Turkey Day Disney Fun Facts

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Want to know about Disney turkeys? Well, here you go.

Starting in November 2005, Big Thunder Ranch housed the yearly Thanksgiving turkey that was pardoned by the president of the United States. They quit taking them in after the Ranch was closed down to make way for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

(Trump’s turkeys from 2016, 2017, and 2018, went to Gobblers Rest at Virginia Tech.)


The turkey legs in Disneyland are made from male turkeys. Rumors have been circulating that the legs are emu legs, but this isn’t true. An emu can be 5′-6′ tall when fully grown. The leg would be huge. Male turkey legs are significantly larger than female legs.

Zachary Levi was on the Conan show and started the rumor in 2017.


John Candy had provided a large amount of voice work for a character named “Redfeather”, a turkey, and Pocahontas’s sidekick in Pocahontas (1995). However, after Candy’s death in 1994, and a decision from the animators that three sidekicks for Pocahontas would be “three’s a crowed,” the concept was scrapped. At first, the animators cut the cuddly raccoon “Meeko”, leaving behind “Flit” and “Redfeather.” Then they decided to bring back “Meeko” and cut “Redfeather,” partially due to John Candy’s passing. They also decided to make the sidekicks without dialogue to make it seem more realistic and less “cartoony.” This was all explained in the video in the Animation Academy by Chris Sanders, the animator, and the voice of Stitch.

Here is some pencil sketch animation. It was a stand-in voice, not John.

Don Knotts’ last theatrically-released film was Chicken Little (2006) as the voice of Mayor Turkey Lurkey. He passed away three months after it was released in theaters. He returned to Disney films after a 26-year break. Previously, he was in The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975), No Deposit, No Return (1976), Gus (1976), Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977), Hot Lead and Cold Feet (1978), and The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again (1979). He was also in two episodes of 101 Dalmatians: The Series (1997-1998).

The story model of Chicken Little has been around for thousands of years, but the first time it was in print was in 1812 by the Brothers Grimm. Disney first animated this story in 1943 as an animated short propaganda film for WWII. The storyline was different from this film in that there was a fox, Foxy Loxy, invading the chicken coop. It marks the only time a villain won at the end of the film. In this case, Foxy Loxy ate all the chickens and Chicken Little.

I hope you enjoyed these fun facts. If you did, then check out my book that has over 3,700 fun facts in it about Disneyland and Disney Movies. www.DisneyGuy.org

About the Author

Joshua Shaffer
I am a two time published author of Disneyland history and fun fact books. My second edition has over 3,700 fun facts in it about Disneyland and Disney movies. In my spare time, I work on my next book. I also design Disney Fantasy Pins. For a brief time, I was a co-host on the Magic Behind The Ears podcast. I am also the Public Relations Manager for Gina Rock, the longest flying Tinker Bell in Disneyland history. She flew across the skies for the nightly fireworks from 1983-2005. I had a booth at D23 in 2017 where I premiered my books 2nd edition. It was nicknamed "The Disney Bible" because it is 700 pages long. I basically stood from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm every day for 3 days straight just talking about Disney stuff. I love all things Disney. If you have any questions about Disneyland or Disney Movies feel free to contact me and I will try to answer all your questions. If you haven’t already picked up a copy of my book, you need to do so. www.DisneyGuy.org [email protected]

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