Figure Friday: Curiosities From the Cap Cave – 1987-1990 McDonald’s Changeables

Welcome back to another edition of (cue dramatic music) CURIOSITIES FROM THE CAP CAVE! This Figure Friday feature brings you some of the less mainstream toys that I’ve acquired over the years and what they mean to me.

Happy Meal toys have been a bit of a sticky subject around the Cap Cave recently. My daughter, in an effort to thin my grandson’s collection, has been secretly giving me the Happy Meal toys that he no longer plays with. This has been a great arrangement for me because I get some fun toys and don’t need to eat the fast food in the process.

My grandson on the other hand is starting to get suspicious. On his most recent visit, he pulled me aside and said: “I have to show you something. You see this toy? (Pointing at a Happy Meal toy of Luisa from Encanto) This was mine. You got this from my house.” Taken aback, I deflected and told him he was mistaken that I got it at the store. He saw through this lie, but not all the way, doubling down by telling me: “Well whatever store you got this from… they stole it from me.” I love my grandson. I love that his bullshit detector is finally starting to come online, though I do wonder what conversations we can expect come next holiday season. That being said, I thought it might be fun to take a look back at one of my favorite Happy Meal toys of all time: Changeables!

Changeables were McDonald’s attempt to capitalize on the transforming robot market that became popular in the 80’s. As opposed to paying for the Transformers or Go-Bots license, McDonald’s created robots that transformed into popular menu items. The series was so successful that they released three waves of Changeables from 1987-1990 and even revisited two of the toys as part of the 40th Anniversary Series in 2019.

The great thing about Changeables was the fact it only took a few moves to get from Hamburger or Hot Cakes to robot/dino mode. If you’ve ever struggled to get your robot into their disguise, like I have, then you understand that less is more. The food mode looked great. The robot and dino modes made the best out what they were working with. I give a slight edge to the dinosaur Changeables. The eyes give them a little more personality than the robots. If you were a fan of robots and/or Happy Meals during the three years they produced Changeables, you probably had a small army of them. Today, you can grab them off Mercari for the price of a couple Happy Meals.

With McDonald’s going retro recently by bringing back the Halloween buckets, maybe we’ll see the line revisited in the not-too-distant future? If they relaunch the line with today’s menu items, what would we get? Iced coffee? McFlurry? Maybe we get some healthy food like a juice box or apple slices? If McDonald’s does bring them back at some point, I’m hopeful to get some hand me downs from my grandson. If he’s caught on by then and decides to keep his toys, maybe I’ll get lucky and his little brother will be old enough to keep my illicit Happy Meal toy smuggling operation afloat. Ba Da Ba Ba Bah, I’m Lovin It.

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