Back in the old days... back when men were men and kids were kids, McDonald's playgrounds were something special. Back then, you had cool climbing equipment, fun slides, giant Sit 'n Spins, teeter totters, and weird bouncy thingies, all some identifiable object or McDonald's character. Nowadays, it's just a big, random assortment of tubes. Sometimes with a ball pit. Never with any real character. A shame, really.
And yes, I know photos would be nicer than lame handmade gifs. Sorry I don't have those. Ah well.
There's the old officer Big Mac himself. Everyone remembers him, right? Or at least the piece of playground equipment he had. There was an opening at the bottom, and a choice of three ladders. Choose the one on the left or right, and you'd be able to climb into the "cage" area, crawl around, play in, and pretend to be in jail. There usually seemed to be one big opening as well, for whatever reason.
But didn't I say there were three ladders? Why, yes... that middle ladder. That led to Big Mac's hat... sometimes. Several of these had a metal plate blocking the top of the hat. In those cases, just darn. Others had it unblocked, though, allowing you to climb to the very top, inside the hat!
And how fun was climbing inside his hat? Well, that depended, really... as you can see above, this guy came in two flavors: with or without holes in his hat. If he had no holes in the hat, then it was still kinda' cool to climb to the top, but not that much. If there were holes, though, then jackpot! You could see the whole wide world below from up there! Wave hi to Mom and Dad, watch traffic zoom by... wave hi to Mom and Dad again. Well, OK, maybe there wasn't that much you could do, but still, yay fun!
The twisty slides! The spiral slides! The... um... slides. You climbed up the stairs, and slid down the slide.
But again, a slide may be just a slide, but these slides had character! Literally! The Hamburglar and Captain Crook slides, the two greatest slides in all slide-dom. Mostly a regular slide, but with a giant character bust on the top! Back in the mid-80s, at least, almost every playland had at least one of the two slides. Several had both! Always fun to play fort with them, since they had that neat little "hut" at the top!
Now, the all-important question: which of the two slides was cooler? The Captain Crook slide was more colorful, while the Hamburglar slide was just black and white, but that fit him. The Captain Crook slide has great nostalgic value for those of us who remember him from the commercials, but at the same time, the reason the Hamburglar lasted longer was that the Hamburglar was cooler to start with, so I've gotta' go with the ol' Hamburglar here. Also cool that these were made before he turned into a child, so we got the old big-nosed one! Cool!
At first glance, the spinning hamburger didn't have the same value as most of the old equipment, since unlike everything else, this didn't have the "character association" value going for it.
I don't care, though. This was the second-coolest thing on the playground, next to Big Mac. You just stepped in, took a seat, and spun the little wheel in the middle. Then the entire thing would spin, spin, and spin some more, as long as you kept turning on the wheel! Cool and fun and dizzifying! Also cool in that it was made so parents could easily have fun with their children, as the parent could ride on it too!
Um... yeah. These tended to be the most plentiful piece of equipment on the playground, with most having several. The Fry Kids seemed rarer, but that could've just been me. Either way, while riding on a Fry Kid, or googly-eyed hamburger, or... um... the boring-in-comparsion ship was fun for enjoying the character, and how cute they looked... it just wasn't very fun. Still, props for the nostalgic value!
The see saw was... well, a see saw. It was like a bouncy thingie, but you could actually get a bit of height. While it was more fun than a bouncy thingie, you also needed a friend to get it to work: otherwise, you weren't gonna' get a whole lot of fun out of it. Too bad.
The Ronald McDonald statue. Almost every playland had one. Often it would be placed in a way so that kids couldn't easily get to him. Sometimes not. Ronald McDonald was cool, though. So cool, that he wasn't a piece of equipment to play on: you just looked at him. And basked in his presence. And that was all he needed to do, because hey, he was Ronald McDonald!
Grimace. Here looking more like a spider with Grimace's head. Honestly, I have no idea what you did with it. In my whole life, I've only seen this at two McDonald's locations. One I've never been to, and the other I'd never gone to until 2002, long after they replaced the old playground with an indoor playplace. Nevermind the fact that I'd have been too big to use it, anyway. Maybe I could've brought a sibling to test it out.
As it is, I can't really grade it, since I've only viewed it from afar. But it's Grimace, so it was probably cool.
I've also never been on this thing. For that matter, I've only seen this at a single McDonald's location ever, and only until about 1990, when they got rid of it.
What was it? Looked like a layer cake with icing and a cherry on top. How did you play on it? It looked a lot like a Big Mac piece of equipment, really. Except with a ladder on the outside of the unit to climb, and a slide going out a large opening between the bars. So um... guess it was a combination of Big Mac and a slide. Probably fun, but it would probably lose points for just being so random. I mean, Big Mac is cool! A random slice of cake is just... yeah.
The McDonald's Playground Page
All rights to McDonald's, its characters, it's equipment, and probably every single thing we will ever do, owned by McDonald's, the McDonald's coorporation, and McDonald's again. I am vile, worthless scum, who owns nothing, and especially does not own McAnything, or anything remotely McRelated, included, but not limited to, the McCharacters, the McEquipment, or images from anything that looks even slight Mc-Like.