SATURDAY SIX Presents: The 2022 Theme Park Turkeys of the Year

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This week’s SATURDAY SIX is an annual tradition like no other*, as we proudly present the NINTH 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 which happened over the course of 2022, both the good and the bad. There are over 40 references contained in the drawing, many of which we’ll be covering in great detail in this very article. How many Easter Eggs can YOU identify? Don’t worry if you don’t spot them all as you can check the 2022 TURKEY ADDENDUM which explains every single reference.

We are also happy to announce that artist @SonderQuest is back and is going to provide an exclusive “digital watercolor” for each of the six Turkeys this year! It’s always great when you can combine SonderQuest’s cute, charming and quirky style with stories that are next level bonkers. New for 2022 is the addition of the digital maestro Scott Walker, who will be doing an exclusive photoshop for each story as well.

Okay, with the pomp and circumstance out of the way, let’s kick off another year of absolute craziness with a story that seems too insane to actually be true (but we assure you, it actually happened…)

# 6 – That Time Spider-Man CRASHED Into a Wall in Avengers Campus

While Walt Disney World is still hamstrung by that darn Marvel contract with the Universal Orlando Resort, Disney parks west of the Mississippi River are allowed to use all of the characters created by Marvel Comics. So when Avengers Campus finally opened in California last year, guests were excited to be able to see main event Marvel heroes like Captain America, Black Panther, and Spider-Man inside a Disney park. While Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure isn’t going to make anyone forget Islands of Adventure’s game changing Spider-Man attraction, one thing Avengers Campus also had was a fun moment with Spider-Man “web slinging” in the sky. This Spidey just so happens to be a robot, and does a remarkable looking jump in between buildings. Here are some gorgeous photos of this Spidey in action.

Spider-Man in action. (photo by @Blog_Mickey)
Spider-Man in air. (photo by @Blog_Mickey)

The law of gravity tells us that what goes up must come down, and Spidey came down the hard way back in June when a guest videoed ol’ web-head crashing and burning into a building (you can watch the video by CLICKING HERE.)

Spidey Sense is definitely tingling at this point. (screenshot from video by /mdglee_szm)

Clearly the Imagineers foresaw that Spidey not sticking the landing could happen one day, so a break-apart wall was installed in the area where ol’ web head is supposed to “land” in case he (it?) hits the wall.

The greatest moment of J Jonah Jameson’s life. (screenshot from video by /mdglee_szm)

While it’s never good for something so high profile in a theme park to have such a huge mistake, I’m glad this one happened because it sparked the creative juices of DisTwitter as they IMMEDIATELY had videos up using the Spidey crash to comedic effect. Some of my favorites include one by @LeavesOnTheLawn who set the video to a call from Good Ol’ JR from the WWE. Twitter user @AllCentralFla brilliantly combined the footage with a memorable moment with Spider-Man 2 with Tobey Maguire while @ThemeParkUmpire which used the “sad trombone” sound effect.

Several people also saw a natural tie-in with the (at the time) recently released Jackass movie, and you can see those videos by CLICKING THIS LINK and THIS ONE TOO.

Logo could also be used by Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark broadway show. SYNERGY~! (art by @SonderQuest)

We’re awarding extra points to those who create an actual LEGO diorama of the event. Our Plastic in the Parks series would be proud.

Thankfully it didn’t take Disney long to repair the wall and for shows to get back on schedule.

Repairs being made. (photo by Instagram user /entertainmentconnection)

Our very own Scott Walker came up with a plan C, to keep Spidey extra safe in future slings…

(original photo by @Blog_Mickey digital art by Scott Walker)
2022 Turkey of the Year nominee: Spider-Man crashing in Avengers Campus. (artwork by @SonderQuest)

# 5 – That Time Disney’s Instagram and Facebook Were HACKED

Anyone with social media either has been hacked or knows someone else who has. Years ago my Facebook account was hacked, or whoever did it started sending direct messages to all my followers (including friends and family) that I had been attacked in London and needed money immediately to get home. Thankfully no one was actually scammed out of money, but a very similar thing happened to a family member of mine and their grandparents were tricked into sending money to the hacker. Everything about being hacked sucks. Period. However, at least when regular people like you or me get hacked, the overall damage is relatively small, but when a major account gets hacked, a lot of people find out real fast.

 

Such was the case this past July, when the official Instagram and Facebook accounts for Disneyland were hacked.

The posts put up on Disneyland’s account were absolutely awful, using racist and homophobic slurs while referencing the release of a new strain of Covid-19.

The Disneyland Instagram account has over 8 Million followers and generally posts pictures from the Disneyland and Disney California Adventure theme parks. However on one early morning in July, their followers saw messages like this…

The offending posts were taken down about an hour later, but not until after hundreds and thousands of comments were posted on them by a shocked audience. This is not the first time that official Disney accounts have posted absolutely bizarre tweets…

In the end, Disneyland regained control of its Instagram account. No one knows what became of the hackers, but we know what should have been done…

The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Two Factor Authentication Improves. (meme by Scott Walker)
2022 Turkey of the Year nominee: Disney Social Media Hacker. (artwork by @SonderQuest)

# 4 – That Time Supply Chain Issues Caught Up To Disney

We are big fans of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and one of our favorite things in the entire land is Savi’s Workshop. An experience that is extremely intimate, building your own lightsaber at Savi’s Workshop is one of the most fun and satisfying things I have ever done in my lifetime as a Star Wars fan.

Lightsabers made in Savi’s Workshop.

At that time, the cost of a Savi’s Workshop experience was $200, and even though the “show” length is less than 15 minutes, and I didn’t feel for one second that I got ripped off when walking out. One of the reasons I felt fully satisfied about the entire experience was a lightsaber carrying case they gave each builder. I’ve bought several high-end Force FX lightsabers over the years, but I’ve never seen something to carry your lightsabers in. The carrying case given to guests at Savi’s Workshop was awesome.

Bacini eyeing my lightsaber carrying case from Savi’s Workshop.

The carrying case is sharplooking, and something that catches your eye when you see people walking around the park with them.

A guest carrying their lightsaber from Savi’s Workshop. (photo by @Blog_Mickey)

However, in early February, Savi’s no longer gave out the complimentary carrying case, and instead told guests they needed to cough up another $50 for one or use a ridiculous looking plastic bag.

Compare this photo to the one of the person walking in the park above. In one instance you’re asking yourself “where did you get that?” while the other photo has you asking “why did you get that?” (photo by @Blog_Mickey)

$50 is $50, so many people chose the free option.

Lightsaber in Galaxy’s Edge. (photo by @Blog_Mickey)
Lightsaber in Galaxy’s Edge. (photo by @Blog_Mickey)

Keep in mind, reservations for Savi’s Workshop go fast, and one of the things listed as perks of the experience was that every guest would get a carrying case. Well, apparently all us aspiring Jedi didn’t read the fine print…

Lightsaber plastic bags. (photo by @Blog_Mickey)
Lightsaber plastic bags. (photo by @Blog_Mickey)

Now, despite years of nickel-and-diming guests, I’m going to give Disney the benefit of the doubt and assume they were victims of a supply chain issue and couldn’t get their normal amount of carrying cases. We’ve certainly seen similar shortages in all forms of items at just about every store we have shopped at during the global pandemic. However, Disney didn’t run out of carrying cases and only had the cheap plastic bags, NAY NAY, they were still selling the better carrying cases.

Lightsaber bags still available for purchase during time of free plastic bags. (photo by @Blog_Mickey)

Disney Facebook Groups, one of the true circles of Dante’s Inferno, had a solution for Savi’s Workshop guests…

Reminder, this was a REAL POST. I repeat, it is NOT a parody.

DisTwitter also had some suggestions to help Disney get even more money from guests….

(meme by Scott Walker)

…including a brilliant opportunity for sponsorship.

 

Star Wars themed plastic bags. (meme by Scott Walker)
2022 Turkey of the Year nominee: Lightsaber condoms. (artwork by @SonderQuest)

# 3 – That Time Disney and Universal Were Duped Into Elevating Scam Artists

We’re not going to pretend the history of Disney and Universal theme parks were spotless. Over the years Disney has partnered with companies that seem like Multi-Level Marketing such as Scentsy and it wasn’t that long ago that time share salespeople were schilling their product inside Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida. However this year both companies jumped into the web3 and NFT nonsense.

In early November, Disney hosted a web3 event as part of the Disney Accelerator program. What is web3? Well the simple version is this: online snake oil being sold by charlatans. Anyone trying to sell you on the concept of web3 will try to dazzle you with terms like “blockchain” and lofty promises to reshape the internet to help improve society, but the reality is the product they are selling is one no one needs or wants (as Facebook is finding out the hard way with the Billions it has pumped into the Metaverse.) More importantly, the vast majority of these “humanitarians” are just trying to find investors to unload their tokens on to. A token in the form of an NFT.

The Pixar Pizza Planet truck NFT from the Golden Moments collection. It is imperative you understand that this is not a parody or a photoshop and instead is an actual digital item that was advertised with the following “This token is classed as uncommon with just 10,333 produced. This is likely to mean it will sell quickly once buying begins.”

NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are pieces of data (code, URLs, etc) that live on a public ledger. Without going too much into technology, sociology, and the financial systems that ensnare NTFs (but Dan Olson will if you want a deep, deep dive) in the end it’s a pump-and-dump meets pyramid scheme. NFT solely exist to prop up an unregulated speculative digital market (cryptocurrencies) so the initial investors (mostly tech bros and alt-right figures) can cash out leaving unwitting speculators left holding the bag. Why else do you think hundreds of millions were spent on crypto ads during last year’s Super Bowl?

NFT signage for Halloween Horror Nights. (photo by @TehSEJ101)

As embarrassing as it is for Universal to even be associating with this malarkey, it got worse. The very first piece of NFT signage in the park had a significant spelling error on the night it was put out. This went over about as well as you can imagine on social media.

Reaction to the NFT program was overwhelmingly negative, and many cheered when Universal Team Members were seen removing the NFT signage the very same night they were put out. However, that might have been only to pull signage which had spelling mistakes, as later the NFT signage could be seen throughout the park.

NFT signage at Halloween Horror Nights, the scariest thing at the event. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

Our thoughts on Universal working with NFTs? It can be summed up like this…

NFTs, the only thing that at Universal that makes Fast & Furious – Supercharged looked good in comparison. (meme by Scott Walker)

Many NFT projects are built on the outright theft of artwork, but we can assume that Universal has fairly paid the artists whose work is being used for these NFTs. Universal is also not selling them, and collecting the NFTs is completely optional. That’s all fine, but the goal of this campaign is to get unsuspecting guests to sign up with a “web3” company named Hypermint, and that’s where they’ll try to get their hooks into them. Any time you see a company that specializes in web3, you should run. Anytime you see someone touting cryptocurrencies, you should run. When you see legitimate companies like Universal Orlando or Disney give credibility to these scam operators, you should say something. That’s our policy.

Sign of the times. (meme by Scott Walker)
2022 Turkey of the Year nominee: Theme Park NFTs. (artwork by @SonderQuest)

# 2 – That Time Disney Kicked CEO Bob Chapek to the Curb on a Sunday Night

Imagine you are a theme park blogger who has been putting out weekly content for over a decade. You spend countless hours over the past two months preparing the Theme Park Turkeys of the Year article in order to have it locked and in the can so you can enjoy a Thanksgiving week with the family. You sit down on Sunday night to watch the Los Angeles Chargers lose another game in the fourth quarter and all of a sudden the following tweet appears…

Now, the Turkeys originally had an entire section labeled That Time Disney Lost The Disney Difference. The section was filled with examples of from not just this year, but from the last several years essentially making the case for why Disney needed to replace Bob Chapek, AND THEN DISNEY WENT AHEAD AND REPLACED BOB CHAPEK THE VERY SAME WEEK.

To say I was stunned was the understatement of the year. I’m not shocked that Disney did this, but HOW everything went down. But before we get to that, let’s look at some of the reactions from last weekend, including a wonderful reference to Beauty & the Beast.

Several people used Bob Chapek’s own words against him. ..

Last Sunday Night was one of the only moments in DisTwitter history when the entire community was united.

High Ranking Members of The Walt Disney Company dancing their way to the Haunted Mansion graveyard. (meme by Scott Walker)
One of many Haunted Mansion tombstone memes. (posted by @luckyjen1128)

But here’s the thing, yes fans are often motivated to voice their displeasure when someone in charge is given their walking papers. We see this all the time in other forms of entertainment and professional sports. However, Bob Chapek being let go was unique in the way that he was treated by people from inside the industry. In cases like this, you will usually see people going out of their way to be nice to the person being let go, singing songs of praise for them in a public forum. That’s not how it went for the news of Bob Chapek’s firing, including this tweet from a person who created a show that aired on the Disney Channel…

The tweet below was from a writer/actor who has worked on several Disney owned properties.

Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner made his thoughts known…

This tweet by former Disney Imagineer Tom Morris referenced Bob Chapek’s recent addition of a beard.

Now we weren’t in the room where it happened, but we’ve seen enough examples of high ranking people reach out to Public Relations firms to help them in terms of how they come across to the public. Out of nowhere the robotic Bob Chapek was sporting a beard and started expressively using his hands a lot during his public speaking. To us, it seemed like these from the notes of a focus group to make Chapek seem more human.

Now discounted. (art by Scott Walker)

But the story was actually even crazier than just Bob Chapek being unceremoniously kicked to the curb, former Disney CEO Bob Iger was coming back! WHAT?!

One member of DisTwitter used the recent shocking return of a former Doctor to Dr. Who and tied it into Iger returning to Disney.

He’s back! (meme by @MrEPCOT)

How badly does Disney want to wash its hands of the Chapek stench? Well let’s take a look at something on Disney property which had Chapek’s name prominently displayed. Down on Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island for people sailing on the Disney Cruise Line, there is a sign memorializing Bob Chapek.

Castaway Cay Pumphouse. (photo by Scott Sanders)
Bob Chapek signage. (photo by Scott Sanders)

By November 27, 2022, the signage has been removed. (photo by Scott Sanders)

We can all agree there is a lot of opportunity for Bob Iger to almost instantly change the public perception of the direction the Disney Company is heading in.

We’ve seen a lot of details be released over this past week – including a Must Listen episode of the Disney Dish Podcast – but you just know there’s a lot more juicy stuff still to come.

As we say goodbye to Bob Chapek, we can say that he was uniquely talented in the ability to make *everyone* angry. From “the Cast Members are the entertainment” description of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to the more recent “unfavorable attendance mix” when referring to Annual Passholders, Chapek earned zero good will with long time Disney fans. His handling of Disney’s reaction to the controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida only managed to upset people on both sides of the discussion, while his introduction of terms such as “synergy machine” when referring to Disney shoehorning unnecessary IP into every square inch of the parks only earned derision from those who saw him as mishandling the legacy of Walt Disney. By the end, his only fans were the shareholders, and when the stock price dropped they were out too.

Hey, Twitter needs a new CEO, right? (meme by Scott Walker)
2022 Turkey of the Year nominee: Bob Chapek unceremoniously ousted. (artwork by @SonderQuest)

# 1 – That Time The World Went Crazy For a Figment Popcorn Bucket

It all started innocently enough, with Disney teasing the news of a Figment popcorn bucket coming to the 2022 Festival of the Arts. This was officially announced in the way all important information is released, via a 5 second video on TikTok. While we have often mentioned that Disney’s popcorn buckets for the parks in Japan are straight up E-Ticket, the popcorn buckets we get here in the states are generally, to be kind, lacking (we’re looking in your direction Star Wars Tie Fighter popcorn bucket). The Figment popcorn bucket was different. This was cool. Not only did it look great, but it features one of the most beloved theme park character Disney has ever created: FIGMENT.

Figment Popcorn Buckets. (photo by @Blog_Mickey)

The actual Figment popcorn bucket is cute, charming, and absolutely adorable. For a company built around merchandise, it’s strange that Disney generally only puts out 2 to 3 items each year that seem to have any real thought put behind them, but the Figment popcorn bucket is one of those items. It’s a “must get” from the moment you see it, for both collectors and regular theme park fans. After the buckets made their debut in the parks, anyone on social media had their feed flooded with people posting pictures of their buckets in the park.

Figgy. (photo by @JodiCab22)
Two Icons of EPCOT. (photo by @JodiCab22)
Show us the lie. (art by Scott Walker)

Everyone loved the Figment popcorn bucket. Every demographic. Young and Old. Men and Women. Theme Park Bloggers and regular people with practical job skills. Getting a Figment popcorn bucket just made life more enjoyable. For a brief moment we could all put aside the complete nonsense of the last several years and just appreciate something truly wonderful in our lives.

@AestheticPuppet and @HayleyParkHoppr enjoy their Figment Buckets.
Kenneth Sanders is one happy Figment fan!

One kiddo even took her Figment popcorn bucket onto Spaceship Earth for a fun photo-op!

(photo by Jenn Loves Disney)

Unfortunately, GETTING the Figment popcorn bucket was about as challenging as obtaining a roll of toilet paper in the Spring of 2020. First, you needed to get into EPCOT with a park reservation and then make your way to the line for the Figment popcorn bucket (which was being sold at the POP Eats kiosk). The first day lines were so long that they made not just the local news, but across the globe.

“Humans clearly love lines!” – Kang & Kodus Twirl ‘N’ Hurl at USF. (photo by @Blog_Mickey)

Lines! (photo by @Blog_Mickey)
Orlando, Florida has been the #1 market for job growth in America for four straight years, largely on the back of people being hired to hold up “Line Starts Here” signs at Walt Disney World. (photo by @Blog_Mickey)

Guests were being told waits of 5, 6, 7, and even 8 hours!

(photo by @INTERCOT)

The story even went INTERNATIONAL. Here is a screenshot of a morning program in Australia discussing the Figment popcorn bucket lines. It’s important to remember that Disney knew this would happen. A similar thing happened just two years ago in the exact same park for an Orange Bird sipper. As much as we all love the L’il Orange Bird, that character is nowhere near on the level of popularity as Figment. Instead of making the Figment popcorn bucket available in multiple venues (or even a much larger one like the Odyssey Pavilion), or having a virtual queue system (such as the ones already used in places such as Gideon’s Bakehouse in Disney Springs and the Disney Outlet Stores), Disney ensured that the first day line for the Figment popcorn bucket would be a “success” because of the news coverage.

Figment Popcorn Bucket seen on Australian TV (photo by @lumokan)

Those of us who weren’t stuck in line were busy spending the day making MEMES…

Oh how we miss the Pope Francis theme park memes and are so glad @matthewfdz brought it back to relevance.
(meme by @lite_thespark)
(meme by Gratuitious Disney Memes)
(meme by @SeanoftheSeas)

Between our rants here on the SATURDAY SIX and Ye Old Disney Store Outlet Report, you know our thoughts on the current situation with Disney merchandise resellers. I’d recommend you check out this article on the Figment popcorn bucket by Tom Bricker of the Disney Tourist Blog because we share many of the same thoughts when it comes to resellers. Long story short, if Disney wanted to stop this “problem,” they would. It is out of YOUR control, so at the very least don’t let it drive you crazy or make you emotionally upset. However, once the $25 Figment popcorn bucket was released in the park, it immediately began showing up on eBay at inflated prices. Here is a sampling of some of the many, MANY listings…

Again, I completely understand it is frustrating to see resellers in action. Many have relationships with Cast Members, some are or were former Cast Members. They get around rules that regular day guests never will. Disney is ultimately responsible for this situation, and until they feel something needs to be done, nothing will. If the Figment popcorn bucket was available online through Disney, maybe people wouldn’t feel the need to pay prices of $75, $100, $150 or more for a $25 item.

There’s a strict two item per guest limit, unless there isn’t.

Well you knew Howard Bowers would have a shirt available! (art by @GoAwayGreen)

So during all this eBay drama with prices skyrocketing for Figment popcorn buckets, one person saw it as an opportunity to have a little bit of fun.

Julia Mascardo went ahead and put her “Bad Artwork Sketch” of the Figment popcorn bucket on Ebay as a laugh, with proceeds going towards the Habitat for Humanity charity.

Then a funny thing happened, people started bidding

…and bidding…

We present the short story of @sincerlyivy, who put up a valiant attempt to be the owner of the bad artwork sketch.

 

 

 

We’ve all been there Ivy. We’ve all been there.

The bidding kept going up and up!

At this point, the story of the bad sketch getting so many bids started going viral, which of course led to opportunistic people putting up some knock-offs on eBay to try and get a taste of this money for themselves.

I have to say this drawing below is so absolutely crazy that it earns my respect. The $6.66 shipping charge is ::chef’s kiss::

So let’s head back to our original tale of Julia’s bad artwork sketch. By this time on social media (and eBay) everyone’s feed was filled with talk of Figment popcorn buckets and her drawing.

DisTwitter for January 14th, 2022 encapsulated in one picture. (art by Scott Walker)

After the bidding for Julia’s drawing made it’s way from $400 to $600, it began to skyrocket via a “bidding war” to over $10,000. This seemed fishy to Julia as the two users in the bidding war both had zero feedback. What was news to me personally is that, as an eBay user, there is NOTHING you can do to stop this from happening even if you know for sure the bids are fake. You have two options: 1) End the auction early and hope the actual bidder pays, or 2) Wait until the auction ends, discover the person doesn’t pay, and try it again.

Julia went with the option of ending the auction.

In news that should surprise no one…

Not one to be discouraged, Julia than attempted a Plan B. She would photocopy the original bad artwork sketch and do an auction for 100 copies at $10 each. 1 random person of those 100 would get the original, while the rest would get copies. The proceeds would still go to Habitat for Humanity.

So that’s the end of the story right? People got to feel good about helping a very good charity, and everyone got to have fun along the way.

NAY NAY.

eBay, who did nothing about the obvious fraud bids in the original auction, cancelled the follow-up auction.

The bad artwork sketches arrived to buyers across the United States. It took a while to get there, but there is a happy ending as Habitat for Humanity got a generous donation, the Turkeys got a great story, and many people in the community have a piece of artwork with a very unique “story” to tell behind it. That’s classic Michael Scott Win-Win-Win scenario right there.

Later in the year, Disney announced that EPCOT would be getting a walk around Figment in the park in 2023, and we have the perfect way to do it…

Dreamfinder and Figment. (art by Scott Walker)

But we also have an even better idea…

The grandest stage of them all. (art by Scott Walker)
2022 Golden Turkey of the Year: Figment Popcorn Bucket and a reseller. (artwork by @SonderQuest)

Honorable Mention: That Time ICON Park Lost Its Mind

Back in June ICON Park, which is located on International Drive (down the street from the Universal Orlando Resort and pretty close the new Disney Ticket Store which you can see from Outer Space) decided to add a new interactive element to their giant Ferris wheel (which keeps changing its official name and goes from bad to worse, similar to  Facebook’s name change to “Meta.” Currently it is known as The Wheel.) The new interactive part? Guests can hold guns with sniper scopes and shoot targets from the Ferris wheel cabins in a game called Bullseye Blast. This went over about as well as you can imagine and reaction was filled with vitriol and anger.

Bullseye Blast photo via ICON Park.

Did the overwhelmingly negative reaction cause ICON Park to reconsider their decision, and possibly do some reflection and ask themselves if maybe, just maybe, this was a bad idea?

NAY NAY, they apparently got a new Public Relations department from reddit and posted the following response:

Absolutely amazing. I’m convinced that the original PR statement just said “haters gonna hate” but the PR team gets paid by the word so they added more details in. ICON Park wanted us to believe that shooting targets from an elevated position in a real life environment is exactly the same as playing Toy Story Midway Mania or Men in Black: Alien Attack at the theme parks.

(meme by @CoolDisneyland)

Just a completely tone deaf response from Icon Park, which at the time was still REELING from a story from earlier this year which was so horrific that we couldn’t even cover it in Turkeys. The latest addition to the park was so insane that it seemed more appropriate as a headline from The Onion…

(meme by Scott Walker)

So even after doubling down on their absurd concept, ICON Park shut down the Bullseye Blast experience in less than a month. More recently, at the annual IAAPA Expo in Orlando, ICON Park announced the replacement for Bullseye Blast and it was MUCH BETTER. The new concept will be titled “The Great Florida Road Trip,” and will have guests taking pictures of custom made billboards paying tribute to the great history of Florida vacation experiences, during a time before Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort.  The pictures will be taken by a device that will resemble a Old Timey Camera (or just a “camera” for those of us who aren’t Gen Z or on TikTok). The billboards — which will be styled to the 40s, 50s and 60s — will each depict a different Florida location such as Tampa or Ocala. Each picture taken will earn guests a point. There will also be bonus points awarded for pictures taken of oranges that will be in hidden in spots throughout the experience. At the end of the ride, each participant will get a “memento” but the person with the highest score in the cabin will receive a special prize.

Inspiration for “The Great Florida Road Trip.” (photo by Tharin White)

Over all these years of writing The Turkeys, it is so rare to see a company actually learn from a stupid mistake. Ego, pride, and sheer lack of humility combine to ensure they almost always double down on a bad idea or just pretend it never happened. For Bullseye Blast, ICON Park may have been dragged kicking and screaming to a new concept, but the new idea works and shows that sometimes a Plan B can be better than a Plan A.

Double Secret Honorable Mention: That Time Disney Released The Worst Theme Park Shirt of All Time

If this shirt were a Pirates movie it would be Dead Men Tell No Tales. (photo by Guy Selga)

As the worldwide expert on bad Disney merchandise, I can say with full authority this is one of the worst shirts ever made by Disney…and imagine the ground that is covering. Not only is it non-sensical, but it looks like a child attempted to make their own shirt at summer camp using an iron transfer for the first time. Not only are the picture and shirt background incongruous, but they really needed to slap a  Copyright Disney logo on the bottom of the photo? WHAT?!!!

Pirates of the Caribbean shirt. (photo by Guy Selga)

They say you either die a hero or live long enough to become the villain, and I’ve now lived long enough to see the greatest Disney ride moment in my life become the single most embarrassing piece of merchandise the company has put out. So bad that it is actually great and you better believe I’ll buy one once they hit the Disney Outlet Store, and I’m not alone…

For the drawing below, artist Brian Cooper brilliantly recreated the Dog with Key moment. As always, Brian filled the artwork with Easter Eggs including the coloring of the drawing being a nod to the watercolors used in the concept art by Marc Davis. Bacini is playing the titular role of Dog with Key, while the pirates locked up include Brian, the character Derek from the David & Derek series, and Len Testa’s close personal friend Hank Lonely. Brian, Derek, and Hank are trying to entice Bacini with actually released Dog With a Key-themed merchandise including a Funko Pop, a Deadpool Corps. comic book, and The Ugliest Shirt of 2022.

So there you have it: The 2022 THEME PARK TURKEYS OF THE YEAR! 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).

*due to guest demand

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.

Don’t go away mad Bob. Just go away. (art by Scott Walker)

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5 thoughts on “SATURDAY SIX Presents: The 2022 Theme Park Turkeys of the Year

  • November 26, 2022 at 9:57 am
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    My stepson LOVES that shirt and wears it all the time. Wanted to west it to Thanksgiving dinner.

    Reply
  • November 26, 2022 at 10:00 am
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    I’m honored to be a recipient of such a prestigious award and have prepared a speech for the occasion:

    As Walt Disney may have said at one time, it is just an honor to be considered for a Theme Park Turkey award. More exclusive than a Nobel Prize, and harder to get than a Guardians of the Galaxy Boarding Group 2, this award represents the culmination of a lifetime of work, summed up best by my college art professor who said “Uh, you’re a science major, right?”

    To quote the words of the immortal Bubba Bo Bob Brain and his manager, Colonel Pinky, “I’d like to thank my mama and Elvis. (Narf!).”

    Reply
  • November 26, 2022 at 12:57 pm
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    Fantastic list as always. I would buy a T-shirt with the Dog With a Key illustration. It is fantastic!

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  • November 26, 2022 at 5:55 pm
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    Worth the read, every time. Thanks all!

    Reply
  • November 26, 2022 at 6:16 pm
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    Better Call Saul easter egg is next level!

    Reply

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