Fort Wilderness Wagon Ride, a hidden gem at Walt Disney World

| July 27, 2008

I got to do something I have never done before at Walt Disney World in Florida- and that’s not easy for me to say.  I experienced the Wagon Ride at the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground in Walt Disney World…and I loved it!!!!

The wagon rides all start and end at Pioneer Hall.  I would allow plenty of time to make your reservations at the campground. They have several different bus routes but they will drop you by Pioneer Hall.

The wagon ride is first come first served so we got there early.  Because of all the signs for everything else that takes place at Pioneer Hall it was hard to tell where to wait for the wagon ride. The wagon pulls up near the sign announcing the hours and rates. Hint- the sign is next to the Disney Vacation Club kiosk on the right across from Pioneer Hall.

The wagon arrived about 10 minutes before 7 PM.  The cost is $8.00 per adult, $5.00 per child. They take cash and your WDW Keys to the World card, no credit cards. You don’t need to be a guest staying at the campground to take the wagon rides. You don’t even have to be staying on Walt Disney World property.

We had a great Cast Member (CM)  named Joe driving the wagon.  Our two horses were Bill and Tom.  Tom (the black horse) was a newbie to the wagon ride team. He had recently been purchased by Disney and was teamed up with veteran horse Bill.  Tom’s usual partner in the barn was Jerry who also is being trained for the wagon rides.

When Disney purchases horses they come to them trained to pull a wagon. Disney goes further with the training. Did you know that most wagon trained horses will only pul on one side or the other? Disney trains them on a number of different types of wagons and they learn to pull on either side.

The 7:00 PM wagon ride is 45 minutes through the campground.  The 9:30 fireworks wagon ride is 45 minutes also but you only get 15 minutes through the campground and 30 minutes watching the Magic Kingdom fireworks. They park the wagon down by the water and you can clearly see the Contemporary and Space Mountain.  Many nights you can also hear the music that accompanies the fireworks. The water parade also comes by this location.

My idea of camping has always been around a hotel swimming pool, not staying in the woods. I was pleasantly surprised by the campground. Maybe it was the thought of spending time with my in-laws that turned me off camping. It was fun looking at the decorations that many campers used around their site. It was amazing to see how many expensive RV’s use the campground.

Did you know that horses have the right of way on the road in Florida? Campers in their carts, and buses were waved around the wagon by the CM driving the wagon. The ride takes you back to a simpler time. It is a great way to relieve stress and cool off on your WDW vacation. The kids on our wagon really seemed to enjoy it. I have heard stories of people telling stories or singing songs while riding but our group was pretty quiet. It gave us time to ask the CM lots of questions.

Halfway through our ride, we stopped where they show the nightly movie in the campground. You can get off there if you like. You would have to walk back or take the internal transportation back to Pioneer Hall if you stay and watch the movie.

As we were ending our wagon ride the cast member pointed out the stables where we could see the other horses that are used to pull the wagons and perform during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. We learned that the horse used for the Headless Horseman ride last year has been retired.

If you have the time when you visit WDW take an evening off from the parks and head over for a wagon ride. It is the perfect way to end a great day at WDW.  We didn’t want the evening to end so we wandered down to the water to watch the sun set.


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Category: Disney World

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  • UrsulasShadow

    I love wagon rides! Thanks, Kathy, for all the really beautiful pics. FW is one of my favorite places on property, and it looks like you had a great evening to visit.

    How early did you get there, and were there lots of people waiting to ride?

  • calypso

    We’re finally doing Hoop Dee Doo Review after I don’t know how many visits and since we’re going to the 9:30 performance, this sounds like the perfect thing to do beforehand. Thanks Kathy!!!

  • Kathy Werling

    We got there about 20 mins early. There was one family of 5 in front of us. The wagon did go out pretty full though.

  • klam_chowder

    Great blog! – especially appreciate the details that help with trip planning (=

  • marydmjj

    Kathy,

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I just found the blogs and am really enjoying reading them.

    Mary

  • disnut21

    Thanks for sharing your experience Kathy… this now leaves me with something new and different to do while in Walt Disney World with the family. Thanks for the idea sounds like a hootin’ time, and great entry!

  • georgemoe

    Nice report Kath thanks. I’m all in as long as Stinky Pete doesn’t join the ride. 8^)

  • Cyrano

    This sounds like lots of fun.

  • sharpasice

    This sounds nice…we have taken the hay rides before..years ago, BUT sure do miss the Haunted Carriage rides..those were soooooo much fun!

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