I'm generally reluctant to post great things about my own town. We get 56 million visitors a year. Even if .000001 percent of these people read my reviews, I'm going to edge myself out of a table at my favorite places. However, TripAdvisor members have been very, very good to me, so I feel the need to pay it forward.
Apparently, people plan their vacations around the River Roost Lounge. Meaning, they forgo firework spectaculars, Cirque du Soleil acrobats and late-night rollercoaster rides, in order to go to see some guy named YeeHaw Bob play piano in the bar of a Disney hotel.
But I get it now.
Let me try to explain: It's got the vibe of a dueling piano/karaoke bar. It's wild and loud and you are screaming at the top of your lungs singing "American Pie"... and then you look over and a 2 year old in Nemo pajamas cutting the rug next to you. It's as much adult fun as you can have with your kids (I get by with the help of the Habanero Lime Margarita, by the way).
Even the sheer volume of the place is so non-Disney-hotel-lobby, with Bob egging you on to "scream as loud as you can". I'm pretty sure it's the only place on property where you are allowed to use an outside voice, inside.
The crowd is the kind of hogdgepodge only Disney can offer: European tourists, honeymooners, families, a few college kids, regulars, and, yes, even a group of nuns on a field trip from Tampa. So, as we high kicked and limbo'd, Sister Nancy was right along with us.
I have the kind of respect for Bob that can only be compared to what I feel when I watch an Olympian. "How does he do it?" It's full-contact piano from a man in a red hat and big shoes. He was a non-stop suspendered man of action. I was fascinated with how few breaths he took in the course of two hours...how well he played piano...how much he sweated...how little water he drank...how much the crowd loved him...how he seemed unaffected by the fact that his piano almost tipped over twice. Dude went through 3 mic windscreens in one-night's show. Can you match that, Justin Timberlake? YeeHaw Bob is just mesmerizing. I still can't figure out whether he was drunk or just playing the part. See that? He's mysterious in a way that I'm still thinking about him and his 3-ring binder labeled "Really hard songs."
You should go to this is you are down for some silliness. If you aren't willing to jump out of your seat on Bob's command and dance to the Spongebob theme song, then just stay home. I was a Disney tour guide years ago, and there is a particular category of non-fun theme-park-goer who crosses his arms, refuses to "take a look off to the left" when directed to, and doesn't laugh at the Disney approved corny jokes. If you are that guy, please don't take up the limited seating at this place.
This is ridiculous bang-for-the-buck when it comes to Disney entertainment. There's no admission fee or drink minimum, and technically, you could probably sit there all night without buying a thing. But on that note, can we all agree to play fair? This place has wait staff and bartenders who are making a living there, so it really does suck to look around and see people unloading coolers filled with sports drinks, yogurts and bags of pretzels. Please, just resign yourself to the fact that this will be money well spent on entertainment and put some drinks and appetizers on the old credit card. I say this for self-serving purposes, as well - the freeloaders are going to ruin it for everyone, once Disney realizes this is every bit as good as the dinner shows and start charging per head. Just be cool, is all I'm saying.
So, there you go. This one's a can't-miss in Orlando. And shhhh...don't tell anyone else.
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