Dinner shows are always so much fun. Did you know that Walt Disney World offers 3 to choose from? Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show, Hoop De Doo Musical Review and Mickey’s Backyard BBQ. I have had the pleasure of attending all three and I can say, without a doubt, they are all fun and something I hope you Disney goers will experience sometime. This past weekend, we were celebrating my daughters birthday at Walt Disney World. She got to plan the entire weekend, talk about a fun birthday! The itinerary and where we ate Friday, Saturday and Sunday was completely up to her. She spent months planing and pining about what to do. One thing she was certain of was enjoying her birthday dinner at Mickey’s Backyard BBQ.
Mickey’s Backyard BBQ is located in an open air pavilion at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. You can make reservations for dinner at Mickey’s Backyard BBQ 180 days in advance by calling 407-WDW-DINE, and I suggest that if you have your heart set on it, you make those reservations sooner rather than later. It does sell out nightly, and otherwise you may miss out. I called at 7:00a.m. on my 180 day mark and by the time my phone call was answered, everything was sold out but Category 1 seating. Because we do go to Walt Disney World a lot, I try to avoid upgrades like this to keep costs down but reluctantly I agreed and got out my credit card. This is a meal that you have to pay for in advance. Adults are $72 for Category 1 seating and $62 for Category 2 seating and Children are $47 for Category 1 seating and $37 for Category 2 seating. Before we move on to anything else about the review, I want to say that Category 1 seating is the best thing that ever happened to us! Yes, do it! Spend that extra $10 per person and have a great time, trust me!!
Category 1 Experience:
Category 1 seating for Mickey’s Backyard BBQ has a lot of perks. You have to read the fine print or you will miss out. When you purchase Category 1 seating, you are able to get into the venue 1 hour prior to the regular show time for some VIP festivities. So our dinner was technically at 5:30 but we were able to go to the open air restaurant area at 4:30. We were the only ones there and I started to wonder if I messed up and jumped the gun on the early arrival. Once the clock struck 4:30, a Cast Member gave us a howdy and walked with us to show us the ropes. We were escorted to our private and prime seating area. The seating area is picnic tables that are pushed together to form long tables. My party of 5 was seated close to the stage and given the entire end of the long table. We even had a sign on the table that said reserved for the Hutnik family. We were able to enjoy fountain drinks and unlimited Mickey Ice Cream Bars immediately. Being Addie’s birthday, of course she had to have one before dinner! At 4:45 the bar opened and we could enjoy unlimited beer, wine and sangria. Also at 4:45, the characters (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Chip and Dale) all came out to have private meet and greets with us along with a PhotoPass Photographer. Guys, at this point, there was us and one other family in the place. Seriously, meet and greets with characters with 2 families!! This resulted in some serious fun. Not only did we get to take pictures with the characters, they signed autographs and had some fun playing pranks on each other and us, hanging out and having conversations. For the next 30ish minutes we were hanging out with our character pals! Around 5:00 we noticed that all of the food was out on the buffet lines and my husband asked if we could go ahead and start eating. And they said of course, that’s part of the privileged of Category 1 seating! Because buffets sort of gross me out this was amazing news. Everything on the line was fresh and clean and warm. Now keep in mind, this is 30 minutes before the restaurant is open to the general public. So we had 30 minutes of eating with no lines and fresh food for us and a handful of other families at this point. By 5:30 when the restaurant opened to Category 2 seating and the lines and lines of people made their way to the buffet, we were all finished with our food and could enjoy the rest of the nights festivities without interruption to eat. Category 1 is something I never would have splurged for given another option, but holy molly I am so glad it turned out that way. The entire time, my whole family was just blown away by the Category 1 experience. It is well, well worth the extra $10 a person. Please, please upgrade to this option if you are planing to do Mickey’s Backyard BBQ.
It’s actually kind of hard to find reviews of Mickey’s Backyard BBQ online, and honestly the reviews out there aren’t that good. I’ve got to think they are all Category 2 seating reviews. If we would have done Category 2, I can tell you it would have been a completely different experience. From what I saw, Category 2 seating is very crammed. Everyone lines up outside and then right at 5:30 a sea of people are let in all together. The show also starts at 5:30 so you have to split your time between character interactions, the actual show going on and eating. The buffet quickly became a mess and I’ll be honest, I was totally grossed out by the amount of food all over the floor and seating areas of Category 2. What is with parents not cleaning up after their kids even a little bit? Throughout the night, there were character meet and greets, character dance parties, a live band a a rope show. Multiple things were going on at a time so if you wanted to get a picture with a character, you may have had to miss the rope show or eating or something. Obviously I didn’t have that experience so I can’t say what it was like but we were so glad to have eaten by 5:30 so we could fully enjoy everything else.
Mickey’s Backyard BBQ serves up some great classic bbq. First off there is unlimited soft drinks, lemonade and tea. For the grownups, unlimited beer, wine and sangria is included in the price. The sangria is delicious. I’m not typically a red wine fan but it was sweet and fruity and just delightful to drink. The glasses are kind of small but you can grab two at a time from the bartender, just a friendly tip if the lines are long ;). The food is served all night, so you don’t worry – you’ll get your fill. On the buffet we found bbq ribs, honey mustard chicken, bbq pulled pork, hamburgers, hot dogs, wagon wheel mac and cheese, corn on the cob, baked beans, corn bread, pasta salad, potato salad, caesar salad, watermelon, coleslaw, cucumber salad and cherry tomatoes. There’s also a fixins bar with veggies and dip, condiments, lettuce and cheese. For dessert, unlimited Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bars, Strawberry Bars and Orange Cream bars. I sampled much of the offerings and everything was really good. My favorite menu item was the honey mustard chicken. The outside was so flavorful and the inside was moist and cooked just right. It was delicious with the caesar salad and pasta salad together. I also really enjoyed the pulled pork and macaroni and cheese. My family members are all really picky eaters and we all found menu items that we enjoyed. Everyone had full, happy bellies by the end of the meal.
Mickey’s Backyard BBQ is a hoedown so of course there has to be live music! The country music band was excellent and played well known tunes all night long. There was even some dancing with the characters and well known line dances to participate in. Kids got to sing along to Shania Twain’s, Man I feel like a woman. During the night your hosts, Tumbleweed Will and Cyclone Sally entertained with their witty banter moving the festivities of the night right along. In between music sets, guests were able to get their pictures taken with the characters and see a really great rope show preformed by the famous, Trick Ropin Trevor. He’s a world champion trick roper, country music artist and all around good ol’ cowboy and he put on a show! It was amazing!
Mickey’s Backyard BBQ, category 1 seating, gets a 10 out of 10 from me. I really do think this is a hidden gem and it’s well worth the pretty penny we paid. Because this dinner show is pricey, I suggest saving it for special occasions like birthdays, family reunions and anniversaries. It made the perfect birthday celebration for Addie’s 10th birthday. Again, I can’t stress enough what an upgrade category 1 seating is. If you’re going to book this dinner show, I promise you category 1 is the way to go. If you’re considering booking this, check out the fun video below of World Champion Trick Ropin’ Trevor below doing his thing. He really does put on an awesome show!