Walt Disney World has announced the return of Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at Fort Wilderness! The dinner show has been dark for over 2 years, but will soon by back at Pioneer Hall, bringing with it family-friendly entertainment and an all-you-can eat feast. (Updated May 23, 2022.)
This news of the hilarious and high-spirited hootenanny that is Hoop-Dee-Doo returning is the latest in a string of quiet but incredibly optimistic reopening updates from Walt Disney World in the last couple of weeks. These include the returns of H2O After Hours at Typhoon Lagoon, Cultural Representatives in Epcot, and Minnie Vans rolling around the roadways. These might each seem insignificant, but some are ‘late-stage’ items that signify an acceleration in the return to normalcy at Walt Disney World.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t all been positive news. To the contrary, with the announcement of the New Hotel Tower at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort came the reveal that Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show, a luau featuring traditional Polynesian dances, live music, and an all-you-care-to-enjoy tropical feast would be retired. Spirit of Aloha is essentially Hoop-Dee-Doo’s counterpart. Neither had reopened since the closure two years ago, and the Poly’s dinner show is now permanently closed as Fort Wilderness’ is on the precipice of returning…
Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue was one of Walt Disney World’s original ‘upcharge offerings’, a show that was created to lessen the blow of decreased attendance in the wake of the 1973-74 Oil Embargo. It debuted on June 30, 1974 as a temporary summer show with a cast of college interns.
However, Hoop-Dee-Doo proved so popular that Walt Disney World scrambled to audition a full-time cast once the interns went home, and opened as a permanent show on September 5, 1974. Even that first permanent cast probably didn’t expect that would still be around nearly five decades later.
Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue was an immediate hit with guests, and Walt Disney World Entertainment was auditioning a full-time cast by the end of summer. It opened as a permanent show on September 5, 1974. It’s now one of the longest-running dinner shows in the United States, with more than 40,000 performances.
While the show has been tweaked over the years, it’s largely the same today as it was in 1974, maintaining the same spirit of Americana and old-fashioned family fun served with down-home comfort food. That’ll remain true once Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue reopens in Summer 2022.
Per Walt Disney World: “Hoop-Dee-Doo will return with a few updates to its script and scenery, while staying true to the treasured experience the whole family can enjoy – with the hilarious, high-spirited entertainment that it’s been known for all these years.”
While I can’t recall anything that I’d consider objectionable in Hoop-Dee-Doo, it wouldn’t surprise me if a couple lines or visuals were deemed inappropriate and are being scrubbed from the show. Hopefully its irreverence and hijinks are left mostly untouched (and we suspect that’ll be the case–nothing about the show was overtly offensive).
It’s also possible that the creative team behind Hoop-Dee-Doo simply wanted to refresh some scenes and punch up some jokes, and that’s the only motivation for the changes.
Getting down to brass tacks, Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue returns this summer to Walt Disney World Resort. If you’re hankerin’ for a seat at the table, Advance Dining Reservations (ADRs) will be available via DisneyWorld.com and the My Disney Experience app starting May 26, 2022 for dinner shows beginning June 23, 2022.
Personally, I’m curious just how difficult Advance Dining Reservations will be to score for Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue. While many fans have been asking about this iconic dinner show, there are a couple of wildcards. First, Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue will hopefully be filling every table during every seating, which is not the norm among other restaurants. That should help satisfy demand.
May 23, 2022 Update: Walt Disney World has released more details about the return of Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue ahead of ADRs opening up later this week. First is times–Pioneer Hall’s doors open at 4:00 PM, 6:15 PM or 8:30 PM. Seating will begin immediately at these times; the show begins 20 minutes later.
Next is pricing. As you can see from the seating chart above, there are three categories, ranging in cost from $39 to $44 for kids and $66 to $74 for adults. Category 1 is obviously the best, but I’d rather sit in the front row of Category 2 than the back of the main floor. Category 3 can be fine, so long as you’re not too close to the stage as that can make for a tough viewing angle.
Walt Disney World also released transportation info, none of which is really anything new. Basically just a reminder that there’s no direct route between your hotel and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. The easiest option is driving your own car (this is the perfect use-case for Minnie Vans, assuming they’re back by then), but you’ll have to park at the front entrance and take bus transportation to Pioneer Hall. Allow 30 minutes for that.
Alternatively, you can take a bus to Magic Kingdom and then a boat to Fort Wilderness. Allow up to 90 minutes for all of that, from your hotel to Fort Wilderness. The best option is doing Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue during your Magic Kingdom day. The boat ride is a relaxing respite from the crowds, and gives you a chance to see sunset on Bay Lake, the Electrical Water Pageant, the evening lights of Magic Kingdom, or whatever else is happening–depends on which showtime you choose. (Our favorite is the first one, but then again, we’ve been training to take advantage of the Bob Evans early bird specials.)
Second, Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue benefited tremendously from the Disney Dining Plan and Cast Member discounts. I don’t know what percentage of tables were filled via one or the other, but I’m guessing it was well above 50%.
We probably don’t need to remind you, but the Disney Dining Plan still is not back. As for Cast Member discounts, there’s no need to offer those if demand is healthy at full price. If forced to make a wager on it now, I’d predict that demand will be strong for Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue for the first few weeks, and then would level off and become easier to book. Not as easy as City Works at Disney Springs, but not nearly as difficult as Space 220 or Artist Point.
For those who are unfamiliar with Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, the reasons it’s so beloved among longtime Walt Disney World fans, and why people kept asking about its return more than any other restaurant (once ‘Ohana reopened), here’s a brief synopsis and capsule review.
The menu here features unlimited down-home comfort food, with likewise unlimited beer, wine, and soda. Prior to the closure Hoop-Dee-Doo offered three different view tiers, which vary by price. It’s worth it to get the Category 1 (main floor) seating to be in the center of the action. Conversely, if you don’t like being “picked on” you might want to opt for Category 2 or 3 balcony seating to be safe.
The concept of Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue is simple: you’re a guest watching a traveling vaudevillian troupe of performers know as the Pioneer Hall Players for a 2-hour variety showing consisting of Wild West dancing, singing, cornball humor, and improvised audience-centric comedy acts.
The show features Claire de Lune, Johnny Ringo, Dolly Drew, Six Bits Slocum, Flora Long and Jim Handy on stage in defined ‘roles’ that allow them to play off of one another and the audience to present an eclectic show. Even though this “same” show has been running multiple times for decades, it manages to remain fresh and enjoyable on repeat viewings.
This is, in part, thanks to the audience. Guest participation is a big element of the show, and the performers here do a great job of working the crowd, choosing easy marks who are most likely to give the reactions they’re after. It also helps that Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue has a lot of regulars in the crowd.
From older couples who visit every year to families whose kids grow up on it to College Program students who visit a couple times a year on Cast discounts. The crowd feeds off of the performers’ energy, and vice-a-versa, and it’s really nice to have an audience that doesn’t just stare blankly at the performers.
Like so many Walt Disney World fans, I have personal history with Hoop Dee Doo. Before Shades of Green opened, my family’s Walt Disney World ‘resort’ of choice for our annual trip was Fort Wilderness. Part of that tradition was seeing Hoop-Dee-Doo every year, something that I remember being a hoot for me as a kid.
Sarah and I have since seen Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue a few times as adults and have had a blast. The good, clean fun style of wit is almost universally appealing, so you probably won’t find too many people (aside from too-cool teens) who don’t enjoy Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue to at least some extent.
This show wouldn’t be such a long running hit if most guests didn’t enjoy it. Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue is absolutely, unironically hilarious, and regular readers should have a good idea of my idea of humor by now.
As for the all-you-can-eat feast, Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue shares a kitchen with Trail’s End Buffet next door, and literally everything served at Hoop-Dee-Doo is also on the dinner buffet at Trail’s End.
Basically, the food at the Musical Revue is an abridged, family style version of exactly what’s available at Trail’s End–plus unlimited booze. There’s nothing wrong with this. As we noted in our Trail’s End Buffet Dinner Review, it’s one of our favorite–and most underrated–buffets at Walt Disney World. (Note: that’s the normal buffet at Trail’s End, which is what we’d expect to return by the time Hoop-Dee-Doo reopens.)
Hoop Dee Doo serves what amounts to a ‘best-of’ the Trail’s End buffet.
In addition to the crowd-pleasing favorites of fried chicken, ribs, and mashed potatoes, be sure not to overlook the corn bread. It is not just pointless filler here–it’s delicious. The strawberry shortcake is also a fan favorite.
Ultimately, Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue is a quintessential Vacation Kingdom of the World experience that every die-hard Walt Disney World fan should do at least once. It is absolutely fantastic to hear that it’s returning, even if a bit later than we would’ve liked to see. This is especially true after the big blow earlier this month in losing Spirit of Aloha.
While the hokey humor won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue has something for nearly everyone. The performers are incredibly talented, the audience engagement gives it a great energy, and it’s a good meal. Anyone who is a regular reader of this blog (or somehow actually finds my “humor” to be funny) is pretty likely to appreciate Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue.
To recap, Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue returns on June 23, 2022 at Fort Wilderness. ADRs go live starting on May 26, 2022 via the My Disney Experience app and DisneyWorld.com. Expect minor changes to the script and scenery, but the food and fun should largely remain unchanged in this classic piece of Vacation Kingdom entertainment!
On a tangential note, it’s great to see so much entertainment starting to return to Walt Disney World. Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue is just the latest, joining other recent entertainment offerings like the Festival of Fantasy Parade, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire, and Adventure Friends Cavalcade. Other shows will be coming back later this year, including Fantasmic! and a fresh spin on a guest favorite, Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond!
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Are you a Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue fan? If you’ve done this Walt Disney World dinner show, what are your thoughts on it–both the food and the fun? Anxiously awaiting the return of Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!