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Disneyland Popcorn Turners or “Popcorn People”

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 …

Roastie Toasties

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 …

Clown popcorn turner roastie toastie at The Castle Hub in Disneyland
Roastie Toastie at the Castle Hub

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.

Closeup of Abominable Snowman popcorn turner doll at Disneyland
“Baby Harold” the abominable snowman near the Matterhorn

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.

Popcorn turner Frontiersman Davy Crockett Roastie Toastie in Frontierland Disneyland California

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.

Popcorn turner Yeti Abominable Snowman Harold at Matterhorn Bobsleds Disneyland Roastie Toastie

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).

Clown popcorn turner roastie toastie at The Castle Hub in Disneyland

I came across a different roastie toastie clown on the way to It’s a Small World…

Clown popcorn turner roastie toastie near Its a small world in Disneyland California

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!

Oogie Boogie Popcorn Turner Roastie Toastie at Haunted Mansion Disneyland

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.

Popcorn turner undertaker Haunted Mansion Disneyland roastie toastie
Credit: Flickr Jason Short

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.”)

Popcorn turner Lady Astronaut Rosie roastie toastie in Tomorrowland Disneyland

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.

Popcorn turner Dapper Dan roastie toastie in Town Square Disneyland

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).

Popcorn turner Conductor ToonTown Disneyland roastie toastie

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.

Popcorn cart propeller turner at Grizzly Peak Airfield in Disney California Adventure Park

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.

Popcorn Turner doll at Disneyland Duke Caboom Canada's most famous stuntman at Disney California Adventure 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 …

Popcorn vending cart on Pixar Pier in Disney California Adventure featuring Duke Caboom, Canada's most famous stuntman, turning the popcorn canister.

Click for more pictures of Disneyland’s popcorn *carts*

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