The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue is Back
The fan-favorite reopens just in time to celebrate Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary.
Howdy do, folks! It’s time to put the feedbag on. The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue is finally returning to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort on June 23, and not a moment too soon.
First making its debut in 1974, Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue will again present a rousing Wild West performance, with catchy musical numbers, wacky comedy, and an unforgettable countrified feast full of fried chicken, smoked BBQ ribs, a variety of savory sides, and of course, delectable strawberry shortcake.
Walt Disney was an ardent fan of the western, and who could blame him? The story goes it was the success of Disney’s 1950s television show Davy Crockett and the selling-like-hotcakes coonskin caps that enabled Disney to finance his park operations for several years. No wonder Walt was fond of a good western theme.
While the beloved show will remain the same, the Disney team used this downtime to give the “old gal” a slight facelift. “When we reopen the show, it will feel fresher than ever,” says Tom Vazzana, show director at Walt Disney World Resort. “We took a lot of time to refresh all aspects of the venue. Everything from the audio and lighting got a nice refresh.”
The result will be the return of an old friend, but revitalized and rejuvenated. “When we open, our guests will see their legacy gem-favorite show in all its fun form,” promises Vazzana. “The show is the same rollicking fun that it’s always been.”
“Since its opening day almost 50 years ago,” according to a recent Disney statement. “This fan-favorite show has continued to surprise and delight our guests, and as Disney grows, we look for new ways to elevate and enhance our classic experiences. Hoop-Dee-Doo will return with a few updates to its script and scenery while staying true to the treasured experience the whole family can enjoy–with the hilarious, high-spirited entertainment that it’s been known for all these years.”
Hoop-Dee-Doo has always held a special place in the hearts of Disney fans, locals, and Disney cast members. “Hoop-Dee-Doo is one of the ‘legacy’ shows that has been here from the early days of Fort Wilderness,” explains Vazzana, who, besides being the show director, was a former performer in the show.
“The show holds a personal, strong connection for me. I love talking about the show because 27 years ago, I was in the show myself as Six Bits. Then I got to be the director and now the creative director for what is a beloved show.”
Vazzana believes that part of the appeal is that it’s a triple threat show. “You have to sing, dance and act,” he explains. “We’re asking guests to come and take a break, sit down as a family or with friends, and enjoy a meal and a show in one space. There’s no rushing agenda, but a destination show.”
When asked his favorite bit of Hoop-trivia, Vazzana admits, “When I was in the show, we sang about apple pie. One day, we changed our menu to shortcake, and we had to come in and learn a new song about ‘Strawberry-clap-clap-Shortcake.’”
Is Vazzana a shortcake fan? “It’s an amazing dessert, and I’m not underselling it. I always say, leave one last rib alone because you might want to dive into the Strawberry Shortcake.”
Make your reservations today because now that the word is out, tickets will fly like a duck on a June bug, a fly on a hotcake, or perhaps on a strawberry shortcake. Whatever the case may be, Hoop-Dee-Doo is back, and it will be like visiting an old, dear friend who’s had a teensy facelift.
As Walt Disney himself said about the show, “Hoop-Dee-Doo is a hilarious, high-spirited hootenanny the whole family will enjoy!”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
It’s Hoop-Dee-Doo Trivia Time
- An early version of the show was entitled “The Whoop-Dee-Doo-Revue,” which they changed to “Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue.”
- Tom Adair wrote the music for the show. He also wrote words for the score for Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” and the “Mickey Mouse Club.”
- In earlier versions of the show, guests were asked to stand on their chairs at the show’s end and wave their red and white napkins above their heads.
- The writers added a nod to Disney’s legacy with “The Legend of Davy Crockett,” a skit complete with a coonskin cap and bear puns.
- The show was created as a college intern show and opened on June 30, 1974. By the end of the summer, guests wanted more, so they added a professional cast and the show opened permanently on Sept. 5, 1974. Since then, the show has had more than 37,000 performances with more than 10.5 million guests.
- The show, held at Pioneer Hall at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, is built from 1,283 pine logs from Montana and 70 tons of stones from North Carolina.
- At the last report, a member of the original cast from the college program still works for Disney. Marilyn Kay Magness, who played Dolly Drew, is the executive creative director of Disney Parks, Creative Entertainment.
- The song “Apple Pie Hoedown” was replaced in 1979 with “Strawberry Short Cake Walk” when the shortcake replaced apple pie on the menu. It takes 15 gallons of strawberries and 12 gallons of whipped cream to make the dessert.
- Each day, the cooks make 120 pounds of corn, 400 pounds of potatoes to be mashed, and 30 gallons of baked beans for sides.
- 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.