Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Not Very Hoop Dee Doo Revue

by Nick 
I originally wrote this for the Tips From the Disney Diva and Devos Blog, for which I'm a contributing writer, back in 2012. I haven't shared it previously because it's not a very positive review of one of Disney's most beloved shows. But I recently was reminded just how much good or bad  service can affect our experiences at Disney Parks when my friend Lisa posted an excellent article on her blog, Living a Disney Life: Empty Nesting with Pixie Dust, discussing how poor service ruined her experience at our favorite restaurant, The Hollywood Brown Derby.
Since I first started going to Walt Disney World in 1992, I have been told that I absolutely must see the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Review. “It’s the best show on Disney property”, “A trip wouldn’t be complete without an evening at Hoop-Dee-Doo”, and “I’ve seen it every year since I started coming to Disney World” are just a few of the comments I’ve heard when I’ve talked about this show with others. How could this show stand up to this level of hype?
Sadly, for me, my wife, and friends, it didn’t.
Now, before you post negative comments asking “how could you criticize our favorite thing at Disney”, let me give you a review of my experience.
The evening I saw “the Hoop” (I just made that nickname up, feel free to use it.) was towards the end of an absolutely wonderful trip, filled with more than a couple of outstanding cast member interactions and magical moments! After hearing about 20 years of praise for this show, my expectations were obviously high.

Here I am, on the right, with our friends, excited and hungry.
Just look at the eager “Show me a good time face.” I have on!

The Show is at Pioneer Hall, at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. You’ll have to take a boat or a bus to Ft. Wilderness from Magic Kingdom or another park in order to get there as there are no buses that run between resorts.

Inside the hall:

To make my anticipation even greater, we had gotten 3rd tier seats, but because the show wasn’t even half booked, we were seated on the floor, not to far from the stage!! This, I thought, was great, a magical start to the evening!

Sadly, the evening didn’t turn out so magical. To start, our server didn’t come around to take a drink order for several minutes. Then, certain things made me feel perhaps he wasn’t in the best of moods. I just got a slightly surly vibe. Throughout the meal, for drinks we had to flag him down. Our food came out last, some tables were already well into their buckets of fried chicken before we even started eating.

And, I’m not sure if it was because we were served our food later, but, while we were in the middle of eating, the lights went down, and the show resumed, so we were essentially eating in the dark.

Then there was dessert. Strawberry Shortcake. The cast literally stages a big song and dance number about this Strawberry Shortcake. With the wait-staff participating in it, even!
Our server is actually in this photo holding a tray of Shortcake.

We never got ours! Our server danced off the stage, dropped off cake to our surrounding tables, and we never saw him again! Not once. No “would you like some coffee?” or “and how is your cake?”.
I even tried to flag down another staff person, but they didn’t see me, and then they were gone.
I was so annoyed, I couldn’t enjoy the last portion of the show, which is why there are no more pictures to share with you!

Our friend, John, who had made the reservations, spoke to a manager afterwards, and we got half of our admission back, plus 2 Strawberry Shortcakes to go. Still, it was a bummer and proof that sometimes having a bad customer service encounter changes the entire dynamic of the experience.

Now, I don’t want to give the impression it’s all bad. The food is terrific, but the exact same food plus more can be found next door at Trail’s End Buffet for much less, and I’ve never had poor service.

Aaaaand in my opinion, the show is just okay.
It’s a little outdated, and not just in a classic Disney kind of way.
Could my judgement be tainted by the over hype and poor service?
Absolutely, and I would not try to discourage anyone from seeing the show, it just wasn't for me.

Have you ever had a bad Cast Member experience?

1 comment:

  1. I have been to The Hoop once. And that was plenty. We were seated to the very left of the stage, where all the servers were rushing in and out of the kitchen and got our chairs bumped into constantly. Our server was decent but very distracted. The place was packed and all the servers were going full out to get food on the tables.
    I have food allergies and was offered nothing for dessert. I asked for plain strawberries and cream and was told I couldn't get it.
    Yes, the show is outdated, lots of puns etc. The onstage cast was having a great time.
    Do I regret going to The Hoop, no. Would I go again, no.

    One of the few bad cast member experiences I ever had was at Artist Point at the Wilderness Lodge. We were the first people seated and our server wandered by every now and then, took about 15 minutes to get menus. When our meals finally came, they were nearly cold and overcooked, by that time we were so hungry we just ate, skipped ordering dessert and got out of there. I wouldn't go back there either!


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