The toy has five 5 pop-up doors, each featuring a Sesame character -- Ernie, Bert, Big Bird, Cookie Monster and Oscar the Grouch. When a switch is activated, the corresponding door is opened, revealing a character.
A later version of the toy replaced Oscar with Elmo, and featured rounder, more baby-like sculpts for the characters.
In 2000, Playskool (now part of Hasbro) issued a recall for the Sesame Busy Poppin' Pals toys, in response to reports that the toys' springs were breaking, posing a choking danger for children.
Following the 2000 recall, Playskool continues to market several versions of the Busy Poppin' Pals toys; the current version features jungle animals. They have not yet made another Sesame Street version of the toy despite them currently having the license for all Sesame Street toys since 2011.