The McDonald's venture into restaurant-adjacent playgrounds skilled a heyday native the 1970s to the '90s. Their history is rich, over there are numerous potential reasons why your numbers room dwindling today.

You are watching: Fast food places with play areas

If you invested a same amount of time dining at McDonald’s in the 1990s and also early 2000s, also if you didn’t have children with you, you most likely remember the different room that numerous of the restaurants had actually then, containing sprawling, tube-constructed playgrounds. Possibly you even played in them yourself. Yet today, it appears to be more of a surprised to watch a McDonald’s with a PlayPlace 보다 one without one. At her nearest McDonald’s, chances are friend won’t view the glowing neon letters in the window announcing “PlayPlace.” It would seem the PlayPlace heyday the the late 20th century is over—but why?

The history of McDonald’s PlayPlaces

Why did fast food establishments—not simply McDonald’s, yet others as well—start constructing play areas in the very first place? ~ all, the a restaurant, a spot for eating, not playing. No to mention, the very purpose of quick food choose McDonald’s is so that you don’t have to wait—so why have actually an area because that restless kids to game themselves?

Well, McDonald’s play locations began as a big branding effort. Debuting in the 1970s, the initial McDonald’s playgrounds revolved about an Illinois State fair exhibit referred to as “McDonaldland,” i m sorry featured McDonald’s-branded personalities like Officer big Mac, the Hamburglar, and also Mayor McCheese. These playgrounds, though, were outdoors, and looked quite a bit various from the dwindling tube networks you watch today. Yet they were absolutely your predecessors. Take one more look v the franchise’s background by seeing what the McDonald’s menu looked favor the year you were born.

Health and also safety concerns

These out playgrounds had some drawbacks, together US consumer Product safety and security Commission discovered that McDonald’s had neglected come report numerous injuries the had arisen on the playground equipment. But, as 1990s kids know, these pertains to didn’t opriziv.orger the end of the McDonald’s playground—they just helped usher in a brand-new era. The last large Mac Climber—a raised piece of metal play tools that caused scores of injuries from youngsters tumbling off it—didn’t disappear till 1997. By then, the indoor rapid food playground—a padded, enclosed alternative—was obtaining steam, not simply at McDonald’s but at citizens King together well.

The indoor playgrounds were far from immune to public concerns, though. Aided through the introduction of the Internet, horror stories—some false, part true—circulated around things kids (and parents) had actually encountered in the PlayPlaces and also ball pits: dirty diapers, vomit, rotten food, and the like. (The story of a three-year-old dice of an inadvertently heroin ovepriziv.orgose after being pricked by a needle in a sphere pit, though, was just one of the fast-food rumors that are completely false.) One mom, called Erin Carr-Jopriziv.organ, embarked on a crusade to hold McDonald’s (and various other fast-food franchises) accountable for calling these regularly grimy, graffiti-laden places “kid-friendly.” she research discovered that 49 the end of the 50 fast-food playgrounds she checked out tested hopeful for some kind of potentially dangerous bacteria.

In response to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, McDonald’s closed every one of its PlayPlaces, and also as of push date, they remain closed. The McDonald’s website says that the closures room “in compliance through state and also local social-distancing needs to help reduce the further spread that COVID-19.” However, they do likewise say that the PlayPlaces space only temporarily closed, indicating the PlayPlaces won’t necessarily sign up with the ranking of these points you won’t check out in McDonald’s after COVID-19.

These health and safety involves were a tiny problematic for McDonald’s, sure, but McDonald’s is no stranger to fast food scandals, and also the playgrounds persisted regapriziv.orgless of them. The playgrounds would certainly soon have actually to compete with a an ext dangerous threat, though.

Kids aren’t playing in them together much

I pointed out the internet being a hotbed for rumors—but the Internet has actually harmed the PlayPlaces in a more direct and also lasting way. In ~ a fast-food restaurant nowadays, she far much more likely to see youngsters sitting ~ above smartphones or iPads than exploring the PlayPlace. Kids have all the pat they need right over there in the palm of your hands.

See more: Free Stream Girl On The Train, Watch The Girl On The Train Full Movie Online

As such, the playgrounds’ target audience is utilizing them less and less, and this is the most most likely reason McDonald’s is putting its funds elsewhere. Together Darren Tristano, president of the food company research for sure Technomic, explained to Eater, “I’m not certain that they’re becoming a point of the past, however we clearly don’t see development in the opportunity for restaurants.”

In various other wopriziv.orgs, the quantity of fist they’re acquiring may not be precious the price of keeping them. For this reason they’re absolutely not extinct, but they’re dwindling. Even if it is they’ll vanish completely or evolve into something much more modern, digital-oriented, and also interactive continues to be to be seen. McDonald’s itself, though, no going anywhere any type of time soon. And, let’s be honest, this coolest McDonald’s locations in the civilization are way more exciting than any kind of uniform PlayPlace!


Meghan Jones is a who has actually been writing for because 2017. Friend can find her byline ~ above pieces about grammar, fun facts, the interpretations of assorted head-scratching wopriziv.orgs and phrases, and also more. Meghan graduated from Marist College with a Bachelor of arts in English in 2017; her an innovative nonfiction piece “Anticipation” was released in the spring 2017 issue of angles literary magazine.

Sign increase for posts sent ideal to her inbox

enjoy the finest stories, advice & jokes yielded right to your inbox!