Day 107: Playskool McDonald’s Set


While the liberal media has killed the beauty that is McDonald’s over the last decade, I remember a day during the 1970s when McDonald’s wasn’t poisoning the underclass and undermining all that is good and right about the unaffordable organic food movement. McDonald’s will never simply be just another chain burger joint, McDonald’s was a “familiar place” to use Playskool’s advertising of this series of toys in the early 70s that included Texaco, Holiday Inn, and McDonald’s. Of the three, the McDonald’s set was the only one worth having, and it was one of the most memorable toys of the 70s. Not only was it a place I was intimately familiar with as a kid (our family ate there more than a few times a week—and it was a sit down meal with all 8 of us), but the fact was remarkably re-enforced by the design of the toy. The restrooms were uncannily like the one’s at our local McDonald’s, and the whole thing just seemed so intimately familiar that I could play out our family adventures from that very evening with a few block-headed figures.

Although, in truth, the genius of this toy was the dinging cash register and the elaborate tray system. Not only did the trays fit between a character’s chin and chest so they could carry them around. But there was a kind of tray sliding system that allowed you to move them throughout the kitchen area, and even place used trays into a depository in the side of the restaurant. It was one of the most compelling designs of a toy that I can recall from my childhood, and the “familiar places” theme that Playskool used was both insidious and fascinating all at once. I loved this toy, and the triangle hat-wearing blockhead characters always struck me as unique, but the larger fact is that the whole toy was actually as functional and efficient as McDonald’s—which is why I still love them both.

And if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and bid on this set over at Ebay, which, by the way, offers some wonderful images with brilliant detail of the very elements that intrigued me so as a kid.

The restrooms were true-to-life!


The cash register that dings and the trays, which were my favorite part of this set,
they fit cleanly between the blockhead characters’ chin and chest


A drive-thru McDonald’s in a 1974 play set


The Tray Return was my favorite part of the set, it was so streamlined, just like McDonald’s


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13 Responses to Day 107: Playskool McDonald’s Set

  1. Pingback: Day 98: Playskool Rescue Center at bavatuesdays

  2. mike. says:

    I actually had this growing up! The cars, the building, and the people, anyway – have no recollection of the sign, mat, or playground. The set was perfectly scaled to the Fisher Price “Little People” as well, also prized childhood possessions.

    Though I remember (and love) all the features you mention, I recall that my brothers and I also decided, somehow, that the underside of the building was a perfectly serviceable simulation of the bridge of the starship Enterterprise.

    This is the sort of thing that happens when you don’t let your kids play with the other neighborhood kids.

  3. Pingback: Day 95: McDonaldland Playset at bavatuesdays

  4. ValueDining says:

    Thank you for the cool memories!

    And here is some good news about people’s taste.

    Our most popular page on our Coupon and Gift Card Website: McDonalds.

    When the Angus Beef Coupon came out – we were swamped.

    Tells you where taste still is, McDonalds is timeless.

    Really appreciate the Posting!

  5. Stacy Hornstein says:

    I used to have this playskool Mcdonald’s in the 70s. Saw that it costs $10.87 now.. I would like to find out how to order this for my children so they could have a little of my past.

  6. Sage Holben says:

    I was looking around for prices on the Playskook McDonald’s – I have one and am sad to see only $10.87! It truly was a generational thing – my younger friends with very young children want nothing to do with it because of the health issues (of food, not plastic!)

  7. JIM STARKEY says:

    I have a complete playskool mcdonalds set . I would like to sell if interested. I can provide pix.

  8. Mr. Jordan, do not be dissuaded nor crestfallen by the inevitable flood of idiots that will decry you for taking a positive, and proactive stance in the raising of your children. You have done absolutely nothing wrong nor unwarranted. You set a rule, it was violated, you took action. THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT A CONCERNED AND LOVING PARENT SHOULD DO. For too long, our country has labored under the delusion that children can do no wrong, ever, at any time. This is simply not true. Children, by their very nature, are duplicitous and dishonest. They are not evil, per se, but they do act from impulse rather than enlightened self interest. That is exactly why we do not allow them to enter into financila contracts or to own property. They simply do not have the maturity to handle those obligations. By that same token, the lap top that was destroyed did no, at least in a legal sense, belong to your daughter. You bought and paid for it, and, as a responsible adult, it belonged to you. By extension, its use was subject to your terms.

  9. Pingback: 12.17.13 | offset burgers | Juliebie365

  10. Ben says:

    real cool set too
    Playskool even made a Texaco gas station set this size too

    I do want to get JUST the McDonald’as sign for my train layout

  11. Calvin E Carpenter says:

    I absolutely love this playset! I never, ever had one when I was a child, but I always wanted one. Finally, at age 47, I purchased a near complete set on eBay for a really, really nice price last month! One of my cousins had one, when I was a kid and I was so jealous of her! ? Interesting that the 1974 playset has a drive-thru feature because the actual drive-thru didn’t debut until early ’75!

  12. Ted Mills says:

    I had this exact set too, and yes, the tray return made the entire experience. I think I got mine a little after 1974 (I was probably too young for it), maybe around 1976 when I saw Ice Capades, which featured “Ronald McDonald and Friends on ice!”.

    Thanks for the photos, that unlocked a lot of memories.

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