I don’t want to start this article talking about giant exotic birds.
The truth is I have what I believe to be some very clever ruminations about the nature of people.
Specifically, people who would go to a magical theme park in sweltering central Florida, a park with seemingly unlimited food options courtesy of Walt Disney World Dining, and order the biggest, saltiest, full of grams of fat, heaviest piece of poultry known to man.
Why in the land of delicious, cool and refreshing Dole Whip would anyone go to the Disney turkey leg cart in 1,000-degree relative heat?
It’s like they’re gearing up to portray a Sir Gawain of the round table at a Renaissance Faire in Topeka.
But no matter how deftly I weave my keen insights into the nature of man and his epicurean pursuits, I fear, dear reader, that I will not have your full attention until we address the elephant – or emu in the room.
I will not shirk my duty. I will not bury the lede. So, my friends, let’s get it over with.
Are the turkey legs at Disney really turkey?
But are the legs really from turkeys?
If you are not a person who explores the wider internet, this question may come to you as something of a shock.
There is, of course, a seemingly obvious answer right there at our fingertips. But the classic question “Who is buried in Grant’s Tomb?” You pause, sensing a trap.
If the answer was as obvious as it seems, why would anyone ask the question at all? Why in the world of Disney eats, would the iconic snacks originated by Big Al himself in the 1980s not be made of turkey?
For the answer to that question, we must travel through time back to 2010. A time when internet rumor mongers whispered in the darkest corners of the web that the gargantuan turkey legs were not, in fact, harvested from turkeys.
They were, according to the internet gossips, taken from emus or ostriches or velociraptors.
The latter possibly resurrected from ancient DNA for the purpose of providing tasty, tasty leg meat to the unabashed carnivores roaming the Magic Kingdom, unwilling to sate their ravenous hunger with a Mickey Pretzel and Teriyaki Burger.
The urban legends reached a cacophonous roar when actor Zachery Levi, aka TV’s Chuck from the show “Chuck”, appeared on the Conan O’Brien show and declared that his inside sources in the labyrinth that is Disney foodservice swore to him that the famous jumbo turkey legs were not turkey at all.
The public – known for its restraint in such situations – took the information and ran wild with it.
Forget for a moment, that Disney officials have frequently debunked the rumors.
Every so often, the rampant fires of wild speculation are flamed again.
And some poor executive chef is forced to come out and explain to the world that just mere months earlier, that leg upon which you gnawed in the sweltering summer heat was away at some turkey farm somewhere, blissfully unaware of its inevitable march towards the gobbler gallows.
Still, the questioning internet persists. Are they really just emu legs?
Why are the turkey legs so big?
But, if those legs are turkey, how come they are so gigantic?
Well, it turns out that the internet doesn’t know as much about turkeys as they thought. Your typical Thanksgiving turkey is a hen, a female. Therefore, most of your perception of the relative size of turkey corpses and their legs comes from lady turkeys.
The Disney turkey drumsticks come from the males, aka gobblers, which are considerably larger than the females. It’s all that turkey testosterone that makes them bad boys so large.
Do male turkeys have testosterone? I don’t know. I’m not Googling it. If they don’t, I’m sure they have the turkey equivalent of testosterone.
Also, have you seen the size of an emu? They’re like six feet tall.
You order an emu leg at some quick-service restaurant and Disney fans would be walking around the park like Fred Flintstone and his brontosaurus burger. Your Walt Disney World vacation would look more like a visit to Jurassic Park.
Why do Disney turkey legs taste like ham?
But, if those legs are turkey, how come they taste like ham?
I like this question. I like it a lot. It predisposes that emus or ostriches or whatever non-turkey animal Disney is using to make its alleged turkey legs tastes like pork. Do emus taste like pork? I don’t think they do or we’d be eating a lot more emu – which I understand is quite healthy, unlike the Disney turkey.
No, the reason Disney’s turkeys taste like ham is in the preparation. The turkey legs, like many hams, are soaked in a salt solution. You’re not tasting ham. You’re tasting salt.
Do the turkey legs at Disney taste good?
But are the turkey legs good? Hell yeah, they’re good. Weren’t you listening?
Most people think they taste like pork shank. Pork shank is delicious. Also, Disney parks sell a billion turkey legs and have them at four locations within the Magic Kingdom. You don’t do that if they’re not good.
It’s one of the best snacks in the park.
Where can I get a turkey leg at Magic Kingdom?
So where can I get one of these enormous turkey legs?
As far as I can tell, there are four locations within the Disney Magic Kingdom that sell the salty, fatty on the bone goodness. And they are relatively close to each other.
The legs used to be sold at Tortuga Tavern by the Pirates of the Caribbean in Adventureland. But they are no longer listed on the menu there.
I suspect all of this is for supply chain reasons. It’s easier to stock two locations in Liberty Square and two locations in Fantasyland than it is to be running smoked turkey legs all over the park.
How much is a turkey leg at Magic Kingdom?
In Fantasyland, the legs can be found at Prince Eric’s Village Market, across from Under the Sea- Journey of the Little Mermaid.
There the leg will set you back $14.49. And it comes with chips which is good because you’ll really want some more salt in your system after you munch one of these things down in 98-degree heat.
Would it kill Disney to throw in a couple of soft drinks to wash all that salt down?
The legs are also available at Gaston’s Tavern which is maybe 200 yards from the Prince Eric market and under the shadow of Belle’s castle and the Be Our Guest restaurant. There you can get a turkey leg for $14.49 with chips.
In Liberty Square, the turkey leg concessions are, again, within a couple of hundred yards from each other, flanking the Hall of Presidents.
At the Liberty Square Market, the turkey legs are $12.49 and available after 11 am, at the time of this writing.
They are the same price at Sleepy Hollow refreshments and only are available after 7 pm. That is according to the Disney World website, but it’s not clear if that’s just for the off-season or if that’s the case year-round.
Is a turkey leg a healthy option?
Relative to what? Is a turkey leg healthier than a pile of corn dogs and jumbo Mickey waffles or anything they have at Casey’s Corner? Yeah.
It’s turkey meat, after all. But if we’re being honest, no. It’s not healthy at all.
They’re full of fat and salt and liquid smoke. I can promise you this, Mickey Mouse didn’t make it to 93 years old eating giant turkey legs for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
What snacks do you get when you visit Magic Kingdom? Let us know in the comments.