Why Disney Theme-Park Fans Love Collectible Popcorn Buckets

  • Collectible popcorn buckets are having a moment at Disney theme parks this year.
  • Content creator and Navy veteran Kayla Freitas explained to Insider why they’re so coveted by fans.
  • She personally owns more than 50 buckets, and has spent several thousand dollars on them.

Just days into 2022, Disney World parkgoers made headlines as they waited hours in line to buy limited-edition, Figment-shaped popcorn buckets.

But to die-hard fans, collectibles like the Figment bucket are nothing new. Many have been purchasing the character-shaped souvenirs for years, and some fans own dozens of buckets.

One of those popcorn-bucket enthusiasts is 32-year-old Kayla Freitas, a mom, Navy veteran, and content creator from California. She started purchasing the collectibles a little over a year ago, and says she has spent “several thousand dollars” on more than 50 buckets so far.

Now, she’s sharing her collection with the world on TikTok, and is helping others understand why the containers are so coveted by fans.

Kayla Freitas.

Kayla Freitas.

Kayla Freitas.

Kayla Freitas started collecting Disney popcorn buckets accidentally

Years before starting her travel-focused YouTube channelTravel Momoirs, Freitas attended a swap meet — an event where people can trade their collectibles — when she spotted a popcorn bucket shaped like Cinderella’s carriage.

Freitas told Insider that she thought the bucket was “a cute little Disney collectible,” and purchased it for $5. When she researched the item later, however, she discovered they were selling for more than $100 online at the time.

Still, it wasn’t until a couple of years later that Freitas really began to expand her collection.

“Once I had my daughter, it kind of gave me an excuse to buy all the Disney stuff I wanted as a kid,” she told Insider.

Kayla Freitas and her daughter at Disneyland.

Kayla Freitas and her daughter at Disneyland.

Kayla Freitas

Freitas says she doesn’t “have a collection niche,” and instead focuses on buying items that she finds “especially interesting or unique” — like theme-park popcorn buckets.

Freitas said she now owns more than 50 buckets, which have ranged in price from $5 to over $100 each

“My most expensive bucket is the Figment one,” Freitas told Insider. “I got it secondhand when it was relatively cheap — a couple hundred dollars. But now they’re going for thousands online, so I’m sort of glad I got it when I did.”

The Figment-shaped buckets originally retailed for $25, and were only sold at one booth in Epcot. On the day they were released, some people even ran into the park to get in line and purchase them.

Kayla Freitas with her Figment popcorn bucket.

She spent a “couple hundred” dollars on her coveted Figment bucket.

Kayla Freitas

One reason why they’re so costly is that many coveted popcorn buckets are only sold at international parks like Tokyo Disney and Shanghai Disneyland. One example is a “Tangled”-inspired container from Tokyo Disneyland that looks like a lantern, lights up, and features Pascal — Rapunzel’s chameleon sidekick — on its strap.

The Japanese theme park also sold a Steamboat Willie bucket shaped like the character’s ship, a color-changing “Frozen” one with an Olaf figure, and a “Monsters Inc.” version that featured interactive doors, a scream canister, and a figure of Randall on the strap.

US-based fans like Freitas typically have to purchase these buckets for increased resale prices, and then pay for international shipping.

“It would be really cool if Disney brought some of those really creative ones to the US,” she said. “There’s obviously a demand for it.”

Kayla Freitas and her popcorn buckets.

Many of the buckets seen in these pictures were exclusive to Tokyo Disney.

Kayla Freitas

Freitas added that she’s also been buying so many popcorn buckets because her 1 million TikTok followers love to see them.

“People want more popcorn buckets, so I’m buying them constantly — not that I’m upset about it,” Freitas joked.

But she also uses them in a variety of ways.

“A question I get daily, even from Disney lovers, is: what do I do with all these popcorn buckets?” she said. “The answer is everything.”

“I use them as purses, as decorations. I even use them as night lights and piggy banks,” Freitas added. “They’re just so versatile and so cute. They have so many purposes.”

Kayla Freitas and her popcorn buckets.

Kayla Freitas often uses her popcorn buckets as purses.

Kayla Freitas

Freitas says Disney fans love popcorn buckets because they’re both practical and unique

As Freitas told Insider, many people purchase the buckets for prices around $25 at Disney theme parks, store popcorn in them, and then get cheaper popcorn refills throughout their time at the park.

“It’s pretty cost-efficient as far as a souvenir goes,” she said.

But many fans also appreciate them because they’re “so unique, so different, and something people don’t get to see every day,” she said.

“There are popcorn buckets that you can only get at certain parks, during certain seasons, and that are a limited release,” she said. “You can’t get them everywhere, and when they stop being sold, that’s it.”

“I think that’s made the popcorn buckets more appealing,” she said. “If they’re just for popcorn, you may or may not be interested. But if you can decorate with them or wear them as a purse at the park, they become an inexpensive but great souvenir.”

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