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SATURDAY SIX Presents: The 10th Annual Theme Park Turkey of the Year Awards

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This week’s SATURDAY SIX is an annual tradition like no other*, as we proudly present the TENTH Annual Theme Park Turkeys of the Year. Gather ’round as we continue the time-honored tradition of awarding six Theme Park “Turkeys” to the craziest, most outrageous, or just downright weird stories of the year, concluding with the coveted Golden Turkey award. You can see all the previous Turkey inductees by CLICKING HERE.

Before we start, let’s send a special shout out to artist Brian Cooper. The headline drawing this year was crafted by Brian and features many of the memorable moments and people that have shaped our theme park experience over the last decade, both the good and the bad. There are over 50 references contained in the drawing, including several people closely associated with this fine blog series. How many Easter Eggs can YOU identify? Don’t, we identify every single one in this year’s TURKEY ADDENDUM.

We are also happy to announce that artist @SonderQuest is back and is kicking off the Turkeys with this Norman Rockwell tribute painting. It’s always great when you can combine SonderQuest’s cute, charming and quirky style with stories and items that are next level bonkers. We’ll be going over all the references in the drawing below in an Addendum as well.

“Fed Well.” (art by SonderQuest)

Also along for the ride is the digital maestro Scott Walker, who will be doing an exclusive SAT SIX Turkey Day parade photoshop for each story as well, each filled with hidden gags, so be sure to click on each parade photo to see it in a larger size and check out all those jokes!

Okay, with the pomp and circumstance out of the way, let’s kick off another year of absolute craziness with a story that brings us – once again – back to the Imagination Pavilion in EPCOT…

# 6 – That Time Figment Fell on his Face…TWICE

On September 11th, 2022 – at the D23 Expo in California, Josh D’Amaro announced that the Figment meet-and-greet character would be returning to EPCOT. Almost a full year later, on September 10th, 2023, Figment made his long awaited return to the park.

Figment returns. (photo by @Blog_Mickey)

Despite having a year to prepare, Figment just came out of the same “computer chip” portal that was created for the Wreck-It Ralph/Vanellope von Schweetz meet-and-greet. Just an amazing lack of effort that is almost incomprehensible from a Billion dollar company, but unfortunately is something that we’ve all become used to in the current Disney era of Profits First.

Vanellope von Schweetz from the Wreck-It Ralph meet and greet. (photo by @Blog_Mickey)

Anyway, to the surprise of no one, the return of Figment to the parks drew an extremely long line on the purple dragon’s debut. How could it not? The Figment popcorn bucket drew hours long lines! On the next day though, something more remarkable happened. On Figment’s way out to meet guests, he tripped and fell.

Figment Falls. (screenshot from video by @pinkiiness)

Hey, accidents happen. That’s no big deal. Unfortunately, later in the day Figment fell again! Because the Figment meet-and-greet was so popular, many guests saw and recorded the falls.

Down goes Figment! (screenshot from video by /TheFunaticsBlog)

Figment falling became a viral story in the theme park community, and led to a lot of jokes on social media…

Fallen Figment Meme. (art by Howard Bowers)

After the Figment falls, Disney made some modifications to the Dreamport tunnel. Running boards with high visibility tape were installed on both sides of the tunnel.

Tunnel with modifications added. (photo by @Blog_Mickey)

With the added safety, Figment is walking his way down the tunnel with the confidence of Vince McMahon!

High visibility tape added. (photo by @Blog_Mickey)

SAT SIX’s TURKEYS PARADE. Fallen Figment Balloon. (pixie dust by Scott Walker)

Figment taking a bump was a notable moment for meet-and-greet characters in the parks, but let’s take a look back at some of the other more “memorable” moments over the years, including when Disney brought Val the Velociraptor into Animal Kingdom for about two weeks during the Spring of 2014. This dinosaur costume seemed to be based around the ones used by the popular Walking With Dinosaurs arena show. The big difference between the two is that the controlled environment of an arena show could do a better job of hiding the human that is underneath the dinosaur puppet. Walking outside in a theme park during the day, Val came across more like a Dollar General Dino.

When Dinosaurs Walked The Earth…wearing Nike. (photo by Attractions Magazine)

Here is a Derek Doodle that I drew for a fundraiser back in the day featuring Val the Velociraptor.

Val was not the first dinosaur walk-around character in Animal Kingdom. NAY NAY. Who can forget the Carnotaurus character in Dinoland USA?

Carnotaurus. A Dinoland USA photo op character in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. April 26, 2005. (photo by @biorceconstruct)

Both Val and the Carnotaurus were done no favors by the fact that Animal Kingdom already had one of the most impressive walk-around characters ever created with Lucky the dinosaur. Part of Walt Disney Imagineering’s Living Character Initiative, Lucky was an 8-foot-tall dinosaur who was the first ever free roaming audio-animatronic, and the technology was later used in other “how did they do that?!” characters such as Talking Mickey at Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Remy from Ratatouille at Chefs de France, and the Muppet Mobile Labs.

Lucky the Dinosaur. (photo taken on April 26th, 2005 by – who else – @bioreconstruct)

There are two types of meet-and-greet characters at the parks. “Fur” characters, who have a costume which includes a non-moving mask over their head, and “face” characters, who have nothing obscuring their face and the essence of the character is conveyed through wigs, makeup, and costuming. “Fur” characters can best be represented by Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, and Winnie the Pooh. “Face” characters would include the Disney Princesses, Captain Jack Sparrow, and Fairy Godmother.

Professional Character Stalker Heather Winfield meeting Fairy Godmother over the years.

That is, until Tokyo Disneyland made the Fairy Godmother in a nightmare-fueled “fur” character, with a mask that seemed just as cheap as the Spider-Man and Batman ones I wore for Halloween as a kid that was held on with two staples and a cheap rubber band.

Fairy Godmother (photo by Guy Selga)

However, Tokyo Disneyland wasn’t the only international park to have a “what were they thinking?!” moment, as Disneyland Paris dropped a Jessica Rabbit meet-and-greet character that will haunt you forever.

Disneyland Paris. (photo by Bert Snyers)

 If you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Jessica Rabbit. (photo by Bert Snyers)

Over at Universal we got some true “What the?!!!” characters as well, including Toothsome Chocolate Emporium repurposing one of the Boston Robotics robot dogs into a steampunk version of, well, something.

Latte. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Universal CityWalk is also home to the beloved, yet still bonkers, Bubba Gump Shrimp.

What about when a Universal character does a meet-and-greet at Disney? You might be thinking, “that can’t happen!” but it certainly did, Dear Reader, and we have proof. Below is the character Poppy – from the Dreamworks animated film Trolls (soon to be featured in a new land at Universal Studios Florida) – outside the store lovepop in the center of Disney Springs. As you can see in the photo, Poppy is getting a picture taken with a fan.

Trolls meet-and-greet in Disney Springs.

The “meet-and-greet” didn’t last long, as Poppy was quickly confronted by Disney security and soon had to make the ultimate walk of shame (back to the Lime Garage.)

Poppy being escorted out of Disney Springs.

# 5 – That Time Disney Put its Bathroom Pumpkin on the Wrong Building

One of the annual traditions at Disney’s popular Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is decorated pumpkins that you’ll see on top of buildings throughout Main Street USA. Let’s take a look back to last year in 2022, and check out the pumpkins that guests saw above the Fire House on Main Street USA. The carved designs on these pumpkins included a fire hydrant, a puppy from 101 Dalmatians (nice touch), and a pumpkin giving directional signage to a nearby bathroom.

2022 Main Street USA Fire House pumpkins. (photo by the Disney Food Blog)

For the 2023 Halloween Party, this bathroom signage pumpkin was put on the City Hall building

Bathroom Pumpkin on City Hall. (photo by Denise of Mousesteps)

…which is to the LEFT of the actual bathroom that the pumpkin is supposed to be pointing to.

Bathroom Pumpkin on City Hall. (photo by Denise of Mousesteps)

Eventually Disney realized the error of their ways and moved the pumpkin back to above the firehouse.

Bathroom Pumpkin on Fire House. (photo by Denise from Mousesteps)
SAT SIX’s TURKEYS PARADE. Bathroom Pumpkin balloon. (pixie dust by Scott Walker)

Over the years we have been blessed with an amazing amount of next-level bonkers signage at Disney. So much, that we created an official Disney Signage Hall of Shame. Let’s look at some of our favorites…

See, all the Magic Kingdom had to do was turn the pumpkin upside down and the arrow would have been pointing the right way! (photo by @Dreamfinderguy)

TYPOS: One of our favorite signs of all time was when the Reedy Creek Improvement District put Epoct on an actual street sign. Pretty incredible when you consider how many people would have had to sign off during the creation, construction, and installation of this sign and no one caught the error.

EPOCT. (photo by @Blog_Mickey)
Merchandise That Disney Didn’t Make…But SHOULD! (pixie dust by Scott Walker)

What’s even crazier, is the very next year RCID made another huge typo with Disney’s Amimal Kingdom! No wonder Florida Governor Ron DeSantis took control over this group: quality control!

Amimal Kingdom.(photo by @Blog_Mickey)

One of my personal favorites was seen during a runDisney event and featured Disney’s Art OR Animation Resort.

At the Disney Springs bus station we saw Disney’s All Start Resorts.

The extra “t” is for “terrible.”  (photo by @seabasealison)

Other signs were fun in different ways, such as this sign at a Skyliner station featuring Disney’s Hollywood Studios Resort.

photo by Mark Diba
Hollywood Studios Resort. (photo by Mark Diba)

Let’s take a trip back to 2020. When Walt Disney World reopened after the pandemic shutdown, there were many things that didn’t open with it. These included meet-n-greets, attractions such as Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, and various hotels including All-Star Sports. The most noticeable change however was the loss of FastPass+. For the first time in years, almost every single guest at WDW only had one choice when it came to an attraction: the standby line.

At first, the mandatory six-foot social distancing caused standby lines to extend into areas of the theme parks no one has ever seen before. It was almost comical. Many guests were upset and it was hard to blame them. Despite actual evidence showing that the elimination of FastPass lines make the waits in stand-by much faster, guests have been trained to expect FastPass+, and the loss of it was frustrating. While there had been “rumor and innuendo” on podcasts such as the Disney Dish and various theme park message boards that Disney was working on a paid replacement to FastPass+, there was zero communication by Disney on what – if anything – would be happening to the FastPass+ queues at every attraction.

Then on September 2nd, out of almost nowhere, Lightning Lane signage went up at the WDW parks. Because Disney had been so secretive about this project, apparently not even informing front line Cast Members of this upcoming change, signage was put up overnight.

The results, in some cases, speak for themselves.

Lightning Lane sticker. (photo by @Blog_Mickey)
How is this real?! (photo by @Blog_Mickey)

Duct Tape, is there anything it can’t do? Sometimes you need just a little to cover up a pesky word you don’t want people to see.

(photo by @bioreconstruct)

Other times you have to cover a lot of stuff. A. Lot. Of. Stuff.

Duct Tape at EPCOT. (photo by @Schmoofy)

We even have green Duct Tape when needed at EPCOT!

Soarin’ Around Duct Tape. (photo by @Blog_Mickey)

Out in Disneyland this year, we got to see some interesting signage in front of the Palm Breeze Bar…

Palm Breeze Bar. (photo by @andreajessica)

Keep in mind when looking at the photo below that Disney’s PROFITS in 2022 were over $28 BILLION dollars.

Maybe my favorite sign of all time is the mysterious WAX Been Done sign at Disney’s Polynesian Resort.

Universal fans shouldn’t be laughing too hard, because those parks have had their fair share of “it may not be good, but it’s good enough” signage, including this cardboard warning people of “PAINT.” Again, head on over to our SIGNAGE HALL OF SHAME article to see many more examples at both Disney and Universal.

Bourne Stuntacular. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

# 4 – That Time a Guest Turned the Skyliner into a Peep Show

Splash Mountain has been involved in some controversy over the last couple years, but back in my day the controversy attached to the ride was its moniker Flash Mountain. The attraction got this nickname via women pulling up their shirts during the attraction’s large drop (which was also home to Splash Mountain’s photo-op camera.) Most people reading this fine blog series know that Disney had Cast Members making sure these – and other inappropriate photos – never were actually shown to guests as they exited the ride. Although as Jurassic Park taught us, life finds a way, and some of these pictures have made their way outside of Disney. For the most part though, the only thing you’re doing by trying to surprise Disney on a ride’s photo-op is getting yourself trespassed.

Disney’s new Skyliner transportation system is straight up E-Ticket. Absolutely love it. There are no photo-op experiences, so it’s almost impossible to get yourself in trouble right? Well, life finds a way…

Disney’s Skyliner traveling over the Caribbean Beach Resort.

…or maybe we should say, TikTok finds a way. A TikTok user filmed themselves flashing a passing Skyliner cabin and posted the video on the popular social media site.  There’s a saying “There’s a time and place for everything” but there is no time or place at Walt Disney World for flashing. Not only do you have impressionable children, but many different cultures visit Florida along with a thousand other reasons why you shouldn’t do something like this for clout. We are in for some interesting times ahead though, as TikTok is almost singlehandedly creating a Fame Monster that needs to constantly be fed. We saw the TikTok Disney Water Fountain Guy back in 2021, and we’ll surely see more brazen attempts to become “internet famous” at both Disney and Universal.

We always wanted to know what Mickey was taking a picture of…I guess now we know.

(photo by Brandon Glover)
Disney Skyliner. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Will someone tell Disney CEO Bob Iger to remain seated while the Skyliner is moving?!!

(photo by Brandon Glover, pixie dust by Scott Walker)

Disney could have definitely used this opportunity for a merchandise tie-in…

This pin is half off. (photo by @WDWNT, pixie dust by Scott Walker)
SAT SIX’s TURKEYS PARADE. Skyliner Flasher balloon. (pixie dust by Scott Walker)

Let’s take a look back to other Turkeys-Level guest behavior, including back in 2016 when a future Darwin Award Winner attempted his climb up the steps of the Mexico pyramid in EPCOT and learned the hard way what “forced perspective” means.

Although to be fair, the concept art did seem to encourage this type of behavior…

Artist Collin Campbell was eerily prescient when it came to realistic concept art. (pixie dust by Scott Walker)

This fine blog series has used this pyramid climber often throughout the years in a myriad of fake items…

Who wouldn’t want to be featured on a Disney Refillable Mug!

…including scaling this Chocolate Pyramid Cake that was available in EPCOT as part of the Disney100 celebration.

Mexico Pavilion Templo Delicioso pyramid dessert. Remember this cake, because we’re coming back to it in another section… (photo by Disney Food Blog, pixie dust by Scott Walker)

During the “Year of a Million Wishes” in 2006, Disney handed out surprise gifts to a million guests, but 10 years later every guest on property got the same gift thanks to the pyramid climber…this sign slapped onto the Mexico Pavilion.

These days it takes EPCOT forever to put anything into the park, but this sign went up pretty quickly on the Mexico Pavilion. (photo by Jesus Navarro)

Back in the day the expression was “Video Killed The Radio Star,” but in today’s world we may have to update that saying to “TikTok Killed Common Sense.” For example, in March of 2020 there was a TikTok user posting videos of himself drinking water from various fountains at Disney Springs. If that sounds disgusting and probably unsafe, well that’s because it is.

For each fountain, the TikToker would dip his reusable bottle into the fountain, drink a sip, rate the water on a scale of 1-10, and then spit it out. This would be a pretty stupid stunt to pull even in “normal times,” but keep in mind this was being done in the middle of a global pandemic and Disney having heightened all of their safety policies.

However, where the story leaps from Dumb Guest Behavior to Theme Park Turkey of the Year level is the fact that these TikTok videos weren’t filmed by an average day guest. Nay Nay. The person in question was a Disney Cast Member. Not only was he filming himself encouraging poor guest behavior by drinking water out of the fountains, but other videos on his TikTok account featured him going into backstage areas, which is another Disney no-no. The views on his TikTok videos skyrocketed into the millions, and several brands reached out to him for sponsorship deals. However, fame is fleeting in our new world, and the hammer of justice came down quick and hard. Disney quickly fired him and trespassed him from all of Walt Disney World property.

Andy Warhol predicted that in the future everyone would get their 15 minutes of fame, and while that is looking truer than ever thanks to the explosion of social media and things going viral, he forgot to mention the Monkey’s Paw catch: this brief moment of fame will take everything from you. There’s sort of a saying going around on Twitter that goes something like this – each day there is someone trending on social media… your goal is to NOT be that person.

Another reason you may not want to drink water from a Disney fountain? There may have been a goof standing in it. That’s right, it happend at the Lime Garage fountain on Aug 27th, 2022. It’s ALWAYS the Lime Garage…

Okay, the surfboard is weird enough… but why the binoculars?!

Videos taken at theme parks that go viral often paint all of us theme park fans in a poor light. The video that may have gone the most viral back in 2021 was one featuring a guest on Living with the Land jumping off the boat to steal a cucumber. Upon returning to the boat, the guest tripped and fell flat on their face which caused another guest to get out of the boat in order to help them.

Don’t do this.



Super Secret Tips for Saving Money Dining at Disney, featuring Derek & Bacini from the “David & Derek” series. (art by Brian Cooper)

No one reading this is going to be able to forget the year 2020 (no matter how hard we try) but a big part of that year when it came to the theme parks was both guests and Cast Members wearing mandatory face masks. Before we go further: whether you agree or disagree with the wearing of face masks inside the Disney parks is irrelevant, they were a mandated rule. Other companies, including the Florida supermarket chain Publix, “encouraged” customers to wear masks, but would not do anything to customers who chose not to wear them. That’s not how it worked at Disney, because the last thing the company needed was an outbreak that got traced back to the theme parks.

Despite signage EVERYWHERE in the parks saying masks are mandatory…despite impossible-to-miss pop-up messages that come up on your phone when you log into MyDisneyExperience and apocalyptic audio messages in parks providing “reminders”…there were still guests who thought they didn’t need to wear a mask at Walt Disney World.

While many guests that year were asked to leave the parks if they refused to wear a face covering, one man took it to another level in September of 2020. In what had to be an attempt to go “viral,” the very embodiment of the Florida Man stereotype was escorted out of DHS by park security while causing a scene. Screaming about his rights – although certainly not the “right to remain silent” – the man even invoked the beloved Pixar film A Bug’s Life in his ranting…

Remember the movie that came out at Walt Disney World?,” yells the man. “It was called A Bug’s Life! Remember Hopper? If one guy stands up, one ant stands up, then they’ll all stand up and they’ll lose control.”

Because the mask-less man was live-streaming the entire altercation, we also got a rare look backstage at DHS. When guests get trespassed from Disney, they are generally brought to a backstage room while paperwork is filled out. During this exchange, one person in this entire saga ended up being a hero to many: the Cast Member who served our unmasked man his trespass warning while explaining You Can’t Come Back Here Again. One user on social media even applied characters from A Bug’s Life to this unforgettable moment.

For the last ten years I’ve wanted to do an article on the craziest theme park stories found on Facebook, but it would be impossible to narrow down the top 6 Million of them, let alone the top 6. However, this one below might be my absolute favorite.

The comments we theme park bloggers get on our articles are always appreciated, and they show us that the readers truly take in and appreciate all the hard work we put into our craft, such as this comment after a post by Tom Bricker

…but again, Universal fans shouldn’t be laughing to hard because:

Maybe the most famous (infamous?) example of bad behavior over the last 10 years was Patrick Spikes. Back in 2019, Spikes was arrested for selling items that were taken out of the Disney parks, including wigs from The Haunted Mansion that are seen below…

Many people reading this know how big the Disney collectible market is, especially for items that were actually used inside the actual theme parks. While all this was going on with Patrick Spikes, another big story was going around the theme park community. “Rumors and Innuendo” were suggesting that the audio-animatronic character of Buzzy – from the Cranium Command attraction at EPCOT – had been stolen from the parks, after a post was made on the WDWMagic forums. The two stories intersect with this piece of information…one of the people who bought items from Patrick Spikes was NBA player Robin Lopez. It turns out that Lopez had unwittingly paid Spikes over $8,000 for clothing items from Buzzy, not knowing they were illegally taken from the closed Wonders of Life Pavilion.

As of this writing, it’s still not known what exactly happened to Buzzy. Clothes and wigs are one thing, but it’s unrealistic to believe that anyone could sneak out a giant audio-animatronic weighing hundreds of pounds in broad daylight. Patrick Spikes has denied having any involvement with the audio-animatronic.

A Walt Disney Imagineer works on the surprisingly large Buzzy audio-animatronic. Footage from 2023 RetroMagic panel.

That said, the story is much more involved than the brief recap I just gave, and if you’re interested in learning more about this bizarre tale, check out THIS VIDEO ON YOUTUBE which covers every aspect of the story, including one of the most important lessons Patrick Spikes took from the whole ordeal: never bring your phone to a police interrogation. Also, be on the lookout for an upcoming film based on this story by auteur Josh Bailey. The title: Stolen Kingdom.

For a fundraiser back in the day I did a series of drawings featuring Theme Park Power Couples. These couples including “Bob Chapek & Profits,” “Bob Iger & Capita Marvel“, and “@bioreconstruct & his helicopter.”)
Buzzy’s clothes and Patrick Spikes. (art by @SonderQuest)

BREAKING NEWS: The day after the 2023 Turkeys went to print, a man in California realized there just wasn’t enough representation of the Disneyland parks in this article and decided to make a difference. The man stripped all his clothes off down to his boxers, and started to walk around in its a small world.

However, the boxers would soon come off as well, giving us another reminder of why you shouldn’t be drinking certain types of water at Disney or Universal.

We all know how grueling a day walking the theme parks can be, so Disney security and California law enforcement generously agreed to carry the man out of the park.

Now one of the most common complaints from Disney fans about the Universal Orlando Resort is that the ride restraints on the attractions are too restrictive. The reason Universal – and almost every other legitimate park across the glove – have such tight safety standards is to prevent guests from getting hurt, or hurting themselves by exiting an attraction when they are not supposed. On the other hand, over at Disney we’ve had guests leaving the GOTG: Cosmic Rewind coaster in the middle of the ride, guests getting out of their Living with the Land boat to steal cucumbers, guests getting out of their Gran Fiesta Tour boats early and more. So it was time for the Digital Maestro Scott Walker to create a new meme template..

# 3 – That Time Universal Puts Kool-Aid Pickles and Bubblegum Mustard on a Hot Dog

The SATURDAY SIX has long considered Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights to be the “International Food & Wine Festival for the workin’ man.” While EPCOT may offer fancy schmancy small plates and crudités along with wine pairings where you need to hold your pinkie out when drinking, Universal offers items such as pizza fries, twisted taters, and – this year – a hot dog that looks like it was created by Buddy the Elf.

Dr. Oddfellow’s Carn”Evil” Dog – Red hot dog in a confetti hot dog bun, Kool-Aid pickles, bubblegum mustard, and potato sticks. (photo by Megan Stump)

Kool-Aid pickles. BUBBLEGUM mustard. A confetti bun. All of that stuff is crazy, but what’s even crazier is that it actually tasted good!

Cross section of a Dr. Oddfellow’s Carn”Evil” Dog. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)
SAT SIX’s TURKEYS PARADE. Hot Dog balloon. (pixie dust by Scott Walker)

Even when seen with your own eyes, there are some things that are hard to believe are true. Case in point, back in 2015 we got the Idaho Dog. Part of a line of gourmet hot dogs that was available in – of all places – the Grand Floridian, the Idaho dog was served inside a baked potato (in lieu of a bun) and was topped with shredded cheddar cheese, bacon bits, chives, and sour cream. Ever wonder why you never heard of someone putting sour cream on their hot dog before? One bite of the Idaho dog and you’ll know why.

Idaho Dog. (photo by Brian Carey)

While the Idaho Dog was a hot dog served in something other than a hot dog bun, in the Magic Kingdom at Cosmic Ray’s we got the reverse, a hamburger served in hot dog buns.

Cosmic Ray’s gluten-free hamburger buns were actually hot dog buns. (photo by @somestuffisaid)
Cosmic Ray’s gluten-free “hamburger buns.” (photo by @somestuffisaid)

For St. Patrick’s Day in 2022, Disneyland threatened to release this monstrosity…

…but what actually came out somehow looked even more disgusting.

St. Patrick’s Day Corndog. (photo by Josh Spiegal)

This next example from 2023 takes the cake, literally. The Maya Grill at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort offered the Templo Delicioso chocolate pyramid. Now, earlier in this very article we saw that the San Angel Inn at EPCOT was also serving this treat. As you can see in the ad below, this Templo Delicioso features the Disney 100 logo.

Templo Delicioso. (photo by Jeff)

So the chocolate pyramid comes and it is adorned with the Disney 100 logo. However, there seems to be another large number right above that…

Templo Delicioso. (photo by Jeff)

…and lo and behold there is a large number “50” on the pyramid as well, just covered by a thin layer of chocolate.

Templo Delicioso. (photo by Jeff)

Why is that number 50 there? Because this design originally appeared back in 2021 during Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary celebration. You can’t make stuff like this up.

Fiesta Pyramid. (photo by Disney Food Blog)

Our last section was on poor guest behavior, while this section is on food… LET’S COMBINE THE TWO!

Tipping at Walt Disney World is one of the most controversial subjects in the theme park community. I get it. Many guests come from countries in which servers in restaurants make a livable wage and the “tip” – so to speak – is built into the cost of their meal. Unfortunately that’s not how it works in America, nor at Walt Disney World. Here, servers are paid an extremely low wage because of the assumption that tips will bring up their earnings. Whether that policy is “right” or “wrong” is a battle for another day. This is just simply how it is, period.

Servers get poorly tipped, if not outright stiffed, many times over the course of a year. There’s nothing they can do about it. Just have to “take the L” and move on. The servers can’t complain, because in almost all cases tipping is voluntary. When guests gloat about being a jerk to a server, that always backfires, such as this next story from EPCOT.

In 2020, a self-described Disney Expert posted an Instagram story about her experience at Via Napoli.

During the story, the “influencer” showed the check they got for a pizza. In the Instagram story, the “expert” said that they read the menu wrong. The original bill was for slightly over $50. The person then applied their Annual Pass discount to bring the check down to $45. Here’s where we get to the point of the story which shows you everything you need to know about this so-called Disney expert’s character. In the updated check, they put zero in for a tip with the hand written explanation,

Sorry not to tip, but this price is outrageous.” – Alleged Disney Expert

Even better, the Disney “influencer” created a GoFundMe, trying to get people to chip in and reimburse the $45 spent on lunch.

Reaction to all of this was BRUTAL. It wasn’t long before the story changed. Multiple times. The updated Instagram story now claimed this “expert” was misled by the server, was being attacked by everyone on social media, and even went so far to suggest it was God’s Will which led them not to tip. Lessons Learned? Like the tip itself, zero.

Disney Influencer receiving a check.

The good news is that this is the rare story with a truly happy ending. After learning about the situation, another person started a GoFundMe page for the Via Napoli server. A whole bunch of people contributed – much more than expected – and the Via Napoli server was given the entire amount of the funds in the form of a $1,430 tip.

As always, regardless of how you feel about tipping at WDW, there is something to keep in the back of your mind when going out to eat at any table service restaurant:

Also, be sure to base your tip on the original bill, not after any discounts have been taken off such as Annual Passholder or DVC.

# 2 – That Time a Bear Got into Magic Kingdom without a Park Reservation

I always know when a theme park story has gone truly viral when my friends and family who aren’t theme park weirdoes super fans like us reach out to me about the story.  Back in September we had a story that completely blew up in the community, and it all started innocently enough when Rumors and Innuendo suggested a bear was inside the Magic Kingdom. Not an audio-animatronic bear like Big Al in Country Bears Jamboree, nor a bear like the many you would see during Pride month. NAY NAY. An actual bear, with claws and all.

Over on DisTwitter, many people started showing screenshots of the official MyDisneyExperience app, which seemed to indicate that half of Disney’s Magic Kingdom was shut down.

Normally only 80% of these attractions are down at any given moment (that’s a joke before you start sending any emails.)

The rumors were soon confirmed.

DisTwitter being DisTwitter, this led to a series of people having fun with the story.

(meme by @FakeDisneyFact)

A lot of people were secretly jealous of the bear enjoying an empty Magic Kingdom to itself, and imagined what fun the animal could also have on its park day.

Always good when Disney’s competition in Florida has some good-natured fun with a viral story involving the Mouse House.

A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

Florida fish and wildlife were quickly on the scene and safely captured the bear.

Later, Florida Fish and Wildlife showed video of the bear being released back into the Ocala National Forest.

Several have questioned how a bear could even get into a theme park. Here’s what we do know. More than a few “urban explorers” have been trespassed from Disney and somehow got back into the parks to film their shenanigans. A bear is much smarter than any of them, so if there’s a way to get in, the bear will find it.

SAT SIX’s TURKEYS PARADE. Bear in MK balloon. (pixie dust by Scott Walker)

Bears aren’t the only animal that went “viral” in Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Back in July 2020, right before WDW reopened for the public, the parks let in Cast Members to perform a “stress test” of sorts to make sure everything was ready to go before regular guests came back. For reasons still unknown, one Cast Member decided this was the time to not only pick up a duck in Disney’s Magic Kingdom, but film the experience to put on Tik Tok and generate views.

This went about as well as you think it would, and Disney Duck Girl was born. Response to the video was swift.

Several others had fun with the Disney Duck Girl story.

(meme by Gratuitous Theme Parks)


One person even made a music video…

WORD OF ADVICE: If you ever do something that sparks an internet outrage against you, “take the L” and move on. Apologize. Take a moment of self-reflection and try to understand where everyone else is coming from. Evaluate your choice and make an honest assessment of what you could have done differently.

Of course, no one EVER does this.

They usually make excuses for their behavior. Disney Duck Girl’s excuse was that she was afraid for the duck’s health because of children nearby. Keep in mind that *she* posted the video which debunked her own story.

2020 was also a year of theme park fans getting constant news of delayed or canceled projects, so Universal going full steam ahead with a new roller coaster in Jurassic Park at Islands of Adventure was a reason to rejoice. In early July of that year, the last piece of the coaster track was installed, and it just so happened to be the “top hat” located at the highest point of the actual coaster.

Last piece of track being added to the VelociCoaster. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

However, the story then went in an interesting direction, as an osprey soon decided to make this new E-Ticket attraction its home.

Squatter’s rights. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

About a month after the top hat was installed, multiple bloggers noticed that an osprey was building a nest on the track.

You’ll notice underneath the track is a Jurassic Park flag. The flag is part of the topping off process of the VelociCoaster. A tradition in construction projects is raising a flag with the highest component of a structure. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Here’s an aerial photo looking down at the nest on top of the track.

Aerial photo of osprey nest. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

At sunrise on August 23rd, a drone was spotted observing the osprey from a distance. This could be Universal asking advice from outside experts on what to do about this situation. One person on social media said that they “know someone who is working on the project and management at Universal is trying to figure out a solution. Right now they send a drone up there and are using a high reach to remove the nest.” Because ospreys are a protected species, Universal can only remove a nest if there are no eggs or chicks in it.

To be fair, this is 2020 so there’s an equally good chance that’s just the drone from a theme park blogger taking construction photos. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

During the course of an average day, workers were seen making adjustments to the track.

“Just tightening screws here. Nothing to see. Definitely not going to remove any nests.” (photo by @bioreconstruct)

after several nests were removed over the course of several weeks, Universal then put a blue cling wrap over the track in order to discourage the osprey from building a new one.

Blue wrap on VelociCoaster. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

As it turns out, osprey talons can, in fact, tear through blue cling wrap pretty easily.

This is like putting a cupcake in front of a theme park blogger. It’s going down. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Here is an osprey in action bringing pieces for their nest. For me personally, I am in huge awe and have total admiration for how these birds can build these nests, piece by piece, traveling large distances and somehow have the nest stay together even when built on uneven surfaces. I honestly don’t think I could build this very same nest using a crane and was given every piece of nest. I guarantee after every couple minutes everything would just fall through the coaster track and into the water hundreds of feet below.

In a sense, this is just another form of theme park construction. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

One way that Universal tried to solve the problem was by building platforms for the ospreys to build nests on a location outside the park. The platform in the photo below is at Dr. Phillips High School stadium, located near Universal. Ospreys love building their nests on tall objects, so next time you’re driving in or around Orlando, take a close look at the top of some of those billboards and lighting poles.

Osprey nest high above a lighting pole. This new nesting structure was built when the stadium lights were replaced, as the old lights were home to an osprey-built nest for years. Note Dr. Doom’s Fear Fall in the background. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

So the platform worked and the osprey left Universal for a better home, right?


Instead, a second osprey showed up at the park.

“Now we’re two.” – Bruce Wayne to James Gordon, Batman Begins (photo by @bioreconstruct)

So here’s how it ended… Universal eventually started testing for the Velocicoaster. What that means is – for guest safety reasons – they can’t put any more blue cling wrap on the track to deter ospreys. The coaster had been certified for operation and anything put on the track after that fact would force Universal to have to go through certification all over again. At first, the vehicle testing for the coaster is being done primarily at night. So the ospreys would start building a nest during the day, and Universal would remove the nest at night to test, and then repeat the cycle. Eventually, Universal began to test the Velocicoaster during the day, and the ospreys voluntarily moved at that point.

Guests got to enjoy an awesome new roller coaster…

VelociCoaster passing the top hat. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

…and our fine feathered friends got to build their new family in a nest nearby.

The VelociCoaster Osprey family. The youngster is growing fast. In 3rd photo, daddy Osprey seems to have spotted the photographer. May 8th, 2022. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

# 1 – That Time That Disney Closed the Galactic Starcruiser After One Year

Heaven needed an Accelerated Depreciation.

In March, 2022, Disney opened the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. A whole new concept when it came to a Disney hotel experience, guests would spend 24/7 in a completely immersive Star Wars environment. Inside the Starcruiser, guests would interact with the Cast Members in a live-action role-playing game with various quests. Many fans took the opportunity to dress up for the experience, even creating backstories for their characters. This includes TouringPlans’ own Len Testa and his alter ego, Hank Lonely: writer/director/producer and star of the best science fiction series you’ve never seen.

They say “in space, no one can hear you scream,” but apparently they haven’t met Hank Lonely’s barber after seeing this photo.

TouringPlans’ own Guy Selga’s character was “the last employee of an aging galactic holo-video rental store.”

The job Disney did on creating the immersive environment throughout the ship was incredible.

As of this writing, the company Tesla is pitching its Cybertruck with the tagline “the future should look like the future.” Well, the Cybertruck looks more like Minecraft, but the guest rooms on the Starcruiser actually did look like something from the future (which is ironic, considering the Star Wars story you are playing in takes place a long time ago…)

On board, there were various activities, including lightsaber training.

The food onboard the Starcruiser was next level.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a sucker for themed waffles!

Waffle with the logo for the Chandrila Star Line.

At night, guests on the Starcruiser enjoyed a dinner show in which singer Gaya and her band entertained the diners.

Gaya. (photo by @Blog_Mickey)

One thing that always separated Star Wars from Star Trek – in my mind – was that the aliens in Star Wars always looked like what I thought aliens would look like, whereas aliens in Star Trek just looked like humans wearing makeup or wigs.

Hank Lonely and Ouannii.
Hank Lonely and Ouannii. (artwork by Brian Cooper)
Ouannii & Gaya from the Galactic Starcruiser. (art by @SonderQuest)

Droids are an important part of the Star Wars universe, and the Starcruiser had its own lovable character roaming the ship with SK-620.

In the time-honored tradition of Star Wars, the Starcruiser gift shop was filled with unique items, including an SK-620 action figure. Trust me, there is NOTHING more Star Wars than that!

Even the photoshoots that the guests could purchase onboard were E-Ticket!

Throughout the sailing, guests would be involved in storylines that had them interacting with the Empire and the Rebellion. The missions were filled with surprises, including one featuring a holographic appearance by Yoda in a true “WOW!” moment.

Here is Master Yoda making an appearance on the Starcruiser outside of a mission.

All capped off with a show-stopping lightsaber battle between Kylo Ren and Rey!

Reviews of the Galactic Starcruiser were off-the-charts good. Everyone raved about their experience. The interactions with the cast onboard the Starcruiser set a new standard of storytelling in the theme park universe.

Gaya interacts with a youngling aboard the Starcruiser.

The only negative was the price tag. Unlike traditional hotel stays, guests didn’t book one night on the Starcruiser. Instead the bookings were more like the Disney Cruise Line, and everyone onboard a particular “sailing” was committed to a three day/2 night experience. These stays started at about $2,000-$2,500 per person.

Now, the reviews were so strong early on that many in the community claimed that the Starcruiser would be booked solid for YEARS. There were no discounts available whatsoever. In fact, “rumors and innuendo” suggest that even celebrities were asked to pay full price for the suites onboard the ship (we heard this firsthand.) Disney created something pretty incredible, and they apparently felt it would sell itself, even despite the bonkers price.

Common sense would indicate this probably wasn’t going to be true, as there are only so many people who can afford such a high price point for such a niche product. I am a lifelong Star Wars fan and I couldn’t justify the cost, because – as much as I love Star Wars – I never wanted to be part of the story. The cosplay part of the Starcruiser meant nothing to me, and I definitely didn’t want to be involved in any missions (no offense to the people who loved that stuff. I get it, I truly do.) By early 2023, more “rumors and innuendo” suggested that the Starcruiser was seeing a real drop in bookings. On social media, travel agents were posting that discounts would be available for Cast Members, DVC members, and Disney Annual Passholders.

Potential ad for Starcruiser once bookings went soft.(meme by @ThankYouKeyzus)

Whatever it was, it was too little, too late, as in May of 2023 Disney announced that the Galactic Starcruiser would be closing at the end of September. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t think it would be “SOLD OUT” for years, but I also didn’t see Disney just cutting bait on the project. In this day and age there are very few things that Disney can do that their competition can’t. Animal Kingdom Lodge, Kilimanjaro Safaris in Animal Kingdom, and the Haunted Mansion are three examples where Disney is untouchable. The Galactic Starcruiser was on that untouchable list. This was something you couldn’t do anywhere else and there was NOTHING to compare it to. There is no silver lining to this story, as everything about it is a bummer. The theme park community needs more things like the Galactic Starcruiser, not less.

Starcruiser’s new tenant. (meme by @TheHorizoneer)
SAT SIX’s TURKEYS PARADE. Starcruiser Crashing balloon. (pixie dust by Scott Walker)


Harmonious at EPCOT. (photo by @tim_beekman)
Rivers of Light at Animal Kingdom.
The Legend of Jack Sparrow at DHS.

So there you have it: The TENTH ANNUAL Theme Park Turkey of the Year Awards! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out the THEME PARK ENJOYMENT INDEX, giving a monthly recap of all the theme park news you need to know (and a lot more you don’t need to know, but we’re gonna tell you anyway). You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan) and Bluesky.

Thanksgiving Leftovers: AKA Previous Editions of The Turkeys…

Special Thanks to The Elite Brandon Glover, Digital Maestro Scott Walker, the bio-est of all reconstructs @bioreconstruct, Captain Cruiseline Scott Sanders of the world-famous Disney Cruise Line Blog, my personal protege Hunter “Elvey” Underwood, artist @SonderQuest, the mighty maven of merchandise Hedgehog’s Corner, the SAT SIX Fun Squad of Parkscope Joe and “the Dadalorian” Nick, hot shot Michael Carelli, charter member of the Universal Four @Nitro230, the permit princess Alicia Stella, master cartographer Tommy Hawkins, and Hermione Granger’s tutor Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Absolutely no help was added by SeaWorld Influencer @SuperWeenieHtJr. The SAT SIX is inspired each week by goofballs Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde and you Potterheads will enjoy Meg’s other blog work over at the Central Florida Slug Club.

And now, a couple of final testimonials from those who really know how to wield a backhand …

How the 2023 Theme Park Turkey of the Year Awards header started…

“Always impressed by Brian Cooper’s ability to make your insane concepts and actually get a good layout. He’s so good at organizing complex layouts to still be pleasing to the eye… I don’t know how he does it.” – The Permit Princess Alicia Stella

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2 thoughts on “SATURDAY SIX Presents: The 10th Annual Theme Park Turkey of the Year Awards

  • Out of all these, I will always remember “Wax Been Done” as the grand master of funny stuff at Disney. That sign was absolutely brilliant. If it were incorporated into some sort of T-shirt meant to promote staying onsite, like someone standing with a thumbs-up next to the sign inside the Polynesian, I would wait in souvenir-popcorn-bucket-long lines to buy that shirt. Sure, you could stay offsite or at some competitor’s hotel, but how do you know their wax been done? Why roll the dice? Stay at Disney, and one thing will never be in doubt–wax been done!

  • Long-time reader, first-time commenter: I look forward to the Turkeys every year, and this one did not disappoint! I started reading this morning and just finished now. Thanks for injecting some humor into Thanksgiving weekend. LOVE the amazing work of the talented artists as well. Keep up the great work-and the wrestling puns that I mostly get because my husband loves wrestling like I love Disney.


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