Along with all of the attractions, parades and nighttime spectaculars, there is no shortage of live entertainment at the Walt Disney World Resort. And we don’t just mean stage shows, although you will find plenty of those, too. No, we’re talking about the many other live acts you can see at The Most Magical Place on Earth, including acrobats, aerialists, and musical performances like vocalists and dueling pianos. But which live entertainment at Walt Disney World is worth your precious vacation time? Keep reading for a breakdown of our favorites.
Best Live Entertainment at Disney World (That Isn’t a Stage Show)
As much as we love going on Disney World’s incredible dark rides, watching a parade roll past, catching a fireworks show or cheering Mickey on during a showing of Fantasmic, it’s also nice to take a break from the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds once in a while and take in a more intimate performance instead. From piano players and percussionists to bands and acrobats, and much more, these live Disney World entertainment offerings are a great way to enjoy the resort’s magical atmosphere without having to fight the crowds that you’ll typically find during headliner performances. In other words, since you won’t have to wait in line to score a spot or stake your claim on a seat an hour ahead of time, you end up saving time without skimping on fun.
Best of all, since many of these live acts are short but sweet, with multiple showtimes throughout the day, they’re easy to slot into your schedule when it’s convenient for you. And since you’re free to come and go as you please, you can simply stop by for a few songs on the way to your next ride or head out early if you need to make it to your upcoming Lightning Lane reservation. Alternatively, you can even bring along some snacks or a full-on meal (Mobile Order for the win) for a makeshift dinner and a show.
But, that’s not all. Along with the many atmosphere performers inside the theme parks, Disney World guests can also take in some live music or other performing acts at places like Disney Springs, the resort hotels and Disney’s BoardWalk, too. This makes for an entertaining addition to dinnertime, a fun mid-shopping intermission or a unique Disney date night idea.
So, whether you want to take a break from all that waiting in line, are hoping for lunch with a side of entertainment or are looking for something fun to do outside the theme parks, don’t miss these top music acts and other live entertainment at Disney World. Please note that showtimes are subject to change. For the most up-to-date performance schedule, be sure to check the My Disney Experience app.
Magic Kingdom Park
If it’s nostalgia you’re after, then nothing beats the live music offerings on Main Street, USA in Magic Kingdom. With a piano player, a marching band and a barbershop quartet, you’re sure to leave with a song in your heart and a pep in your step.
Casey’s Corner Pianist
Casey’s Corner doesn’t just serve up some of the tastiest darn hot dogs at Disney World, each fully loaded with yummy toppings. It’s also home to one of Magic Kingdom’s original entertainment offerings. That’s right, the Casey’s Corner Pianist has been entertaining guests from the corner of Main Street ever since opening day, way back on October 1, 1971. Though the tunes played vary, you can expect to hear everything from the syncopated stylings of ragtime to beloved songs from Disney films. You can even make a special request.
Main Street Philharmonic
Who doesn’t love the pageantry of marching band? The Main Street Philharmonic make their way up Main Street, USA and around Storybook Circus in Fantasyland several days each week, playing everything from big band standards and ragtime tunes to Disney film favorites. This 12-piece band made up of both brass instruments and percussionists even takes requests. So, be sure to put yours in before they march off, typically to the “Mickey Mouse Club March,” naturally. Sometimes, you can also catch them playing the Star-Spangled Banner at the park’s nightly Flag Retreat Ceremony.
The Dapper Dans
Another opening-day mainstay, The Dapper Dans dazzle guests with their four-part harmonies, smooth tap dancing, vaudeville humor and spiffy style. With their pinstripe suits, straw hats and an old-fashioned set list of songs like “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and “Zip-a-Dee Doo Dah,” as well as some Disney classics, you can’t help but be charmed by this barbershop quartet.
Whether you’re in the mood for pulsing beats, global rhythms, British rock or the tight multipart harmonies of an a capella group, there’s a world (showcase) of live musical performances at Epcot. Along with plenty of edu-taining attractions and a ton of tasty food and drink options, Epcot also boasts the most live music at Disney World. In fact, this isn’t even an exhaustive list of the park’s many live entertainment offerings. Luckily, each of the acts takes to the stage several times each day, though you’ll still need to plan your time carefully if you want to check them all out.
Be whisked away to a bustling bazaar during a performance by Atlas Fusion in the Morocco Pavilion. This Moroccan band is a ton of fun and even features a rousing belly dance performance. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to get in on the fun, as the belly dancer will often take to the crowd to teach people some dance moves. Feeling hungry afterward? Stop for a bite to eat and nearby Spice Road Table or Tangierine Café: Flavors of the Medina.
Get ready for a British invasion, Disney style. Located in the gazebo at the United Kingdom Pavilion, Command Performance (AKA The Hooligans) jams out several times each day to the best British rock hits of the 1960s to the 1990s, including songs from The Who, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones and more. To really feel like you’ve traveled across the pond, grab some Fish and Chips (don’t forget the malt vinegar!) from Yorkshire County Fish Shop to enjoy during the show.
One of the quirkier music acts on our list, the JAMMitors is a group of, you guessed it, jamming janitors. Using trashcans as their drum sets, these percussionists have a passion for funky rhythms and cleanliness. Think STOMP, but with comedic custodians instead. During the Epcot Food & Wine Festival, they also go by the Jammin’ Chefs, while during the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival, they’re known as the Jammin’ Gardeners. You can typically find them roaming around World Discovery several times a day, so be sure to give them a listen if you have the chance.
No visit to World Showcase is complete without catching a performance by Mariachi Cobre in the Mexico Pavilion. While many of the groups on our list were created by Disney, this iconic mariachi band is the real deal. Formed in 1971 in Arizona, Mariachi Cobre was there for the opening day of Epcot on October 1, 1982, and has been performing there ever since. Since then, they’ve gone on to play with Latin superstars like Julio Iglesias, and one of their founding members was even put on a U.S. postage stamp. A true piece of both Disney World and mariachi history, this is one music group you won’t want to miss.
Feel the rhythm (literally) of ancient Japanese culture during a thunderous performance by Matsuriza. Part of the Japan Pavilion, this group of traditional Japanese drummers practice the art of Taiko, which feature intricate beats played on massive drums. Used on the battlefield, during religious ceremonies and at festivals, Taiko drumming is a thrilling practice that has been used for centuries. It also appears to be quite a workout. Be prepared to leave inspired.
This next act is one of the only groups on our list that you actually have to pay to see, but trust us, it’s worth it. Oktoberfest Musikanten is the house polka band for Biergarten Restaurant, an Oktoberfest-inspired buffet eatery in the Germany Pavilion. The entire restaurant, which is designed to look like a Bavarian square by moonlight, faces the stage, meaning there really isn’t a bad seat in the house. The group takes to the stage throughout the day to perform oompah tunes with traditional instruments like an accordion, cowbells and even an alphorn (Ricola!). It’s a great time all around, and kids love to go dance in front of the stage. And the food? It’s delicious.
Voices of Liberty
If you’re a fan of a capella music, patriotic songs or all things Americana, then the Voices of Liberty are for you. This incredibly talented singing group performs in the glorious acoustics of the American Adventure Pavilion rotunda, singing such classics as “Amazing Grace,” “O Susanna,” “Be Our Guest” and many more. The harmonies are stunning, and the set list always changes, so don’t be surprised if you want to go back to watch again and again. At least you’ll be in good company—along with hundreds of Epcot guests each day, the ensemble has also performed for five U.S. presidents.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Unfortunately, there isn’t any live music or streetmosphere performers currently at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. But don’t worry—there are more than enough stage shows to keep you entertained during your visit, including Fantasmic, one of Walt Disney World’s can’t-miss nighttime spectaculars.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
Filled with painstaking details inspired by Disney Imagineers’ travels around the globe, there’s no question that Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park is arguably the most immersive park at Disney World (Epcot follows close behind, thanks to World Showcase). However, along with the authentic setting, a huge part of the theme park’s transporting atmosphere comes from its live entertainment. Although there are several worthwhile acts at Animal Kingdom, these are our favorites.
Feel as if you’ve been transported to the streets of India during a performance by Chakranadi in Asia. Located just across from Feathered Friends in Flight and the Anandapur Theater, this mesmerizing solo act is perfect if you’re looking for a little relaxation. Played on a 19-string sitar, a traditional guitar-like instrument, the classical Indian melodies are downright hypnotic. With the Tree of Life rising in the background, it truly is a magical setting.
Harambe Village Acrobats
For more energetic entertainment, make your way to Africa for the Harambe Village Acrobats. Decked out in colorful costumes, this awe-inspiring troupe will dance, drum and somersault their way into your heart. The group puts on a thrilling show, complete with lively music, man-made pyramids and other impressive feats of balance and strength. There is usually also some audience participation when the group teaches the audience how to dance, so be sure to join in the fun. Since the show takes place between Tamu Tamu Refreshments, Tusker House Restaurant, Dawa Bar and Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery, grab a drink or something to snack on before they begin.
Kora Tinga Tinga
If you enjoyed the soothing sounds of Chakranadi, you’ll probably also enjoy a performance by Kora Tinga Tinga, a minstrel who walks the streets of Africa playing the kora, a handmade harp with 21 strings from western Africa. The beautiful melodies that are plucked by the musician’s nimble fingers are a delightful accompaniment to something tasty from Harambe Market, where Kora Tinga Tinga often plays.
Like nearby Epcot, Disney Springs is also overflowing with live entertainment offerings, especially musical performances. The Waterside Stage across from the World of Disney store hosts everything from DJ dance parties to concerts and dance acts by talented school groups from across the country. When the sun goes down, the rest of the entertainment complex also fills with music, with performers serenading guests in Riverboat Square near Paddlefish, at Sunshine Highline near Starbucks on the West Side and outside the AMC Dine-In Theatre near the Orange Garage, as well as at places like Splitsville Luxury Lanes and Stargazers Bar at Planet Hollywood. For our favorite live entertainment, don’t miss these Disney Springs hot spots.
House of Blues
Cooking up Southern comfort food classics, BBQ favorites and hot live musical performances, the House of Blues is a must for music lovers. While big-name concerts are offered regularly in the music hall (tickets required), you can also enjoy live music here on the outdoor stage seven nights a week for free (other than what you decide to eat or drink) at The Front Porch, the restaurant’s lounge. Alternatively, if you’re in a more soulful mood, you can take in a spirited performance during their signature Gospel Brunch.
Another top spot for live entertainment in Disney Springs is Raglan Road Irish Pub. Along with Irish eats like Bangers & Mash and Shepherd’s Pie, this rowdy restaurant also serves up music and dancing imported straight from the Emerald Isle. From energetic step dancers to traditional music ensembles, any meal or round of drinks here is sure to be a good time. Performances are offered both on the Main Stage inside the eatery (from 5:00 PM-10:30 PM on Monday to Friday and from noon-10:30 PM on Saturday and Sunday) and on the Patio Stage outside (from 6:00 PM-11:00 PM nightly). While you’re there, be sure to save some space for the Irish soda bread with Guinness reduction. It’s so delicious you might just want to eat the whole loaf!
If it’s a night of whimsy you’re after, be sure to have a meal or drinks at The Edison. This steampunk-style restaurant has got it all: aerial artists, burlesque dancers, sleight-of-hand magicians, stilt walkers and, of course, their house band, The Pearl Street Players. While the entertainment here changes depending on the night, between the craft cocktails, the generously sized dishes and the stylishly nostalgic setting, you’re bound to have a good time no matter what’s on the stage.
Like Disney Springs, Disney’s BoardWalk is another Walt Disney World entertainment area that comes to life later in the day. Similar to other boardwalks located along America’s coastlines, the Disney BoardWalk boasts all sorts of street performers to entertain you and your family as you stroll, including acts like jugglers, magicians and more. That said, if you’re looking for more grown-up fun, then you’ll definitely want to check out the next spot on our list.
This one is for all of the Disney adults (21 and up only) out there. Located on Disney’s BoardWalk, Jellyrolls is a high-energy dueling piano bar with good (though expensive) drinks, free popcorn and great music. While there is a cover charge to get in, and the place can get crowded early depending on the night, the pianists put on one heckuva good show and it’s always a ton of fun. The musicians do take requests, so be sure to come armed with cash if there’s a song you’d like to hear. There are also some songs where audience participation is expected, so you might want to steer clear and head to Howl at the Moon on International Drive instead if that isn’t your jam.
Disney World Resorts
We don’t know about you, but we’re always looking for a good excuse to do some resort hopping. Fortunately, when it comes to music, the best live entertainment at the Disney World hotels can actually be found all in one place: Disney’s Port Orleans Resort. From family-friendly fun to sultry jazz, there’s something for everyone.
Live Jazz in Scat Cat’s Club at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
Soak up the slinky sounds of live jazz as you sip on something boozy at Scat Cat’s Club at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter. This Big Easy-inspired lounge pays homage to the swingin’ tunes of New Orleans. Keep in mind that the band only plays on Wednesdays through Sundays, starting at 7:30 PM. So, if you’re going there for the music, you’ll need to plan accordingly. As you’re listening, don’t miss out on a chance to try one of the lounge’s signature Mickey-shaped beignets. While sweet varieties are on offer (including some spiked with alcohol), there’s also an Oyster Beignet Po’Boy if you’re craving something savory.
Yehaa Bob Jackson in River Roost Lounge at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
For more family-friendly fun, head next door to Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside to see Yehaa Bob Jackson at River Roost Lounge instead. This wacky one-man show has been entertaining Disney guests for more than 24 years. Not only does Yehaa Bob tickle the ivories on renditions of Disney standards, old-school favorites and kiddie classics, but he sings, dances and brings audience members along for the crazy ride. Performances are held from Wednesday to Saturday in the evenings. Sadly, there aren’t any beignets on offer here. That said, you can always sneak in a meal at Boatwright’s Dining Hall or Riverside Mill Food Court beforehand. (We recommend the Shrimp and Grits!)
Well, folks, that’s a wrap on our roundup of the best live entertainment at Disney World. What’s your favorite music act or other live performance to enjoy? Let us know in the comments! Then, learn how to save on your next vacation with our discount Disney World tickets.