Ryan Um | 

Adult Happy Meals Are Back, but the Price Is Steep

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In October 2022, we saw a first from McDonald’s: Adult Happy Meals. It not only had an adult-sized McDonald’s meal, but it also came with a toy for adults. It only lasted for a month, so while we can’t get the exclusive Happy Meal toys that were released — they’re selling for big bucks online — we’ve got good news: the Adult Happy Meals returned on Monday, Dec. 11, 2023, with six NEW McNugget Buddies toys. Yes, it’s true — and we have all the details below. We’ll show you all the ways that you can get an adult Happy Meal and how to save money on all your Happy Meal purchases.

There are even more ways to get free McDonald’s (and even some exclusive McDonald’s secret menu items that you should know about).


The new adult happy meal is officially named the Kerwin Frost Box and arrived Dec. 11, 2023.

kerwin frost happy meal

You may be wondering who Kerwin Frost is (and for good reason). McDonald’s teamed up with Kerwin Frost, a creative director, street style icon and lifelong McDonald’s fan. The last we saw McDonald’s “Buddies” was 25 years ago, and Frost was able to reimagine them for the 2023 release.

The Kerwin Frost Box includes the choice of 10-piece Chicken McNuggets or a Big Mac, World Famous Fries, a soft drink and a special McNugget Buddy collectible.


The price of this new adult happy meal will vary by location, but expect to pay $10.99 for a medium and $11.79 for a large.

a person ordering a happy meal at mcdonalds

We expected the price to be around $10.80 based on what the Cactus Plant Adult Happy Meal cost, which ended on Oct. 31, 2022. In larger markets like New York City, you may see the meal cost about $13. And it’s true: the new Happy Meal will cost $10.99 for a medium and $11.79 for a large.

All in all, the new meal will run you about $2.50 more than the same meal sans the toy.


The new meal comes with one of the new McNugget Buddy collectibles, all inspired by Kerwin’s childhood.

a person holding up a happy meal toy at mcdonalds

Each box comes with a new McNugget Buddy collectibles, including Kerwin Frost, Don Bernice, Uptown Moe, Waffutu, BRRRICK or Darla, all inspired by Kerwin’s childhood. These are FREE, and as collectibles, you can expect them to be listed on eBay and other marketplace sites shortly after the release. You can see a few listed here on eBay.

“The McNugget Buddies were first introduced in 1988 as part of a limited time Happy Meal featuring ten different McNugget Buddy collectibles,” McDonald’s said in a statement. “They’re best known for their wacky adventures and personalities, wild imaginations and interchangeable outfits.”

Here’s the breakdown of each collectible, according to the press release:

  • Kerwin Frost: The Mayor of Frost Way is a true champion of the Buddies and encourages them to be themselves. In his free time, catch him adding art to his collection or fixing things around the neighborhood.
  • Don Bernice: The Wise Stylist, an experienced fashion designer who creates all the outfits for the Buddies in Frost Way, while also offering stern advice (that’s always nice!). After all, she is “don” – the very best!
  • Uptown Moe: The Neighborhood Hero, the no-nonsense, street-smart, supportive guy from around the block in Frost Way everyone knows and loves. He also gives the best motivational speeches on a whim.
  • Waffutu: The Curious Optimist, who grew up in Frost Way and was raised by the whole neighborhood. She spreads positivity wherever she goes and can turn any frown upside down with the wave of a wand and tilt of a crown.
  • BRRRICK: The Cool Guy, the most adventurous Buddy in Frost Way who speaks in puns, loves trying new things and techno music. He’s lowkey nervous, but always cool under pressure.
  • Darla: The Dreamer, a soft-spoken yet peacefully confident singer who moved to Frost Way to pursue her dream of becoming a superstar as the lead singer of “The Frostettos.” When she’s not on stage, she’s running the local McDonald’s in Frost Way – where she’s employee of the month every month!


The last Cactus Plant Adult Happy Meal promotion ended on Oct. 31, 2022.

A mcdonalds chicken nugget adult happy meal on table top with toy being held in front

The official Adult Happy Meals from Cactus Plant ended on Oct. 31, 2022. They came with a 10-Piece McNugget or a Big Mac, medium fries, a medium drink, and an exclusive Cactus Plant Happy Meal toy.

The toys are based on a few original Happy Meal toys from the 1980s and resembled one of three classic McDonald’s (Birdie, Grimace, and Hamburglar) and a fourth original character called Cactus Buddy. Each toy had four eyes as homage to Cactus Plant’s original branding.

This promotion was the first of its kind. In the past, McDonald’s has paired up with artists and clothing brands to give us merchandise and special meal combos or sauces, but we’ve never seen specific Happy Meals geared toward adults before this release.


The easiest way to get an Adult Happy Meal? Create your own by purchasing a toy separately.

A person's hand holding a McDonald's Happy Meal toy (Kingo from The Eternals) in front of a kitchen counter.

Want a bigger meal but still want the Happy Meal experience? (And by that, we mean the toy.) McDonald’s sells Happy Meal toys separately for $1.59 – $1.69 depending on your location. You’ll be restricted to the Happy Meal toys that are available that month, but if you have a preference for which toy you want, you can ask for that toy.

You can purchase your own Cheeseburger or Chicken McNuggets meal for $7.99 – $8.59, so you’d be paying at least $9.58 for your DIY Adult Happy Meal.

NOTE: In October 2022, McDonald’s also released the McDonald’s Halloween Buckets which cost the same as a regular Happy Meal toy if you purchased it separately. However, if you purchased a Happy Meal, you’d get the bucket and toy without an additional fee.



Adults can totally order the ‘regular’ Happy Meals, if you’re cool with the portion sizes.

A 6-piece kids Happy Meal sitting on a table outside of a McDonald's storefront.

The only age restriction on a Happy Meal is that they must be 2 years or older. That means you can get a Happy Meal as an adult — no questions asked.

Currently, there are three different McDonald’s Happy Meals. Each one comes with a main entree, apple slices, kid-sized fries (which are smaller than a small), a small drink, and the toy. Toys change seasonally at least once a month, so you can expect something different every month.

Here are the different types of Happy Meals that you can get:

  • Hamburger Happy Meal: $4.09
  • 4-Piece McNugget Meal: $4.49
  • 6-Piece McNugget Meal: $4.79


Use your McDonald’s Rewards account to get a free Happy Meal when you redeem 6,000 points.

women holding cellphone with mcdonalds app next to happy meal

With the McDonald’s Rewards program, you can earn 100 points for every $1 spent. Once you reach 6,000 points ($60 spent), you can use your points to redeem a free Happy Meal. You’ll be able to choose which Happy Meal you’d like, but you can’t use any other deal or redeem another reward with your free Happy meal.


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