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Best Collectible Ever? Disney Popcorn Buckets and 4 Unique Choices

Disney collectibles have been around for as long as the theme parks have been open. Walt was wise enough to market his characters very early on and had no problems with putting his characters on just about anything. Having his own theme parks made it even easier to market his characters as well as sell the very same merchandise. The parks have been the only place to buy exclusive merchandise since they opened. Just about anything sold only in the parks becomes super collectible since it’s harder for the average person to buy.

The interesting trend that comes with this is that sometimes items that are simply branded with the park’s logos become popular. Items like park maps, utensils, and popcorn buckets that have the logo or special Disney design become popular items for the niche theme park collector. As the parks evolved, so too has the merchandise, and there are groups of people who collect the most specific pieces of Disney merchandise that you can imagine.

Disney as a company knows all about this, and they feed into these collectors by making special versions of the thing that these people collect. Popcorn buckets are a great example of this. In early days, a popcorn bucket might have just been a paper cup with simple decorations or a pattern on it. Early buckets might have had logos or even a few characters printed on these paper cups, but the designs were very simple. As people became more interested in these buckets, the designs would get more specific and eventually the buckets would also be available in plastic as well.

The plastic buckets would often be offered in addition to the paper buckets, for a premium. It would give the person a stronger vessel, and something they could take home and either use or display. Disney also started to offer discount or free refills when you bought one of these premium buckets, to try and encourage people to spend a little more. As you might imagine, by this point the buckets are more valuable than the popcorn itself to both collectors and the Disney company. So, for Disney it became more important to sell more buckets, rather than sell more popcorn.

As plastic manufacturing has evolved, so has the Disney popcorn bucket. Today you can get a popcorn bucket in just about any size or shape. I would say that most popcorn buckets today are less buckets and instead plastic statues that just happen to have a place where you can put popcorn. New buckets have become as important an announcement as new rides in some cases. Lineups can last for hours to get your hands on a new popcorn bucket with a popular character or theme.

Much like many Disney collectibles, if you need a complete collection of Disney popcorn buckets, you’re going to be paying a lot. Some discontinued buckets can fetch hundreds of dollars on the secondary market. They’re also putting out new buckets all the time, and different buckets at various parks around the world. If you want to get into the hobby now, it’s probably best to either pick a very specific theme of bucket to collect, or just pick up buckets on special trips that mean something special to you.

One of the interesting things about the popcorn bucket phenomenon is that unlike many collectibles in the parks, if you’re still interested in collecting paper or simple plastic buckets, you can. While all of the parks offer fancy and fanciful popcorn buckets, they also offer simple buckets too. You’re not required to get a fancy bucket if all you want is the nice salty (or sweet) flavor of some popcorn. Most carts sell the fancy buckets as an extra, but if you still want an old school bucket, Disney has you covered too.

Figment Bucket – Available for a limited time at Epcot, it has some of the biggest lines to get it, but it looks amazing.

Mickey Balloon Bucket – Probably the most common design for buckets at the parks, this cool Mickey balloon shaped bucket comes in all kinds of amazing colours (some more limited than others).

Baby Simba Bucket – A popcorn bucket that lets you relive a classic scene from the Lion King.

R2D2 Bucket – Probably the only character that Disney owns that’s really the perfect design for a popcorn bucket.

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