The Overrated Adult Happy Meal at McDonalds


Photo courtesy of the Cincinnati Inquirer

Alexis Hornsby and Sadie Dolloff

On October 3, 2022, the McDonalds franchise released a creative idea of an Adult Happy Meal. This limited edition meal comes in a special box and consists of either a 10-piece chicken nugget or a Big Mac sandwich with medium fries and a medium drink. 

McDonalds Happy Meals for children have been a staple on the McDonalds menu since 1979 when McDonalds first introduced them. Over the years, McDonalds began using themes for the Happy Meals when McDonald’s entered partnerships with other companies. The themes often center around TV shows or popular movie franchises. For example, according to Insider, the Star Trek-themed box came out of McDonalds’ first film partnership.

According to Meara Isenberg with CNET, “… the Cactus Plant Flea Market Box — that’s based on the fashion brand collaborating with McDonald’s on the promotion.” According to Prerna Nambiar with HITC, the adult happy meal promotion will end on October 31st. Like the children’s Happy Meals, each adult Happy Meal comes with a “toy,” consisting of one of four figurines. The figurine options are Grimace, the Hamburglar, Birdie, and Cactus Buddy. Each figurine has two sets of eyes and looks as though it was made by kindergarteners out of Play-Doh®. 

Upon sampling the adult Cactus Plant Flea Market Box meal for the first time, we were pleasantly surprised with the portion sizes. We thought that the 10-piece chicken nugget meal provided plenty of food. The adult Cactus Plant Flea Market Box costs more than simply buying the food items as a normal meal with fries and a drink. The price of the adult Happy Meal ranges from $10 to $13 compared to $8 to $10 for the food alone. According to our calculations, the customer pays approximately $3.00 for the toy and box.

The figurines that are included with the adult Happy Meals are just plastic figurines and lack functionality. We did not see the attraction of the toy as it was much less exciting than most of the toys in the children’s Happy Meal and in our opinion did not justify the extra cost. 

Overall, we were not pleased with the adult Happy Meal. It has its pros and cons like most other meals. Despite the odd name and uninspired toy, McDonalds seems to have found a market for the Cactus Plant Flea Market Box meal as they appear to often be sold out. However, we personally did not think that the extra price was worth the toy so we are not in agreement with the adult happy meal hype.