Tucked away in a corner of Walt Disney World that most guests don’t visit is Fort Wilderness. Away from the hustle and bustle of the parks and resorts, is a quaint maze of cabins and campsites for guests looking to “rough it” on their vacation. Located in Fort Wilderness is a dining experience we’ve often heard of, but never attended, until now. Here are our thoughts on the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at Fort Wilderness.
Set back in the woods is a place called The Settlement. This is where you’ll find Pioneer Hall and the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue.
Note: Plan on arriving early. You have to park at the Outpost, which is at the front of the Fort Wilderness property. You then have to board a bus at the Outpost Depot, which will take you on the 10-15 minute drive back to The Settlement.
Upon arriving, you’ll want to check your party in with the hostess, who usually shows up outside of the front doors around 30-45 minutes prior to showtime. Once you check in, hang out by the left staircase, as this is the one you’ll be entering from.
One of the most confusing aspects of Hoop-Dee-Doo for us, with no knowledge of what to expect going in, was the seating arrangements. You can pick from 3 different price tiers of seating:
- Category 1 – $72
- Category 2 – $67
- Category 3 – $64
Our opinion is that the seating doesn’t matter too much, especially if you’re going for the food. If you’re the type of person who wants to be in the thick of the action though, Category 1 is the way to go. If you like to observe a bit more, you’ll be just fine with Category 2 or 3.
The area in green is the Category 1 seating, with the perimeter of the first floor being Category 2 and the balcony being Category 3. We did Category 2 seating, but I think that the balcony seating would be just fine as well.
The interior reminded me of a more frontier-like version of the Diamond Horseshoe. Tables are situated on the main floor and second floor in front of a typical Proscenium stage.
Come to Hoop-Dee-Doo hungry. With all of the food served family-style and all-you-can-eat, we found ourselves trying our hardest to find more room for another bite. Let’s go over the menu.
First up was a starter salad and cornbread. The ingredients in the salad were notably fresh and I would say it exceeded expectations for a starter salad.
The cornbread was crumbly and maybe a tad dry for my taste, but the butter solved that issue immediately. It was hard not to fill up on the bread and salad, but better food was on the horizon.
All you can eat:
- Crispy-fried Chicken
- Smoked Barbecued Pork Ribs
- Seasonal Vegtables
- Mashed Potatoes
- Cowboy Beans
- Strawberry Shortcake
Let’s work our way down the list.
I’ll preface the food review by saying that Hoop-Dee-Doo does a “limited menu” perfectly. They know what they’re good at and they prepare the food wonderfully. This is a Southern dinner through and through. The fried chicken definitely earns the “crispy” name. A crunch in every bite with a bit of a buttery taste when you hit the skin.
Smoked Barbecue Pork Ribs
Probably the highlight of the meal, as far as the meats are concerned. These are the best ribs we’ve tried on property due to their tenderness and the classic, rich barbecue sauce that they’re slathered in. The meat was easy to seperate from the bone and was cooked to a slight crunch on the ends.
Our seasonal vegetable was corn and it was lightly seasoned.
The mashed potatoes were nice and creamy. A solid side dish, but don’t have too much as it gets heavy.
The dessert for your southern meal experience is a strawberry shortcake. It was overflowing with rich, fresh strawberry compote. The shortcake itself was light and airy. A wonderful dessert to end a wonderful meal.
We did have a few items from the kids and vegetarian menus.
Mac and Cheese
The Mac and Cheese came from the kids menu and was wonderful. A thick, creamy cheese melted over perfectly cooked pasta made this a dish that everyone at the table came back to time and again throughout the meal.
Off of the vegetarian menu was the salmon. A large portion of salmon was accompanied by an equally large helping of greens.
Another excellent option from the vegetarian menu was the Wagon-wheel pasta. This house primavera pasta comes with eggless orecchiette pasta, house vegetables, and marinara sauce.
Drinks were also all-you-can-consume. Here’s the list:
- Frontera Chardonnay or Merlot
- Bud Light or Yuengling Draft Beer
- Beso Del Sol Red Sangria
- Beso Del Sol White Sangria
- Soda, lemonade, teas, and coffee
There isn’t a lot that can be said about beer and wine, but we did note that the white sangria was better than the red sangria, but that they both weren’t anything extraordinary. The value here comes from the all-you-can-consume aspect.
Originally served person-by-person, our waiter eventually resorted to bringing pitchers of Yuengling.
Of course, there is more to Hoop-Dee-Doo than just good food. There is also a three-act show that corresponds to your eating periods. The show is a bit corny at times, but always fun.
Without giving the show away, it features a group of six actors and actresses known as the Pioneer Hall Players. The script and concept is the same every evening, but where the show really excels is in the audience participation. The performers will occasionally venture out into the crowd to interact with a few audience members and then play off of it in a unique way each evening. Overall, it’s a fun show that kept us laughing, while still (narrowly, sometimes) staying within the bounds of Disneyfied entertainment.
The service here was awesome. Granted, buckets of meat and pitchers of beer shouldn’t be that difficult. That said, our waiter always made sure there was plenty of food, whether it be meat, sides, or even the specialty menu items. With gratuity included in the price of your meal, the waiters and waitresses don’t phone it in. They work hard throughout the meal and will make sure that you always have plenty of food and drink in front of you.
We really enjoyed our Hoop-Dee-Doo experience. As one of the longest-running dinner shows in the country, it’s a gem hidden among the trees of Fort Wilderness. A phenomenal cast of characters combined with a classic southern meal ensures that you’ll have a wonderful time at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue.