Review by Nick the Disney Devo (tee)
Note from the Disney Diva: We are committed to sharing REAL opinions and REAL experiences of our Disney Vacations with you, the reader, to help you better decide where to spend your valuable time and money while on Disney vacations. Because we are not directly associated with Disney we can voice our opinions, both good and bad. I hope you, as readers, are coming here for those opinions and are happy to have a non-biased opinion to base your decisions off of.
Since I first started going to Walt Disney World in 1992, I have been told that I absolutely must see the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Review. "It's the best show on Disney property", "A trip wouldn't be complete without an evening at Hoop-Dee-Doo", and "I've seen it every year since I started coming to Disney World" are just a few of the comments I've heard when I've talked about this show with others.
How could this show stand up to this level of hype? Sadly, for me, my wife, and friends, it didn't.
Now, before you send your hate emails to the Diva to forward to me, and start with the negative comments about "how could I criticize your favorite thing at Disney", let me give you a review of my experience.
The evening I saw "the Hoop" (I just made that nickname up, feel free to use it.) was towards the end of an absolutely wonderful trip, filled with more than a couple outstanding cast member interactions and magical moments! After hearing about 20 years of praise for this show, my expectations were obviously high.
Here I am, on the right, with our friends, excited and hungry. Just look at the eager "Show me a good time face." I have on!
The show is at Pioneer Hall, at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort. You'll have to take a boat or a bus to Ft. Wilderness from Magic Kingdom or another park in order to get there as there are no buses that run between resorts.
Seating prices range from $32.99 for children to $67.99 for adults in tier 1, $28.99 for children to $62.99 for adults in tier 2, and $27.99 for children to $58.99 for adults in tier 3, depending on desired dates.
Inside the hall.
To make my anticipation even greater, we had gotten 3rd tier seats, but because the show wasn't even half booked, we were seated on the floor, not to far from the stage!! This, I thought, was great, a magical start to the evening.
Sadly, the evening didn't turn out so magical. To start, our server didn't come around to take a drink order for several minutes. Then, certain things made me feel perhaps he wasn't in the best of moods. I just got a slightly surly vibe.
Throughout the meal, for drinks we had to flag him down. Our food came out last, some tables already well into their buckets of fried chicken.
And, I'm not sure if it was because we were served our food later, but, while we were in the middle of eating, the lights went down, and the show resumed, so we were essentially eating in the dark.
Then there was dessert. Strawberry Shortcake. The cast, literally stages a big song and dance number about this Strawberry Shortcake. With the wait-staff in it, even!
We never got ours!
Our server danced off the stage, dropped off cake to our surrounding tables, and we never saw him again! Not once. No "would you like some coffee?" , no "and how is your cake?".
I even tried to flag down another staff person, but they didn't see me, and then they were gone.
I was so annoyed, I couldn't enjoy the last portion of the show, as you can tell because there are no more pictures to show you!
Our friend, John, who had made the reservations, spoke to a manager afterwards, and we got half of our admission back, plus 2 Strawberry Shortcakes to go. Still, it was a bummer and proof that sometimes having a bad customer service encounter changes the entire dynamic of the experience. Cast Members matter, Disney knows this, that's why they are so meticulous about selecting and training them.
Now, I don't want to give the impression it's all bad. The food is terrific!!
Here's a menu:
Ma's Delicious Fried Chicken Smoked Barbecued Pork Ribs Mashed Potatoes Country Style Baked Beans Strawberry Shortcake Included with the meal: Coca Cola, Diet Coke, Root Beer, Sprite, Orange, Pink Lemonade, Iced Tea, Apple Juice, Milk, Chocolate Milk, Hot Tea, Coffee, Draft Bud Light, Chardonnay, Rose, Sangria, and Merlot
Corona $5.25 Sam Adams $5.25 Miller Lite $4.25 Heineken $5.25 Margarita $6.50 Add Glow Cube to any drink $4.00
I had the Sangria, and I actually thought it was tasty, but I felt no immediate effect from it, and it may have contributed to, or caused, a bad headache I had later in the evening.
The food on the menu, plus much more, is available next door at Trail's End Buffet for much less, and I've never had poor service.
The show is just okay. It's a little outdated and not just in a classic Disney kind of way.
Could my judgement be tainted by the over hype and poor service? Absolutely, and I would not try to discourage anyone from seeing the show...It just wasn't my cup of Sangria.
My final verdict? If time is short and money is tight, or if it is a once in a lifetime trip, you might want to consider giving the show a "pass". It is "out of the way" at Ft. Wilderness and travel to and from takes up quite a bit of valuable Disney time.
Nick is co-writer of the Disney Musings Blog with his wife, Barbie.