Is that a draft horse? How big will he be when he’s full grown? How many hands high is he?
These are just some of the questions I overheard guests ask during my recent trip to Tri-Circle-D Ranch at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. It quickly became clear that when it comes to horses, I sure have a lot to learn – but Tri-Circle-D is a great place to start.
Tri-Circle-D Ranch is home to 88 horses that pull the Main Street trolley, kick off the daily Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade at Magic Kingdom Park, or appear at special events and weddings on property. They’re also used for daily pony rides, trail rides, hayrides and carriage rides at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, and carriage rides at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside.
The large team occupies two barns: the Trail Ride Barn houses the ranch’s smaller horse breeds, including Arabians, quarter horses and draft crosses that are used in the campground’s daily guided trail rides. The Draft Horse Barn, near Pioneer Hall, houses larger Belgian, Clydesdale and Percheron horses, which can be seen in parades or pulling carriage and hayrides.
The Draft Horse Barn also features two unique nods to Disney’s horse history that can be viewed by guests. The first is the Walt Disney Horses room, which houses a collection of photos that shows Walt playing polo, and guiding a team of horses through Disneyland Park.
A second historic highlight is the nearby Dragon Calliope, a horse-drawn musical instrument that Walt purchased from the Bradley and Kaye Amusement Park to use in the Mickey Mouse Club Circus Parade at Disneyland Park in the 1950s. The calliope also was featured in the 1960 film “Toby Tyler, or Ten Weeks with a Circus” that starred Mousketeer Kevin “Moochie” Corcoran. The calliope is still used on occasion for special events at our parks, and when needed, is pulled by as many as eight horses.
Guests can explore Tri-Circle-D Ranch during business hours seven days a week. For a riding experience, such as a carriage ride, hayride or trail ride, call 407-939-7529. Pony rides are available on a walk-up basis for guests age 2 and older.