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Disney’s Tasty, Controversial Turkey Legs

At Disney Parks, massive roast turkey legs are a huge business, but not without stirring up their share of debate.

Chris Queen


January 9, 2014 - 7:00 am


Of all the food options available at Disney Parks, many guests swear by the Jumbo Turkey Legs. I’ve never had one myself, but according to some guests, the Turkey Legs are a sure bet for a savory treat.

Like other famous Disney Parks snacks – the Dole Whip and the Mickey Ice Cream Bars – the Turkey Legs have spawned a merchandise industry all their own. The Turkey Legs made their debut in the late 1980s and have increased in popularity over the years – so much, in fact, that the New York Times featured the treats in a recent front page article.

Disney parks are about selling memories, and a spokeswoman, Angela Bliss, noted that foods like turkey legs play “an integral part in the storytelling.” For instance, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, they have been sold as “dinosaur bones.”

Disney is also in the business of making money, of course, and a jumbo turkey leg sells for up to $11.79.

Naturally, something that so many guests enjoy is going to generate some controversy. On one side, Disney executives fear that the Jumbo Turkey Legs steer guests away from more healthy snack options. (Because we all spend our vacations seeking out health food.)

Still, some executives at Disney’s corporate offices worry that the craze is starting to obscure their efforts to improve overall food offerings and nudge customers toward healthier items. Of the 12 million children’s meals Disney serves annually, for instance, more than 50 percent now come with milk, juice or water instead of soda. Disney has also sharply reduced salt in its children’s meals.


Each leg is roughly 720 calories with 36 grams of fat, according to a supplier, Yoakum Packing.

On the other hand (or leg, if you prefer), some poultry industry watchdogs and other assorted killjoys have expressed their concern about the sheer size of the Turkey Legs. In a response to the Times piece, Karen Davis of United Poultry Concerns wrote:

Why are these Disney theme park turkey legs so big? Turkeys have been artificially bred to grow so large that their legs, big as they are, cannot support their body weight.

The disability of turkeys bred for the meat industry is well documented in the scientific poultry literature.

Clearly Ms. Davis didn’t read the whole article, because if she had, she would have read that the legs come from tom turkeys, which are much larger than the hens we see around our Thanksgiving tables.

Despite the frenzy, it looks like Jumbo Turkey Legs are here to stay at Disney Parks. Any item that sells in the millions (Disney projected that they would sell two million of them in 2013) is bound to withstand controversy.

All Chris Queen wanted to be growing up was a game show host, a weather man, or James Bond. But his writing talent won out. By day, Chris is a somewhat mild-mannered church communications director, but by night, he keeps his finger on the pulse of pop culture and writes about it. In addition to his Disney obsession (as evidenced by his posts on this website), Chris's interests include college sports -- especially his beloved Georgia Bulldogs -- and a wide variety of music. A native of Marietta, GA, Chris moved with his family as a child to nearby Covington, GA, where he still makes his home. He is an active charter member of Eastridge Community Church and enjoys spending time with family and friends. In addition to his work at PJ Media, Chris spent nearly a year as a contributor to NewsReal Blog. He has also written for Celebrations Magazine and two newspapers in Metro Atlanta. Check out his website,

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All Comments   (6)
All Comments   (6)
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I hope they don't get rid of the Turkey legs. My would be so upset.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
OMG, alla those poor poor flightless, and now legless fowl flocking about the park in their wheelchairs and wheeled platforms...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I am disappointed that this wasn't a PETA/vegan swoon fest. Then I could have quoted the best line in the war against the sheeple I've heard yet.

"My food poops on your food."

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Perhaps Disney should tout that they are "gluten-free", "sugar-free" and "caffeine free"!

Not to mention that they are safe for those with peanut allergies.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I wonder why there have been no objections to the actual vision of a turkey leg, that is, an actual animal leg being gnawed upon rather than being packaged in a square meat form. Turkey legs are quite nutritious and better than starchy or sugary meals. I hope the nanny-statists don't get them banned.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'd hate to meet one of these Disney tom turkeys in a dark alley...I wouldn't stand a chance, nor would many people.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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