exception of a road trip, when sometimes it’s the only option in the middle of nowhere! I still love their french fries, and the Egg McMuffin!

  29. Melissa says:

    I’m crying! I really needed a good laugh! Thanks for sharing the scary clowns today. And they should have kept the Grimace bouncer and all… much easier to get your kid out of one of those than off the third story of the stupid climby thing because they’re afraid to go down the twisty slide.

  30. Erika says:

    Awesome. I love your kids’ perspective on McDonalds. So refreshing that they had not been brainwashed yet like the rest of us…

  31. Velvet says:

    I got stuck in the head trapping burger jail as a kid, because I was too scared to climb down. I think it took my poor mom an hour to talk me out of there….oh the memories ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. Katie says:

    My daughter is 3… we rarely eat at McDonald’s… I’m not judging people who go there regularly, I also just have other options that are more convenient for me to get to, but, none of my family and friends believe that because at age 2 my little girl talked about McDonald’s regularly… I have no idea why.. but she would just randomly suggest we go there and/or point it out when we drove past it and would say things like “That’s where mommy gets me fries”. Nice. So in the eyes of my parents and inlaws… we must eat there all the time.

    I also remember the dangerous playground days of McDonalds. Our local McDonalds also had a caboose (you know, from a train… lol) where they would host kids birthday parties. I never got to have my birthday party there… I always thought kids who got to have birthday parties there were SO LUCKY! I am still a little jealous of them.

    • Shelley West says:


    • Elena says:

      I so get what you’re saying. We don’t go there very often and when my kids were 2&3 yo they would see the big ‘M’ and say ‘fench fie, mommy, fench fie’. I had got them fries like once before! You’d think we made it twice weekly visit, the way they acted! Lol. If it’s burgers & fries, we all prefer BK, although I do love the sweet tea at McDs!

    • Robyn says:

      I had my birthday in the caboose! ๐Ÿ™‚ I grew up in boulder and USED TO LOVE mcdonalds! I have two little ones now who have never been there… Unless we have some crazy roadtripping misadventure I don’t expect they’ll get a chance.

    • Ceri says:

      Oh ya? One of the local McDonald’s had the train caboose, my mom was in LOVE with it, when they remodeled she got them to give it to her, they put it up in the nursery of our church, until they moved it to another Sunday school class room. I know it’s gone from the church now, but I have no idea what they did with it.

  33. Amy says:

    Hopefully this link posts, because it’s AWESOME. It has pictures of all the Play Place equipment:

    • Karen (Scotland) says:

      Thanks for that. I think we were deprived here in Scotland as I had no idea what these playground structures were! Our McDonalds never had playgrounds…

    • islajmom says:

      great link. the filet-o-fish bobber thing and that GIANT tree. i totally remember those.

      and Hilarious post Amber!

    • Julie H says:

      OMG that brought back memories!!

    • Megan says:

      A) I didn’t think Ronald McDonald could get any creepier until I saw the picture of the original RMD in that post. Holy crap!
      B) I have little to no recollection of any of these play structures! WTF! Holdin’ out on Tennessee!

  34. Sarah says:

    I haven’t been to McDonalds in forever either, and like you we went like twice a year. Mainly when we went anywhere with my dad, who also loved it. But I agree there are a million better places to eat now so we just don’t bother even thinking about it. And like yours, my boys could find bag guys anywhere.

  35. Geralynn says:

    I love how much expression you give the crappy pics! It seriously makes my day to see such emotion in such a simple, yet perfect, drawing! Love how crappy baby is so big in this one :o) …and as a side note, I had a couple birthday parties at McDonald’s as a kid in the 80s…awesome paper hat…sugary cake decorations…but way back then I thought Ronald was a scary clown too…I preferred Grimmace… And robble robble or whatever is now stuck in my head!

  36. Mary says:

    I’m eating McD’s as I read this…nailed the playground of the 80’s, I loved the Grimace shaker/trap…I was always afraid of the fry guys and that crazy bird with the aviator hat…

  37. Ashley says:

    I too have fond childhood memories of going to McDonalds, especially of the breakfasts! What a treat! I recently took my twin toddlers to McDonalds, really excited that they would develop fond memories but, to the massive delight of my vegetarian husband, they hated the food.

  38. maggie says:

    The town I grew up in Ohio was so little it didn’t get a McDonalds until 2002! But a slightly bigger small town near us had one, and every so often we would get to go there. My parents thought the food was gross, too, so it was usually for a birthday party or with the grandparents. This McDonalds had one of those playgrounds, too. Sometime in the ’90s they got rid of it. I was sad, but too big to play on it and had no kids of my own. So,meh. Now I have kids, and miss that dinky little playset! Imagine my delight when I discovered those toys only moved a few miles away, to a popular farm/petting zoo/overnight destination for Scouts in our area! I was so darn happy I hugged ’em. It was never really about the food, was it?

  39. Legit – one of the best/funniest things I have read all day! Thank you for not judging that my children can pretty much recite the menu (with current pricing) by heart. That Big Mac jail – yeah i still have claustrophobia issues from getting stuck in a hella hot one when i was 12. TWELVE. I’m not kidding.

    • Lisa Y says:

      You know what I can recite?…
      ~~big mac, blt, quarter pounder with some cheese~~
      God I never forgot that dang jingle. EVER. But then… I don’t know it in its entirety. Thank god for little things.

  40. Kbee says:

    Thanks and thanks and thanks and thanks. I really needed this today.

  41. Susan says:

    What a rush of memories! I forgot about the playground equipment until I just saw your crappy drawings! I’m glad that my kids aren’t the only ones who’ve never been to a McD’s.

  42. Meri says:

    OMG we used to play on the playground at McDonalds in the 80’s. The pictures of the jail and the bouncer are EXACTLY how I remember them! I love your blog so much. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

    • sally says:

      love the drawings of the play area. spot on.

      i also remember (in the 80s) where kids would have their brithday parties at McDonalds. it was either at the party or a class field trip that we got to go on a tour of the kitchen, freezer, etc. at the time it seemed so fun and cool.

      those memories are so far back….i recently heard a funny bit (CD) from Demetri Martin about pear shapes. at the end he just says ‘Grimace’, and for a while I had no clue what that meant, and my husband had to remind me.. you know, the McDonalds character.

      the good ol’ dangerous 80s.

  43. CAMI STEWART says:

    Wonderful! haha You always make me laugh. I tell me kids no we canยดt go.. itยดs gross.

  44. Sarah says:

    The 80’s… when everything was awesome and dangerous. bahahaha.

  45. neal says:

    I’m pretty sure that Stephen King felt much the same way as your kids, Amber. “It” is most definitely his way of working out his issues with the “Chief Happiness Officer” of McDonalds.

  46. Jessica says:

    LOVED this post. I too thought the play area was fantastic. Do you remember the blue spinning bench seat thing? You had to push it as fast as you could and then try and jump on through the tiny entrance — wasn’t dangerous at all. LOL.

    I have to admit, I’ve turned into your mom saying “No it’s gross” and it is also b/c the food is IMHO disgusting (other than the Egg McMuffin).

    • Shawna Martin says:

      No, no! You don’t push it and jump on through the tiny entrance….you sit down inside, and then spin the wheel in the middle faster and faster, and that’s how you go!

  47. Katie says:

    As a kid, I fell down the stairs of the burger jail and whacked the back of my head against the Grimace bars. A trip to the emergency room and several stitches followed. That experience did nothing to deter my childhood love for McDonald’s .

  48. Misty Pratt says:

    I still marvel at how amazing their marketing is. My daughter has NO clue what McDonald’s is, and has never been there, but every time she sees those bright yellow arches out the car window, she says “Mama, can we go THERE?” Damn you, McDonald’s, damn you!! (shakes a fist)

  49. Jenn says:

    I ate there so much as a kid yet my mom says we didn’t but I had a ton of the old toys before they were so crappy. I was 3 or 4 and in preschool and we were making a cook book. Well my mom forgot to send in a recipe with me so the teachers asked what I liked to eat. I informed them “Chicken Nuggets, you just drive up, tell them what you want and you get it” Well that was what was written in the cook book. My mom almost died because it was sent home with each kid and we still have ours.
    My 3 year old only likes the apples and milk so to me it is not really worth it. Those apples are gross though so not sure why she likes them so much. We have only gone there maybe 3 times and once was when we were in the mall and she insisted she wanted a hamburger which she has never really eaten before. She ate the whole thing. Have not gotten her to eat one again…

  50. Ann H says:

    I have to say I eat there from time to time, but at least once per week I go to get $1 diet coke. It is SO GOOD. What cracks me up is that I always order apple slices for my daughter – 2 packs for $1. She loves them. She now sees the arches and gets so excited for “Apples! Apples, Mama! Apples!”

    When we drive back to MN for weekends (I now live in a small WI town) it is basically all that dots Hwy 29. So we eat lots, and lots, and LOTS of apples from McDonald’s.

  51. Ashley says:

    Went to a couple McDonald Birthday parties, and had one myself. Loved them. Best part? That birthday cake. With all the characters made out of sugar and the frosting that had so much sugar in it it was gridy. We would occasionally be able to talk Mom into picking one of those up through the drive thru instead of making a cake when celebrating birthdays. Sadly, those disappeared with the characters. Been craving one for the longest time. ๐Ÿ™

  52. Michelle says:

    Wow. It never occurred to me he was a clown either. Too flippin’ funny.

  53. Melanie G says:

    I remember the playground Grimace & burger jail (officer bigmac?) and was sad when they removed them, even though they were almost always hot enough to melt your skin. One of the McD’s nearby also had a free carousel inside, which was just about the best thing ever.

  54. Catherine S says:

    I loved the fry guy rocking “horses”(?). They really hurt when you’d rock too far and would bang your mouth into them but they were awesome!
    There is some lady somewhere in the Midwest, I think, that has the entire McD’s playground set from the 80’s in her backyard. I am jealous.

  55. Sara says:

    Love this! I remember having a simliar playground at our McDonald’s growing up. I even had a birthday party there…do they still do those? Now the playground is replaced with a disgusting, dirty play place. Ick! I let my kid in there once but won’t do it again! He thinks Ronald McDonald is the same as Old McDonald (as in “had a farm EIEIO”). It’s cute!

  56. April says:

    I remember the outdoor playgrounds! I didn’t until I saw your crappy pictures, then it call came flooding back. Many happy memories of injuries. Now McDonalds is that place I take my kids when they need to burn off energy, its raining and I need something that is free entertainment. They have no idea who Ronald McDonald is.

  57. Juan Castro says:

    …even if it’s with fava beans and a nice Chianti?

  58. Colleen says:

    We had the EXACT same playground, hot slide and all at our Chicagoland McDonald’s. My Dad took us there and told us the big grimace was actually called the “Child Chopper” and once kids started getting it rocking enough, 2 interlocking blades would come down from those 2 poles in the center and chop up little kids and that’s what was in the hamburgers. Sounds terrible right? We thought it was GREAT. Should have scared the crap out of us but it didn’t. I clearly remember shaking the grimace and screaming “the blades are starting to turn dad!!” Hooray for dangerous metal playground equipment and good ol’ terrifying McDonald’s.

  59. Leila says:

    I was born in the 80’s but definitely remember the 90’s best (being alive for 4 yrs in the 80’s didn’t leave enough of an impression) and I TOTALLY remember playing on all those toys! We would only go to McDonalds every once in a blue moon as well, but when we did, IT WAS AWESOME. Burnt skin aside. ๐Ÿ™‚

  60. Jen says:

    Sounds like the small town in WI that you grew up in had the same outdoor play place as the small city in WI that I grew up in. LOVED that. So much. I was so bummed when they took it down ๐Ÿ™

  61. Marnie says:

    Oh man, I used to always go into the burger jail and then be too scared to come down by myself, and then a parent would have to come get me out through the side.

  62. Michele says:

    Love the ABCs.

  63. Kristen says:

    I had my 6th birthday party at McDonalds and I even had a Grimace cake. It was AWESOME!!!!!

  64. Noey says:

    McD’s just isn’t the same without all the fun characters. *sigh*

    And Crappy Baby is right – Ronald *IS* a scary clown guy!

  65. Stacey cote says:

    Hilarious post – as always. I had to say though that my father in law (which we didn’t know about until recently) took my son there several times in his first 2 years of life. We’d drive by a McDonald’s and he’d start saying random crap from the back seat. It took us forever to figure out what “my donuts” and “nuffins” were…he sure knew all about “McDonald’s” and chicken “nuggets”!!

  66. Melissa says:

    As a parent now, the danger of the old play areas isn’t what bothers me. It’s the germs. I imagine if we still had chickenpox parties, we’d all go to a mcdonalds play place to spread it. We eat at McD alot, often even, but I avoid the play place ones like the plague. The food I can handle, the germs on the thank you. School children spread every cold easily enough as it is..I don’t need us all to also catch something while I’m having lunch.

  67. Laura says:

    I’m a child of divorce, and you can probably guess which parent was the one to get McDonald’s take out on Sunday mornings. My sister loved those McDonald’s pancakes so much that when my mom would make us pancakes, my sister would microwave them so they would get rubbery “just like McDonald’s.”

  68. Angela says:

    The saddest day was when I could no longer fit in the hamburger guys plaything. ๐Ÿ™

  69. Lisa says:

    Your childhood memories of McDonald’s are pretty much identical to mine! Great trip down memory lane – this was hilarious!

  70. Nikki says:

    I so remember the old 80’s McDonald’s playgrounds too!! You absolutely nailed it with the pictures. Ours in Fairbanks, AK had a seperate party room with all the big character statues and the apple pie tree and those really uncomfortable red and yellow tables with the small attached stools. Thanks for the memories!!!!

  71. JD says:

    I don’t remember those specific play structures, but I do remember they had this big burger you would sit in and turn the wheel in the middle to spin around. We’d go so fast, we almost got sick. We also had a caboose for parties. Went there once for my cousin’s birthday; not as exciting as I though it would be…

    • Mannie says:

      Oh yeah, I loved the burger spinner! It was a lot of fun if you had a lot of kids in there who could get it going really fast!

  72. Sarah says:

    Scary clown place! Bwah ha ha! I’m laughing because we just went there a couple of days ago, and I think I had an adverse reaction to their french fries. Not only do they not use the characters anymore, they have also changed the stuff that tasted so good. I really wish these people would quit messing with my childhood.

    Sigh… I miss the fry guys. They were the best.

    • Mannie says:

      I totally agree! I haven’t seen the Fry Guys in a long time. I once saw them on a t-shirt in Target and the kids had no idea who they were.

  73. Mannie says:

    I loved McDonalds as a kid. They had the best playground! Unfortunately (or fortunately for me) all our McDonalds are “re-designing” and getting rid of their playgrounds. I think that sucks for kids and don’t really understand it. Do they really think adults WANT to eat McDonalds?!?!?! They’ll learn when their sales take a huge dive.

    • heather says:

      the re-design is due to parents accusing Mcdonalds of making their kids fat-so they figure if they take away all of the children enticing stuff-then the kids don’t want to for sanitary reasons as well… but truly because of the fat kids…. Not that it’s their fault their parent takes them to mcdonalds every day for every meal… Anyway… Mcdonalds is trying to become healthier by their oil, adding the salads, and adding apples and smaller fries to the kids meals..

  74. super funny! i love your blog, but i never comment b/c i’m too cool for that. but this, THIS was an amazing post!! and i’d never take my kids to mcdonald’s… except in the same situation.

  75. Maggie V. says:

    Best. Illustrations. Ever. Exactly how I remember them!!

  76. Lacey S says:

    When I was a really little kid we would occasionally go to McDonald’s – not often, just enough that I have memories of chicken nuggets and smashed cheeseburgers, and yes, the playground. Then we moved up to Washington and my Aunt and Uncle told me that once stopped at a McDonalds and gave a box of fries to their dog, and even though she normally LOVED fries she wouldn’t eat them. So McDonalds became the “dog’s won’t eat their fries” place, and instead we went to a little local burger-stand called Frugals.

    In the past few months I’ve actually gone to McDonald’s several times – their hashbrowns are gluten-free (it is SO hard to find g-f breakfast food to-go!), and they have milk for my son when I forgot to some from home. My son is only 19 months old, and so far there is no “McDonald’s Love” from him ๐Ÿ˜›

  77. Kim says:

    “Never eat at McDonald’s” was on the same list as “never let my kids watch a DVD player in the car”, “never bribe my children with candy to be quiet in a store”, along with about 35 other things that MY children would NEVER do.

    I don’t like McD’s but occasionally we do Happy Meals there. Oddly enough, my girls eat the apples but not the fries (more for me! #winning).

    Ronald McDonald has always scared the shit out of me. He and every other clown on the planet.

  78. Yes that is my real email address ๐Ÿ˜‰

    My kid has been getting fast food crap since he could feed himself a chicken nugget. I drive to GA from KY every few months and well its happens cause I don’t have to get out for anything but gas (diaper days were nice too). Not to mention its soo freakin cheap and easy… sigh

    I guess I am one of the only few adults out there that LOVE McDonalds. Nothing like a McDouble made like a BicMac (Never saw the point of the extra bread with tiny meat?)

    And the magic is in the food I guess because not a single place and I mean not ONE fast food joint in our town has a child playground, indoor or out!!! So, to make up for it as a Mom who also grew up loving those playgrounds, we hit the drivethru and then go to a park!

  79. I used to love the death trap toys, the pit of balls you could jump into that were covered in disgusting germs and my fave was always Grimace-the giant triangle ๐Ÿ˜‰ so sad they got rid of the characters-our kids will some day laugh at our generation and always long to ahve born in a time like us when scary clowns ruled the fast food industry!

  80. Rebecca says:

    I totally remember the head-trapping burger jail, and I can still remember that commercial where Ronald helps up the ice skating kid!!!

    Anyone else remember Birdie the Early Bird (to advertise breakfast at McDonald’s)?

    • Becky says:

      My mind is BLOWN. I am very familiar with all those commercials (The Recital is my fav, when the little girl plays Fur Elise at a piano recital while singing in her head about McDonalds), but I never realized that Birdie was for breakfast.

      This must be what it feels like to suddenly realize Ronald McDonald was a clown.

  81. June says:

    I have 3 girls who were (at the time) 1, 1, and 3 (twins and a big sister). One early morning, we took them all for their immunizations (3-4 shots per girl) and promised an ice cream treat afterward. Dr appt was at 8 AM, we were looking for ice cream by 9:30 AM. The planned ice cream stop at Culvers didn’t work out because, whoops, Culvers doesn’t open until 10 AM! So we pulled into the McD drive through. The girls (clamor-screaming for their treat by this time) hadn’t had breakfast (too early to feed them before the appts, plus the oldest was too freaked out by the idea of shots to eat and her freaking out freaked her little sisters out by osmosis)…

    ANYWAY, we ordered an ice cream cone for them to share and, as an afterthought, added 2 hash browns to the order because, hey, the girls hadn’t eaten anything else yet that day and potatoes were a safe bet to tide them over until lunch. And then, upon hearing my request, the order-taking guy snorted audibly through the intercom and said, “Well, THAT’s a healthy breakfast!”

    The guy working the drive-through window at McD’s, did he just JUDGE my breakfast?!? Ha ha ha ha….

    • Noey says:

      Obviously he is NOT a parent! Occasionally, unhealthy meals of ice cream and hash browns happen. Just like McDonald’s happens.

  82. Ashley says:

    If it’s any consolation, I didn’t realize the Cosby’s were black until I was in college in the late 1990’s. I mean, I knew, it just didn’t click with me that it was an issue. Because I was from a small, all-white town in northern Vermont.

    And grimace always scared me at least as much as the hamburgler. He looked like a communicable disease.

  83. mollie d says:

    as ‘crappy’ as your drawings are, I immediately recognized the playground from the 80’s and had a flashback

    No huge tubey-ecoli covered indoor playland for us!

  84. Krista says:

    The ball pit……what a magical place indeed!
    I’m laughing at the thought of those commercials. My parents have a recording of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer that they recorded on VHS from the TV. Those old commercials are still on it. Little basketball playing nuggets getting dunked in sauce and all. Ronald helping the kids ice skate. They bought it for me on DVD. UGH nope. I have to watch it with the commercials. It’s not the same without the commercials!!!

  85. Trent says:

    About a month ago one of the two McDonald’s in town was torn down with little notice. We drove by and were worried that our 3 yr old son was going to see and freak out. He had totally forgotten that McD’s existed.

    Best. Day. Ever.

  86. Rebecca says:

    I grew up in Madison, but the McDonald’s closest to our house didn’t have a playland, I think my parents planned it that way, we only went a couple times a year. There was one in Wausau that had an INDOOR playland and everytime we went to visit my grandparents I begged to go, but I don’t think we ever did. I was jealous of my friends who got to have their parties there, that was the ultimate party.

  87. Kate says:

    HA! I love the picture of the 80’s McDonald’s playground! I totally forgot about the Hamburgler jail.


  88. amy says:

    I swear, you and I live the same life. It’s creepy. ๐Ÿ™‚ But it makes me laugh really hard when I’m at work and not supposed to be laughing. I used to love McDonald’s too, but my kids have no idea what it is. Thanks for the stroll down memory lane.

  89. Bend mom says:

    My kids (2 and 5) refer to it as “Old McDonald’s”. I had them convinced for a few years that we only went there on long road trips. Every time we would drive by the one in our town, they would see people in the drive-through line and exclaim, “Mom, look at all those people on road trips!” p.s. I admit it. I love their fries. It’s the only thing I will eat there.

  90. Chrissy says:

    so funny! I can’t get my children to eat McDonald’s food for anything! They like to play in the play areas, which my husband has forbidden after we made a very clear connection between public indoor playstructures and dr. appts. I LOVE McDonalds I eat there like 1x a year and its the best. I thought having kids I’d have an excuse to go there 2 or even 3x a year, but its such a waste, because the only thing they will eat at McDonald’s is the ice cream. Everyone tells me this is a good problem to have, which I’m sure it is, unless the McDonald’s is the only place to eat for 50 miles (like your map!). ๐Ÿ™‚

  91. Ohhhh… The burger jail… Loved it! Are you serious that they don’t have these characters anymore?? That’s crazy, what do they use to entice kids now (other than the scary clown)?

    • heather says:

      currently a goat that eats everything-so they take it to mcdonalds to eat a happy meal…. lol with apples and fries and apple juice lol

  92. Tiff says:

    Oop. Had McD’s like two hours ago.. Herp derp.
    I’m over it. My son is never going to be overweight with my intolerance for slacking.

  93. toph says:

    My daughter refused to go there for the fist six years of her life because she didn’t like the food (she didn’t like ANY food, actually). Then she discovered the Happy Meal had a TOY IN IT! I have never seen four nuggets disappear so fast in order to get that piece of shitty plastic! She still won’t eat the fries. I am convinced she is not human.

    For those of you judging people for going to Mc D’s this one is for you. Jim Gaffigan Does McDonald’s:

    • Karen (Scotland) says:

      Loved that! I did once break out in a cold sweat when I saw a friend from my old Breastfeeding Support group in McD’s. Kids were about four but still felt the shame somehow.
      From bf and organic weaning to McD’s in such a short time…

  94. Ryan says:

    Our kids LOVE going to “Old McDonalds”. They even sing a song about it…

  95. I think McDonald’s should consider re-branding themselves the Scary Clown Place. How AWESOME would that be?

  96. ca says:

    I live in NYC and my kids have never been to McDonalds. They can recognize Starbucks and 16 Handles a mile away, and I always marvel at the power of marketing. I guess I assumed that McDonalds was so ubiquitous that they would know it, too. On a recent trip to the suburbs, my 3 year old daughter declared that she had to pee, so of course we pulled into a McDonalds. When we walked in, she asked me if it was a pizza store. I couldn’t stop laughing!! I felt like she was an alien child. Either hysterical or depressing, I’m not sure which…

  97. Tamara says:

    I, too, realized the magic of the 70s and 80s was gone and my children wouldn’t know who Ronald, Grimace and Hamburglar were! Food sucks, I know…but I still would have liked my own children to experience the ‘magic’ of McDonald’s! Times sure have changed…

  98. How did you remember the playground so perfectly! The second I saw it I knew it was exactly right, but I wouldn’t have remembered that in a million years! I laughed so much during this post!

  99. Dianne says:

    Thank you, Crappy Mama. I needed a good laugh today and there was the lovely email telling me you had posted something new, something supremely laugh-worthy!! You came through for me. Thank you.

    p.s. -We never went to McDonald’s when we were kids. I have no idea why, though. We didn’t have a lot of money, so we didn’t eat out often, but I never heard any particular reason why we never ever ever ever went to Mickey D’s. In high school, they added breakfast to their menu (yes, I’m THAT old) and I went there once in awhile. Actually, we went there often in high school, but only to eat fries and drink a shake. Must be time to call my mom and find out what brought on my parents’ McDonald’s aversion. ๐Ÿ™‚

  100. elisa says:

    We have the lamest McDonalds on earth (read: no play ground, old and slimy) one block from our house. We walk by it everyday and it’s never ever occurred to my 2 year old to want to eat there. If it had a playground, we’d be screwed. Although, I LOVED McD’s when I was a kid. Our had an awesome train that you could eat on and we would collect glasses with all the characters on them. The 70’s/80’s were a magical time.

  101. Kimberly says:

    “unless you’re really hungry of course” hahahahhahahahaha!

    I actually LIKE Mcdonald’s…but my kids WON’T eat it. sigh. It never fails, hey?

  102. marissa says:

    We have a fabulous pizza place that is evidently in a really old mcDs. We were unaware until someone looked up and pointed out the very scary severed head of Ron stuck on some ceiling beams. Pretty sure they thought the building would collapse if they removed it. It is horrid.

  103. Jenni Pugh says:

    I only recently realized he was a clown too. He was an awesome man and won’t be forgotten by me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  104. molly says:

    just so you know I just found out Ronald McDonald was a clown… right now… reading this. Seems so clear but I too was clown blind.

  105. Desiree says:

    I worked there when I was 14….and met a live Ronald…and he was a scary clown. Your kids are RIGHT….he curses like a sailor too.

  106. Lynn says:

    I loved the 80’s playground and I remember my mom forcing me to sit still long enough to at least eat my nuggets before playing and then force feeding me the fries… the good old days ๐Ÿ™‚

  107. Jennifer R says:

    OMG! I’m totally with you. I NEVER saw Ronald as a scary clown. But looking at that 80s commercial…he looks freaking scary!!!!!!! YIKES! I miss hamburgaler too. And the little cookies that came inside the happy meal in the shaper of all the characters. Man, our kids have really missed out!!!

  108. That playground WAS a death-trap!! I’m pretty sure the one we hit up in small-town, Michigan was all metal over concrete. You captured it to a tee! So funny that you didn’t realize Ronald was a clown. I was more concerned about what the other characters were. A talking Big Mac-Mayor?! And… what the hell was Grimace?!

    Another brilliant post, Amber!

  109. Amanda says:

    OH YEAH, good old Mayor McCHeese and his head trapping jail! Loved me some 80s McDonladlands! And, the playgrounds wen’t nearly as germ-ridden back then. They weren’t, right? Right?

  110. Zinna says:

    I thought we’d never go to McDs but we did because we travel as a family a lot and when you’re on the road with hungry kids, “McDonalds happens” as previous posters have said (I love that btw). We never wanted to associate McDs with toys, however, so we never bought the Happy Meals. Then one day, out of the blue, our middle son asked for a Happy Meal. I was shocked. Those words had never passed my or my husband’s lips. I asked them when they’ve ever had a happy meal before. Grandpa was the answer. Sigh. Grandpa introduced them (ages 6 and 3 at the time) to that horrific thing. Now, if we have to stop at a fast food place, they always ask for a happy meal so they can get a crappy toy that they NEVER EVER play with but I am NEVER EVER allowed to throw away. Sigh.

    • Bronwen says:

      Oh, those toys! Why why why do kids like them so much?? You are so right, never play with them, but they MUST NOT be thrown in the rubbish!

  111. Joy says:

    I remember McDonalds in the 79’s. Fourteen cent hamburgers, two hundred miles from where I lived.

  112. Sandra says:

    They only reason my kids like to go to mcdonalds is that they have a indoor play ground they quickly eat their fries and a couple bite of their hamburger and then go play

  113. Amanda says:

    Ahh…I miss the 80’s! We hardly went to McDonald’s because “back then” fast food wasn’t as abundant. I don’t remember eating any fries or burgers, but LOVING the boxes of chocolate chip cookies and their orange juice that came in a plastic cup with a foil top. Remember those, or am I crazy? The McRib, too….I have to admit that I have enjoyed a few of those!

  114. Melina says:

    This is the funniest post!

  115. Sarah says:

    Loved pic of you hugging your happy meal, too adorable

    Cried laughing at everything else

  116. I was so proud of myself bc my eldest was in a longitudinal study and when at 4yo he was shown the McD symbol, he didn’t recognize. But once your child has tasted McDonalds, they never forget ๐Ÿ˜‰

  117. melissa says:

    omg…that commercial just brought me to an old happy place i used to have for that place. But yeah, can’t do it (I also don’t have kids). And also, he is NOT a clown…never was!

  118. Jill says:

    Ha! McDonald’s saves our asses on every road trip we take. Long live Mickey D!!!!

  119. shelby says:

    I remember that playground! I loved to go up inside that hamburger tower-thing, but I always got stuck and couldn’t back down the tube.

  120. Nessa says:

    Wow, that’s not actually a crappy picture. That is what it really looked like. I’m actually impressed here.

  121. Mel says:

    You were lucky. McDonalds was the only fast food restaurant in my town as a kid, but it never had a playground. In fact, it’s still the only fast food restaurant, and there’s still no playground.

    • Ali says:

      My town, too. It was THE Friday night hang out after football games for the COOL Kids. (football players & cheerleaders)

  122. Erin says:

    Whoa! My husband and I were just talking about all the characters and the burger jail a week or two ago! It was really scary, now that I think about it. There was only one way up and down.

  123. alicia beckett says:

    Great post! I am gonna back you up on the NOT knowing Ronald McD was a clown thing. Noone ever called him a clown. He was just Ronald. He defied labels. BUt in hindsight,as an adult, he is totally a clown. Hmmph.

  124. Mel says:

    You know what? I never saw a McDonald’s playground until I moved to Australia. The closest one to us when I was growing up (about 25-30 miles from my small town in western Wisconsin) had a waterfall and my brother & I thought that was the coolest thing ever.

  125. Alice says:

    Amber, you are brilliant! That’s how I remember McD’s even over here in little New Zealand (and how my mother used to try and keep us from it).Sigh. My daughter will only eat the fries and apple slices when we go! I think ther dislike must’ve skipped a generation….

  126. Angela says:

    Did anyone ever have the talking tree in your McD’s? We had this little area over by the seats that had little round tables with little round chairs, and right beside it was this huge, floor to ceiling, talking tree. I don’t remember the characters name, but under it were statues of Grimace and the Hamburgler and a few others. There was a button on the tree you could press to make it talk too!

    • melissa says:

      I did, I did!! I totally forgot about that!

    • Nikki says:

      LOL our tree didn’t talk but for my classes senior prank someone stole said tree and put him in the middle of the little pond at our high school. Good times. Good times.

  127. Claire says:

    I was so sad to find out that McDonald’s doesn’t have the cool Grimace bouncer or Mayor McCheese climbing jail thing anymore when I had kids. I hate when my kids ask to go to the ones with a play area because they’re just nasty, germy, plastic infectious tubes. And I’m VERY impressed with your McDonald’s play land drawings!! Spot on!

  128. melissa says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I had totally forgotten about the play structures. Those were the best!

    Let the mocking begin, I’m right there with you on the whole Ronald McDonald thing. I had to picture him while reading your post to reconcile the fact that he was a clown.

  129. Nikki says:

    Greatness!!! Mc Donalds needs to bring back the Hamburglar for motivation. Maybe then my kids would actually eat more than a few bits of there $20 happy meal :/

  130. S says:

    I don’t have much of an imagination. I liked Hamburglar – the only character with personality. I collected their colour-in calendars. Don’t know why. Kids. meh.

    The current incarnation of Ronald McDonald scares me; he looks less like a clown and more like a strange man.

  131. Woolies says:

    There was no McDonalds near where I grew up. And even if there was, even way back then, my mother would never have allowed us to eat there. I finally ate pizza at age 16 while on a trip away without my parents. My teenagers like to tease me about this fact. My mother was a health nut. Which doesn’t explain why she died of cancer at age 55. OK I’ll shut up now. Great scary clown story. :))

  132. Christine says:

    I used to have birthday parties at McDonalds as a kid…and I thought it was THE COOLEST

  133. Yasmin says:

    I’m so hungry right now! I neeeed a McDonalds.
    In France Maccy D’s have this cafe section where you can go and get delicious pastries and really French coffee, and the worlds tastiest macaroons. How can something so bad be so beautiful?

    However, we did go there the other day, I had an M burger with bacon meal and 5 mins later I could have totally gone for it again. Over 1K calories and I wasn’t satisfied! I rolled on home and had some muesli instead.

  134. Meika says:

    The McDonald’s in Japan that we used to go to when I was pregnant still has the outdoor playground and the old toys! In Nagoya somewhere… it was the only restaurant food I could keep down at the time and I remember thinking how AWESOME it was that they still had an outdoor playplace.

  135. Leanna Thompson says:

    So, my in laws fave place to stop on a trip (when they could travel) was always McDonald’s 25 cent coffee for seniors and the bathrooms are always clean. Just saying – there are some redeeming qualities.

    • Christine Jacobsen says:

      The McDonalds bathrooms in Japan are much cleaner, and they make you feel like you’re at a classy restaurant.

  136. Sara says:

    This brought back such joyous memories of getting to choose 2 friends to take with me to McDonalds for my birthday. We had to drive for about 20 minutes to go to the one with the playground, but oh, was is worth it (in my child-mind)! Awesome post, as always!

  137. allison says:

    I’ve never been to Wisconsin. Or McDonald’s. (One of those is a lie).

  138. Christine Jacobsen says:

    Why oh why did that ice skating commercial make me cry??? Oh yeah. I’m pregnant.
    Went to McDonalds for the first time in a year last week. We live on an air base in Japan, so I’ve been too busy eating Japanese food, and Burger King, and Taco Bell. I asked my husband to get me a burger, and when he brought it to me, I looked at it and asked, “where’s the rest of it?”. But my 2 yr old loves the playground. It’s nothing compared to the Grimace bouncy thing, though.

  139. Kaela Wheeler says:

    My two year old knows the In N Out jingle by heart…probably my husband’s crowning achievement as a parent.

  140. Sarah says:

    I just laughed for 20 minutes at the Mayor McCheese Jail. That was the ONLY thing I played on at McDonald’s, and there really wasn’t anything to do with it, was there? You could just kind of coil around the center staircase, and once one kid was in it the whole structure was useless. But I loved that freaking thing. THANK YOU for that picture/memory…and I loved the adorable addition of little you protecting your Happy Meal. Brilliant!

  141. Melanie says:

    Just wanted to say thanks for not judging. I’m a no-McDonalds wannabe mom, but nevertheless we’re there like once a week. I have lost total control of my life. Sigh.

  142. Amanda Reed says:

    I remember fondly that same sort of playground at a McD’s in my town. ๐Ÿ™‚ Now they have the giant hamster tubes at some McD’s. My niece peed in one… Anyhooo…

  143. Mama Thairish says:

    We took a family vacation in 1990 taking about two weeks to drive from Chicago to Kansas City, and the whole time we only at at McDonald’s or Denny’s for EVERY MEAL. It took me 20 years to be able to stomach either restaurant again.

  144. Amanda Reed says:

    Oh! I can’t believe I forgot to mention how dang much I love that McD’s commercial!! It makes me nostalgic and teary eyed every friggin’ time!! I even pinned it one day while I was looking up stuff from my childhood. That commercial meant the holidays were here. We would always go to McD’s for a cheeseburger and hot chocolate after we cut our tree. ๐Ÿ™‚

  145. Trisha W. says:

    I love the accuracy of the playground pictures you drew. I recall those exact toys being at our McDonalds when I was a bit too old to probably play on them.

  146. Ali says:

    Grossest McDonald’s memory: My daughter was about 2 years old and went down the slide in the Play Place & her diaper leaked. It was poop. I had to crawl through the slide with baby wipes to clean it up! Yuck!

    • Noey says:

      At least you cleaned it up. I’ve seen some truly disgusting things done in the Play Place and have yet to see a parent clean up after their kids there. I guess in my area McD’s = don’t have to clean up after the kids? I don’t know. I just know my daughter was never allowed in a Play Place thanks to those nasty parents!

  147. heather says:

    Try this… I am a shift manager for Mcdonalds….granted I’ve spent most of my management time on 3rd shift-still amazes me the few that have their kids out so late at night…. LOL But I’ve spent about 12 years of my working life working for Mcdonalds…Never saw Ronald Mcdonald except for in the beginning of my working career and it was for birthday parties…Yes I am one of those awful parents that GASP buy my son something from Mcdonalds-I mean hey I work there and I get a discount lol. He loves the hotcakes and always wants a plain cheeseburger happy meal… with apples lol… But I don’t do it every day either-more like a couple of times a month as a special treat.. As for my experience as a kid with Mcdonalds-I just don’t remember my feelings about Ronald or the others-I was amazed with the big red shoes though lol… And being excited I could get a shake for breakfast lol

  148. Beth says:

    “That he helped kids when they were ice skating” <—– Priceless and I had the instant holiday commercial flash back
    "McDonalds Happens" <—– Yup it does.
    Thanks for the laughs as always!

  149. Sarah says:

    I loved the drawings – they brought back so much memories! Thanks for the vivid descriptions of the slide – that is SO true!

  150. Jackie says:

    Ronald McDonald came to my school when I was in first grade, and something about the way he talked scares the crap out of me to this day…

    But.. I will give him the “Ronald McDonald House”.. I mean.. Giving families a place to stay while their kids are sick in the hospital is pretty awesome.

    The food is gross.. But like twice a year *to and from disneyland* we stop at the golden arches to eat.. I remember it tasting better when the mcnuggets were made of mostly ostrich meat. o.O


  151. Chelsie says:

    Yeah! What did happen to all the characters?! For the record I never thought of Ronald as a clown either, til today, that is lol He was just Ronald, and my dad’s name is Ron (Ronald) and my mom called him Ronald McDonald as her kid friendly way to be derogatory toward him-they were divorced… Interesting psychological association there…I’m sure we could come up w/some interesting psycho analyses ๐Ÿ˜‰ heh

  152. Samantha Herrmann says:

    Love this post!! Love the pictures! I grew up in small town, central Wisconsin, and still live in a small town in East Central Wisconsin! No wonder I love your posts!! Gotta love Wisconsin women!!

  153. Anna says:

    I admit to liking McDonald’s, but it was my babysitter who introduced my young son to them before he was 2. Oddly, my son doesn’t like their french fries, only their McNuggets. Given a choice, my son would rather go to Starbucks rather than McDonald’s. He likes chai frappucinos and organic chocolate milk. ๐Ÿ™‚

  154. Sarah says:

    This was just too damn funny! When I was little we had a Ronald doll with giant plastic red shoes, red yarn hair & he even had a whistle around his neck that fit in a hole in his mouth and if you stuck it in there & squeezed his stomach, it would blow. True story. My mom still has it and it scares the CRAP out of my 6 year old daughter!

  155. Annie says:

    On an off comment, the only McDonalds in our city with these types of death-trap play structures was dismantled when I was 15 or so. A guy down the street from my husband bought them and put them in his yard. One night, he was out of town, so we broke in and played in them all night. It was magic, I tell you (except my fat ass couldn’t fit up inside of…who was that? Mayor McCheese? The police guy, I think).

  156. Rebecca smith says:

    Best post yet.

  157. michelle dunajcik says:

    My husband and I also started laughing our butts off. we did the same thing!! until 6 years ago we had a McD’s that still had the Grimace bouncer and hamburgler jail. And why did they always put those in front of the direct sun!! I think I have millions of McD’s welt burns. lol
    Grandma was our undoing. We moved home with our second and grandma babysat. she thought that if you went to play you had to eat the entire happy meal. I finally convinced her she could go up for a yogurt snack or just an ice cream. lol

  158. Sam says:

    Unfortunately (for me) I was eating when I read this post and I laughed so hard (and suddenly) that I made quite a mess. My husband looked at me like I was a bit mental too. But then I read your entire post out loud (laughed harder) and he laughed too. So ha. Thanks for the great laugh…oh 80’s, how I loved your dangerous play structures and your eerie product commercials. Flashbacks rock…thank you for posting a link to the commercials. My 3 yr old son also loves McD’s despite it’s obviously diminished magic and eats his food just as fast despite fear of the Hamburglar.
    Still laughing…

  159. Christiana says:

    Ah, McDonald’s!
    I’ve had to be very careful not to take my kids there too much because I’m an absolute addict! I love their food! So YUMMY! But so NOT very good for you unfortunately. Isn’t that always the case?

  160. SeriousCakes says:

    lol, we eat at McDonalds every once in awhile and I hate it when people say, “Do you KNOW what is in that??” Yes, yes I do.
    One day I shall respond in a similar manner when asked if I watched a recent crappy reality tv show, “Do you KNOW what is in that??”

  161. Laurie says:

    My two kids are probably about your age, Amber, and I LOVED that I could take them out to eat at “Micky-Ds,” and that we could all share a 6-piece Chicken McNuggets and fries with a small soda, play on the playground, and they thought we had gone to DisneyWorld! I was the best mom ever on those days. And now my husband, who is on a “no more than $3 for lunch” kick, is happy to grab a McDouble and small coffee (with the senior discount!) Thought McDonald’s was “dying” a few years ago, but it keeps reinventing itself. Speaking of Wisconsin small towns, lived in Sturgeon Bay in the early 60s and a “fish boil” at the local church was the equivalent of McDonald’s ๐Ÿ™‚

  162. Allie says:

    the toilet paper always needs to be OVER!
    btw this post is hilarious! <3

  163. Chrissy says:

    We’re vegetarian, but I started bringing my kids to McDonald’s (for fries and shakes) so that my daughter wouldn’t be made fun of in school for not knowing what McDonald’s was. She calls it “Old McDonald’s.”

    • Courtney says:

      You might want to look into whether the fries are vegetarian. I’ve heard they use beef extract in them. Just a heads up!

  164. Kim says:

    I am soooo craving McDonald’sright now. It will be hard to resist the temptation to bring the kiddo there for lunch tomorrow. What happened to me anyway? I never went there during that adult period before I had kids.

    I remember when Happy Meals were only special promos and ALL the collectible glass glasses. ๐Ÿ™‚ Sadly, we had no McDonaldland in my the Minnesota suburb where I grew up.

  165. Rebecca says:

    Cracking up here. What memories! I was rarely allowed to eat McDonald’s food. You captured it perfectly! My kids are snobs and refuse to eat McDonald’s food lol. But I still like the occasional burger and fries and shake for old times sake ๐Ÿ™‚

  166. Dianna says:

    I LOVE McD’s…although I’m scared that my son will later also but oh well! A little bit won’t kill him. ๐Ÿ™‚

  167. Ellen says:

    Ha I love it! Kids will turn anything into a game. =]

  168. MaryMargaret says:

    Ha! Our family calls McDonalds “McToilet” because it is the only reason to go there… to use their facilities! LOL

  169. dana says:

    not in Racine, right? ๐Ÿ™‚

  170. Kara says:

    Unfortunately, I had an older brother who *LOVED* the movie IT…which terrified me. That and Killer Klowns from Outer Space (please tell me you remember this movie, it was so awful it was great), so, of course, all clowns did and still do scare the ever loving bejeezus out of me…Ronald included. I just figured he was waiting for everyone to leave before turning evil. Love the post!

  171. Kinzie says:

    I’d forgotten about those playgrounds and the awesomeness of it all. Thank you for your Crappy Illustrations!

  172. But does anyone else think the name Grimace is weirdly appropriate? Like, if I have to eat the food I will grimace? Or I have a stomachache now and am grimacing because of the gross food you serve here? Of all facial expressions, why Grimace?

  173. Melanie says:

    Remember the Fry Guy bouncy-horse things? I loooved the McD’s scary playground, too. And, yup, my daughter is only mildly interested in it and really just picks at the food. Now, Five Guys, she just gobbles up. But a Happy Meal, ehhhh, not so much. Thanks for the laugh out loud. ๐Ÿ™‚

  174. Liz Beckman says:

    “oh i wish i had a big chocolate shake, a cheese-bur-ger, and also fries…and i would eat….my fries myself…and not give any…to my dumb brother….” –circa 1982, to the tune of Fur Elise

    • June says:

      YES!!! Totally remember that!!!

      My sister and I used to do a hand-clap routine when I was a kid – “We interrupt this story, to give you the news: Big Mac, Filet o Fish, Quarter Pounder, French Fries, Icy Coke, Thick Shake, Sundaes, and Apple Pie! And the cup ran away with the spoon, yeah!”

  175. Lily says:

    My kids know McDonalds all too well. They have never questioned the scary clown…as long as they get their toy! In our small town (and my diet restrictions…the joy of celiac) we don’t have a lot of options. Sadly, I eat there waaaay more than I should. I probably could have done that documentary along side Morgan Spurlock.

    • Debbie says:

      I still think Morgan Spurlock was being passive-aggressive with his vegan girlfriend when he did that movie:)

  176. Cynthia Weyerman says:

    Loved the characters growing up…my children have had too much McDonald’s over the last couple years. They had half price happy meals on Tuesday nights for several years….cheap easy dinner? Yes please especially when I was pregnant and/or running errands. Luckily even after all that my kids don’t ask for it often, one would rather have sandwiches (Subway) and the other prefers Wendy’s…

  177. Delora says:

    I blame this post on the fact I went through the McDonald’s drive-thru this morning and got a bacon, egg, and cheese McGriddle. It’s been probably a year since I’ve done that.

  178. Sandra says:

    This is your best post ever! I used to love the head trapping burger jail! and guess what! As I was reading, I thought, “Wait. Ronald McDonald is a CLOWN?!!”

    You are not alone.

  179. stephanie poree says:

    I TOO am from a small wisconsin town called slinger but WEST BEND had the same Mcdonald’s play equipment when i was a kid and you drew and described it all perfect. There were also those little goblin guy things you could ride on a big spring, like a horsey. LOVE these descriptions. ๐Ÿ™‚

  180. mary says:

    We had the tiny three seat mcdonald’s merry-go-round that kids would fall off of occassionally!

  181. I may love you even more now. 1.) You’re from WISCONSIN (me too) and 2.) You didn’t know Ronald was a Clown. My husband thought Goofy was a donkey. I love him like crazy. Great post…!

  182. Sabra says:

    Oh my gosh! Ronald McDonald is a clown?!

  183. Jennifer W says:

    Serious flashbacks with those pictures! We only got McD’s when they had the BOGO big mac deals. So it was a HUGE treat to get it when we were kids. The outdoor playland was practically like going to the circus for us!

    I totally was the ‘not me’ parent when it came to McD’s – until my son was 2 & crying for food in the backseat and I had a million more errands to run. McD’s Happens. He begs me now to go in the playland of our current small town WI McD’s but it smells like pee! I mostly go for the coffee, and of course my son wants a happy meal for the craptacular toys when he’s with me. I usually give in but prefer BK.

  184. Shawna Martin says:

    What a coincidence…..Yesterday, before I saw this post, I too was reminiscing about the old school Mc Donald’s playground. The hamburglar jail, grimace, and the spinning burger. Remember, the one with the little wheel in the middle and you could spin it faster and faster??? Why aren’t playgrounds cool anymore? I was thinking about how much my kiddos (okay, me) would LOVE that spinning hamburger.

    • Shawna Martin says:

      When we went to Disneyland, Alice’s tea party was shut down for repairs, and that was what got me thinking about the spinning hamburger. It was just as good as the tea cups.

  185. Trisha_K says:

    Oh, thank you for the 80s flashback to suburban Chicago life! We didn’t go there much, but I totally remember all of those playground pieces! And the ice skating commercial – Love it!

  186. Geri Johnson says:

    I’m so old that when I was a kid I could get a cheeseburger, fries and a chocolate milkshake at McD’s for $1.25. We used to walk up there after the church youth group & sit outside on the picnic tables – there was no inside eating area then & no playground & no happy meals & no quarter pounders with cheese. When my kids were small I used to love the McD’s TV commercials – the one where the kid got picked last for dodge-ball & he/she said “Last! Daddy, last!” So his/her dad took him to McD’s to make him feel better. The last McD’s commercial I saw had some pretty lady dipping her McNugget in sauce and some other lady’s husband was ogling her & his wife tells him to keep his eyes on his own nuggets. Cracks me up!

  187. I didn’t realize he was a clown either. He was just Ronald McDonald! I was just thinking about McDonald’s the other day too, remembering how much I liked it as a kid, but never have and never will take my kids there. Last time I had it like 15 years ago it made my stomach feel funny and I just have heard too much about the ingredients! I feel bad for my kids though for some strange reason, probably the whole ‘missing out on the magic’ thing.

  188. Melissa says:

    I *heart* that crappy baby is half naked even in McDonalds.

  189. Rebecca says:

    Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun…

    My brother worked at McD’s. One day the power went out and he got to bring home all the chicken nuggets. I haven’t eaten one since!

  190. Kari says:

    I love that you were wearing a purple dress, even as a child. Priceless.

  191. Debbie says:

    I have thought the same things lately about McDonald’s. Gone are the good ole days with all the cheezy commercials. Now it is all McCafe and so…grownup…and boring actually.

  192. Sara says:

    I love when you post stuff about your childhood. It always pops up hidden treasures from my childhood, since we’re about the same age. In particular, I remember being really pissed when that playground was removed and they took the merry-go-round out to make room for more seating. ah, the good old days! When each McDonald’s could be unique.

  193. Ceri says:

    Dear Amber, please make a line of shirts with all the craptastic sayings that happen on your blog:
    “McDonald’s Happen’s”
    “Inconvenient Shitter”
    “Penis Pizza”
    “Nutty Human Bean”
    there is more, its just that is almost midnight and i am tired… ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for making us laugh. “I’m loving it!”

  194. Jackie says:

    We have never taken our kids to a McDonald’s, not because we want them to eat healthy, it’s just that the two closest fast food restaurants in either direction of our house are Burger Kings. They haven’t eaten there either. We just don’t have anything close by. They are completely unaware of the playground also. We rarely take them to restaurants just because of the hassle of having two little kids in public where they have to sit and eat, and then trying to figure out what to order for them that they will eat. If we want to waste money on food they won’t eat we don’t need a restaurant to do that, we can do that at home.
    I have never seen the playground you are describing at any McDonald’s when I was growing up. When they built the newer stores with the tunnels to the slide and the ball pit we thought that was the neatest idea but we couldn’t play in it, we were too big by then.

  195. molly says:

    I also grew up in the eighties, in the midwest and loved McDonald’s and the playgrounds. In fact, does anyone remember when it was still PC to have birthday parties at McDonald’s? The cakes would have those hard sugar characters on them that I’m sure were like 100 years old and made of every dye that is terrible for children.

    Good times. I survived (so far:)

  196. Mary Kate says:

    Thank you for the laughs to get my day started!

    Annnnnnnd I totally remember the purple burger jail! Magical is right- we used to stop at mcdonalds on roadtrips all the time.. making the playlands (aka WE GET TO GET OUT OF THE CAR) that much more exciting.

  197. Carolyn a Rogers says:

    When my kids got old enough to understand the ‘junk food is horrible’ messaging and those scary movies about fast food, my son fully embraced an anti-McDonald’s stance. My daughter and I were then forced to hide the wrappers.

  198. Kate says:

    I totally read this while scarfing down some McDonald’s fries and burger. My kid has eaten there. It is a once in a while thing. I miss the characters! The fry guys were always a favorite in my house.

  199. Elunamakata says:

    OMG the burger jail was my FAVORITE thing!! And I still haven’t decided, just…what…what the hell WAS Grimace?? My ex husband insists he was a molded chicken nugget…

  200. JulieBouf says:

    1) I think your illustration of the 80’s playground is my favorite picture you’ve ever created. Oh the memories!

    2) It occurs to me that the Hamburglar was just the precursor to Swiper from Dora. He keeps my 7yo up at night with nightmares.

  201. Tanya says:

    I never comment on your posts but this one brought back so many memories! Growing up in Toronto my mom would take us to the outdoor playground which was surrounded by a tall metal fence. I remember my brother getting hurt in that playground more than once and I burned my hands and legs on the hot metal as well. Ah the memories. Great post Amber. Robble robble.

  202. Chantel says:

    Um…I never realized that Ronald McDonald was a clown either?!?! I just now googled some pictures to confirm…and sure enough, he really does look like a clown! I’m 29 years old and until i read this post, I also had no idea that he was a clown! HA!

  203. Celest says:

    We stopped in there to pee when my daughter was almost 2 and the bathroom was gross. She calls it “stinky Don House” to this day. And yes, we also occasionally eat there, too. I admit it. The fries cannot be beat.

  204. Nicole says:

    Oh my goodness! This post is HILARIOUS. My kids have never been to McDonalds, though they DO know what it is. There are McDonalds everywhere! My oldest son (6) likes to inform me that when he “becomes a man” he is going to choose to eat at McDonalds even though the food there is fake. (LOL!)

  205. Woolies says:

    Speaking of toilet paper orientation, did you know that apparently there is ALSO paper towel orientation?
    Personally, I try not to use the paper towels. I prefer cotton rag towels. And they really are rags, because my big dog Buster steals them off the counter and eats them. But, back to the story, apparently there is a right way and a wrong way to handle the paper towel holder – which isn’t the kind that hangs up like the toilet paper thingy, but stands on the counter. I recently, apparently, put it on backwards. Hubby complained, and couldnt believe I put it on backwards. Who Knew?
    Dear me, I might have to blog about this.

  206. claire says:

    We don’t eat there either and I loved it when I was a kid.

  207. sarah says:

    LOL. I went to that playground in Wisconsin too! Only I was the teenaged babysitter with the little girl who peed at the top of the slide. What were you supposed to do, pour your orange drink down after to wash it off?

    But I don’t let my kids eat there either..however, when they were very small, I would take them to one with a giant indoor play structure in the winter and have a cup of coffee while they played.

  208. Emandeli says:

    So…as I’m reading this I have the same response out loud “Ronald Mcdonald is……a clown??!???” and my husband looks at me and frowns, laughs and says “Yeaaaaaah” (in a tone like how could you not know that it’s obvious!). I frown and am flabbergasted that I am now in my early 30’s and until this blog post have never ever not once made the connection that he is a CLOWN!? How freaking scary. I get it now kids, I get it.

  209. Nicole Ziegler says:

    I know I am late to the game here, but I just finally read this, and I have to say (besides the whole conversation being hysterical), you just blew my mind. I totally never realized Ronald McDonald was a clown either! Amazeballs.

  210. happymama says:

    My oldest calls it “chicken donalds” and is terrified of the clown. We recently moved across the country (Ohio to California) she’s obsessed with the giant plastic play areas lol its nice when its to hot for the park. We grab an icecream and play ๐Ÿ™‚

  211. I hope to avoid McD for my kid as long as possible. The play area is really gross, the food is ok. But I love that they love it for the scary clown

  212. Shiyrah says:

    O…M…G!!!! I have tears running down my face!!!! I remember that grimace jail!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA!! Thank you for that ๐Ÿ˜€ I don’t eat at McD’s anymore, but definitely have great memories! We also used to have a hotdog restaurant called Frankies – that place was A…mazing.

  213. Elisabeth says:

    It must be a girl thing, since I didn’t realize he was a clown either – just some kind of character like Grimace (now that I think of it, what the heck is Grimace? A look into our future after eating too much McDonalds – purplish and bloated at the bottom? hehe).

  214. Luke says:

    I just stumbled upon this blog from a friend who facebooked it…I’m sorry, but this is the funniest shit that I’ve ever read! Hilarious!

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  216. tara says:

    I know I’m totally late to this discussion, but this post was too awesome to not comment.

    The good old days with hurty slides and playgrounds were the best.

    Also, I love that you included a wiki link to toilet paper orientation. It obviously goes OVER.

  217. Jen says:

    I just wish they’d bring back those godawfully unhealthy little packets of cookies that used to come with the meal. I don’t know what they laced those with but I STILL have cravings for those!

  218. Brenda says:

    I just had to comment even though this post is months old. Because I just talked with my mom about the Hamburger Jail less than a week ago! I used to love that playground, and Grimace, Birdie, and the weird little pompom type guys.

  219. lawahine says:

    This post actually made me very sad. I loved McDs as a kid for all the same reasons. My mom would actually take me quite a lot. She liked the filet-o-fish. I used to eat my french fries with the honey that you could get with your chicken nuggets. Who remembers they used to give you honey with chicken nuggets?! And remember chicken nuggets with dark meat?? Man… I miss the 80s.

    My mom even refuses to admit these memories were real. “I never fed you junk food.”

    Okay, mom…

  220. Elissa says:

    Wow…. I absolutely hate clowns. It never occurred to me that Ronald McDonald was a clown….

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