Our family has had the pleasure of participating in Mickey's Backyard BBQ twice so far. We love it and more importantly, our son loves it! The show includes rope tricks, country music from a live country-western band and line dancing.
Like Disney's other two dinner shows, the Spirit of Aloha Luau and the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue, the BBQ can be purchased with credits from Disney's Dining Plan or you can pay out of pocket when you make your reservations...up to 180 days in advance (highly recommended). If you're not using dining credits, the cost for the dinner show is $59.99 for adults (ages 10 and up) and $36 for children (ages 3-9). Children under 3 are welcome to share with someone else in the party. The BBQ is set up buffet style with long picnic tables around the room.
The most important thing I can tell you about the BBQ is that unlike the other dinner shows, the BBQ seating is NOT pre-arranged...it's first come, first serve meaning that if you want a good seat, you HAVE to get there early...like REALLY early. The show starts at 6:30 but I would recommend getting to the pavilion no later than 5:30...5 would be better. Also keep in mind that the show is at Disney's Fort Wilderness resort and NOT at Wilderness Lodge (a common mix up). Once you arrive at Fort Wilderness, either by your own vehicle or by Disney bus, you'll have to use the resort's internal bus system to get to the pavilion. It WILL take longer than you expect to get there so be sure to leave early. Also, since the show is in a pavilion, there is a chance that it will be canceled due to weather. It's covered so there's some protection but just be aware of the possibility.
Don't worry about what to do to keep the kiddos busy when you arrive early...Disney has horseshoes, sidewalk chalk, hoola hoops and even some of the characters come out for meet and greets before they open up the pavilion. If it's warm/hot out they'll also serve lemonade to keep everyone well hydrated.
The biggest reason to arrive early is to get a good seat for the show but don't worry too much if you don't get a table right at the front because the best part about the BBQ is that the characters will dance with your children and not just in front of the main center stage. There are painted squares around the pavilion. Each of the squares is where the characters will all rotate and dance with kids in addition to the center area. The characters that come are Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Chip and Dale. They will NOT go table to table so be prepared to go to them.
Warning: there will be children (and their parents) who are pushing and want to get autograph books signed-which btw, is not encouraged but they usually clear out early. There are three different "dance sets" so don't panic when the characters leave to take a break after the first set-they will come back. It's a good time to get some food and drinks. Speaking of which, the BBQ offers a couple different salads, cole slaw, beans, mac n cheese, corn on the cob, cornbread, bbq chicken, ribs, hot dogs and hamburgers. Dessert is terribly good...freezers FULL of ice cream bars. It's one of my husband favorite things. In addition to the lemonade, iced tea, beer and wine are available and included in the cost of the show. When you go to get an alcoholic drink, the table is on the far end of the pavilion, away from the other drinks and you are permitted to take two at a time but may return for more but please drink responsibly. Also, if you're on the young-ish side, you should know that the BBQ is one of only two places at Disney where I've been carded which at this point in life is a compliment but it can be a pain if you forget your ID.
One of my concerns the first year we took the boy was that he was going to be too intimidated to dance with the characters because he had only just turned two and hadn't had a whole lot of experience with things like that. He was a bit nervous but as long as we were with him, he LOVED it. Our friends went with us that year and they had two girls 8 and 6 and a 4 yr old boy who all really enjoyed it.
This year we returned-the boy was 3yrs old. In addition to our son, our daughter (2 months) and two of their cousins (7 yr old girl and 6 month old boy) joined us. Our son (loud, typical boy) and the 7 yr old (who is a somewhat shy little girl) had a blast. As for the babies, our daughter slept through most of it because we had a table closer to the back and the 6 month old surprisingly loved it and refused to miss any of it by sleeping. We were able to nurse both babies at the show without a problem (although we both used nursing covers).
The show technically ends at 8pm but you're free to leave whenever you are done. It's a very laid back dinner show with some really fun entertainment. I recommend it especially if you have kids in the 3-9 range.