Looking for great Disney character interaction? Looking for an entire evening of it? Like to stomp your feet and shake your booty? Have a family with one or more kids? Or, just like to have a lot of good eating and enjoy a fun filled night of country entertainment, Disney-style? Then it's a good bet you'd enjoy Mickey's Backyard BBQ at the Fort Wildnerness Campground and Resort. Almost from the moment I entered the large outdoor pavilion, there's things to do and food to eat. The places has many 50 foot long picnic tables and probably holds about 300 guests. The show starts at 6:30pm and goes on to 8pm. Many people with younger children tend to leave after an hour and, depending on the weather and time of year, the hall can be fairly empty by the time the Mickey Mouse Club Goodbye song is sung.
The Food. American BBQ chicken and ribs, hot dogs, hamburgers, baked beans, corn on the cob with all the fixins. There are four buffet food stations which allow lines on both sides. Even with the large number of guests, it does not take long to get everyone served and you can go back as often as you want. Soda, ice tea, beer and wine is included in the price (see menu link below for the latest cost) and watermelon and ice cream for dessert. The food quality is not at the level of some other buffests at Walt Disney World but I found it very good and plentiful.
The Music. There are many parts to Mickey's Backyard BBQ. First the band comes out for the first 20 minutes as people get situated and round up their first helpings of BBQ food from the buffet. They perform songs from today's popular country artists like Shania Twain, Keith Urban, Toby Keith, Rascal Flats, Brad Paisley and many more. They provide all the music for dancing with the characters and introduce you to the hosts for the evening. Cyclone Sally and Tumbleweed Will dressed in colorful Western outfits even Roy Rogers and Dale Evans would have been proud of. They are fun, loud and get you to tapping right along with the band and encourage children and adults to interact and dance all night.
The Characters. Throughout the night, Cowboy Mickey Mouse, Cowgirl Minnie Mouse, Cowboy Goofy, Chip and Dale come out to dance on the large floor in front of the band's stage. Everyone can join them in what some have called a chaotic experience. It is a bit crazy and parents should accompany their children to make sure they don't get bumped into. The cast members with the characters will make sure all the kids who want to get a chance to have some fun with them. In my opinion, Mickey's Backyard BBQ has the most lively interaction with the characters at the Walt Disney World resort. They dance, come to the tables during show breaks, line dance and chain dance.
The Show. Besides the wonderful music and character dancing. You are treated to some trick roping which might include the use of Christmas lights if you are there during the holidays. He was mic'ed the whole time and brought out some volunteers to try their hand at twirling a lasso. Later, a line dance instructor comes out to teach everyone who wants to get out on the dance floor some line dancing steps. Then the band joins in for the line dance just learned before doing some popular ones like the Electric Slide, Macarena and the Chicken Dance. The characters join in and, let me tell you, Minnie is one heck of a line dancer.
The Experience. Overall, I throughly enjoyed Mickey's Backyard BBQ Dinner Show. I had not expected so much interaction with the characters, hosts, roper, line dancer and the band. The food was good. There is plenty of seating and people where pleasant. The covered pavilion is outdoors and it can get cool during the winter months so be prepared. I did not have any children with me but still had fun watching everyone else's experiencing some Disney magic.
Tips. Try and get to the check in area about 30 minutes before the stated start time. You can have photos of your party done which will later be brought to you and can be purchased for an extra charge. It's best if you can get a table along or near the dance floor area. As an adult without kids, I found a table back a bit but had no trouble getting up close to get photos. In fact, I felt like a wedding photographer with all the dancing, music, food and entertainment going on. Remember when making reservations this is a seasonal dinner show and does not run every night. Call Disney Dining or check their website for available dates during your visit.