REVIEW: Still Serving “Old-School” Disney At Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue
Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue is one of three dinner shows presented at Walt Disney World. This show takes place at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground at Pioneer Hall, located near the back of the resort at a location called Settlement. Getting here can be a little bit of a hassle. From Magic Kingdom, take a boat from the launches in front of the park for a quick ride. From every other resort, quickest way would be to get a ride to a theme park and then bus back to Fort Wilderness. If you’re driving, you’ll need to park in the front of the resort and take a bus to the back. A little bit of effort, but the entertainment and food is well worth it.
Hoop-Dee-Doo is one of the longest running dinner shows in America since its opening in 1974. Mostly untouched since its incarnation, the show skirts the fine line between Disney-corny and adult humor that flies over the kids’ heads. It’s a great show that really feels like something special. You walk out happy, full, and wanting to come back for seconds.
There are three seatings daily for the popular dinner show: 4:00PM, 6:15PM, 8:30PM. Doors don’t open until right at that time, but you can arrive 15 minutes early and pick-up your table ticket to ease the process. There’s also three categories to choose from when booking. Prices fluctuate with the year, but Category 1 is the most expensive, Category 3 the least. Category 1 will guarantee you a first floor, front and center view of the stage. Category 2 fills in the back and sides of the first floor (with some elevated tables in the back to allow better viewing) and a few tables on the second level. Category 3 is pure upstairs, which isn’t a bad thing because the performers make a point to include this area continuously in the performance.
We ended up with Category 2 seating, which was just a few dollars more than Category 3, and we ended up very close to the stage. Upon entering the massive hall, a seater will direct you to your table which already has salad and cornbread ready to eat. Both are absolutely great, but don’t fill up on cornbread (as tempting as it seems) because the main courses come a bit later.
Your server will greet you soon after and get your drink order. Coke products are available, as well as a house red wine, house white wine, red and white sangria, Bud Lite and Yuengling beers. Yes, these alcohols are included in the price and yes, they’re unlimited. We had a large party, so after a few pints our server ended up bringing pitchers of beer. These servers have been here a LONG time and won’t over-serve, so enjoy a few glasses and don’t make it a goal to get trashed.
Now is also the time to bring up any dietary concerns and allergies. They are VERY accommodating for vegetarian, vegan, and many allergies, so don’t be afraid to ask.
The show begins with the Pioneer Hall Players being let off from a stage coach in front of the building and barging their way into the building. There’s six performers and a live band: piano and banjo player. Introductions begin, the crowd gets involved in a few songs, and the entire atmosphere warms up before entrees and sides are served.
Here’s where the real fun begins. Buckets of ribs and chicken are slammed down at tables. Sides of corn and mashed potatoes and cowboy beans are also served. For a vegetarian option, we were given a full salmon, and the vegan option was a spectacular wagon wheel pasta. There’s mac and cheese on the kids menu, and if you’re nice to your server, you may be able to swing a bowl of it. Everything was really amazing, and it’s bottomless, so don’t be shy to ask for a second (or third) bucket of chicken and ribs.
The show will continue as you’re finishing up dinner with more songs and comedy, and it’s a very good show that doesn’t drag. Actually, when it ends, you’re sad and feel like it flew by. Dessert is served next and it comes with its own song and dance including all the servers! It’s ma’s Strawberry Shortcake! It’s even better than it looks: layers of soft airy cake and house made whipped cream.
Ending the performance is The Ballad of Davy Crockett, which has audience participation and some guests are pulled on stage. If you don’t want to participate, that’s perfectly fine, the performers will move on to find someone else, so don’t feel pressured.
IS IT WORTH IT?
We feel there’s significant value to be found here. Alone, the show is spectacular and well worth at least half the cost. The bottomless chicken, ribs, and sides are wonderful as well, but you can find the same exact fare at Trail’s End buffet next door for a fraction of the cost. You won’t find the strawberry shortcake there, however.
Unlimited wines, sangria, and beer also bring the value of the dinner show way up. If you would drink a few beers or glasses of sangria at another restaurant at Disney they would run $8-$10 each, so being able to enjoy a few glasses is well worth it. Overall, it’s one of the last pieces of “old school” Disney left at Walt Disney World and we feel that the price validated the entertainment and food. We knew what we were getting ourselves into and enjoyed every second of it, and so will you.