This Was The World's First McDonald's PlayPlace

In one of the odder video media examples of the '70s, a little boy wanders off as his father waxes on about how the only thing McDonald's is missing is a space for children to play in. During his wandering, he stumbles down a yellow road and discovers a statue of Ronald McDonald, as pictured above, who without moving his mouth informs the boy that he has entered McDonaldland. The rest of the promotional film, which you can watch on YouTube, depicts the rest of the outdoor play area in the same slightly off manner.

While the film was created for promotional purposes, the McDonaldland depicted actually existed and saw commercial use. As a promotional packet from SetMakers (the company that designed McDonaldland) shared on Flickr explains, the film is all about "the existing McDonaldland in Chula Vista." The attribution of Chula Vista, a city within the San Diego metropolitan area, is shared by SetMakers under their history section of their website, in which they share they've come a long way since the first play set was made in 1971. 

Chula Vista was the first permanent McDonaldland

The McDonaldland that opened at Chula Vista marked the first permanent McDonaldland. However, as the contemporary reporting of the Illinois Parks and Recreation explains, another McDonaldland had been showcased at the 1972 Illinois State Fair. "McDonald's Corporation's participation in the Illinois State Fair was undertaken as a national test program," they wrote. "It was felt that the 10-day period would put the equipment through about three years of wear and tear. In addition, McDonald's wanted to see how the equipment would react to the heat, rain, and wind that usually occurs during State Fair time."

Evidently, the results pleased McDonald's Corporate as they then initiated the Chula Vista McDonaldland, which as the Illinois Parks and recreation note in their piece, almost doubled the size of the 4,800 square feet used in the trial run. 

Why SetMakers would insist on 1971 on their website when contemporary news describes otherwise could probably be a mistake, or that was when they began to design the various bits for what would eventually become Chula Vista's McDonaldland.