Without question, 101 Dalmatians was Disney's Top Dog at McDonald's.
With promotions for the animated movie, TV series and live action "101 Dalmatians" and "102 Dalmatians," there have been more individual McDonald's premiums based on the spotted canines than any other Disney creation.
There have been so many 101 Dalmatians items at McDonald's worldwide that it would be extremely difficult to collect everything that was produced.
The fun began in the Summer of 1991, when McDonald's promoted the theatrical re-release of Disney's 1961 animated Dalmatian adventure.
This Happy Meal featured four different "action figures." Pongo has always been my favorite character in the film.
When Lucky watches TV, he enjoys chowing down on some Kanine Krunchies.
How is it that no dog food company makes a real brand of "Kanine Krunchies" using Lucky as a mascot?
The Colonel (a sheepdog) is friends with Sergeant Tibs, a rare Disney cat hero. Tibs was written out of the 1996 live action movie. Boo Hiss!
Tibs did appear with The Colonel in the 101 Dalmatians Animated Series in 1997.
Cruella looks fetching in her coat.
You've got to give a hand to the designers of these toys, as they did a great job capturing the essence of the characters in small pieces of plastic.
In 1994, Pongo and two Dalmatian pups were guest stars in Ronald McDonald Presents Happy Birthday Happy Meal.
This was sort of the "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" of McDonald's Happy Meals. This Birthday Train set honoring 15 years of Happy Meals also included cars featuring Ronald McDonald, The Happy Meal Guys, Barbie, Hot Wheels, E.T., Sonic the Hedgehog, Berenstain Bears, Cabbage Patch Kids, Tonka, Snoopy, Muppet Babies, The Little Mermaid, Looney Tunes, and Tiny Toon Adventures.
In 1996, Disney released a live action version of 101 Dalmatians starring Glenn Close.
For this Happy Meal, 101 different toys were sold in white packages, making each toy a surprise (by the way, the pup wearing Mickey Mouse ears is named "Fidget" per the embroidery on the back of his hat).
McDonald's understood that this promotion could potentially drive collectors stark raving mad, so complete 101 Dalmatians sets were sold through a mail-away offer.
The Dalmatian toys also double as Christmas ornaments.
The figures in the boxed set were not in packages, so I guess no collector can have a truly "Mint In Package" 101 Dalmatians collection.
The characters in this set are primarily generic Disney Dalmatians, but aside from Fidget, you can also "spot" Jewel here.
Wow, I wonder how long it took to design this set.
It is interesting that the cartoon Dalmatians are used to promote the live action film.
Notice how similar many of the toys are.
Were there any variants or chasers in this set? I'm not sure.
Pongo and Perdita weren't in the Happy Meal, but they could be found in the Dalmatian Snowglobe set McDonald's also offered.
There were four of these, but I only got two of them.
In 1997, Disney TV Animation launched a 101 Dalmatians Animated Series. Perdita was voiced by actress Pam Dawber, who played "Mindy" on the TV series "Mork and Mindy" with Robin Williams.
In the Animated Series, the Dalmatians live in the country next door to Cruella. Scorch the Ferret is Cruella's loyal pet.
The TV show is a mix of the animated film and the live action one, plus something different.
Two-Tone the Dalmatian was originally a character from the live action film. Lt. Pug was created for the TV series.
Lucky (voiced by Pamela Adlon and Debi Mae West) is the leader of the Dalmatians.
Cruella (voiced by April Winchell) is more of an annoying neighbor in the show than a real threat to the dogs.
Rolly (voiced by Kath Soucie) is quite the chow hound. The pigs on the farm might want to watch their backs.
The "Flipcars" used for this Happy Meal were first seen in the "Tiny Toon Adventures" Warner Brothers Happy Meal circa 1990. Kath Soucie was the voice of Fifi the Skunk on that show.
Dipstick the Dalmatian was portrayed as a rather goofy character.
Notice that the character names are not found on the packaging. I had to do some research to figure out that the snake is named Cydne.
Tripod the three-legged Dalmatian was new for this show.
Dumpling the Pig was voiced by Christine Cavanaugh, who also voiced Babe the Pig in the movie "Babe".
Like Rolly, Cadpig the dog was voiced by Kath Soucie.
Spot the Chicken (voiced by Tara Strong) thought she was a dog.
Like all the characters from the original "101 Dalmatians" film, Pongo was redesigned with a new look for the Animated Series.
The Swamp Rat is a character that I don't really remember much about.
In 2000, Disney released a sequel to the live action film called "102 Dalmatians."
This was the first big live action movie directed by Kevin Lima, who had previously directed "A Goofy Movie" and "Tarzan" for Disney.
Once again, McDonald's was the promotional partner for "102 Dalmatians." This time, the toys did all sorts of tricks. Some were wind-up toys, pull-back vehicles, light-up toys, train cars, had fabric features or other specialties.
The "102 Dalmatians" Happy Meal must have been very expensive for McDonald's to create.
This time, Cruella and other characters made an appearance in a movie set.
The movie characters each have a special feature. Cruella has two faces, Oddball has spots that magically appear, Fluffy has hair, Waddlesworth has sound, and Little Dipper is a squirt toy.
McDonald's and Disney really upped the game for 102 Dalmatians. Each week, a couple sets of different types of toys were released. Here we see the Movie Set, the Wind-up Set, and the Ice Set.
The Wind-up Set includes an acrobatic Dalmatian similar to the Little Brother the Dog toy seen in 1998's Mulan McDonald's Happy Meal. It also features a roll-over Dalmatian similar to the Thomas O'Malley cat from the European AristoCats Happy Meal.
Here we see Dalmatian Spinning Tops, Light-Up Dalmatians, and Flocked Dalmatians.
We also see Pull-Back Dalmatians and Rolling Dalmatian Vehicles.
Here we have Dalmatians with Clothing, the Dalmatian Train Set and Dalmatian Water Globes.
Don't forget the Dalmatian Village and the Dalmatian Band (with Sound!).
In the Land Down Under, things were appropriately turned upside down.
In Australia, McDonald's had toys that looked like the live action movie characters.
101 Dalmatians were also part of another really big set of McDonald's Happy Meal toys. The 100 Years of Magic Walt Disney World promotion celebrated 100 years of Disney with 100 different toys. This promotion is a bit confusing, since Walt Disney World opened in 1971, so it is clearly not 100 years old.
Walt Disney World in Florida does not have a 101 Dalmatians attraction, but you can stay in a Dalmatian hotel of sorts when you visit Disney's All-Star Movies Resort.
There have been even more 101 Dalmatians Happy Meal Promotions at McDonald's all over the world (Pongo was even in a Euro Disney Resort Happy Meal in 1992). If you ever try to track down all of them, use Lucky the Dalmatian to help you. Because you're gonna need all the luck you can get trying to find everything.