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A Friday Visit with Jim Korkis: Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue

By Dave Shute

Welcome back to Fridays with Jim Korkis! Jim, the dean of Disney historians and author of Jim’s Gems in The easy Guide, writes about Walt Disney World history every Friday on


By Jim Korkis

“Whoop-de-doo”, and its variant “hoop-de-doo”, is a popular old-fashioned expression meaning frenzied activity or excitement. That phrase became the cornerstone of one of Walt Disney World’s most beloved nighttime entertainment experiences, the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue.

The show opened June 14, 1974, and continues to be performed in Pioneer Hall at the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground to this day.

It was inspired by the success of the South Seas Luau at the Polynesian Village Resort and the need to find a project for the Walt Disney World Fine Arts College Workshop that supplied an inexpensive and eager cast for the new show.

Jim Korkis on the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue from

The musical was developed by Robert Jani, Ron Miziker, Tom Adair, Paul Suter and Larry Billman. It was a highly collaborative effort, including contributions from the original performers as well. Billman was the director and Forrest Bahruth was the choreographer.

The premise of the show is that a stagecoach of performers on their way to another engagement (and an actual stagecoach used to be positioned outside of Pioneer Hall to support that storyline) had broken down.

They come inside the dining hall to entertain while their stagecoach is being repaired and the guests enjoy an all-you-can-eat meal of fried chicken, ribs, strawberry shortcake and more between the corn-pone vaudeville acts.

Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground opened November 19, 1971. When Pioneer Hall officially opened April 1, 1974, it was called the Fort Wilderness Dining Hall. The area was intended to be used as a dining venue for breakfast and lunch as an extension of the adjacent Crockett’s Tavern.

At night there would be animal lectures and demonstrations from animals brought over from nearby Discovery Island. Guests would also be able to play games and perhaps enjoy some musical talent like a washboard band. In addition, a huge screen would show some of the True-Life Adventures documentary films made by the Disney Studio in the 1950s and 1960s.

Built with 1,283 hand-fitted Western white pine logs from Montana and 70 tons of rare ebony stone for pillars from North Carolina, the two-story building was modeled after a Northwest Territory Lodge from the late 1800s.

Walt Disney World had no expectations for the show other than trying to temporarily fill an operational need. In fact, many people involved in the show felt it would be cancelled in the first few weeks or simply cancelled after its initial eleven weeks when the students returned to school.

By the end of summer, it was such an unqualified success that the roles were staffed with professional performers beginning September 5, 1974.

Over the years, a few changes have been made in the original show. For instance, in the beginning and until 1979, it was apple pie and not strawberry shortcake that was served as dessert. As a result the song “Apple Pie Hoedown” was replaced with “Strawberry Short Cake Walk”.

However, the most significant change happened in 2011. The song “Hoop-Dee-Doo” (sometimes called the “Hoop-Dee-Doo Polka”) used in the show was composed by Milton DeLugg with lyrics by Frank Loesser, and was first published in 1950. When the song was used in the Hoop-Dee-Doo, the lyrics were rewritten to reflect the show, but the upbeat tune remained intact.

The only problem was that in the rush to put together a temporary patchwork show, it had not occurred to anyone at Disney to get proper clearance for the use of the song. When the situation came to light, during the late summer of 2011, the popular theme song was replaced with one written specifically for Disney that still included the phrase Hoop-De-Doo.

The Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue is the longest continuously running musical stage show in history after more than forty years and more than 38,000 performances — with no signs of stopping.

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Thanks, Jim! And come back next Friday for even more from Jim Korkis!

In the meantime, check out his books, including Secret Stories of Walt Disney World: Things You Never You Never Knew, which reprints much material first written for this site, and The Vault of Walt: Volume 4, and his contributions to The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit, all published by Theme Park Press.
The 2017 easy Guide

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