Disney World Dining: Dinner Shows, Experiences, and Packages

If there is one thing that Disney does well (and there are, of course, many things Disney does well!) it is providing shows and entertainment. And if there is a second thing they do well, it would be providing interesting dining experiences. So it is only natural that Disney would combine these two things…..dining and entertainment….into some really fun ways to enjoy both.

Today’s post then, is going to explore some of the dining entertainment….in all it’s forms….that you can experience at Walt Disney World. (Warning: VERY long post because there is a LOT of information! 🙂  So get comfy……)

Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue

Does your family love corny jokes, singing, dancing, and a grand assortment of all kinds of “down home” cooking? If so, then the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue is for you. This is one of Disney’s longest running, and most popular shows, held at the Pioneer Hall in the Wilderness Campgrounds. Two hours of food and a country western show provide a great evening that is perfect for the entire family.

What You Need to Know About the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue

If you are interested in attending this dinner show, you must book it in advance, preferably when reservations open at the 180 day mark, as it frequently sells out during peak seasons. Payment in full is required at the time of booking, however it can be refunded if you cancel within 48 hours of the show.

Pricing is in 3 Categories, ranging from $52.99/$26.99 for adults/children ages 3-9 with seating on the sides in the balcony (Category 3) up to $61.99/$31.99 for first floor center seating (Category 1). Please note that wheelchair accessible seating is only available in Category 1.

You may use Dining Plan credits for Categories 2 and 3, and for Category 1 seating at the 9:30 p.m. show. The Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue is 2 Table Service credits on the Disney Dining Plan.

Families that have done this show absolutely love it, with some fans of The Affordable Mouse Facebook page saying that it is a must-see on every trip! For a great review of the food and show, I recommend this post from The Disney Food Blog.

Mickey’s Backyard BBQ Dinner Show

Not as well-known, but just as much fun is this show, also held at the Wilderness Campgrounds, in the open air, covered pavilion. This is an all you can eat dance party with Mickey, Minnie, and Friends at a country-western style picnic. While this show is held seasonally, if you love line-dancing and BBQ, you will love this show.

What You Need to Know About Mickey’s Backyard BBQ

As with the Hoop-Dee-Doo, full payment is required at the time of booking, and again, you will receive a full refund with cancellation within 48 hours. Cost is $50.99 ages 10 and up, $20.99 ages 3-9.

You may use Dining Plan credits: Mickey’s Backyard BBQ uses 2 Table Service credits on the Disney Dining Plan.

Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show

This dinner show, held at Disney’s Polynesian resort, provides a luau-type, all you can eat feast, featuring barbecue pork ribs, roasted chicken, and a host of other delicious food and drink. With a high energy show that will transport you to Polynesia, this is one of Disney’s most popular shows, and often sells out during peak season.

What You Need to Know About the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show

If you are interested in attending this dinner show, you must book it in advance, preferably when reservations open at the 180 day mark. Payment in full is required at the time of booking, however it can be refunded if you cancel within 48 hours of the show.

Pricing is in 3 Categories, ranging from $52.99/$26.99 for adults/children ages 3-9 with seating on the far sides on the main floor or most of the upper level (Category 3) up to $61.99/$31.99 for lower level, front/center seating (Category 1).

You may use Dining Plan credits if you wish: this show, as with the others, uses 2 Table Service credits on the Disney Dining Plan.

Dine With an Imagineer

Not a show…but highly entertaining, is this opportunity to dine with a Disney Imagineer, and learn just what it is like to dream up all that Disney magic.  You have the option, for this dining experience, to choose lunch or dinner. No matter which you choose, seating is limited to either 8 or 10 guests, plus an Imagineer.

What You Need to Know About Dining With an Imagineer

Lunch with an Imagineer is offered at 11:30 a.m. on select weekdays, in a private room at the Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Cost is $60.99 per guest, plus tax and gratuity. Dinner with an Imagineer is offered at 5:30 p.m. on select dates at the Flying Fish at the Boardwalk. Cost is $85 plus tax and gratuity. Prepayment is required at the time of booking, and you may cancel up to 48 hours in advance to receive a full refund.

Perfectly Princess Tea Party

For the ultimate magical experience for your little girl, you and she can share a special tea party with Princess Aurora from Sleeping Beauty. This dining event offers a variety of princess-appropriate activities and entertainment, including some special “favors” for the princesses (and princes if they desire) who attend:  a My Disney Girl collectable doll (or bear for the gentlemen), tiaras or crowns, and other royal tokens. There is also, of course, an elegant and delicious tea party for all who attend.

What You Need to Know About the Perfectly Princess Tea Party

Basically, what you need to know about this experience is that it is not cheap: all that royal attention comes at a cost. The price to reserve this party for your little princess is $250 for one adult and child ages 3-11. Additional adult guests over age 12 are $100 and an additional child is $150. Prices include gratuity but not tax. Prepayment is required when you book, but full refunds are available for cancellations within 72 hours.

Now there are several dining “experiences” that are not as much about a dinner “show” as much as they are about making it convenient for guests to be guaranteed a great seat at popular Disney World entertainment, and have a great meal as well….

Fantasmic! Dining Experience

Fantasmic! is one of Disney World’s most popular shows, and the wait to get into see this show can be very long. To allow guests to experience shorter wait times, knowing that there is a reserved seating area waiting for them, Disney created the Fantasmic! Dinner Package. With this package, you pay for a table-service meal at one of 3 Hollywood Studios restaurants, and you get preferred seating for Fantasmic! as a bonus. Now, instead of waiting an hour or more to get in, you can walk in 45 minutes before the show and have a guaranteed seat, in a reserved section. (Note that this reserved section is to the far right of the theater, so if you would prefer to sit elsewhere, then you may want to bypass this package.

What You Need to Know About the Fantasmic! Dining Experience

Your cost will vary, depending on which restaurant you choose. For Hollywood and Vine, the cost is $26.99 adult/$11.99 child ages 3-9, for an all you can eat buffet. At Mama Melrose, you will pay a fixed price of $32.99/$13.99. And at the Brown Derby, you may order from the a la carte menu.

While you do not have to pay for the package when you book, there is a credit card reserve, and your card will be charged $10 if you cancel under 48 hours.

You may use Dining Plan credits for the Fantasmic! Dining Experience. Hollywood and Vine and Mama Melrose will cost you one Table Service credit and the Brown Derby, as a Signature dining location, is two Table Services credits.

Is it necessary to book this package? No, you can choose to wait in line, and as previously noted, that line can be quite long during peak seasons. For a shorter wait, and reduced stress if you want to make sure you get in to see Fantasmic!, this dinner package may be worth it.

Candlelight Processional Dinner Package

Similar in concept to the Fantasmic! Dining Experience, this dinner package is designed to provide a meal and reserved seating for Epcot’s extremely popular Candlelight Processional show. This narration of the Christmas story runs nightly from November 26 through December 30, 2010. In years past, there have been three performances each night, at 5:00, 6:45 and 8:15 pm, with each show running about 40 minutes.

Like seeing Fantasmic, you don’t HAVE to have the dinner package to get in to see this concert….however not having it will mean that you will wait in line for at LEAST 45-60 minutes prior to the show, and hope that there are still seats available by the time you get to the front of the line. During the peak of the holidays, there are not likely to be many…or any…seats available after the Dinner Package people have taken their reserved seats.

With the Candlelight Processional Dinner Package, you remove the stress, or worrying about getting a seat (although you will still need to get in line prior, but you are guaranteed a seat), you have a sit-down meal at one of Epcot’s great restaurants, and you also receive access to a preferred viewing area for Illuminations.

What You Need to Know About the Candlelight Processional Dinner Package

At this writing, details had not yet been released about pricing for the 2010 packages, but if it is similar to the 2009 version, it should look something like this:

You schedule your Candlelight Processional Dining Package meal for before the performance you will attend.  So if you will attend the 5 p.m. performance, you will do the Lunch Package. For the 6:45 show, you will schedule a Dinner Package for dinner between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m., and for the 8:00 performances, your Dinner Package will be for dinner between 5:00-6:00 pm.

Pricing in 2009 was in 3 tiers, based on the restaurants you chose:

  • Tier 1 – Biergarten (lunch or dinner), Garden Grill (dinner only)
    Cost is $32.99 lunch/$44.99 dinner for adults, and $17.99/$22.99 for kids
  • Tier 2 – Marrakesh, Nine Dragons, Rose and Crown, San Angel Inn
    Cost is $38.99 /$44.99 for adults and $12.99/$14.99 for kids
  • Tier 3 – Chefs De France, Coral Reef, Le Cellier, Teppan Edo, Tokyo Dining, Tutto Italia
    Cost is $51.99 lunch/$58.99 dinner (6:45 show) or $60.99 dinner (8:15 show) for adults and $13.99 lunch/$15.99 dinner for kids.

Package meals in the past included appetizer, entree, dessert and non-alcoholic beverage.

You can use the Dining Plan to book the Candlelight Processional Dinner Package. In 2009, this package cost 2 Table Service credits.

Fireworks Dessert Party

Not a show exactly, the Fireworks Dessert Party is a relatively new offering at the Magic Kingdom that provides guests the chance to experience a dessert buffet, while also enjoying the nightly fireworks display. A reserved viewing area for the fireworks, combined with a delicious offering of desserts has made this a popular dining experience. Originally offered for a limited time, it has now been extended through December 29, 2010.

What You Need to Know About the Fireworks Dessert Party

Cost for this event ranges from regular pricing of $21.99 for adults and $11.99 for children ages 3-9, to peak period cost of $25.99/$13.99.

Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

Since this post is in danger of turning into a novel, I will only give a brief mention today to the granddaddy of Disney dining experiences, the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, as no discussion of dining events at Walt Disney World is complete without mentioning this fall extravaganza of foodie fun.

This year, the Food and Wine Festival will be offered October 1 – November 14, and while the only admission to the festival is your Epcot park pass, if you plan to try the food offerings at the various booths, you should plan on each item, being between $3 – $8 each for a tapas-sized portion. There are definitely ways to budget for this, and still manage to taste a lot: you can read about our family’s experiences at last year’s Food and Wine Festival here, for some strategies that you may find helpful.

In addition, many of the extra, ticketed events have been announced, and sales have started. You can read much more about the Food and Wine Festival, at the home of all things related to Disney food fun, The Disney Food Blog.

And for more information on Disney World Dining Shows and Experiences, visit Disneyworld.com and click “Dinner Shows” and “Dining Events”.

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