disneylibrarian (NDD#270) (17 Posts)

Riley McDaniel grew up in Corpus Christi, TX in a low-socioeconomic household and one of the favorite family activites was to watch The Wonderful World of Disney (along with it's other reincarnations) on Sunday nights. Although the family couldn't afford to take a trip to Disney World made it his dream to one day see that magical world. This dream served as one of the many aspirations to do well in school and attend college. Today, Riley has a masters degree in Library Science and serves as a librarian at Red Oak High School in Red Oak Texas where he continues to give Disney as a source of inspiration to students. His family, a lovely wife, eleven year old son and seven year old daughter, lovingly refer to themselves as Disney Geeks. They can regularly be found hosting Disney parties whether it's for simply the premier of the Phineas and Ferb movie or a child's birthday party. As members of the Disney Vacation club (Wilderness Lodge home resort) the family can be found at Disney World once a year and Riley gives mini-seminars on planning the perfect Disney vacation.


signI would consider it a difficult task for anyone to say that he or she is a Disney neurotic without having seen the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. Thinking back on my first viewing of this musical theater extravaganza, I remember my 2 1/ 2 year old daughter standing in her chair dancing, while my “grown” 6 year old son tapped his shoe in tune with the music. We all had a hooping and hollering good time and left very full from the all-you-can-eat dinner.

My little girl dancing to the music at Hoop Dee Doo Review

My little girl dancing 

My son enjoying the show.

My son enjoying the show.

This year the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue finds itself turning 40 and still going strong. D23 makes the claim of the Hoop-Dee-Doo as the longest running musical in American Theater. In 2010, the number of guests viewing the show bypassed 10 million! Let’s take a look at how this enduring show got its start.

Built in 1974, with over a thousand hand-fitted white pines sent by railroad from Montana, Pioneer Hall originally was intended as a lounge and restaurant where visitors could hear lectures and view nature films.  Due to the cost of the building, Card Walker (a Disney Executive) decided this idea would not generate enough capital and turned the project over to Bob Jani, Vice-President of Entertainment for Disney Parks. The Entertainment Division wanted two important changes over Imagineering’s original designs: thinning the wide stone pillars throughout the theater and narrowing the wide balcony with multiple rows of tables down to one row of tables. With these changes, the Entertainment Division felt they created an audience friendly musical theater.

D23 informs us the first shows in Pioneer Hall were performed by the Star Spangled Washboard Band, a New York based band. With these first shows, the all-you-can-eat menu also made its debut. Disney executives desired a more permanent show and auditioned college students from their summer internship program, while a western themed musical concept was created under director Larry Billman and songwriter Tom Adair. To tie in with a Disney theme, the show features Davy Crockett in many scenes. The show became known as Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue and debuted in the summer of ’74 as a rousing success!  When summer ended, the students headed back to college, but Disney wanted the show to go on and held auditions among their regular performers.

Modified napkin waving

Modified napkin waving

The show remains the same as it did from its inception with two exceptions: 1) Until recently, audience members would stand on their chairs and wave their checkered napkins high in the air; however, Disney eliminated this practice due to liability issues. 2) The original Hoop-Dee-Doo theme song Tom Adair wrote parodied a Perry Como song, and although Tom states he and Perry had many laughs about the parody of a song Como actually hated, in 2011 Disney changed it. Other than these small changes, the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue has gone on the same for 40 years.

Cowboy chow

Cowboy chow

Though very rarely will you find anyone complaining about the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue show, some critiques exist regarding the price of admission (seats range from $35- $59 depending upon location and viewer age) and the slow service due to the large number of tables. Reviewers often suggest The Whispering Canyon Café at Wilderness Lodge for better barbecue, laughs, audience participation, at less of a cost.

On the official Disney Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue website you can find seating, ticket, and menu information.

Special thanks to Today in Disney History and WDWinfo for helpful information

Original edited by Karen French, ELA Professor Navarro College





2 thoughts on “A Big To Do for Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue’s 40th

  1. Thanks for your words about this show. The song “Hoop Dee Doo” was written by Milton DeLugg, not Tom Adair, and I do not think that we “tampered” with it. Many of us miss it but if the show continues to run, guests will learn ad enjoy the new one. The show also played for a decade at Tokyo Disneyland so the number of performances at WDW and TDL (3 times a night, 7 days a week for 365 days is staggering.) It is because of people like Tom Vazzana and the new casts, crews and servers that the basic “idea” still works.

  2. Hi Larry!

    Thanks for taking the time to comment about this post. When you said “we”, are you meaning that you are or were a Cast Member for this show? That must be great fun!

    To clear up any confusion, yes, Milton DeLugg wrote the original song called “Hoop Dee Doo,” Tom Adair was the one to pen the parody version for the show. As for the “tampering”, if you are referring to the song being changed, per WDWINFO.com, as of “March 24, 2011, the publishers filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Walt Disney Parks and Resorts” – You can see the rest of this article at: http://www.disunplugged.com/2011/03/25/hoop-dee-doo-musical-revue-subject-of-copyright-battle/#sthash.e79T15nB.dpuf

    I hope this clears up any confusion!

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