We are planning to visit Disney World and have it coincide with our daughters birthday this year. We would like to take her to the Mickeys' Backyard BBQ and was wondering what your thoughts were on it ... whether it was worth the money and what that event actually looked like. From the writeup on the Disney site, it seems like it is a BBQ buffet and dancing afterwards. Is this correct?
Shelley, Mickey’s Backyard BBQ is one of the more unique dinner experiences at WDW because it kind of does it’s own thing – it’s really casual but give the kiddos an opportunity to burn off a lot of steam before bedtime. It’s great for picky eaters – but it’s pretty expensive for what you get. Let’s see if it’s a good value for your family.
Mickey’s Backyard BBQ really makes you feel like you’ve stumbled into Mickey’s backyard at Fort Wilderness – everyone’s real friendly and there’s nothing too fancy. There’s live music and characters (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Chip and Dale) appear on the dance floor. It’s a great chance for your kids to meet characters informally and for you to grab some candid pictures.
You’re in an outdoor pavilion with pretty good insect control, and you get to enjoy the fresh air. The seating is on picnic tables – so small parties may be seated together, and there’s no backrest. Ouch. For parents looking to relax, this isn’t the easiest character buffet to do that at.
The seating is flanked around the dance floor and there’s a buffet at the back. You get up and serve yourself – and make sure to load up early on because as the evening progresses desserts come out to replace the dinner offerings.
It’s great for picky eaters – nothing too out of the ordinary here. Chicken, ribs, hot dogs, cornbread, corn on the cob, beans, and salad make up most of the dinner menu. Watermelon, cake, cobbler, and sometimes ice cream bars come out for dessert. It’s all you can eat, so you can eat all you please and fill up the family.
The cost includes tax and tip, your meal and beverages (soda, iced tea, and lemonade – plus a limited line up of adult beverages for those over 21). It’s $33 for kids and $59 for adults – or 2 table service credits on the Disney Dining Plan. But is it worth it?
First, let’s see how it stacks up to some similar experiences. Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue at Fort Wilderness costs $59-68 for adults depending on the seats you choose. It’s an actual dinner show, as opposed the Mickey’s Backyard BBQ which is dinner with a little entertainment. It’s all you can eat, served family style at your table so you don’t have to get up – and it offers a lot of the same type of food (with a little less variety, but the best salad in the world). There are no characters.
Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary Resort is only $47 for dinner. You meet characters, and it’s a buffet with kid’s favorites, comfort food, and a few fancier items. It’s much easier to get to than Fort Wilderness too. There’s no show. But the chairs are more comfy!
But, there’s something about Mickey’s Backyard BBQ that’ll really have the family saying yee-haw! You’ll catch characters in costumes you don’t usually see, and if BBQ fare is your family’s favorite, you’ll probably really enjoy this event.
If you decide to book it, do consider that Mickey’s Backyard BBQ on happens on select evenings. Try to pick a night when you don’t plan on going to a park afterwards – you may be too full or tired to go anywhere after all the food and dancing.
Instead, consider making a night of it at Fort Wilderness – stay for Chip and Dale’s campfire sing-a-long and Movies Under the Stars for a really unique night enjoying the great outdoors at WDW.
Dad's Bottom Line
Shelley, to answer your question… is it worth it? Dad would be more inclined to pick Hoop Dee Doo or Chef Mickey’s for a better value at the price point.