Disney’s Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue: One of the Longest-Running Dinner Shows in the Country
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You might not go to Disney World for an historical experience, but sometimes history happens while you are singing, dancing and eating unlimited fried chicken and cornbread. The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground claims to be one of the longest-running dinner shows in the United States. Well over 10 million guests have strolled into Pioneer Hall for the evening show -- and left at least a belt-buckle-hole wider after the all-you-care-to-eat (and drink) fun.
The show had humble beginnings in 1974 when six college students -- three men and three women -- in a summer workshop at Disney first took to the stage to sing, dance and interact with the crowd during the 90-minute show. According to D23, not much has changed in the Hoop-Dee-Doo show in the last 45 years, except it now has a full-time cast in place of summer interns, there was a shift from apple pie to strawberry shortcake for dessert and a lead song was adjusted because of some copyright issues.
How to See Hoop-Dee-Doo
These days, Hoop-Dee-Doo has three shows per night: 4pm, 6:15pm and 8:30pm. You can make reservations up to 180 days in advance directly with Walt Disney World. The show and meal costs $64 to $72 per adult (depending on your selected seating tier) and $38 to $43 per child, ages 3 to 9. Those are steep prices, but keep in mind they include tax, gratuity and bottomless food and drinks.
For our family of four, this came to $212, which is payable online at the time of booking. For us, the charge coded as travel, earning 3 points per dollar on our Chase Sapphire Reserve. Another great choice would be the Citi Premier® Card, which also awards 3 points per dollar on travel (and has a bonus of 60,000 points after $4,000 in spending in the first three months).
There are a few ways to get to the Hoop-Dee-Doo show once you are at Disney. If you are staying at Fort Wilderness, you can simply drive a golf cart or take the intra-resort bus system to Pioneer Hall.
From the Magic Kingdom, the Contemporary or Wilderness Lodge, you can take a boat to Fort Wilderness. The boat dock is a short walk from Pioneer Hall.
If you are elsewhere on Disney property, you can take a Disney bus to Fort Wilderness. Then you'll have to transfer to an intra-resort bus at Fort Wilderness to get to the show.
Or, you can simply take a Minnie Van from anywhere on Disney property straight to Pioneer Hall. Minnie Vans are requested by using the Lyft app and the cost is based on the distance traveled.
Where to Sit
The times we have seen Hoop-Dee-Doo, we have always been in the balcony, with less expensive seating. We have enjoyed sitting up there as we can easily see the whole show, and are less likely to be "picked" for too much interaction. The cast does come upstairs, but less frequently than they interact with folks near the stage (sitting in your lap, singing to you, bringing you on stage).
Keep in mind that the only way to get upstairs is to walk up the stairs, so you will want to avoid that level if stairs are a problem for anyone in your group.
If you want to be as close to the action as possible (or, potentially in the action), you'll want the priciest seats on the floor.
You are allowed into the building exactly at the stated show time, and once you get to your assigned table, there will be fresh cornbread and tossed green salad waiting for you. Dig in, but don't go overboard on the big pieces of sweet, fluffy cornbread because there are other courses to follow.
Over the next 30 minutes, spectators are seated, drinks are served and the first part of the show takes place. Speaking of drinks, alcohol is included. The adult drink options include white or red sangria, chardonnay, merlot, Bud Light or Yuengling on draft. You can also choose from soda, tea, apple juice, milk, lemonade or coffee.
Eventually, the main courses arrive -- with a thud. Expect the bucket of fried chicken to be slammed on the table when the time comes.
There will also be a bucket of barbecued pork ribs and sides of cowboy beans, mashed potatoes, corn, and macaroni and cheese. Hopefully, you didn't eat too much cornbread as these items are all unlimited -- though we didn't really need seconds on anything.
The show takes place during most of your dinner and, about 90 minutes after it all started, the grand finale arrives -- the thick, rich, strawberry shortcake. Topped with whipped cream and strawberries, you want to save room for this (and it has its own song).
Overall, the food was good and you will not leave hungry. Standouts for us were the cornbread, meat and shortcake. Some of the sides weren't standouts but they weren't bad, either.
Like the macaroni, the Hoop-Dee-Doo show is cheesy, but that doesn't stop it from being a lot of fun. The vaudeville comedy will make you laugh at times and roll your eyes at others. There's live music and interactive songs, so expect to stomp, clap, wave your dinner napkin and make noise with washboards that come out toward the end of the festivities.
It's Disney, so everything is family-friendly, but two hours of a dinner show may start to get a little long for preschoolers and younger. Our 4-year-old did relatively well for most of it and our 9-year-old was as entertained as the adults.
While You're There
If you want to make a day of it, Fort Wilderness offers pony rides until 3pm (reservations not required). The last trail ride for ages 9 and up leaves at 2:30pm (reservations needed) and there are also carriage rides available on a walk-up basis around Pioneer Hall.
If you get to Pioneer Hall with time to kill, you'll also find a playground that's just a short walk from the show. If you are still around at night, you can see the Electrical Water Pageant float by on Bay Lake from the Fort Wilderness dock. There's also an evening campfire with Chip and Dale, followed by an outdoor movie each evening. All of these activities are free of charge.
At the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue, you're not going to find Disney characters or an extensive, complex menu. What you find is classic Disney World -- and, sort of, classic Americana. The logs of the hall come from Montana, the stone from North Carolina and the guests, as you will learn during show, come from all over. Forty-five years later, they just keep coming. If a big meal and a fast-paced and interactive show sound like fun for your crew, dedicate a few hours of your Disney trip to visiting Fort Wilderness to take in the Hoop-Dee-Doo dinner show.
Read on for more Disney trip-planning tips:
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- Disney's Storybook Dining at Artist Point
- How to Use Points to Buy Disney Tickets
- How to Ride Every Disney World Ride in One Day
- Eating Healthy at Disney World
- Renting Disney Vacation Club Points: Saving Money at Disney
- 10 Best Disney Thrill Rides Around the World
- The Best Points Hotels Near Disney World in 2018
- TPG’s Ultimate Guide to Disney World
All photos by author.