Zac Hanson, one third of America’s favorite trio of brothers (OK, at least mine), knows there are certain expectations when people see his band headlining somewhere.
“You have certain songs planned and you have a certain understanding and knowing of what people like and what people expect,” said Zac Hanson, the band’s youngest member and drummer. “But every night you’re trying to think of something new to add in.”
Hanson returns to Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival this weekend for three nights and nine performances. It’s the band’s seventh appearance in as many years at the annual Walt Disney World event.
I’ll give you a minute to scratch your head and cock it to the side like a confused puppy as you remember who exactly Hanson is.
The brothers from Tulsa, Okla., burst onto the music scene almost 20 years ago (!!) with a little ditty that everyone knows even if they’re not cognizant of it.
That’s right, “Mmmbop” is nearly two decades old.
If you needed another reason to feel old, like me, let’s quickly discuss the fact that even as the youngest member, Zac Hanson is 31 years old and has four children. Let’s just add another layer to this: Middle brother Taylor is 33 and has five children, and eldest Isaac is 35 (staring down the barrel of 36) and has three children.
“Growing up; it’s funny,” said Zac Hanson. “Obviously, that’s exactly what’s happened. Think of us as old guys with high voices.”
Before anyone laughs at the idea of Hanson playing 30-minute shows at the American Adventure Pavilion, it should be recognized that the band is considered a festival favorite, drawing crowds who sing back line-by-line a catalog of more than seven albums produced over the years. Hanson is one of the few acts that holds court with adoring fans for three nights.
“We’re going to be doing this as long as we possibly can,” said Zac Hanson.
In a mostly uneventful year, the brothers have not toured. Their EP “Play,” released digitally earlier this month, is their only new material.
“This is really more of a planning year for us,” said Zac Hanson. “It’s us looking at the career and what we want to do to celebrate it and what we want to do next.”
A big 2017 is in store: The band will turn 25 and plans to release a second Christmas album (insert girlish squeal of delight here) currently underway in the studio. With a working title of “A Wintery Mix,” the album will join 1997’s “Snowed In.”
The band’s annual return to Disney also gives the brothers a chance to showcase their Mmmhops beer, a pale ale they brew in Tulsa.
“It’s a different kind of experience,” Zac Hanson said of the Food & Wine Festival. “But it has a charm that is memorable and desirable and that’s why we keep coming back.”
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Who: The band of brothers returns to Epcot for Eat to the Beat concerts.
When: ct. 30, 31 and Nov. 1 with nightly shows at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Where: Epcot, off Interstate 4, southwest of Orlando
Cost: Included in regular theme-park admission of $102 for adults