Disney is the pinnacle of entertainment, so it makes sense that some of the shows it produces at Walt Disney World are amazing. They have rich stories, beautiful costumes, great music, talented actors and top notch theatrical production. Most of the shows on the list require an admission ticket one of Walt Disney World’s theme parks, but a couple can be enjoyed at the resorts. Here are the 8 shows I think are the coolest:
8. Spirit of Aloha Luau, Disney’s Polynesian Resort
The show in the Spirit of Aloha is really in two parts. While you are eating there is more of a theatrical play with actors going through a storyline. While this part is fine (and perfect for the time when you are concentrating on eating your delicious luau feast), the second part of the show is the part that . . . well, it really steals the show. This is when the dancers come out and accompanied by drummers and musicians, perform the dances representing various Polynesian cultures from the South Pacific. The dances are beautiful, the costumes are amazing and it is very interesting the variations between cultures. The show culminates with the fire dancer which is a show stopper!
7. Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, Disney’s Hollywood Studios
The Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular at Hollywood Studios is now the oldest attraction in the park since most everything else that was there for the opening year has closed or been refurbished as something else (RIP Great Movie Ride). The show opened in August 1989 and remains basically the same today (minus some original symbols). The theater holds a ton of people, so it is a great way to get out of the heat and watch a thrilling show. Being familiar with the Indiana Jones movie series helps, but isn’t required to enjoy the athleticism and skill of the stuntmen and women performing the show. It is a great look behind the curtain at how movies are created—hearkening back to the original theme of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. And, there is audience participation!
6. Turtle Talk with Crush, Epcot
Located in the Seas with Nemo & Friends aquarium, Turtle Talk with Crush is a popular show featuring digital animation. Through Disney’s Living Character Initiative this interactive show allows children (seated down front) to participate by talking with Crush. The show itself is cute enough, but the kids participating and Crush’s individual reactions are what make it really special. When my 4 year old was given the chance to talk to Crush he got so excited he blurted out this huge run on sentence answering all of Crush’s previous questions to the other kids “My Name is Carsten I’m From America My Parents Are Over There And I Just Went To Legoland!” No one understood him except us. Crush told him to kill the motor dude. We still talk about it to this day—great vacation memories. And I’m sure Disney was happy he was advertising Legoland.
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5. Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage, Disney’s Hollywood Studios
I love, love, love the Beauty and the Beast show. It brings me back to my childhood. This is another show in a large amphitheater (on Sunset Blvd) that gives you a chance to at least get out of the sun for a bit and sit to watch a great show. Live actors on stage sing and dance performing highlights from Beauty and the Beast—of course including Be Our Guest! Characters in costumes of the enchanted castle servants perform alongside colorfully dressed singers and dancers. It is a quintessentially Disney show and perfect for children, especially little princesses who love Belle.
4. Finding Nemo the Musical, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park
Finding Nemo the Musical has to be the most visually stunning show at Walt Disney World. Seated inside an air-conditioned theater you will be delighted by colorful puppets of your favorite Finding Nemo characters. The puppeteers who perform these roles are absolutely amazing. The blend in with their puppet and become one during the entire performance. From the smaller fish to the gigantic Crush and Bruce puppets, they really are stunning. The set design and mechanics bring the story to life. And the music is exceptional. Written especially for this performance it takes us through the movie with scenes stitched together seamlessly.
3. For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, Disney’s Hollywood Studios
I will admit—I’m a little frozen out. There was a little too much Frozen thrown out there for me, saturation if you will. However, I LOVE the For the First Time in Forever Frozen Sing-Along at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. And I’ll tell you why. It has the most hilarious storyline and actors starring in the show. And those actors are not Anna or Elsa, they are the Royal Historians who walk us through the Frozen story and introduce the songs (which, yes, you are supposed to sing along with). For parents who are over Frozen but who have children how adore it, the Historians make this show more than bearable. None of my kids even like Frozen, but I still go almost every time I’m in the Studios by myself. It is that funny. And each performance from the Historians is slightly different. I highly recommend that you go. And it doesn’t hurt that Kristoff is pretty dreamy too.
2. Festival of the Lion King, Disney’s Animal Kingdom
I don’t know how the Animal Kingdom wound up with two amazing shows, but both are can’t miss in my book. I love the Festival of The Lion King found just outside the main part of Harambe Village in the Africa section of the park (behind Tusker House restaurant). The live musical features acrobats, gymnasts, stilt walkers, fire dancers, amazing singers, and our favorite characters from The Lion King. It is a fun show for the whole family that includes lots of action and some audience participation. It is bright, colorful, energetic and features beloved songs from the movie. My favorite part—the Tumble Monkeys! If you want to see this show you might consider getting a FastPass+, or plan to be in the Standby queue well before it is scheduled to begin—it is very popular and the large theater fills up quickly.
1. Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground
My number one choice for the coolest show at Walt Disney World also happens to be the one of the longest running dinner shows in the United States as it became a permanent show at Fort Wilderness in 1974. This hilarious dinner show, “Call me butter, I’m on a roll” is family friendly fun that will have everyone casting aside their cares and whooping and hollering with the cast. The food here is down home country cooking and very tasty (all you care to eat fried chicken, yes please), and the serving staff is in on the show when they deliver your delicious dessert. Through your courses the actors present their Wild West themed musical stage show and you can’t help but laugh. I’ve taken kids, teenagers, quiet adults, and everyone has such a good time they want to come back. The only disadvantage to Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue is that it can be a little tricky to get to since it is at the back (Bay Lake) side of the Fort Wilderness Campground in Pioneer Hall. The new Minnie Van service simplifies that by providing door to door service right to Pioneer Hall. Or you can always plan plenty of time and take a bus to Magic Kingdom and Fort Wilderness boat from there.
What is your favorite show at Walt Disney World?