McDonald's has temporarily stopped distributing its Disney World line of Happy Meal toys.
WDW News Today previously reported that it learned through an "internal McDonald's Restaurant Brief Alert" that the toys included faulty QR codes that led to error messages and "unintended search results" when scanned outside of the McDonald's app.
In a statement sent to Insider, representatives for McDonald's USA said the company regrets that its "current Happy Meal promotion did not operate as intended."
The toys will return to McDonald's locations this week, though customers said on Twitter that they could not purchase them as recently as yesterday.
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Early this week, Disney fans and McDonald's customers began to speculate that the toys — which have figurines of classic characters inside miniature ride vehicles — had been recalled after unsuccessfully attempting to purchase them at restaurants. Others who purchased Happy Meals said they were given different toys after being told by McDonald's staff that the Disney collection was recalled.
According to an internal McDonald's memo obtained by WDW News Today, distribution of the toys was halted because they included QR codes that led to "unintended search results" when scanned outside of the McDonald's app.
—WDW News Today (@WDWNT) November 17, 2020
In a statement sent to Insider over email, a representative for McDonald's USA said the company regrets that its "current Happy Meal promotion did not operate as intended," resulting in some customers receiving "generic toys."
"QR codes on game tickets packaged with the toys were intended to allow for parents to engage in the Happy Meal experience and enter a chance-to-win sweepstakes through the McDonald's app as instructed on the packaging," the statement said.
"We sincerely apologize that some customers who tried to enter outside the app experienced a technical glitch that in most cases led to an error message or, in limited instances, to unintended search results, and we've been in touch with these customers," the statement continued.
The McDonald's representative added that the company has taken "immediate steps to remove toys with the game pieces" from restaurants, and provide customers with "Happy Meal toys without the game tickets/QR codes."
"We regret any delay in getting new toys to our teams," the statement said. "We will continue to honor the sweepstakes promotion."
McDonald's customers grew frustrated early this week when they could not find the theme-park toys at various restaurants
On Twitter, numerous parents said their children were left upset, and sometimes crying, when they didn't receive a Disney-themed toy with their Happy Meals. Older Disney fans also said they were disappointed that they couldn't purchase the collectible items.
—Danny Carey (@dcarey118) November 24, 2020
—kweber (@kkensington2013) November 24, 2020
—GW Murray (@murrayonsports) November 24, 2020
—Stacie (@szilafro) November 23, 2020
The toys included faulty QR codes, which sometimes led to error messages and non-Disney websites
WDW News Today learned of the halt through an "internal McDonald's Restaurant Brief Alert," according to a report published on Monday.
"There is an issue with the QR codes that are packaged with the Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway toys," the memo reportedly said. "If the codes are scanned outside of our app (versus the McDonald's app as directed), they may lead users to an error message, or in rare cases, unintended search results."
McDonald's customers and Disney fans have said on Twitter that the QR codes led to pornographic websites when scanned outside of the McDonald's app, though the food company and Disney have not yet confirmed or denied the claims.
The publication went on to report that toys without the QR codes should already be arriving at McDonald's locations, though "restaurants are being told to use generic Happy Meal boxes and generic toys" in the meantime.
Disney World planned to release McDonald's Happy Meal toys alongside a vacation contest in November
In a Disney Parks Blog post from November 18, a Disney representative said the McDonald's toys were inspired by the new Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway ride at Hollywood Studios. There are 10 toys to collect, from Mickey Mouse riding the Tower of Terror to Daisy Duck flying around the Epcot sphere in a Soarin' hang glider.
"Anchored by Engineer Goofy and Mickey and Minnie celebrating Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway, these toys connect together to form a 10-car train," the representative wrote. "Each one also has a unique function to make the character move as it rolls, so as the attraction's soundtrack says, 'nothing can stop us now' from having fun!"
Each toy was also meant to include a QR code, which could be scanned in the McDonald's app for a chance to win a Disney World vacation for four people.
Representatives for Disney World did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
Read the original article on Insider