A One Horse Open Holiday Sleigh Ride at Walt Disney World
The Christmas classic says it best: “oh what fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh.” And let me tell you, ‘fun’ doesn’t even begin to cover it! This holiday season, you can take your very own horse-drawn carriage ride at the Walt Disney World Resort to aid in getting you and your loved ones in the true jingle bell spirit. The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness is where these one of a kind sleds await you, so what are you waiting for? Come on, we’re going on a sleigh ride!
On a brisk December evening in Florida, my family and I decided to treat ourselves to a little something different this holiday season at WDW. We love to celebrate the season every year with the more traditional offerings Disney is known for- like giant Christmas trees at the park entrances, delicious gingerbread treats, and festivities that can’t be matched taking place in and out of the parks. To me, the holidays mean spending time with loved ones and respecting tradition, while also making new traditions and memories to last the whole year.
I couldn’t think of a better way to spend time with my family than snuggled up together under a blanket while a horse-drawn sleigh toured us around parts of the Disney property I’ve never before explored. I made a reservation for Holiday Sleigh Ride- the horse drawn excursion offered exclusively during December at The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness. In order to guarantee your party a carriage ride, reservations must be made in advance, so make sure you don’t skip this important step…. otherwise you’ll be surrounded by disappointed faces when you can’t take a ride.
Come On, We’re Going on a Sleigh Ride!
When the time for your reservation has come and you’ve made your way to The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness for the start of your ride, tell your party to meet at Crockett’s Tavern, that’s where each sleigh ride will depart from…promptly at your given time! Make sure to be on time because the horses like to keep a tight schedule.
Time to board your waiting carriage! When I took the ride, our driver welcomed us to the excursion and introduced us to our horse. The carriages are adorned with boughs of holly and festive decorations so there will never be a doubt in your mind that this is, in fact, the holiday season at WDW!
The horse that would be pulling us on our journey was big, brown, and the sweetest horse I’ve ever met! He let us approach him and stroke his snout before we climbed aboard as I whispered an apology in his ear that he would have to haul our weight behind him. It was a chilly night when I took my carriage ride, and one of my favorite parts of the excursion was setting down with my family in the sleigh and being covered with a nice warm blanket.
The Lay of the Wilderness
Finally, we pulled out of the loading/unloading area and were off on a one of a kind journey! If you’ve never been to The Campsites at Fort Wilderness, let me paint the picture of the layout for you. Many mobile homeowners choose to spend their time at WDW not in a resort hotel, but in the comfort of their own home. Disney rents spaces to park and set up your mobile home right in the heart of The Campsites at Fort Wilderness property. It’s easy to feel like you’re at home in the wilderness while at the mobile campsites, as the roads stretch for what feels like miles and dense foliage covers the roadways that snake between the rows of mobile homes, but in reality, you can catch a boat that will whisk you away to the Magic Kingdom just steps away from the entrance to the area! This section of the resort has a homey feel that is unmatched elsewhere on property. Perhaps it’s because the mobile homeowners have a knack for adding their own personal flares to their RV’s (more on that in a minute) or because there are real streets that have names, but there is a definite familiar feel to this part of the resort worth exploring!
The roads that connect the mobile homes’ campsites serve as a sort of maze for your horse to follow on your journey. I had never before seen this part of the Disney property- let alone at the holidays- and I had no idea what Christmas surprises awaited! I anticipated a short ride through the property in my beautifully decked out carriage, which is exactly what my family and I got. And then some.
Hats off to All the Decorators
It must be written that in order to park your mobile home at Fort Wilderness during the holidays, you have to be a creative master decorator. Why? The guests who set up their mobile homes here are brimming with the spirit of the season, and you’ll have the chance to see it all on your ride! Decorations adorned each mobile home and the makeshift ‘front yards’ that they’re parked on. Merry and bright lights of red and green shone everywhere I turned, lighting our route perfectly. Huge inflatable versions of some of my favorite characters lined the streets, indigenous pines and evergreens were decorated outside, and we all equally loved displays with religious nods and whimsical holiday cheer!
The 25 minute ride ended just where it began- outside of Crockett’s Tavern. When I disembarked my carriage, I thanked our horse and was all set to mosey on over to Crockett’s for a warm drink, when our driver stopped me. My family and I were gifted with a limited edition holiday sleigh ride pin- a special thanks for taking a ride! Like I said this was a limited edition pin, meaning there are only a certain number manufactured, so this is where I must insert the disclaimer: sleigh ride= guaranteed. Pin= lucky bonus! If you snag one of these pins before they’re gone, let me know in the comments, I heard they’re hard to get a hand on!
The holiday sleigh ride at Fort Wilderness is a fantastic way to spend time with my family around the holidays. It would also make for a fantastic date night, especially if you top it off with a viewing of Holiday Wishes from the complimentary boat to the Magic Kingdom! Exploring a new part of the Disney property is always great. It’s even better when you’re doing it in an open sleigh. And better still when the holiday decorations are shining bright along the route! I would highly recommend the sleigh ride – it’s truly fun for guests of any age!
Special thanks to Maria Salerno for writing this article: Hiya pal! I am a NYC-based writer/musician thrilled to be bringing you all things Disney! I’m a WDW Annual Passholder, so you can find me in the parks regularly throughout the year. In addition to being a Disney Parks loving girl, I’m also a Disney toy and merchandise collector, a runDisney enthusiast, and Disney music and movie aficionado. You can follow me on Instagram: NYCtoAP and find me on YouTube: NYCtoAP. Thanks for reading, hope to see ya real soon!