How to Celebrate the Kentucky Derby While at Disney

Saratoga Springs

The Kentucky Derby, often referred to as the “Run for the Roses,” is a prestigious horse racing event that captivates audiences worldwide. This is a special year for the Kentucky Derby as they celebrate 150 years of history. Imagine combining the thrill of this race and all races, with the magic of Disney – that’s the Derby Day delight you can experience at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort. We’ll explore how to infuse the spirit of the Kentucky Derby into your Disney World adventure for a day of elegance, excitement, and, of course, a touch of Southern charm.

Dress to Impress

The first thing you want to do is secure your outfit. The Kentucky Derby is synonymous with sophisticated fashion, a tradition you can uphold even at Disney World. Don your best Derby-inspired attire – think pastel dresses, wide-brimmed hats, and dapper suits. Elegance is key, and the picturesque setting of Disney World provides the perfect backdrop for your stylish Derby Day ensemble. You may also want to opt for a fascinator to keep any headdresses to a minimal size.

To combine the derby style with Disney magic you can find dresses, rompers, and suits in corresponding character colors. For classic Mickey and friends you can find a red dress or polka dot dress, then add a black polka dot fascinator or a wide-brimmed white hat. There are even shops that will create custom Mickey ear hats.

Dapper Day
Polka Dots are the way to go if you want to represent Minnie Mouse!

Dapper Dining Experience

Commence your Derby Day celebration with a delightful dining experience at one of Saratoga Springs’ restaurants. Alternatively, take a boat or stroll to Disney Springs for a Derby Day brunch at Wine Bar George or City Works Eatery & Pourhouse. Pair your meal with a classic mint julep, the iconic drink of the Kentucky Derby, if available.

Wine Bar George at Disney Springs
Wine Bar George at Disney Springs.

Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides

Embrace the equestrian theme with a horse-drawn carriage ride, a short boat ride away at Port Orleans Resort. This charming experience radiates the serenity and charm reminiscent of the Derby’s Southern heritage. Relax and immerse yourself in the beauty of Disney World, with reservations available through the MyDisneyExperience app.

Wedding carriage at Walt Disney World
Horses are also used during weddings at Walt Disney World.

Photo Opportunities

Capture your Derby Day memories with photo opportunities at Saratoga Springs, where locations like the winner’s circle provide the perfect backdrop. Pose with a statue of a horse and jockey adorned with a victory blanket, exuding Southern and equestrian vibes.

Winners Circle at Saratoga Springs Resort
Take a picture in the Winners Circle at Saratoga Springs Resort

Live Entertainment

Check the schedule for live entertainment options within the resort or Disney Springs. Whether it’s a jazz band, a barbershop quartet, or a live performance with a touch of Southern flair, Disney offers a variety of entertainment to complement your Derby Day celebration.

Disney Springs
Head to Disney Springs for some live entertainment! Photo: Emily Murray.

Watch the Races

While there may not be live horse racing at Disney World, you can still get in on the Derby action. Many Disney resorts feature lounges or sports bars where you can catch the Kentucky Derby broadcast. Gather with fellow Disney enthusiasts, place your bets (figuratively, of course), and cheer on your favorite horses.

Head to Disney Springs for a more laid-back Derby Day experience. Explore the shopping and dining options. Consider catching the Kentucky Derby coverage at one of the sports bars or lounges in the area. This vibrant district provides a perfect mix of entertainment and relaxation.

Horses at Tri-Circle-D Ranch
Horse at Tri-Circle D Ranch.

Celebrating the Kentucky Derby at Walt Disney World combines the elegance of Southern tradition with the enchantment of Disney magic. With the right attire, dining experiences, themed treats, and entertainment, your Derby Day at Disney World is bound to be a delightful and memorable experience. So, don your best Derby hat, savor a mint julep, and let the magic of Disney World elevate your Kentucky Derby celebration to new heights!

Written by

Marissa Coffta

Marissa’s lifelong enchantment with Disney magic began in her childhood and has continued to flourish. She is a mom to 3, who frequently embarks on solo or family adventures to Disney World. Currently living out of state, she takes many modes of transportation to experience the wonder of Disney firsthand. Her fervent passion for writing fuels her with the hopes of bringing the world of Disney to life, making the magic a part of her world.

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