McDonald’s Grimace is Getting a Birthday Meal + Learn the History of Those Strange Characters

grimace birthday mcdonalds

Starting today (6/12), you can celebrate one of McDonald’s most iconic and bizarre character’s birthdays. That’s right, we are celebrating Grimace and he is sharing a limited-edition birthday meal with his fans. While the strange fast-food characters were more popular decades ago, the chain has been bringing them back in recent years for a dose of nostalgia. Included in the Grimace Birthday Meal is a purple shake made with vanilla soft serve. It has a berry flavor, making it a purple color. Then you can pick either a Big Mac or a 10-piece Chicken McNuggets and of course, fries are included.

mcdonalds grimace birthday meal


McDonald’s is also offering some Grimace merch including socks and T-shirts as well as an exclusive video game. Everything is only available while supplies last, so if you’re a Grimace fan, be sure to stop at your local McDonald’s as soon as you can. His birthday celebration leads us to the age-old question: what exactly is Grimace? He is a big purple… thing? Whatever happened to the rest of the McDonald’s gang including Ronald McDonald? Let’s find out.


NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 24: Ronald McDonald (wearing face shield) and Grimace appear in the 94th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade¨ on November 24, 2020 in New York City. The World-Famous Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade¨ kicks off the holiday season for millions of television viewers watching safely at home

Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Macy’s, Inc.

When he debuted in 1971, he was originally known as Evil Grimace, perhaps as a villain to the otherwise happy and friendly characters. He softened over the years and became one of the most beloved characters, mostly because people wondered what the heck he was. Reportedly, he was modeled after a tastebud. He’s also considered Ronald McDonald’s best friend and is known for saying “duh” before each sentence. Grimace has an Irish uncle named Uncle O’Grimacey, who is green, and comes around once a year to promote the Shamrock Shakes.

Ronald McDonald

MAC AND ME, Ronald McDonald, 1988

Everett Collection

The official mascot and most-well known character at McDonald’s, Ronald’s outfits have changed over the years but he still has that bright red hair and clownlike appearance. McDonald’s attempted to retire Ronald several times but he has been so synonymous with the chain for decades that he will likely never go away. For a while, Ronald also had a dog named Sundae that would make a few appearances.

The Hamburglar

The Hamburglar is another character who has changed a lot over the years but his goal has always been simple: steal all the hamburgers. In the ’70s, he was supposed to be an old man who spoke gibberish. A decade later, he was changed to become a child that was always causing trouble and irritating Ronald. In 2015, McDonald’s shared that he was all grown up and had a new look including stubble and a new hat.

Birdie the Early Bird

Birdie came about in 1980 as a giant egg that fell into McDonaldland. Ronald cared for the egg and out came Birdie! They remained best friends over the years and Birdie served as a way to promote new breakfast items.

Mayor McCheese and Officer Big Mac

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 09: Cosplayers dressed as Mayor McCheese and Furby during Day 3 of New York Comic Con 2021 at Jacob Javits Center on October 09, 2021 in New York City

Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for ReedPop

These were more short-lived characters that rounded out the cast of McDonaldland. Mayor McCheese was not the best mayor and looked like a giant cheeseburger. Meanwhile, Officer Big Mac had a similar look and always wanted things to be orderly.

The Fry Kids

Much like the Hamburglar, the Fry Kids were always stealing French fries. At first, they were called the Gobblins but became the Fry Guys in 1983 and finally the Fry Kids in 1987 when female characters were introduced. Even though they might steal your fries, they are pretty adorable.

Captain Crook

Lastly, another short-lived villain was Captain Crook who often stole Filet-O-Fish sandwiches from the people of McDonaldland. Both Captain Crook and Officer Big Mac were dropped in the ’80s.

Which character is your favorite?

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Kid Stuff

June 2018

Unleash your inner child by reliving your favorite kids TV shows, cartoons, toys and more!

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