by Disney Magic Diva
If you’re looking for an old-fashioned good time at Walt Disney World Resort, you need to mosey on over to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. That’s where you’ll find Pioneer Hall and one of the rootin’est, tootin’est shows ever performed. For 45 years, frontier travelers have feasted on “Ma’s” vittles while being entertained by the songs, dances, and vaudeville style humor of the Pioneer Hall Players. If you love delicious comfort food and old-time humor, you will love this show!
The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue is one of the longest running dinner shows in American history. And with good reason. The food is traditional comfort food – fried chicken, ribs, mashed potatoes, corn, beans, salad, cornbread, and strawberry shortcake. It’s all you can eat, and it’s absolutely delicious. Oh…did I mention alcohol is included? You have your choice of wine, beer, or sangria (soft drinks are included too).
But it’s the performance that makes Hoop-Dee-Doo a unique experience. You’ll feel like you just stepped off the stagecoach and are transported back to frontier times. The live piano and banjo music will have you stompin’ your feet and clappin’ your hands. You’ll laugh at the antics of the performers and be moved by beautiful ballads like Shenandoah. The grandkids especially loved Oh My Darling Clementineand it’s multiple, hysterical verses. Who knew you could rhyme so many words with “Clementine?” You’ll also be treated to classics such asThis Land is Your Land, Good Night Ladies, and an un”bear”able skit which tells the story of Davy Crockett.
Not all the action takes place on the stage. The performers often wander into the audience and engage the guests. The show opens with them asking guests where they are from, then using that information to improvise a delightful song. They also will recognize anyone with a birthday, anniversary or on their honeymoon!
The servers, too, are as much of the show as the on-stage characters. They bring the chicken and ribs to your table in buckets and very dramatically plop it right on your plate. When that bucket of chicken landed on my 6-year-old grandson’s plate, his eyes were as big as his smile.
The evening is broken up nicely with time to eat as well as time to enjoy the show. Soon after you’re seated, servers will take your drink order and bring the salad and cornbread. About 20 minutes later the “Welcome” portion of the show occurs, then there’s another break while the main course is served. As you feast on chicken and ribs, there are more songs and skits, followed by a short break before the final act (which includes some performers chosen from the audience!) When the strawberry shortcake is served there is a boisterous finale! Servers will bring around washboards for the kids to play using their spoons, and everyone is encouraged to twirl your napkin over your head. It’s a hootenanny for sure!
The dinner show lasts approximately 2 hours and is 2 table service credits on the Disney Dining Plan. Seating is broken down into three categories. Category 1 is closest to the stage on the main floor, Category 2 is along the side and/or toward the back on the main floor or in the center balcony. Category 3 is along the side in the balcony. If you’re using the dining plan, you can opt for Category 2 or 3 seating. The venue is pretty small, and there really isn’t a bad seat in the house. We’ve been when we paid cash and chose Category 1, and when we used the dining plan and were assigned a Category 2 table in the balcony. We’ve enjoyed the show regardless of our table location – and the kids especially enjoyed the balcony location since it was easier for them to see.
There are 3 shows each day: 4:00 pm, 6:15 pm, and 8:30 pm. You’ll want to allow plenty of time to travel to Fort Wilderness!
Diva Tip: Remember, Disney busses do not travel from resort to resort. The best way to get there is probably to take a bus to Magic Kingdom, then a boat to Fort Wilderness. The boat dock is right next to Pioneer Hall. Be sure not to confuse Fort Wilderness with Wilderness Lodge! They are separate resorts!
If you are driving yourself, you’ll park at the Fort Wilderness parking lot, then take an internal bus to Pioneer Hall. The bus makes multiple stops around the resort, so allow time for that!
When you arrive at Pioneer Hall, you’ll check in at a podium outside the Hall. Here you’ll be given a paper with your assigned table number. While you wait for the doors to open, you can stroll over to the stables and visit the horses or let the kids enjoy some time on the playground. Both are right next to Pioneer Hall.
Diva Tip: After dinner, you may want to plan on enjoying a carriage ride! We’ve done this once as a “sleigh ride” during the winter. It was so fun seeing the holiday lights and decorations the campsites have! Or, if you arrive early enough before dinner, let your little one saddle up and enjoy a pony ride! You can read about our experience here.
If you are undecided about a resort, I’d highly recommend trying Fort Wilderness – and making a reservation for Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue! There is so much to do at this incredible resort! For more details, read Passholder Diva’s two-part article (part 1 and part 2) or Pink Diva’s article about nighttime activities at Fort Wilderness. But even if you choose another resort, it’s worth the time to travel to Fort Wilderness to see Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue. It’s been one of our family favorites for years!
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