The History of McDonald's At Walt Disney World

Disney Parks History

T Rex Disney's Animal Kingdom McDonalds Toy Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World has had various sponsors over the years, but few have been as widespread and had such an impact as McDonald's time as a sponsor at Walt Disney World.

McDonalds began its sponsorship at Walt Disney World in 1997 and it involved at least one location of the fast-food chain opening up in each park at Walt Disney World, two in Disney's Animal Kingdom and the Magic Kingdom respectively.

In each park, there was one location that specialized in fries, Frontierland Fries in the Magic Kingdom, The Refreshment Port in Epcot (which also had a small menu of other food), Fairfax Fries at Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Petrifries at Disney's Animal Kingdom, all perfectly themed to their sections in the park.

Dinoland USA Entrance Archway Disney's Animal Kingdom Walt Disney World

There were also two full locations in the parks as well, Restaurantosaurus which was the main restaurant of Dinoland USA, and The Village Fry Shoppe, located in the spot currently holding Friar's Nook.

All of these McDonald's locations would even have exclusive toys created for the Disney Parks.

This deal also involved more traditional McDonald's locations opening in Walt Disney World beyond the parks and Disney toys being offered at various McDonald's restaurants around the world for every animated Disney film during the deal.

Bell and Beast Dancing Statue Be Our Guest Restaurant Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World

This deal was created at the end of the Disney Renaissance, a period where Disney animation was more popular and profitable than it had been in decades. It also was created as Disney was set to open a new park, Disney's Animal Kingdom. McDonald's would sponsor an opening day attraction in that park, Countdown to Extinction/ Dinosaur.

As the deal went on, Disney entered another dark age of animation, and the deal was no longer as mutually beneficial for both companies. McDonald's would end the deal, and all the McDonald's locations except one, the one near Disney's All Star Resort, would close over the next few years, redoing their menus without the McDonald's items.

Ride Station Stairway Dinosaur Disney's Animal Kingdom Walt Disney World

References to the McDonald's reign still remain in Dinosaur, referencing various condiments used in the fast food chain, but practically all other references to McDonald's have been scrubbed from the parks.

Pluto Jungle Cruise Ride Vehicle McDonalds Toy Disney World

The companies would eventually reconcile in 2018 with a renewed partnership that continues to this day.

Dinosaur Disney Ride Vehicle McDonalds Toy Minnie Mouse Disney's Animal Kingdoms

This revived deal has even involved toys being released nationally based on Disney World rides, but no locations exist in the actual Disney Parks.