Tokyo DisneySea Popcorn: The Ultimate Ranking

The blog is back, and this time I've selected a very random topic: popcorn. Tokyo DisneySea is considered the best theme park in the world by many enthusiasts–and while the attractions and the overall experience of walking around the park is undoubtedly magical, I felt more fascinated by the wide range of popcorn flavors offered in every corner of DisneySea.

Thus, in today's entry, I'll be ranking the popcorn flavors from worse to best. It's important to mention that there are usually 10 different flavors, but during my time in Tokyo, only 8 of them were available. 

There will be three aspects that I'll take into consideration when ranking the popcorn: originality, alignment with the park's theme, and the actual flavor (with the later obviously being the most important factor). This is a rather long post, so feel free to scroll all the way down for TLDR.

#8: Salted (Location – Mermaid Lagoon)

- Originality (poor): While many prefer the simplicity of salted popcorn, it's impossible to deny that there is zero originality in this flavor–after all, it's the most basic form of popcorn.

- Theme (very good): The stand is located in Mermaid Lagoon, an area in DisneySea dedicated to The Little Mermaid. In my opinion, this was the perfect location for salted popcorn, given how connected salt is with the sea. Of course, given that the park's name is DisneySEA, pretty much any location could have worked; nevertheless, I consider that it does align well with the area's theme. 

- Flavor (poor): Salted popcorn is a classic, I must say that I dislike it quite a lot. Salted popcorn was the only one that I could not finish eating. It was very dry, the flavor was boring, and it was a bit too salty.

#7: Matcha (Location – American Waterfront)

- Originality (good): The unique smell of matcha, combined with its vibrant green color makes the matcha popcorn one of the most original ones in the park. With that being said, those who are used to drinking matcha multiple times a week (aka, pretty much everyone in Japan), will find it not very original.

- Theme (poor): I was confused about why DisneySea chose to place this popcorn stand in American Waterfront. It was next to the Tower of Terror, in the New York area, and while I tried to think of any connection between matcha and NY, I could not find any. 

- Flavor (fair): The popcorn tastes exactly like matcha, and while the first couple of bites are really nice, it quickly becomes slightly cloying. 

#6: Soy Sauce and Butter (Location – Lost River Delta)

- Originality (excellent): Nothing about this popcorn flavor makes sense. How do you even come up it with such a bizarre idea? While popcorn with butter is another classic, adding soy sauce brings it to a whole different level. I'm sure even the Japanese did not see it coming. 

- Theme (poor): The soy sauce screams Asian, but for some reason, they placed it in front of the Indiana Jones ride, among ancient Aztect ruins. Terrible choice. 

- Flavor (fair): The flavor is weird, which is expected from such a unique combination. The popcorn flavor isn't bad, but the butter definitely overshadowed the soy sauce–at times, I felt I was just eating regular popcorn. It was overall, a kind of confusing experience. 

#5: Caramel (Location – Mediterranean Harbor)

- Originality (poor): Caramel popcorn can be found anywhere–from movie theaters to Walmart, it's pretty much everywhere. While I have nothing against it, I think the flavor lacks originality. 

- Theme (fair): The caramel popcorn stand is in Mediterranean Harbor (the Europe-themed area). At first, I couldn't find a connection, until I thought about caramel's place of origin–it's a highly debated topic, but most seem to agree that it was either created by the Arabs or somewhere in Europe (France/Spain/Britain). Definitely a stretch, but it still deserves credit.

- Flavor (very good): While caramel popcorn in other places is slightly salted, the one in DisneySea tends to be a bit sweeter. Nevertheless, it manages to stay balanced, remaining as one of my favorites in the park.

#4: Milk Chocolate (Location – American Waterfront) 

- Originality (good): Chocolate-flavored popcorn is not unheard of, so I was not too surprised to see this flavor. With that being said, the addition of milk makes it slightly more original.

- Theme (poor): The stand can be found in the section of American Waterfront that looks like Bar Harbor (even though they claim it's inspired in NY). I think DisneySea missed a big opportunity here–they could have placed milk chocolate in the Indiana Jones area, given that ancient Latin American civilizations were the first ones to turn cacao into chocolate.

- Flavor (very good): the flavor is like an better version of caramel popcorn. It's sweet in a balanced way, it was impossible to get tired of it, and noticing that it was milk chocolate-flavored and not only chocolate was easy. 

#3: Garlic Shrimp (Location – American Waterfront)

- Originality (excellent): It might not be as random as soy sauce and butter, but whomever came up with the idea of making garlic shrimp-flavored popcorn is a genius. 

- Theme (very good): This is the only popcorn flavor in American Waterfront that is aligned with the area theme. The stand is sitting between to a huge building with the sign "Liberty Fish Market" and a port with several fishing boats. Perfect location for garlic shrimp. 

- Flavor (very good): The flavor is exactly what you would expect–garlic shrimp, but in powder form. The great thing is that the garlic is not too strong, but it can become a bit salty (especially if you don't have any water). 

#2: Curry (Location – Arabian Coast)

- Originality (very good): Curry is already a spice, so it probably didn't require that much creativity to create this flavor. Nonetheless, I think it's very original–considering that I've never seen curry-flavored snacks. 

- Theme (good): The flavor blends in with the Arabian Coast area given that spices are an essential part of the Middle East. While curry was originated in India (which has the Arabian sea as one of its border), it is also a very common spice in Arab countries. 

- Flavor (very good): I think this flavor was very close to being #1. It is very difficult to explain the flavor, but the best I can say is that it tastes the way curry smells (IMO, there is a disconnection between the smell of curry and its actual flavor when served in dishes). I loved it, it was not too salty, the flavor was strong and accurate, and it had an amazing smell. 

#1: Black Pepper (Location – Mediterranean Harbor)

- Originality (fair): It's not uncommon to see black pepper popcorn in some online recipe books or limited-edition snacks, but I believe it's still a bit more rare than butter and caramel. Nothing crazy, but definitely not a cliche.  

- Theme (poor): The black pepper popcorn can be found in front of DisneySea's newest ride: Soaring, which is located in the Italy themed-area of Mediterranean Harbor. Italian spice usually comes from red chili pepper and not black pepper, making the location of this stand an interesting choice. It has nothing to do with the theme.

- Flavor (excellent): While the flavor is nothing out of this world, the reason why this is the only one with an "excellent" rating is that it keeps its consistency (resisting the economic theory of diminishing marginal returns) until the last bite. It's a slightly spicy flavor that doesn't get boring or too much–absolutely loved it!