To say that people are enthusiastic about Disney’s theme parks would be a massive understatement. Fans swear by the food (no matter how strange it gets), and will stand in long lines for rides and experiences. But that’s not all: Disney’s empire is also known for its collectibles, and one of the more unexpected items that people get excited for is... wait for it... popcorn buckets.
The common versions of the popcorn buckets don’t actually look like a bucket, but rather like a version of Mickey Mouse’s head, if it were a balloon. Instead of a traditional opening on top, there’s a little door on the back that allows you to snack on the popcorn inside of it. Not every bucket is shaped like Mickey, however; limited-time buckets come in various shapes like a gondola, and other Disney character’s heads, like Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas. Some are shaped like regular buckets, yet others like the Millennium Falcon ship from Star Wars.
Popular YouTuber Disney Dan says that in the ’90s, Disney followed the trend of movie theaters selling popcorn in collectible plastic buckets and started selling popcorn (available at carts and stands throughout the parks) in similar fashion.
At first, the collectible buckets were only available to Disney annual pass holders, but eventually Disney let anyone purchase them. As the years progressed, the buckets took on various novel shapes, designed like all sorts of stuff. Tokyo Disney has been credited with some particularly novel innovations starting in the ’90s, like collapsible containers and fabric ones.
When Disney’s 60th anniversary came around, however, the balloon-shaped Mickey Mouse head was released, and a classic collectible was minted. According to Disney Dan, the buckets really started diversifying around 2016 and continues today. And as recently as February, people are still all about these popcorn buckets. The L.A. Times reported that a purple popcorn bucket shaped like a dragon named Figment (a mascot from Disney’s “Imagination!” pavilion) had people on their feet waiting in excess of six hours. I’m seeing these Figment buckets on eBay going for between $60 and $200, so clearly collectors find some value in them.
While I’m not much of a collector, I understand the appeal in these things. I’m not sure I’d be willing to stand in line for more than a few minutes, but to each their own. Disney fans are some of the most dedicated I’ve ever seen, and based off all those movies, it’s only fitting that one of their favorite snacks is popcorn. Might as well keep the bucket.