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Hoop Dee Doo Revue…Review!

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!

Pioneer Hall at Fort Wilderness

Atmosphere

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.)

Hoop Dee Doo Revue Stage

Stage Sign

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!).

Pioneer Hall Balcony and Chandeliers

Table in Pioneer Hall

Hoop Dee Doo Place Setting

Now the show itself is truly fantastic. I was expecting cheesy, recycled show tunes and tired acting.

Silly me.

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 Actors Arrive From their Stagecoach

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.

Napkin Twirling and other Audience Participation Will Occur

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!

This Couple Celebrated Their 60th Anniversary at Hoop Dee Doo

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!:

Audience Member Takes Part in the Show

Eats

So, the menu seems to be a very unassuming piece of paper in front of you…

Hoop Dee Doo Revue Menu

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!

Robert -- Our Server

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!

Cornbread with a Ball of Butter

Hoop Dee Doo Salad

Fried Chicken

Pork Ribs

Mashed Potatoes

Cowboy Beans

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.

Vegetarian Pasta Dish

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.)

Strawberry Shortcake

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!

Overall

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. ;-)

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24 Comments

  1. robin says:

    at around 10:45pm tonight, i got a bit worried when i saw that you hadn’t posted yet. but come 11:10, i found this INCREDIBLE post! i also loooooooooove fried chicken! i don’t have it often, but when i do, i gorge on it. so obviously, i am making reservations to dine here next year! :)

    thanks AJ for another fabulous review!

  2. Holly says:

    Hoop-Dee-Doo is one of our Disney favorites! Sure the show is cheesy – that’s the whole point :-) And the food may not be gourmet, but it is really good! I dream about the chicken and ribs for weeks before we go…

  3. Cody says:

    A special note (I dont know if you know this or not) but if you can’t get into the Hoop Dee Doo Revue, and you still want to head over to Fort Wilderness, which is goregous (Especially at Christmas time), might i suggest the Trail’s End Buffet. It’s always our go too location in WDW when we want an ADR/walk up and they can seat us (though its not guaranteed when you go, you can defintely try it). The food at Trail’ End is basically the same stuff, so if you want to try the food head on over to Trail’s End.

    Both Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner ive eaten there, it was delish. But if you want the show aspect of it, might i suggest takin AJs advice and booking WAY in advance for the Hoop Dee Doo Revue!

  4. I LOVE Hoop Dee Doo. It’s a true Disney World gem.

    And that “audience member” looks awfully familiar… ;)

  5. Michael says:

    Ooh! I love the Hoop-Dee-Doo. Had you never been there before?

    It’s one of those true, pure, WDW experiences. I love Fort Wilderness in general, because it really takes you back to what WDW is all about.

    Interesting that they have mashed potatoes now – it used to be corn-on-the-cob. And yes, they’ve had sangria there *forever*! It was the first place I’d ever even heard of sangria, and as a kid I had no idea what it even was.

    Strawberry Shortcake = so good.

    I’d second the motion for Trail’s End, especially for breakfast. The quality of their dinner has gone downhill over the last 5 years or so, but it’s still a great deal.

  6. Scott B says:

    Good Food + Good Entertainment = Hoop Dee Doo

    Seen it 3 times and I’m sure I will go many more times.

  7. John Grigas says:

    A really, really great show and a fun dinner experience.

    When we were there in Jan 08, my daughter had caught a terribly bad cold and was lethargic all day. Even so, at one point I looked over and she had jumped out of her chair and was dancing alongside our table to “She’ll Be Comin’ Around the Mountain.” (It wasn’t an audience participation time, either . . . she was just inspired.)

    Anyway, she wasn’t up for any of the food, really, so I walked over to the Mercantile to get her a Mickey Bar. When I got back, my server Sharon semi-scolded me and added that she would have been able to get that for us, asking if there was anything else we would need for her.

    So keep that as a tip: Your server can help you with some extras at the Hoop-Dee-Doo, even if it’s not related to dietary choices or allergies!

  8. AJ says:

    robin — Hee hee! Thanks for the worry, but I pulled through last night! I’ve been working on the Food and Wine Festival menu pages and realized too late that all my Hoop Dee Doo pics were still on my phone! ;-) So glad you’re eating here when you go to WDW — it’s truly wonderful. (BTW, I ate at Big Thunder Ranch in Disneyland a week after going to Hoop dee Doo…what a contrast! I was even hoping they’d have fried chicken, but, alas, not on the menu at BTR.)

    Holly — I’m pretty sure that’s where I’m going to be, too — dreaming about the strawberry shortcake before the trip!

    Cody — I love Trail’s End! I hope Disney never messes with Fort Wilderness — it’s pretty darn good as it is. Thanks for the review.

    Matt — Shhh! Don’t tell about the Superstar who was a part of the show I went to! ;-) So much fun.

    Michael — I hadn’t been before! I’d made reservations, but always had to cancel! I can’t believe all I was missing out on. That shall be rectified with many a trip to Hoop Dee Doo over the next few years.

    Scott — I’m glad to hear it never gets old!

    John — GREAT tip!! I was really impressed with the awesome servers at HDD, too — they’re really willing to go above and beyond.

  9. Bethabee says:

    Great review of HDD! My father-in-law made an ADR here in March (he managed to get a big group of us smack in the front by the stage). I didn’t know what to expect because before going I’d read as many bad reviews as good. But I decided to keep a completely open mind. It is cheesy in way, but I also laughed out loud several times, was completely entertained and in admiration of the abilities of the cast. Your pics reminded me that the food was entirely satisfying (would it be wrong to serve strawberry shortcake for dinner tonight?)

    Although my level of enjoyment at HDD may have been increased because I was lucky enough to also “participate” as a chorus girl – and yes I was “embeaaaaarased” :)

  10. Stephanie says:

    We go to HDR everytime we go down ever since our honeymoon when we were sat in the very front! the food is DELICIOUS and the show is just so much fun! we always get our anniversary dance in and leave with a huge smile planning the next time we’ll visit. it’s also one of our favorite events to share with people who come down with us and is second only to Dole Whips on our recomendation list for friends who ask for suggestions. i can’t wait till Oct 2nd when we have our next ADR for this!

  11. Sarah says:

    I haven’t been here in probably 23 years. All I remember of it was playing a washboard. I know about jam-making sessions! My mom and neighbor back in PA used to go to the farmer’s market and buy sour cherries to make jam.

  12. Erin Foster says:

    I’ve been to the HDDR at least half a dozen times. It’s one of the few places where my five year kids and sixty-something parents were truly equally happy. I have also had experience with the staff being great about off-the-menu food needs. There were a few years there where one of my daughters would only eat Mac ‘n cheese. They were happy to bring her some. And it was so good, that we ask for it every time even though we don’t “need” it any more. I’ve also been with a friend who only ate fish for protein, they brought her a beautiful piece of salmon. The rule of thumb I’ve heard is that if they have it at Trail’s End next door, they’ll bring it right out for you.

    I recently learned that they change up the show a bit during the Christmas season. I’ve never seen that, so I just booked ressies for December. Can’t wait!

  13. Christina says:

    Great review AJ! I could really go for some chicken and ribs right now!!

  14. Beth Doda says:

    We love Hoop Dee Doo! In our 12 trips, we have been 10 times. It has become our last night tradition. It is the perfect way to end a Disney vacation – lots of laughs and a full belly. My brother was picked to be in the show one year, which was just hysterical. But we had a very magical moment on our trip in March. My 3yo was chosen to ring the dinner bell! It was so cute and we were so proud!

  15. Michele says:

    Oooohhh! I read a trip report about this show, but they didn’t have all the fab photos.

    I decided to book this for my December trip. Solo, of course, but I’m hoping to ahve a great time.

    Now, I’m looking forward to it!

  16. Josh says:

    This really looks like a great time, and that it stays with the old country western theme. I’m not much of a ribs fan, but these look amazing! Also, the salad could use a bit more colour in it to be a sell off.

    Looking at the menu you must have gone pretty recently as I see “Toy Story 3 Souvenir Cup”. I’d really like to see some pictures if you happen to find any, thanks!

    Also, I was wondering if they keep bringing you food constantly or how exactly does it work?

  17. Tracie Sweeney says:

    Awww shucks – the photo of the couple celebrating their 60th anniversary made me cry!

    The Hoop Dee Doo was the first “live theater” my two sons ever saw. They were 2 and 4 and were MESMERIZED. We sat in the balcony and they just about fell over the railing they were so interested in the show. This was in the late 1980s. It would be a blast to take them back and have them watch the show with their 20-something eyes.

  18. Julie says:

    Thanks for the review of the revue! It put me over the bar and I’ve booked it for our October trip, Halloween night!! You should get a commission.

  19. Excuse me for a moment, I am off to kick myself. I never thought to ask if they had a vegetarian option at Hoop Dee Doo. Duh, they do at all other locations, so obviously they do here. Of course, I think we’re better off waiting to do this until the kids are a bit older.

    I have amazing memories of the Hoop Dee Doo. As a child I went to this several times. My last visit was just before heading off to college. We sat in the front row and my father had his big camera out (during the film days). All of the sudden the show stopped and one of the girls yells “Hey sweetie – you have to take the lens cap off!” My father turned beat red. Of course he was the butt of all jokes the rest of the night. It was priceless :)

  20. nancy conner says:

    my family just went to the Hoop DE Do show 2 times in March and was very disappointed with the food. The food was cold the beans were so spicy you could not eat them, Potatoes were like mush cold and water like ,spare ribs hardly no meat only thing good was the chicken even tho that was just warm, corn bread and shortcake.
    The only reason we go is because the show is always good Please make a improvement on the food sorry almost forgot the corn was watered down so much better when they gave us corn on the cob

  21. Meggan says:

    If dining on the DDP, is the Sangria included?

  22. AJ says:

    Meggan — Yep! Sangria is included!

  23. Ysenia says:

    Hello, Is the price the same for adults and children 3-9? The only price I can find is $60pp. I love your site and your e-books. Thank You!

  24. Margaret says:

    We have had amazing experiences at the HDDR!!!! The food and the show cannot be beat, hands down worth every penny. I would love to replicate the ribs and sangria at home. Any recipes out there?

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