Have you seen those little dressed-up characters cranking popcorn canisters all over Disneyland? They’re called Roastie Toasties and they’re awesome. In the early days, they were all clowns. Not any more …
What is a Roastie Toastie?
Roastie Toasties go all the way back to Chicago in the late 1800’s, when a man named Charles Cretor was making peanut roasting machines. To attract people (and sell more peanuts), he added a small clown to his steam-powered roasting carts. This colorful and animated clown cranked a tumbler full of roasted peanuts, and he called him a Toasty Roasty Man.
When Disneyland opened in the 1950’s, the outdoor vending carts were called “Cretors” after Charles Cretor. And research tells us that Disneyland – at first – also used mechanical clowns exclusively, just as Charles Cretor did in the 1800’s and early 1900’s.
But over time, as Disney imagineers sharpened their skills, these animated popcorn dolls evolved into distinct-individual characters that mirrored or reflected the theme or land that they were located in – just like Disneyland trashcans do. Ever notice that?
Pictures of Disney Roastie Toasties
Here’s an example of what I mean. In Frontierland, there is a roastie toastie, popcorn turner that is dressed up as a frontiersman that looks like Davy Crockett.
Guess who the popcorn turner is on the cart near the Matterhorn Bobsleds? If you guessed the Abominable Snowman (cast members call him Baby Harold), you’re absolutely right.
There are still some roastie toastie clowns cranking popcorn canisters in Disneyland, and one of them is located in the castle hub or central plaza (as we saw at the top of this post).
I came across a different roastie toastie clown on the way to It’s a Small World…
Some roastie toasties change with the seasons. When I was at the Haunted Mansion around Halloween, it was decorated with the Tim Burton-Jack Skellington holiday overlay. And the popcorn turner nearby was Oogie Boogie!
But normally, there is a scary roastie toastie at the Haunted Mansion. Some people have called him a butler, but the official Disney blog calls him an undertaker, and I think that sounds about right.
In Tomorrowland, a popular roastie toastie is the Rocketeer popcorn turner. I don’t know what happened to the Rocketeer, but when I was there, Rosie the Astronaut was cranking away at the popcorn canister. (Some people call her a “Space Girl.”)
Maybe I should have started out in Town Square, because that’s the area you first come into as you enter the park. But until recently, I didn’t know who this popcorn turner was. After doing some research, I can now tell you that this is a “Dapper Dan” roastie toastie.
And now on to Mickey’s ToonTown. This is Sam the Conductor. His popcorn cart is located near the Gadget’s Go Coaster attraction (inspired by the character, Gadget Hackwrench, from Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers).
Bonus Roastie Toasties in Disney California Adventure Park
Here are two more popcorn turners that I came across in Disney California Adventure Park. The first one is not really a character but, again, it perfectly matches the theme of the land it’s located in – which is Grizzly Peak Airfield.
The second one is new. You saw it here first folks! It’s none other than Duke Caboom, Canada’s most famous stuntman (from Toy Story 4), and he turns the popcorn canister on Pixar Pier.
Pictures of popcorn CARTS
Ok, I’ve shown you pictures of the popcorn *figurines,* but the popcorn *carts* are really something too. I have a separate post just for the popcorn carts. See the link below …
Click for more pictures of Disneyland’s popcorn *carts*