Halloween at the Walt Disney World Resort

Training the Horses of the Circle D Ranch at Disneyland Park: Building Trust

posted on August 22nd, 2014 by Donna Fisk, Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort


In the second of a series of videos designed to go backstage at Circle D Ranch at Disneyland park, you’ll see Lead Equine Trainer, Jennifer Gable, working on groundwork skills. Consistent groundwork is important to build trust between the horse and trainer, and it also allows for new concepts to be introduced to the horse in a safe way. Another important idea behind groundwork is acknowledging the horse’s instincts. As a herd animal, horses naturally look toward the herd leader for guidance and safety. As the horse’s trainer, the goal is to take on the role of the leader, resulting in a horse that’s respectful, responsive and relaxed.

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Meet the Horses of the Disneyland Resort: Finn and Bug

posted on July 29th, 2014 by Donna Fisk, Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort


Greetings from Circle D Ranch at the Disneyland Resort. Let’s meet two more of the lucky horses that live here.

This is Finn.
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Finn is a Brabant draft horse. He’s 11 years old, weighs 1,590 lbs and stands 17.2 hands tall. Finn came to the Disneyland Resort from Oakley, Calif., and took to his new life here, as they say, “like a duck to water.” In the relatively short time Finn has been a part of the Circle D team, he has pulled the Horse Drawn Streetcar on Main Street, U.S.A., pulled the carriage for the Disney Villains at Mickey’s Halloween Party, and was the star of the Happy Lunar New Year Celebration this January for The Year of the Horse. Finn is a very calm horse, and he loves attention.

This is Bug.

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Bug is also a Brabant draft horse. He’s 10 years old, weighs 1,555 lbs and stands 17 hands. Bug also came to Circle D from Oakley, Calif. In fact, Bug and Finn were a show team before they came to the Disneyland Resort. Although they look as if they could be brothers, Bug is shorter and bulkier than Finn. And despite being one of Circle D’s smallest horses, Bug easily outweighs many of the horses that are taller than him, because he is so muscular. You can find Bug at the Big Thunder Ranch petting farm. Look to see if he’s there the next time you’re at Disneyland park!

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Training the Horses of the Circle D Ranch at Disneyland Park

posted on June 17th, 2014 by Donna Fisk, Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort


Our horses at Circle D Ranch have come to the Disneyland Resort from a variety of backgrounds, all with the training to do their previous jobs. However, since the work of a Disneyland horse is so specific, each new horse undergoes a lengthy training process before becoming an official equine cast member. Our human cast members also come from varying backgrounds, which is why Circle D Ranch training emphasizes uniformity and consistency – not only for the horses, but also for the cast members who work with them.

In this video, you’ll see Lead Equine Trainer Jennifer Gable working with one of our Circle D horses in a training exercise called “Round Pen.” Note that the stick she holds in her hand is not a whip, but rather a training tool used to focus the horse’s attention. You’ll also see that by working with the horse’s natural herding instincts, the exercise provides mental stimulation and builds an atmosphere of trust between horse and trainer.

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Meet the Horses of the Disneyland Resort: Ducky and Eddie

posted on June 16th, 2014 by Donna Fisk, Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort


It’s time again to meet two more of our equine residents at Circle D Ranch here at the Disneyland Resort.

This is Ducky.

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Ducky is a Belgian draft horse. He’s 8 years old, weighs 1,965 lbs and stands 18.1 hands tall. Ducky (like Lee, featured last month) came to the Disneyland Resort from an Amish farm in Shipshewana, Ind. Ducky is a very sweet horse, who is extra gentle when meeting anyone new. Trained in multiple disciplines, Ducky is always willing to do anything he’s asked.

This is Eddie.

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Eddie (whose registered name is Prince Edward) is a Clydesdale. He’s 10 years old, weighs 1,590 lbs and stands 17.3 hands tall. Originally from Canada, Eddie came to the Disneyland Resort from Somewhere Farms in San Diego, Calif. During his time in San Diego, Eddie competed in many horse shows, and was a champion in the Halter class. Now working on Main Street, U.S.A., he is one of the easiest four-legged cast members to spot, due to his unique roan color.

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Meet the Horses of the Disneyland Resort: Holly and Lee

posted on May 9th, 2014 by Donna Fisk, Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort


Hello equine enthusiasts! Time again for more backstage tidbits on two of our residents at Circle D Ranch here at Disneyland Resort.

This is Holly.

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Holly is a Belgian draft horse. She is 13 years old, weighs 1,695 lbs and stands 17.3 hands. (Pop Quiz: How tall is that in inches?) Holly came to Disneyland Resort from an Amish farm in Shipshewana, Ind.

Fun fact: Holly is a creature of habit, and unlike most of the other horses at Circle D, prefers to do the same thing every day. Holly is also a successful show horse, competing at the L.A. County Fair and winning multiple ribbons for the Disneyland Resort.

This is Lee.

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Lee is also a Belgian draft horse. He is 9 years old, weighs 2,020 lbs and stands 19.0 hands. Like Holly, Lee came to the Disneyland Resort from an Amish farm in Shipshewana, Ind. Lee is definitely one of the clowns at Circle D. He enjoys any and all attention and uses his lips like an elephant would use his trunk, picking up objects and playing with them for hours on end.

At first glance, Holly and Lee look very similar, but a second look reveals Holly’s coat is a deeper dappled copper than Lee’s, and she is much smaller than Lee. Holly has a bold white blaze down the center of her face and a very thin mane and tail. Lee’s coat is more the color of a new copper penny and he has a skinny white blaze on his face. Lee’s face is long and slender with a crook in his nose.

See if you can spot one of these Belgian beauties the next time you’re at Disneyland park!

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Meet the Horses of the Disneyland Resort: Danny and Lucky

posted on April 8th, 2014 by Donna Fisk, Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort


Hello horse fans! It’s time for another inside look at some of our four-legged cast members at Circle D Ranch at the Disneyland Resort.

This is Danny.

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Danny is a Clydesdale draft horse. He is 9 years old, weighs 1700 lbs and stands 17.3 hands or almost 5’8”. He came to the Disneyland Resort from Somewhere Farms in San Diego, Calif.

Fun fact: Danny is very affectionate with his Circle D pals when they are turned out in the corral. He uses his face to scratch and groom his friends and loves it when they reciprocate!

This is Lucky.

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Lucky is also a Clydesdale draft horse. He is 11 years old, weighs 1640 lbs, and is the same height as Danny at 17.3 hands. And like Danny, he came from Somewhere Farms. Lucky shares Danny’s enthusiasm for playtime in the corral and has been known to cause quite the commotion! Lucky works on Main Street, U.S.A., and at Big Thunder Ranch Petting Farm, where he enjoys an occasional nap when not meeting our Disneyland park guests. Disney Parks Blog readers will also recognize Lucky from his recent gig as the Valentine’s Day carriage horse in the Downtown Disney District.

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Meet the Horses of the Disneyland Resort: Reggie and Brother

posted on March 13th, 2014 by Donna Fisk, Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort


Hey there all you Disneyland horse lovers. This is the first in a series designed to help you get to know our equine cast members just a little bit better. We’re starting with Reggie and Brother, who you may recognize from some of their city parade appearances we’ve featured here on the Disney Parks Blog. In addition to parades, and pulling the Main Street Trolley, Reggie and Brother are also the coach horses for Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings here at the Disneyland Resort.

This is Reggie.

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Reggie is a shire draft horse. He’s 13 years old and weighs 1800 lbs. He stands 17.1 hands, or 5’7”, at the spot just at the end of his neck.

Fun fact: Reggie and his coach partner, Brother, were in the “Give a Day, Get a Day” television commercial along with Miss Piggy, Taye Diggs and a few of their Muppet friends. He also competes in horse shows for the Disneyland Resort and really seems to enjoy any kind of special attention that comes along with it!

This is Brother.

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He’s also a shire draft horse. Brother and Reggie have the same dad and came to the Disneyland Resort together from Blackpark Farms in Canada. Brother and Reggie are the same age, and have the same height and weight, which is why it’s often hard to tell them apart. (Hint: Brother is the one with the pink nose).

Fun fact: Brother is not a “morning horse” and prefers to spend the morning sleeping in the sun and working the later shifts.

I’ll be back soon to introduce you to more of our equine cast members, so keep an eye here on the Disney Parks Blog.

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Romantic Carriage Rides for Valentine’s Day in the Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort

posted on February 14th, 2014 by Donna Fisk, Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort


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Still searching for a Valentine’s Day treat for your loved one? Would a romantic ride in a horse drawn carriage fit the bill? This weekend at the Disneyland Resort, you can snuggle with your loved one as hooves clip clop on the path through the Downtown Disney District and the gardens of the Disneyland Hotel. The ride fee of $25 includes a souvenir 5” x 7” photo. Rides are offered tonight and Saturday night from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

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Your equine chauffeur for a Valentine carriage ride is Circle D’s own Lucky. Lucky is a Clydesdale who can also be seen pulling the Horse-Drawn Street Car on Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland park. The stately white carriage behind him is a known as a “vis à vis”, which is French for face to face, but we have a feeling true Valentines will sit side by side!

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Happy Lunar New Year Celebration Marks the Year of the Horse at Disney California Adventure Park this Weekend

posted on January 31st, 2014 by Donna Fisk, Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort


Today marks the start of the Happy Lunar New Year Celebration, now through Sunday, February 2, at Disney California Adventure park. Since 2014 is the Year of the Horse, it’s only fitting that one of Circle D Ranch’s own steeds, Finn, is featured in the procession of performers through Paradise Gardens.

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For this occasion, Finn is wearing a special saddle blanket adorned with the Chinese symbol of good fortune. Finn is relatively new to the Disneyland Resort, but he’s very friendly and loves to have his picture taken; guests can even have their photo taken with Finn throughout the celebration.

In addition, guests who visit the Happy Lunar New Year Celebration can see a variety of performers as well as some favorite Disney characters. And for snacking, there’s a special Year of the Horse sourdough bread!

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Grumpy Cat Meets Grumpy the Dwarf at Disneyland Park

posted on November 14th, 2013 by Donna Fisk, Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort


As an animal lover and cat owner, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to produce a video with Grumpy Cat showing her Disney Side. You may have heard the warning about working with animals, but Grumpy Cat (despite her name) was delightful. With the help of ace cameraman, Mike Uribe, and our other top-notch crew members, we were able to tell the story of Grumpy Cat’s visit to Disneyland park.
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When Grumpy Cat (whose real name is Tardar Sauce) met Grumpy for the first time, the visuals were so magical, we had a hunch that the video might be popular. But we never imagined how much. To date, “Grumpy Cat Finds Her Disney Side” has more than 1.2 million views, and it rose to the top 10 all-time videos on the DisneyParks YouTube channel in less than a week.

I guess you can’t underestimate the power of a frowning feline to make people smile.

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