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Thursday, May 8, 2014
Disney's Toy Story At Burger King
In November of 1995, the groundbreaking PIXAR animated film Toy Story debuted. Back then, it was known as Disney's Toy Story. In the United States, Burger King promoted Disney's big animated films, starting with Beauty and the Beast in 1991 and ending with The Hunchback of Notre Dame in 1996. Outside of America, McDonald's promoted all these films, including Toy Story.
Burger King Kids Club Meals featured six different Toy Story toys. Aside from the Burger King toys, Toy Story merchandise (especially anything related to Buzz Lightyear) was tough to find in stores in 1995.
With such a large cast, it is interesting to see which characters were chosen for the promotion. The Army Recon Squad is a fun and different choice. I remember thinking the Little Green Men aliens should have been represented. The Woody premium is worth noting because the head and boots are plastic and the body is cloth (a similar toy was used for Clopin in Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame toys sold at Burger King in 1996). I thought it was interesting that Hasbro's Mr. Potato Head was used rather than another Disney-owned Toy Story character. Rex the dinosaur has wheels here for some reason.
In addition to the Kids Club Meal toys, Burger King sold Toy Story hand puppets for $1.99.
I think the Buzz Lightyear puppet was the toughest to get. Burger King also sold character puppets for The Hunchback of Notre Dame in 1996.
Computer animated movies are very common today, but in 1995, quite a few Toy Story viewers did not know what kind of film they were watching.
I can remember watching Toy Story in the movie theater, and seeing the trailer for Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I do remember thinking that Toy Story was the beginning of the end for hand drawn films.
Naturally, a movie about toys has a good chance of being a big hit at Christmas.
Because Toy Story was such a different type of movie, there was uncertainty of how well it would be received. At the time, Disney was trying to diversify their animated offerings. That's why there was Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), A Goofy Movie (1995) and James and the Giant Peach (1996).
Kid Vid and his friends were the mascots for the Burger King Kids Club for many years.
Burger King discontinued Kid Vid and his pals years ago. They should not feel too bad, because I haven't seen Grimace and the other classic McDonaldland characters at a McDonald's in years.
How ironic that the movie that seemingly ended hand drawn animated features used a hand drawn flip book as a Burger King promotional tool.
In the United States, Burger King had another set of Toy Story Kids Club Meal toys in October of 1996 to promote the home video release of the film. When Disney's stateside partnership with Burger King ended in 1996, the Toy Story characters found a home at McDonald's. In 1999, McDonald's promoted Toy Story 2 with a set of 20 different toys. By the time Toy Story 3 debuted in 2010, marketing decisions had changed, and there weren't any fast food promotional toys for the film.