Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue is a dinner show at Walt Disney World’s Fort Wilderness. This Revue review features thoughts on the entertainment, our take on the all-you-can eat food, general history of this show, and whether the experience is worth the money. The menu here unlimited down-home comfort food, with likewise unlimited beer, wine, and soda.
This dinner show is a 2-credit table service restaurant on the Disney Dining Plan (given the out of pocket price, it’s a really poor use of Dining Plan credits) and accepts Tables in Wonderland for a 20% discount at the late show. Hoop-Dee-Doo offers three different view tiers, which vary by price and Disney Dining Plan credit availability. We think it is 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.
With the basics out of the way, let’s start the review with some history–we’ll keep this section brief. While we think it’s important to understand and appreciate the legacy of Hoop Dee Doo, we know this is a show Disney has really started celebrating recently, so we don’t want to rehash what you’ve possibly already read on other blogs.
It might be odd to think of now, but Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue was one of the 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. It 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.
Since then, it has become one of the country’s longest-running dinner shows, presenting more than 38,000 performances. More than 10.5 million guests have watched the show, which today maintains the same spirit of Americana and old-fashioned family fun served with down-home comfort food.
In addition to the show’s history, I have some personal history with Hoop Dee Doo. As I’ve noted elsewhere on the blog, 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.
However, the last time I had seen Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue was some 20 years ago, and to be frank, any memories I had of the show could’ve just as easily been memories of the Diamond Horseshoe show (another tradition) that got confused over time. So, this was more or less a new experience for me.
The concept here 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.
With that said, Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue is definitely not a show for everyone. I think without exception, small children will probably love it. The entertainment is vivacious and contains just enough low-level humor to elicit plenty of laughs from this crowd, and the high-energy and fast pass keeps it engaging. Most teens probably will not like it, as that seems to be the audience least appreciative of hokey humor.
The college age and older crowd seems most hit or miss. I could see twenty-somethings enjoying this ironically, or perhaps even genuinely. Older generations are probably going to have a sincere appreciation of this bygone style of humor. As for anyone in between, it’s a matter of personal preference.
There are a lot of corny dad jokes, but we hesitate to describe the show like that, as it really is a disservice. The vast majority of guests are going to enjoy Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue.
We think 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.
We think Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue is absolutely, unironically hilarious, and regular readers should have a good idea of my idea of humor by now.
We’ve spent a long time on the entertainment and haven’t said a word about the food. That’s because the entertainment is a big part of what you’re paying for here.
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.
It’s more something we mention so you can go next door to the significantly cheaper dinner. If your only concern is the food, do Trail’s End–it’s about half the cost with double the choices.
The good news with Hoop Dee Doo is that its a ‘best-of’ the Trail’s End buffet. As I remarked in that review: “The standouts here were, without question, the fried chicken and smoked pork ribs. I think I ate approximately 23 pounds of these over the course of the meal.”
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.
As a pro-tip, if you’re polite to your server, you might be able to get one of your favorites from Trail’s End brought over. No promises on that one, and they are certainly under no obligation to bring you items that aren’t on the menu, so don’t press your luck.
Overall, 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. While the hokey humor won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, the show 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. It was one of the most fun nights we had at Walt Disney World and we are eager to do the show again. What do you think…are you a Hoop Dee Doo fan?