At the end of our hike from Wilderness Lodge to Ft. Wilderness we came across a few barns and saw a couple of horses getting a bath. We always knew in the back of our minds that Ft. Wilderness had horses and horseback riding, but we never realized how everything was actually set up and how extensive the grounds are. Since this was our non-parks “Beyond Neverland” vacation, it was something we had time to explore at a leisurely pace.
We thought it would be neat to go inside, but didn’t think that non-cast members were allowed. Upon closer observation, we saw guests wandering in the largest barn, so we decided to check it out. 90 or so horses live at the Tri-Circle-D Ranch, and you can see a bunch of them at the public barn and on nearby grounds. We were able to wander up and down the aisle reading the names of each horse and see the stables they lived in. There are a variety of draft horses, such as Percheron, Clydesdales, and Belgian in the stable, and they were all so beautiful and friendly. These horses work in the parades, pull the Main Street Trolley, give trail rides, hay rides, and carriage rides at Ft. Wilderness and Port Orleans Riverside Resort.
There is also a display when you first enter, almost like a mini-museum, with lots of pictures of Walt with horses and some history as well as an original calliope that Walt purchased in the ’50s that plays “When You Wish Upon a Star” when you press the button next to it.
The grounds of Tri-Circle-D Ranch were very peaceful – the perfect environment for the Disney horses! Some of the smaller horses are found outside at the Trail Ride Barn.
It was an excellent find during our Ft. Wilderness exploration, and we will be happy to visit again and again. In fact, we returned to the horse barn the very next day at the end of a Carriage Ride. More on that later….