Ah, McDonald’s. We’re not too proud to admit that, every now and then, we sneak a Big Mac (or two) into our normally healthy diet. Sure, the treat isn’t keto or Mediterranean or even DASH-approved, but, as a ‘once in a while’ indulgence, the fast food restaurant has a menu that’s hard to beat.

But, while we certainly enjoy this high-calorie guilty pleasure from time to time, we sure do miss the days when McDonald’s was an outright pleasure that we didn’t need to sneak. The days when the mere sight of Ronald McDonald sparked joy in our souls and nothing tasted better than a Happy Meal after a Saturday soccer game victory (or defeat!).

Let’s take a walk down memory lane together to reminisce about our most thrilling times spent at the iconic fast food chain. Here are the 11 reasons why McDonald’s was so much better when we were kids…

  1. The guilt-free consumption

    As mentioned, visiting a McDonald’s used to be a simple trip that didn’t involve calorie-counting and an extra hour on the treadmill. When we were kids, we weren’t ordering the small fries to cut some extra fat–the more the better! Those were the days…

  2. The delicious seasonal menu items

    Our all-time favorite was (and still is!) the Shamrock Shake. Luckily, these mint-flavored delights can be made low-calorie and even in the comfort of your own home!

  3. The deluxe toys

    As a kid, sometimes you would walk out of McDonald’s with a lame toy car with wheels that barely spun, but other times you would walk out with something a bit more “deluxe!” Happy Meal prize FTW!

  4. The Happy Meal

    And, speaking of Happy Meals, our heart still skips a beat every time we lay eyes on a Happy Meal box. That colorful, M-shaped container is full of deliciousness and fun!

  5. The first-ever Big Mac

    Remember the day when you graduated from eating a Happy Meal to an adult-sized Big Mac? We don’t know about you, but no other occasion has made us feel more like an “adult!”

  6. The collectible glasses

    Somehow our morning OJ just tasted better when we drank it out of a McDonald’s glass!

  7. The classic McDonald’s breakfast

    Sure, eating pancakes out of a styrofoam box might not SEEM appetizing now, but as a kid, it constituted the most exciting breakfast ever.

  8. The McDonald’s movies

    Kids of the ’90s definitely remember the VHS tapes that McDonald’s would hawk from time-to-time. Random, but fun!

  9. The McDonald’s PlayPlaces

    As an adult, the idea of crawling through a darkened tunnel filled with half-eaten fries and McNuggets sounds terrifying—but as a kid, it was loads of fun!

  10. The Halloween Happy Meals

    The best part about these seasonal Happy Meals? You could take the tub trick-or-treating with you on Halloween. Much better than pillowcases, if we do say so ourselves.

  11. The obscure menu items

    Remember McDonald’s Pizza? It might not have been a hit, but it sure made the fast food chain an even more desirable place to visit!

We’d love to hear your take on this topic! Did you love McDonald’s as a child? What was your favorite obscure menu item that you can no longer order? Do you still eat lots of meals from McDonald’s today?