HOOP-DEE-DOO MUSICAL REVUE…REVIEW
The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue is a musical comedy dinner show that plays three times a night in Pioneer Hall in Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. Simply put, the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue is a hoot, and among the best experiences at Walt Disney World.
I’ve seen Hoop-Dee-Doo a half dozen times, most recently in July 2017. Not everyone is a fan; you can love Disney World and not find Hoop-Dee-Doo bearable; but if you love Hoop-Dee-Doo, you’ll find that you have exactly the right degree of silliness and child-like delight to enjoy everything else Walt Disney World has to offer.
For this reason it’s one of the quintessential Disney World experiences, and is included in all of my first-timer Disney World itineraries except the very shortest.
The best short description of the show at Hoop-Dee-Doo I’ve seen was in a history of the show published a few years ago on the D23 website: Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue is a “goofball western vaudeville dinner show.”
Jim Korkis wrote about the history of Hoop-Dee-Doo for this site here. An excerpt:
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.
THE SHOW AT HOOP-DEE-DOO MUSICAL REVUE
The show follows the adventures of six characters from the old west as they sing, joke, and dance their way through the evening, solo, in couples, as a group, and with the audience.
In theory there’s two dancers, two singers, and two comedians, but everyone is fun, dances, and sings.
The two singers tend to disappear into the ensemble…
…but the two comedians are particularly a hoot…
…and Six-Bits Slocum is in particular a delight, and often cracks up his fellow cast members.
I can’t bear to give away all the plots twists and puns, but trust me: there’s a reason why Hoop-Dee-Doo is in every one of this site’s itineraries, why more than ten million people have seen it, and why it is the longest running show in musical theater.
A quick overview: The show begins with the characters arriving.
They sing and dance, and involve the audience quite a bit.
This first act is a bit dull, unless you are selected for
However, these interactions form the basis for much deeper–and more fun–audience involvement later in the show.
Some, however, find the first act quite pleasing.
You might find yourself more involved in the show than you had planned for…
That’s lovely wife Amy Girl, laughing at me. (Photo by easyWDW.)
Things quiet down while the main meal is served, and then the show really takes off.
Stories and songs about Davy, Davy Crockett are a highlight…
…though there is some sadness.
The waving of napkins is a delightful tradition…
…at least for most. BTW, Josh’s review is here.
Audience members feature in the later bits of the show.
More images from the show:
THE FOOD AT HOOP-DEE-DOO MUSICAL REVUE
The menu at Hoop-Dee-Doo has changed little over the last three decades, and includes salad, cornbread, fried chicken, barbecued ribs, baked beans, mashed potatoes, and a (literally) show-stopping strawberry shortcake dessert.
Here’s the review from The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit:
The food is served in pewter pails, and you can eat as much as you like.
Your table is set with salad and cornbread. At this point your waiter will take your drink order.
Drink options dominate the menu. Dinner partner and co-author Josh of easyWDW.com noted that the pro tip is to order a couple of drinks at the beginning to help with the pace of service and to get in the mood for the show.
Later the main course comes.
The food is generally viewed as adequate, especially the cornbread, salad, and the strawberry shortcake.
The most mixed reviews are for the chicken, ribs, and beans. This is partly a matter of varying regional tastes (especially for the ribs and the beans) and partly of the challenge of serving hundreds of people at once (the chicken).
If your food comes out cold–as our potatoes did–just ask for another pail.
The strawberry shortcake…
…comes out as a show-stopper, with the wait staff bringing it down from the stage.
Unusually for Walt Disney World, as much beer, wine, and sangria as you’d like (and also milk, juice, pop and such) are included in the price.
THE SETTING OF HOOP-DEE-DOO MUSICAL REVUE
Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue takes place in Pioneer Hall at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort.
Pioneer Hall itself is a gorgeously detailed setting, so don’t miss the chance when the lights are up to look at it closely. Jim Korkis notes that “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.”
Here’s a view of the space toward the stage…
…and from the stage toward the entry.
This building was not initially designed to host a dinner show, and its proportions are longer and narrower than ideal. However, it is small enough that it works just fine.
There are three seating areas, each with its own price.
- Category One seating, the most expensive, is the two-thirds of the main floor closest to the stage
- Category Two seating is middle-priced, and occupies the rear third of the main floor, and the second floor balcony section that faces the stage directly
- Category Three seating, least expensive, is on the parts of the second floor balcony that have an oblique view of the stage
Pioneer Hall is small enough that all these seats are fine (I’ve seen the show from each.) If you are booking 180 days out, Category One is worth it. Disney seats you within your category based on reservation date, so if you reserve Category One early you’ll be close to the stage.
Otherwise, Category Two is the best balance between sight lines and cost.
GETTING TO HOOP-DEE-DOO MUSICAL REVUE
Getting to Hoop Dee Doo takes twice as long as you think it will, unless you are going there via boat from the Wilderness Lodge or the Contemporary Resort. You want to arrive at least 30 minutes before the show starts, to check in.
There’s three ways to enter Fort Wilderness:
- The parking lot and bus stop by the Outpost
- The bus stop by the Settlement, and
- The marina by the Settlement.
On the map of Fort Wilderness (click it to enlarge it), the marina is at the top, as is the Settlement area where Hoop-Dee-Doo happens–circled in red. The parking lot and Outpost area is at the bottom, circled in purple:
If you park your car at the Outpost or arrive via taxi or Uber, you’ll need to take an internal Fort Wilderness bus to the Settlement, where Pioneer Hall is located. (Ask the driver where to get off.)
Ditto if you take one of the theme park or Disney Springs Buses to Fort Wilderness that drops you off at the Outpost. (Note that there’s an 800 page guidebook to Disney World that claims that Epcot buses to and from Fort Wilderness stop at TTC. This is nonsense–our guidebook knows better.)
In the past, some theme park buses stopped at the Settlement. This has not been the case for a while now, but may happen again. I believe that the bus from the Wilderness Lodge stops here.
Fort Wilderness is also served by boats from the Magic Kingdom and from the Wilderness Lodge and Contemporary Resort. Follow the crowd from the marina and you’ll be at Pioneer Hall shortly.
- The boat from the Magic Kingdom leaves from just outside the park–so you don’t need to enter the Magic Kingdom to get it. However, it can be mobbed if you are going to a late Hoop-Dee-Doo on a night when the park closes early.
- The boat from the Contemporary is the one to take if the Magic Kingdom boat line is too mobbed–walk to the Contemporary, go through it to its marina, and pick up the boat there.
After the show, ask cast members how best to get back to your resort. There are commonly multi-stop buses available.