This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at the wild week of EPCOT’s Figment Popcorn Bucket! Unless you literally live under a rock, you undoubtedly saw some news this past week involving the debut of a Figment Popcorn Bucket at this year’s Festival of the Arts at EPCOT. Believe it or not, the entire popcorn bucket story is much, MUCH more bonkers than you can ever imagine. When it comes to writing articles on theme park insanity, well that’s our joie de vivre in this here Fine Blog Series. Who else could be more suited to tackle a tale so complex… so exhausting… so next level bananas than the team behind the Disney Food Hall of Shame, the David & Derek series, and – of course – the Theme Park Turkeys of the Year? So sit back for a spell and watch as one of the most truly bizarre theme park stories in the last 10 years unfolds before your eyes, starting with…
# 6 – The Figment Popcorn Bucket
It all started innocently enough, with Disney teasing the news of a Figment popcorn bucket coming to the 2022 Festival of the Arts. This was officially announced in the way all important information is released, via a 5 second video on TikTok. While we have often mentioned in the monthly Theme Park Enjoyment Index that Disney’s popcorn buckets for the parks in Japan are straight up E-Ticket, the popcorn buckets we get here in the states are generally, to be kind, lacking (we’re looking in your direction Star Wars Tie Fighter popcorn bucket). The Figment popcorn bucket was different. This was cool. Not only did it look great, but it features one of the most beloved theme park character Disney has ever created: FIGMENT.
The actual Figment popcorn bucket is cute, charming, and absolutely adorable. For a company built around merchandise, it’s strange that Disney generally only puts out 2 to 3 items each year that seem to have any real thought put behind them, but the Figment popcorn bucket is one of those items. It’s a “must get” from the moment you see it, for both collectors and regular theme park fans. After the buckets made their debut on the parks, anyone on social media had their feed flooded with people posting pictures of their buckets in the park.
Everyone loved the Figment popcorn bucket. Every demographic. Young and Old. Men and Women. Theme Park Bloggers and regular people with practical job skills. Getting a Figment popcorn bucket just made life more enjoyable. For a brief moment we could all put aside the complete nonsense of the last several years and just appreciate something truly wonderful in our lives.
One kiddo even took her Figment popcorn bucket onto Spaceship Earth for a fun photo-op!
# 5 – The Lines
Unfortunately, GETTING the Figment popcorn bucket was about as challenging as obtaining a roll of toilet paper in the Spring of 2020. First, you needed to get into EPCOT with a park reservation and then make your way to the line for the Figment popcorn bucket (which was being sold at the POP Eats kiosk).
The jaw-dropping long lines made the news, not just in Florida but even CNN.
The story even went INTERNATIONAL. Here is a screenshot of a morning program in Australia discussing the Figment popcorn bucket lines. It’s important to remember that Disney knew this would happen. A similar thing happened just two years ago in the exact same park for an Orange Bird sipper. As much as we all love the L’il Orange Bird, that character is nowhere near on the level of popularity as Figment. Instead of making the Figment popcorn bucket available in multiple venues (or even a much larger one like the Odyssey Pavilion), or having a virtual queue system (such as the ones already used in places such as Gideon’s Bakehouse in Disney Springs and the Disney Outlet Stores), Disney ensured that the first day line for the Figment popcorn bucket would be a “success” because of the news coverage.
The friendly folks on DisTwitter had some fun, including this on-the-mark Genie+ meme by Alicia Stella.
Rob Yeo says what everyone was thinking.
Of course Howard Bowers was Johnny-on-the-spot with an appropriate t-shirt (which you can BUY HERE.)
# 4 – Buckets Inspired by “Figgy”
We love when the theme parks inspire its fandom to create their own things. The Figment popcorn bucket certainly got people’s creative juices flowing. In fact one idea involves the 2021 Golden Turkey winner Eric Idle and a certain animated little you-know-what.
Last year we started the SATURDAY SIX Artist Spotlight series to tie-in to the Festival of the Arts. We had dedicated articles featuring the artwork of Sam Carter, Sterling Denham, @SonderQuest, and Brian Cooper. In February, the Artist Spotlight series will be returning this year and will be kicked-off by the aforementioned Rob Yeo. We also have an amazing article scheduled spotlighting the art of Jess Siswick, who went ahead and visualized a popcorn bucket based on Eric Idle in the Journey to Imagination with Figment attraction….
If Disneyland stayed open for 60 straight hours for the debut of Star Tours back in 1987, they’d probably have to stay open for 100 straight hours to fulfill the demand for a Heimlich popcorn bucket.
Another artist who will be featured in this year’s Artist Spotlight series is the talented Ava Buric. She went a different way and created popcorn buckets for the Universal parks (who, believe it or not, have even worse popcorn buckets than Walt Disney World.) How great are these designs?!!!
# 3 – The Resellers
Between our rants here on the SATURDAY SIX and Ye Old Disney Store Outlet Report, you know our thoughts on the current situation with Disney merchandise resellers. I’d recommend you check out this article on the Figment popcorn bucket by Tom Bricker of the Disney Tourist Blog because we share many of the same thoughts when it comes to resellers. Long story short, if Disney wanted to stop this “problem,” they would. It is out of YOUR control, so at the very least don’t let it drive you crazy or make you emotionally upset. However, once the $25 Figment popcorn bucket was released in the park, it immediately began showing up on eBay at inflated prices. Here is a sampling of some of the many, MANY listings…
Universal’s own Halloween Horror Nights brand had fun while the prices of the Figment popcorn bucket were skyrocketing.
Again, I completely understand it is frustrating to see resellers in action. Many have relationships with Cast Members, some are or were former Cast Members. They get around rules that regular day guests never will. Disney is ultimately responsible for this situation, and until they feel something needs to be done, nothing will. If the Figment popcorn bucket was available online through Disney, maybe people wouldn’t feel the need to pay prices of $75, $100, $150 or more for a $25 item.
# 2 – The Drawing
So during all this eBay drama with prices skyrocketing for Figment popcorn buckets, one person saw it as an opportunity to have a little bit of fun.
Then a funny thing happened, people started bidding…
We present the short story of @sincerlyivy, who put up a valiant attempt to be the owner of the bad artwork sketch.
The bidding kept going up and up!
At this point, the story of the bad sketch getting so many bids started going viral, which of course led to opportunistic people putting up some knock-offs on eBay to try and get a taste of this money for themselves.
I have to say this drawing below is so absolutely crazy that it earns my respect. The $6.66 shipping charge is ::chef’s kiss::
So let’s head back to our original tale of Julia’s bad artwork sketch. By this time on social media (and eBay) everyone’s feed was filled with talk of Figment popcorn buckets and her drawing.
After the bidding for Julia’s drawing made it’s way from $400 to $600, it began to skyrocket via a “bidding war” to over $10,000. This seemed fishy to Julia as the two users in the bidding war both had zero feedback. What was news to me personally is that, as an eBay user, there is NOTHING you can do to stop this from happening even if you know for sure the bids are fake. You have two options: 1) End the auction early and hope the actual bidder pays, or 2) Wait until the auction ends, discover the person doesn’t pay, and try it again.
Julia went with the option of ending the auction.
In news that should surprise no one…
Not one to be discouraged, Julia than attempted a Plan B. She would photocopy the original bad artwork sketch and do an auction for 100 copies at $10 each. 1 random person of those 100 would get the original, while the rest would get copies. The proceeeds would still go to Habitat for Humanity.
So that’s the end of the story right? People got to feel good about helping a very good charity, and everyone got to have fun along the way.
eBay, who did nothing about the obvious fraud bids in the original auction, cancelled the follow-up auction.
As of this writing, the bad artwork sketches are arriving to buyers across the United States. It took a while to get there, but there is a happy ending as Habit for Humanity got a generous donation, DisTwitter got a viral story, and many people in the community have a piece of artwork with a very unique “story” to tell behind it. That’s classic Michael Scott Win-Win-Win scenario right there.
If you’d like to purchase a Figment popcorn bucket t-shirt, mug, sticker or basically anything else, be sure to check out Julia’s Teeublic store. 50% of her sales in 2022 will be donated to World Central Kitchen (another first class charity in my opinion.)
# 1 – The Memes
This is the SATURDAY SIX, so you know what we were here for, the social media MEMES!!!! We were not disappointed. Several classics were repurposed as people used the Figment popcorn bucket in some fun ways.
This is Seeker, listen up!
We’ve got to get in, grab the popcorn bucket, and get out before the line reaches seven hours. Let’s roll!!”
Always one who knows the assignment, @GratDisMemes did some wonderful work involving the Figment popcorn bucket. Be sure to follow the account because they have so much quality content.
We also loved the artists who drew their version of the bucket. The very essence of what the Imagination Pavilion is all about.
Honorable Mention: The Figment Popcorn Bucket CAKE
Local baker Jillian Hopke took the Figment popcorn bucket to the next level with the creation of an actual honest-to-god CAKE. You can read about this incredible cake by CLICKING HERE. How incredible is this though? WOW!!!
THE CAKE INSIDE IS A RAINBOW!!!!!
Double Secret Honorable Mention: The Game!
Okay, we are saving the best for last. Figment Popcorn Bucket: The Game is the most insane thing I have ever seen in my many years of covering the world of theme parks and I say that with no hyperbole. You can play by CLICKING HERE.
Created by @Vinny_Toon, Figment Popcorn Bucket: The Game is a small glimpse into world of DisTwitter that is absolutely wild. The goal is get as many Figment popcorn buckets as you can during the park day. I don’t want to ruin the surprises, but there are so many deep dives into references only the most hardcore of theme park fans would even understand. The game is 1/2 brilliant, 1/2 lunacy, and 1/2 bats— insane. IN THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE. During one of my games, one of the ways I earned money was selling a plastic bag for $50, which was a reference to the recent story of what’s going on in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
There are various mini-games throughout Figment Popcorn Bucket: The Game. Just incredible work.
So there you have it: The SATURDAY SIX Looks Back at the Wild Week of the Figment Popcorn Bucket! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out the THEME PARK ENJOYMENT INDEX, giving a monthly recap of all the theme park news you need to know (and a lot more you don’t need to know, but we’re gonna tell you anyway). You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).
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Special Thanks to The Elite Brandon Glover, Digital Maestro Scott Walker, the bio-est of all reconstructs @bioreconstruct, Captain Cruiseline Scott Sanders of the world famous Disney Cruise Line Blog, my personal protege Hunter “Elvey” Underwood, artist @SonderQuest, the mighty maven of merchandise Hedgehog’s Corner, the SAT SIX Fun Squad of Parkscope Joe and “the Dadalorian” Nick, hot shot Michael Carelli, charter member of the Universal Four @Nitro230, and Hermione Granger’s tutor Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Absolutely no help was added by SeaWorld Influencer @SuperWeenieHtJr. The SAT SIX is inspired each week by goofballs Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde and you Potterheads will enjoy Meg’s other blog work over at the Central Florida Slug Club.