Exactly one month ago, the 2022 Epcot Festival of the Arts kicked off and was completely overshadowed by the Figment Popcorn Bucket. Pop Eats booth waits eclipsed 5 hours, the line literally snaked all around Future World, and eBay pirate prices ranged from a few hundred dollars to almost $1,000. (Updated February 14, 2022.)
The story was so big it spilled over from the Walt Disney World fan community into “real life,” making national headlines and prompting a lot of confused reactions. “Who is that Barney knock-off and why is he so popular?!” Yadda yadda yadda, now the whole world loves Figment, and is demanding that this “dope dinosaur” get a reimagined attraction and his own Disney+ show. It checks out.
One month later, a lot has changed as the Figment Popcorn Bucket is once again back in stock–and this time, it’s available via a virtual queue (of sorts) as part of My Disney Experience’s Mobile Order feature. That means no line, or at least, not much of one for those who buy this sought-after souvenir.
As of today (February 14, 2022), the next shipment of Figment Popcorn Buckets has arrived at Epcot and Walt Disney World has mercifully modified the process of buying one. For the first time (and hopefully not the last), the company is using Mobile Order via the My Disney Experience app to do a controlled and smoother merchandise release.
Here’s a look at the process, which begins with starting a Mobile Order–like you would for lunch at a counter service restaurant:
At present, you should spot “EPCOT Souvenir Release” as the first option in the Mobile Order list for Epcot. It even has a Figment Popcorn Bucket icon, so it should be easy enough to find.
From there, it’s pretty straightforward. Walt Disney World has clearly just repurposed the counter service meal template for this, so it’s a bit redundant, but we are not complaining. This is way, way easier than before!
From there, you can add 1 or 2 to your cart. You’ll get an “Item Not Added – Only 2 of this item per order allowed” error message if attempting to purchase more. This is good to see, but it’s unclear whether you could circumvent this by placing multiple, separate orders–hopefully not.
After that, you complete the checkout as normal. Even though this is merchandise, no Annual Passholder or Disney Vacation Club discounts are available.
Upon completing the purchase, guests are instructed to return to the World ShowPlace Pavilion between the United Kingdom and Canada pavilions during their return window in order to pick up their Figment Popcorn Bucket(s).
We didn’t complete the process ourselves as we’re not in Florida at the moment, but by all accounts on social media, it’s problem-free. That should be the case, as World ShowPlace is colossal, as anyone knows who visited the venue for the “Taste of” festivals that ran last year. (It’s even home to what are likely the biggest bathrooms at Walt Disney World.)
Here’s hoping that Walt Disney World utilizes this Mobile Order system for future high-demand merchandise releases. I worry that they learned the wrong “lesson” from all of those headlines about long lines for the Figment Popcorn Bucket (FOMO is a stronger consumer motivator than fear of long lines, it would seem), so don’t be surprised if the same scenario plays out for the first ‘drop’ of popular collectibles in the future.
Speaking of which, what follows is our original story about long lines for the Figment Popcorn Bucket during opening day of the 2022 Epcot Festival of the Arts…
I don’t even remember the last time Walt Disney World had a wait time exceeding 5 hours. Maybe Avatar Flight of Passage during the week of Christmas two years ago? Test Track that same New Year’s Eve? Or perhaps we’d have to go back further, for the opening of Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run or Slinky Dog Dash?
I’m relatively confident that no attraction has had an actual wait time of 5 hours or longer post-reopening, and I doubt any have even had posted wait times of 300 minutes or more. In looking at data, the worst posted wait was for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance on Christmas Eve, when it hit 280 minutes.
It thus might come as a surprise that the new “crown” for the longest line at Walt Disney World in at least the last two years is now held by Figment. Not only that, but he claimed that crown during a winter weekday in January for the kickoff of the 2022 Epcot International Festival of the Arts.
It wasn’t the ride version of Figment that drew record crowds at Walt Disney World. To the contrary, Journey into Imagination averaged only a 14 minute wait throughout the day. Rather, it was the $25 Figment Premium Popcorn Bucket with Rainbow Popcorn sold at the Pop Eats Food Studio.
The line for this popcorn bucket was multiple hours long as of Early Entry, and only got worse from there. For us, this wasn’t a total surprise. In fact, the commentary to our 2022 Epcot Festival of the Arts Food Booth Menus predicted that the line for the Figment popcorn bucket would surpass even Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.
That wasn’t hyperbole or a lucky guess–we’ve been down this road before.
A few years ago, an Orange Bird sipper debuted at the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival and drew massive lines. As popular as that character is with diehard Walt Disney World fans, he’s got nothing on Figment. We fully expected a multi-hour line for this popcorn bucket.
With that said, even we could not have foreseen that it would be this long of a line.
Judging by the reactions of managers at Epcot, they also were not fully prepared for the crowds that would come out for the Figment popcorn bucket. (To their credit, Cast Members rose to the challenge of keeping the line organized–they did a great job of controlling the chaos.)
At its longest, the line stretched back to the Epcot Experience, going down the walkway pictured above, past the side of Test Track (by the Donut Box), along the side of Creations Shop, snaking up and down the walkway to World Showcase before winding back towards Journey into Imagination, and then up the path towards the Culinary Corridor where the Pop Eats Food Studio was located.
That’s probably difficult to visualize, so here’s a quick time lapse from near the end of the line to the Pop Eats area:
Essentially, the line wound around the entire south half of Future World, taking up any walkway space that was available and wouldn’t impede crowd flow.
The wait time peaked in early afternoon, with Cast Members quoting the wait time as being around 8 hours at that point.
We asked a number of guests who bought the popcorn bucket how long they actually waited, and 4 hours was about the average. The longest we heard was 5 hours.
Small victory, I guess? If my actual wait time was 3 hours less than the ‘posted’ wait time, I’d presumably be pretty pleased. Plus, there are no ulterior motives for wait time inflation here, as it’s not like Disney is using the posted wait time to sell Lightning Lane access. Yet!
In any case, the line died down later in the afternoon (you can vaguely see the ‘end of line’ Cast Member in the photo above). It was eventually all contained in the general area of the Culinary Corridor, at which point it was probably only a couple hours.
We didn’t keep close tabs on it at night (there was a lot to do aside from “line stalking”), but I’m curious how long those who jumped in line towards the end of the evening waited.
If you’re going to the 2022 Epcot Festival of the Arts this or any weekend, expect multi-hour waits for the Figment popcorn bucket. A lot of locals can’t just drop everything and take weekdays off work, so it could be equally as bad today.
That’s what happened with the Orange Bird sipper. It was just as busy the first weekend, then saw spikes after 5 pm on subsequent weekdays, but otherwise wasn’t too bad. Then again, that wasn’t as popular and it was released only a couple weeks before the parks closed, so it’s a bit of an apples to Orange Birds comparison.
We did not wait in the multi-hour line for the Figment popcorn bucket. We also do not resent those who did–how you spend your time is your prerogative. It’ll likely be a fun memory and story you can tell years from now when looking at the popcorn bucket on your bookshelf, coffee table, or wherever one displays popcorn buckets.
We still hope to acquire the Figment popcorn bucket. Our plan at this point is the same one we’d recommend to anyone else: line up in mid-afternoon (before 5 pm) on a non-holiday weekday, ideally in a week or so after the initial rush is over. The only risk with this–and it’s a big one–is that the same inventory issues that have plagued other merchandise will also cause this to come in and out of stock.
I did manage to hold and photograph the Figment Premium Popcorn Bucket with Rainbow Popcorn (if that counts for anything?). I’m far from a popcorn bucket expert, but I was impressed by the design and details; it’s more elaborate and better-built than I expected.
Big thanks to our friends at the Lost Bros for letting us photograph their Figment!
Unsurprisingly, social media has been full of hot takes and memes about the lengthy line for a popcorn bucket. A lot of the latter are hilarious, good-natured and poking fun at the absurdity of it all in a lighthearted way.
By contrast, a lot of the hot takes skewed more towards mean-spirited, as people who sit on social media all day unironically posted about it being a waste of time. Of course, there was the obligatory discussion of eBay pirates, as well.
For its part, this blog has poked plenty of fun at eBay pirates. I’ve also said on a number of occasions that the onus is ultimately on Disney to fix this–the company could tighten up policies if they viewed resellers as a legitimate problem. They don’t, so they haven’t. At least, not until recently–but the real motivation there is supply chain shortages resulting in empty shelves, not eBay pirates.
Also at fault are the people who buy merchandise at inflated prices from these resellers. If they’re truly so problematic, surely Walt Disney World fans wouldn’t want to perpetuate their existence by feeding the beast.
This almost certainly isn’t going to be a popular opinion. It would be a lot easier to join everyone grabbing their pitchforks, as eBay pirates are an easy and convenient villain.
To be sure, I certainly wish these resellers would fade away of their own accord. They do leave a bad taste in my mouth, both seeing their huge hauls and having witnessed some of their behavior on merchandise release days. They can make for an unpleasant experience for casual guests, and they are a bad look for the company.
I’m also a realist who recognizes the reality that these eBay pirates do not exist in a vacuum. They won’t ever go away until the company institutes tough policies cracking down on them or fans resist the temptation to buy overpriced merchandise on the secondary market.
There’s also the reality that these folks are not exactly Martin Shkreli and a Figment popcorn bucket isn’t quite “essential.” (I’m still not quite sure what purpose popcorn buckets serve once taken home, but I’m pretty sure they’re not a necessity…if so, I’m in trouble!) There are plenty of other souvenirs to buy.
On a random note, I do “admire” the swagger…or perhaps swashbuckling attitude…of anyone who carries around multiple pieces of popular merchandise on days like this one. Walking through the crowd, you could just see the eyes shooting daggers at anyone with two or more Figment popcorn buckets. Maybe these eBay pirates actually feed off the haters?!
While I’m dispensing with the random thoughts, days like this also remind me that I’m not as much of a diehard as I might think. I’ve been a Figment fan for decades (cheesy as it sounds, he’s literally the character who sparked my imagination and lifelong love of Disney), still have Figment items from my childhood, and have spent 15 years building my collection. Yet, I wouldn’t wait 4-6 hours for this popcorn bucket and thousands of other Figment fans would. I’m not upset that others are more dedicated–it’s awesome to see so many passionate fans of Figment!
Ultimately, the Figment Premium Popcorn Bucket with Rainbow Popcorn was an even bigger hit than anticipated. Setting aside the absurdity of the line, ethics of eBay pirates, and our failure to acquire one, I’m actually quite heartened to see Figment drawing such a huge line.
This proves that Figment still has serious popularity, drawing power, and merchandising potential. If there’s one thing that catches the attention of the modern Disney company, it’s money. I’m not naive enough to think this one little popcorn bucket means a new Journey into Imagination will be greenlit imminently (I’ve gotten my hopes up for nothing too many times in the past), but it’s certainly a positive for the longevity of the character and his future prospects. One little announcement at this year’s D23 Expo could undo a lot of damage and restore goodwill lost over the last couple of years, too…
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Will you be buying the Figment popcorn bucket? How long would you wait in line for this–or how long did you wait in line for it? Were you at the first day of the 2022 Epcot International Festival of the Arts? Planning on attending this weekend? Thoughts on Figment or anything else discussed here? What are you looking forward to trying at the Food Studio booths? Any questions? Hearing from you is half the fun, so please share your thoughts in the comments!