I am SO excited to be finally writing about this topic. Hoop Dee Doo Revue is justified in being one of the prime Disney World dinner shows, and I can see why folks make it a priority stop on so many of their trips. So, tie on yer ‘kerchiefs and grab yer spurs, y’all! We’re goin’ to Pioneer Hall!
There’s nothing like walking into Pioneer Hall at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort for the first time. This massive auditorium is filled with tables — even up to the rafters — all oriented toward the main event: the Pioneer Hall stage. (By the way, my apologies for the picture quality on a lot of these; my camera putzed out as soon as we got there and I had to use my phone. Ugh.)
The origins of the show that is today the “Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue” (often shortened to Hoop Dee Doo or Hoop Dee Doo Revue can be traced back to the “The Pioneer Hall Show” in 1974, and has since been performed over 35,000 times. In fact, according to this incredible D23 article on the history of the show and its creators, it is the longest-running musical in the history of American theater. There are usually three shows nightly, and many are sold out (so get your ADRs early!).
OK, back to the atmosphere. After you take a seat and check out the soaring ceilings, the wrap-around balcony, and the massive pioneer chandeliers, you’ll notice that the tables are all neatly set with your tin plates and checkered napkins (hang on to that, you’ll need it later!). It feels like an upscale version of summer camp and will bring to the forefront those idyllic campground stays that you might have in your memory (or in your fantasy, depending on how your old camping days turned out!).
Now the show itself is truly fantastic. I was expecting cheesy, recycled show tunes and tired acting.
I won’t give away any spoilers, but the basic premise is that a traveling troupe of actors have come into town to perform for you this evening! The show includes two characters who are clearly the comics, two characters who are the show’s love-struck dancers, and two actors who are your typical “beautiful people” — the “leading man and woman” in the show. Laughter ensues as the actors run through their own little behind-the-scenes show during the show!
The script is clever, a bit sarcastic, and fun — and funny! — throughout. And even though the script is the same every evening, the actors infuse audience participation and energy to ensure that it’s never the exact same show twice.
Speaking of audience participation, the actors grab a moment in the show to recognize birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions taking place in the crowd. One of the best parts of the evening when I attended the show was when we celebrated a couple who’d been coming to Hoop Dee Doo Revue every year of the 60 years of their marriage — and this was their anniversary!
Of course, if being part of the show is on your wish list, be alive when the actors start coming into the crowd to search for participants in their big finale show! This could be you!:
So, the menu seems to be a very unassuming piece of paper in front of you…
The list of all-you-can-eat grub is short and sweet, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
- House Salad
- Homemade Corn Bread
- Fried Chicken
- Smoked Barbecue Pork Ribs
- Mashed Potatoes
- Cowboy Beans
- Strawberry Shortcake
The menu even includes all-you-can-drink beer, Sangria (Sangria?! Did they have that on the frontier?), wine, lemonade, iced tea, and other soft drinks. You can even buy a glow cube if you want (Now I KNOW they didn’t have THOSE on the frontier!)! Seriously, why would you want to change this?
Very soon after you arrive, the food starts coming out in big, tin pails. Our server, Robert, was a lot of fun, and — in fitting with the raucous atmosphere of the show — liked to sneak up on unsuspecting tablemates and drop the pails in front of them for a little startle! Not that I can complain about having a giant pail of fried chicken in front of me!
The cornbread is delicious, and the salad is good as well. But you know what I was having seconds of — the delicious chicken and ribs. I’m a sucker for fried chicken, and anyone who’s been reading the blog knows that I’ve been seriously addicted to ribs lately. Those, coupled with some piles of mashed potatoes made for the perfect rib-stickin’ show-watching grub!
If you’re looking for vegetarian or vegan fare, not to worry. Hoop Dee Doo has a grilled veggie entree and a pasta with marinara. Verdict at my table was thumbs up on both.
And I can’t say enough about the incredible Strawberry Shortcake! I’m a lover of all things food, so my desserts don’t ever have to be culinary masterpieces with sugar domes and and ice wine reductions for me to like ‘em (yum…I just made myself hungry when I said “ice wine reduction…”). This Strawberry Shortcake brings me back to when I used to go out into the strawberry fields in the summer to gather fruit for our yearly jam-making sessions (For serious — my mom, grandma, and I used to do that — no kidding. My mom probably still has some strawberry jam in her freezer if you want it.)
The best part is how the Strawberry Shortcake is served! Your beloved server will join the troupe in the Strawberry Shortcake song, so have your camera ready!
While some may think the show is cheesy and the food pedestrian, my experience left a much more positive impression. This is true Disney show quality and the food ain’t half bad. Let’s be honest — it’s incredibly difficult to breathe new life into a show that has the same script, three times a day, night after night after night; but somehow they do it. And the droves of fans keep coming back, year after year. The actors, servers, and other CMs that make this show possible deserve every round of applause they receive.
You can book a reservation here 180 days in advance, and it will cost you 2 table service dining credits on the Disney Dining Plan. If the revue is booked up, there is usually a cancellation waiting line outside Pioneer Hall for any given show.
Thanks to my good friend Kathie F. for the use of her Hoop Dee Doo pics!
In accordance with FTC guidelines, please note that my transportation, lodging, and food were provided by the Walt Disney Company for the 5 Stars to Mickey Bars Dining event, of which this HDD visit was a part. However, my opinions and reviews are my own. The show really is good. And that’s some darn fine fried chicken and strawberry shortcake. I’ve already booked the reservations to go to Hoop Dee Doo with my husband in October.