Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at Walt Disney World’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground has been entertaining diners for almost 45 years, and we’ve certainly enjoyed our share of shows by the Pioneer Hall Players. (Read our last review of Hoop-Dee-Doo here!)
But while Hoop-Dee-Doo is known for its on-stage antics and overall energy, the food has not taken center stage. Not even close. The fare includes traditional crowd-pleasers like fried chicken, ribs, mashed potatoes, and cornbread, but this is basically banquet food churned out in what feels like a conveyor belt production.
So why would I still say Hoop-Dee-Doo is something everyone should try at least once? Because the show is entertaining enough to justify enduring some mediocre food. And you’re really paying for that entertainment, not for the grub. (Although, of course, we see high-priced mediocre foods in plenty of restaurants that don’t have shows, soooo… .)
I kept my recent ADR for Hoop-Dee-Doo because of the show and because I like to give Walt Disney World restaurants a second (and a third and an infinite) try. Has the food improved? Is the show still compelling? Let’s see how they’re Hoop-Dee-Doin’ it.
So Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue is a restaurant designed with the stage in mind. Pioneer Hall’s stage is where almost all the action takes place during the two-hour performance and meal. When you book Hoop-Dee-Doo, you’ll need to decide which category of seating you want to reserve. Category one is closest to the stage and affords the best views. Dining in category one also means you’re more likely to be drawn into the action (there IS an audience participation component to the show).
Category two seating is along the periphery of the lower level and basically surrounds the category one seating, thus making it further from the stage but still with decent sight-lines.
Category three includes two tables in the back corners of the lower level plus most of the upstairs balcony seating. As such, it is furthest from the action, and, in fact, some of the seating may be facing AWAY from the stage (though you will be on little turny stools so that you’ll be able to swing around to watch the stage).
The focus for the duration of the evening is on the stage, where the Pioneer Hall Players will delight with “Fine Singing! Fancy Dancing! Fun For All!”
The show is a play on the Old West, and the stage reflects that style. Log construction is visible above the stage, and cattle horns are on display. The rich red curtains are another nice touch.
The Revue features three acts, all packed with hilarious action and some personalized entertainment with audience participation.
It’s really a terrific show: funny, ‘fancy’, and full of talent.
The three acts of the Pioneer Hall Players correlate to the pacing of the meal, which is served in metal buckets and bowls and eaten off metal plates. Basically, you’re a cowgirl or cowboy in the Wild West just hunkerin’ down beside the campfire, ready to fill ‘er up.
And fill ‘er up you can because the menu is All-You-Care-To-Enjoy. Several beverages are included with your meal, including alcoholic options for the 21-and-older sect and fountain drinks, milk, tea, and coffee for all. There are added-cost beverage options as well, including a Specialty Moonshine Cocktail and a Specialty Character Drink for kiddos.
I tried the Beso Del Sol White Sangria. It was…not the best. Maybe stick to beer or wine at this meal?;) There is much better sangria to be found elsewhere in Disney World and the Wild West sure isn’t one of them!
The Buzz Lightyear Specialty Character Drink, on the other hand: totally worth the extra $8. The real draw is, of course, the glowing Buzz clip that’s attached to the straw. He. Is. So. Cool. (If they’d put one of these on the Sangria, I could be into that… .)
The meal begins with some decent Cornbread, but southern cornbread purists will likely not accept this as traditional. It’s definitely on the sweet side (which, admittedly, I like), and kids would probably be into it. (My kid, not so much, but other people’s kids.)
The Salad was a mix of fresh vegetables, some shredded cheese, and plenty of dressing. The vinaigrette is herbacious and passable for those who want to enjoy this lighter part of the meal.
The Fried Chicken is…fine. It’s not moist (not exactly dry, either, but definitely more dry than not), and the coating tends to be a little limp. It’s obvious that this is not fried to order (understandably since courses come out simultaneously for all diners), but it’s not the best fried chicken on property by far.
Similarly, the Barbecued Pork Ribs are pretty forgettable. They are dry despite the slathering of BBQ sauce that’s dumped on there.
The Mashed Potatoes are mashed potatoes. And I always have room for mashed potatoes. They’re not packed with flavor, but there’s enough savory going on that you’ll enjoy them.
The Seasonal Veggies on my visit were Corn Kernels. They were super basic — your picky kiddos will love this side dish — and you might ask for a bit more butter and salt for yours.
The Cowboy Beans are a hearty option, and if this type of side is your jam, you won’t be disappointed.
Now if you dine at Hoop Dee Doo you won’t automatically get a plate of French Fries. Fries aren’t actually available at Hoop-Dee-Doo, but we had a need — and our server went out of his way (next door to Trail’s End) to get them for us for our super picky kiddo who wasn’t eating any of the entrees. It was very much appreciated.
Now, in case you were wondering what dessert is like at Hoop-Dee-Doo, it’s:
(Strawberry Shortcake, if you can’t read the fun signs!) And it’s brought out by your server via the STAGE!
This is a solid dessert. The cake is light and lightly sweet, and the strawberry sauce is sweet without being syrupy. It’s changed up a bit over the years, but since Strawberry Shortcake is part of the show, it’s what you’ll always get at HDD!
It did not, however, make me feel like doing this:
Almost… but not quite. 😉
Nosh or Not?
Mosey on up to Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue if…
- You love a little show with your dinner!
- You like simple, filling food.
- You’ve wanted to check out Fort Wilderness and see the wild side of Walt Disney World.
Dance on to a different restaurant if…
- No show can make up for lackluster food.
- You want to try more adventurous cuisine.
- Fort Wilderness is a bit too far away to travel for a meal.
Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue is probably never going to be a destination for foodies, but with an entertaining show in a great location, it’s still worth the cost of admission. We do think it’s worth a little splurge to reserve the first or second category seating as some third category seating is mostly facing away from the stage.
Also note: Categories 2 and 3 are two Disney Dining Plan credits; Category 1 isn’t DDP-eligible at all. The prices for the categories are as follows: Category 3 is $66 for adults, $39 for kids, Category 2 is $69 for adults and $40 for kids, and Category 1 is $74 for adults and $44 for kids. Prepayment in full is required at the time of booking as well, so be prepared to shell out the dough for this meal before you get there! Wherever you sit, though, you’ll be treated to a truly memorable show. And that’s the real reason you’re dining at Hoop-Dee-Doo!
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Have you dined at Pioneer Hall before? What did you think of the experience?