What do you do when your daughter is not so into the princesses, but would love to meet their horses? Take her to meet the horses of course!
Your first stop should be the Tri-Circle-D Ranch, home to Cinderella’s Ponies and the majestic horses seen in the Magic Kingdom Park! The Tri-Circle–D Ranch is located at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.
Stable tours are self-guided and free. You’ll be amazed at the variety of breeds that live at the Ranch, including Appaloosas, Arabians, Belgians, Clydesdales, paint horses, Percherons, quarter horses, and Shetland ponies. While you are there, look for the Dragon Calliope—the horse-drawn musical instrument that Walt Disney purchased for the Mickey Mouse Club Circus Parade at DisneylandPark in the 1950s.
If there is room in your vacation budget, consider taking a trail ride. At the current price of $46 per person, this can be pricy, but well worth it! Kids 9 years of age and up can imagine visiting their royal kingdom during a 45-minute guided horseback ride that leaves the Tri-Circle-D Ranch and heads through the scenic natural woodlands of Central Florida. This ride is perfect for inexperienced riders who dream of horses! For safety reasons, cameras are not allowed during the trail ride so take lots of pictures at the stables! It’s best to make advanced reservations for this activity by calling 407-WDW-PLAY (939-7529). Children too young for the trail ride may enjoy the Pony Rides available at the Ranch. No reservations are required. Pony rides are available from 10 AM – 4:30PM and cost $5 + tax. Children must be over age 2 and less than 80 pounds to ride.
Are your horse lovers in love with Spirit, the wild stallion who ruled the plains during the days of cowboys and Indians? Head out for an old-fashion, horse-drawn wagon ride through Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. Available on a first-come, first-served basis, wagon rides depart daily at 7:00 PM and 9:30 PM (weather permitting) from the front of Pioneer Hall. These 45-minute wagon rides cost $8 for Guests ages 10 and up and $5 for Guests 3 to 9 years of age. While you are there, take in the Chip-n-Dale Campfire Sing-A-Long followed by a free outdoor movie. If you are visiting during Halloween and Christmas, look for the themed carriage rides.
Is The Princess and the Frog your favorite Disney movie? Head over to the Port Orleans Riverside Resort for a taste of New Orleans. This resort offers Horse-drawn carriage rides nightly from 6PM – 9:30PM in front of Boatwright’s Dining Hall. Up to four adults or two adults and three children will fit in the carriage. You may bring your own beverage along for the ride. Carriage rides last approximately 30 minutes and cost $45. They can be arranged by calling the recreation number for Disney at (407) 939-7529. Don’t forget to look for Evangeline and Ray Ray in the night skies!
Next, head over to the MagicKingdom. There you can see the giant Percherons pulling beautiful trolleys on Main Street USA. Riding the trolley is as simple as hopping on! Mornings are the best time to ride the trolley.
Let the magic continue with a ride on Prince Charming’s Regal Carrousel. When Disney acquired it, the company artists refurbished the 90 horses so that no two are exactly alike. There are eighteen hand- painted scenes that tell the story of Cinderella on the wooden canopy that covers this attraction. Today, the Carrousel is the oldest attraction in Fantasyland.
The most treasured horses at Disney are those that pull Cinderella’s Coach. This coach is led by six white Dapper Dan ponies and accompanied by three coachmen. The coach is available for Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings and occasionally appears in parades. Ask the concierge at your resort if they can discover when the Coach will be picking up a bride at the Grand Floridian. If it works into your schedule, take a break from the parks and watch someone’s dream come true as the bride heads to her royal ball!
A trip to Disney would not be complete without souvenirs! Horse lovers can embark on a treasure hunt through the shops to find plush versions of Bulls Eye from Toy Story, Maximus from Tangled, Angus from Brave, or Cinderella’s coach horse. Be certain to browse the pins at the pin stops. You just never know when you’ll find a horse pin!
If your Orlando vacation does not include a stay at the Disney resorts, or if you are willing to leave the resort for some fun, here are two additional great options for enjoying horses: Arabian Nights and Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament. Both of these venues are dinner shows staged in an arena, where you, the guests, enjoy a meal while the story plays out before you.
Arabian Nights current featured production, The American Princess, is a lighthearted tale of adventure and romance. On her 21st birthday, an all-American girl and champion rider discovers that she is actually the Princess Scheherazade. Along with her genie Abracadabra, Princess Scheherazade takes the audience on a magical journey around the world to find her prince – who must love horses as much as she does. This dinner show features ten (10) different breeds of horses! For more information, visit http://www.arabian-nights.com
Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament features a Kings and Queens, medieval-style games, sword-fighting, and jousting housed in a replica 11th-century castle. The stars of the show are the Quarter Horses, Andalusians, Friesians, Menorcans, and the Pure Spanish Horses that carry the Royal Court and their Knights as the story unfolds. In addition to the dinner and jousting tournaments, you will enjoy spectacular dressage performances by the horses and a live flight of the Royal Falcon. For more information, visit http://www.medievaltimes.com
Over the years, the Disney movies have featured lots of horses. Search for them in murals, displays, on merchandise, and elsewhere in the Parks.
May all your dreams of horses come true!