PHOTOS, VIDEO: Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue Original Cast Reunite to Celebrate 50th Anniversary

    The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at Disney’s Fort Wilderness is celebrating 50 years of entertaining guests as one of the country’s longest-running dinner shows, and a Walt Disney World classic. The show opened on June 30, 1974 as part of the Disney World Fine Arts College Workshop program. Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue was so popular that summer, that Disney made it a permanent show on September 5, 1974.

    In the past, Disney World celebrated the anniversary of the show on September 5th, calling that date the “official” anniversary. That said, this year, Disney World celebrated Hoop-Dee-Doo’s anniversary on June 30th, and we were in attendance to celebrate as well! We made our own reservation and paid 100% for our meal.

    While we knew that we wanted to be in attendance for the 50th Anniversary, we were surprised to learn that the original Hoop-Dee-Doo cast members were also in attendance! During the anniversary segment of the show, there was a special shout-out to the original Cast Members, who received a standing ovation from the guests in attendance.

    VIDEO

    The original Cast Members were also kind enough to pose for a photo after the show concluded! Congratulations on an impressive milestone!

    Here are some more photos from the performance, including the selection of Ted King and Jude Routh, both original Cast Members, during the audience participation segment of the show!

    Original Cast giving a standing ovation to the current Cast

    Here are some photos from Disney of the original Cast of Hoop-Dee-Doo as well!

    Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue History

    In true Disney fashion, Walt Disney Imagineers designed Pioneer Hall in authentic Wild West style with 1,283 hand-fitted pine logs from Montana and 70 tons of stones from North Carolina to recreate a look from the late 1800s. The building opened April 1, 1974.

    Themed entertainment is always part of the Disney story. While Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue was being written and cast, a group of country-Western musicians called The Star-Spangled Washboard Band opened in Pioneer Hall, according to a historical timeline by Larry Billman, author/writer and Disney entertainment consultant, who was the author and writer of the original show.

    Bob Jani, the director of entertainment for both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort, saw the potential for a “dinner theater show” and hired Billman. After multiple rewrites (the first version was called “We’re With You, Mother McCree!”), Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue was born.

    Students from the 11-week college workshop auditioned for the three female and three male character performers in Hoop-Dee-Doo: Six Bits Slocum and Dolly Drew (comic relief), Jim Handy and Flora Long (the singers), and Johnny Ringo and Claire de Lune (the dancers).

    “The college students sent us video auditions, and we had more than 600 applicants,” said Forrest Bahruth, show director, Disney Parks & Resorts Creative Entertainment. The cast arrived at Walt Disney World Resort in early June for quick rehearsals, and the show opened on June 30, 1974.

    An early draft of the show was titled The Whoop-Dee-Doo-Revue, which was revised to Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue. The principal songwriter was Tom Adair, who also wrote words for the score for Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” and the “Mickey Mouse Club.”

    In 1979 the song “Apple Pie Hoedown” was replaced with “Strawberry Short Cake Walk” when shortcake replaced apple pie on the menu.

    Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue was part of the opening entertainment at Tokyo Disneyland in 1983, with Larry Billman and Forrest Bahruth directing and staging the new version. The show played there until 1995.

    Reimagined Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue

    Following a closure due to COVID-19 shutdowns, Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue returned in June 2022 with some updates to the menu and show. For a look at the new version of the show, check out our full video below!

    As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest news, photos, and info from around the Disney Parks!

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