Today my hubby surprised me with a Horse Drawn Carriage Ride at Disney's Port Orleans Resort. For those of you interested, the cost is currently $45 for about 30 FABULOUS minutes!
I do highly recommend this experience - which can be done at Port Orleans Riverside or at Fort Wilderness. Fort Wilderness also provides Hay Rides through the campground and even sleigh rides during the holiday season. YES, you can actually book a SLEIGH & see some amazing holiday decorations through the campgrounds!
Now we get to meet our wonderful Carriage Driver: Star is from Winter Haven & I enjoyed speaking with her about growing up in Florida through the years. She's worked at Disney for 7 years & answered all my questions with a wealth of knowledge. She introduced us to Dan, our Brown Percheron horse. Dan is 13 years old, weighing in at 1800 pounds & height of 5 foot 7. The other horse working tonight is Ivan, a Black Percheron.
Above, you see our driver, Star & horse, Dan.
Dan is a Brown Purcheron, which is actually a special breed which was created from the actual Black & Grey Purcherons. They are a bit smaller & much more rare.
In case you're wondering, Disney uses Purcheron a lot pulling the trolleys & carriages because they are massive in size & strength, yet their temperament is amazingly calm.
Disney currently houses approximately 90 horses at Tri Circle D Ranch in Fort Wilderness. The horse breeds consist of Black, Grey & Brown Purcheron, approximately 40 Draft Horses, 4 Clydesdales, & 8 Belgium. They also have 20 ponies that they use for pony rides at Fort Wilderness. The white ones pull Cinderella's Coach for weddings & in the Christmas parade.
Disney horses work 3-4 days a week/4 hour days and live at Tri Circle D Ranch in Fort Wilderness. They are driven to work every day from Fort Wilderness stables.
When a horse retires from Disney, as Luke just did at the ripe ole age of 17, Disney goes to the person at the bottom of the Wait List because that would have been the first name in waiting for the particular horse or horse breed that you may be willing to adopt. They do research anyone that is next up to adopt a horse to make sure that it goes to a forever good home. Currently the oldest working horse at Walt Disney World is Doug - who is 15 years.
Port Orleans has two themed areas: Riverside & French Quarter. It has a wonderful Louisiana feel of New Orleans, Mardi Gras, French Quarter, Mississippi, and even recreated some beautiful plantations.
The carriage ride takes you beside Sassagoula River - did you know that Sassagoula is the Indian word for Mississippi? Our Guide was so full of fun facts about Port Orleans! I loved every moment speaking & learning from Star!
Another interesting fact if you're planning on staying at Port Orleans. They do a Nightly Movie in BOTH the French Quarter & Riverside - check out what's happening at both sides because the movie is not the same. Also, there is a Nightly Campfire where Cast Members give you a stick & a marshmallow to roast. Fun times all around this place! Also, be sure to select the right room type for you, as they have three kinds: PRINCESS rooms, PIRATE rooms or REGULAR rooms.
I must leave you with the mention that if you plan to go to Port Orleans, try to leave a night for Yehaa Bob. He performs most Wednesday through Sunday nights in the River Roost Lounge off the Riverside Lobby area & it is truly a show that will have even the grumpiest or most tired among us laughing, singing & dancing the night away, no matter your age!
Also, if you've got a few moments on the French Quarter side, you may want to stop in Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory Food Court for a French Beignet...trust me, you'll thank me.
If you've stayed in Port Orleans, I'd love to hear what you think of the type of room you stayed in or experiences with Carriage Rides, Yehaa Bob or anything at a wonderful Disney experience OUT of the parks.