Furby Happy Meal @ McDonald's .... coming soon! 

New release continued .....

R.J. Milano, vice president of domestic marketing for the Oak Brook, Ill.-based fast food giant, said Monday the company's hopes are high that the promotion from March 26 through April 22 will be as successful as the Teenie Beanie Babies promotions of 1997 and 1998.

``It is a high level Happy Meal for us,'' Milano said in a telephone interview from the American International Toy Fair in New York City. ``We are very optimistic and bullish.''

He declined to say how many of the Furbys McDonald's had ordered but said it was comparable to its first Beanie Babies promotion that saw 100 million of those toys snapped up in just two weeks.

McDonald's will offer 80 different versions of the big-eared dolls, which are pared-down versions of the Tiger Electronics toy that sold two million units last year. Vernon Hills, Ill.-based Tiger is a unit of Hasbro Inc.

In addition to being less than half the size of an authentic furry Furby, the McDonald's version is plastic with just a tuft of fur on top of its head. And it does not speak ``Furbish'' or English as the originals were programmed to do.

Full-sized Furbys have several movements, but each Happy Meal Furby will have just one of eight different functions such as wiggling its ears or blinking its eyes.

``We think we have taken the property of Furby and translated that toy line into a toy kids, parents and grandparents are going to love,'' Milano said.

Customers will also be able to purchase a Furby separately with any food purchase.

Milano said the company was confident it had ordered enough of the small Furbys to avoid shortages that plagued McDonald's initial Beanie Babies promotion.

``There is no way to prevent shortages,'' he said. ``We feel confident we have ordered a quantity that will allow us to go through the entire promotion.''