Florida Guide > Disney General
Disney Wilderness Preserve
If you think you’ve been everywhere and done everything in central Florida, then think again! Most Florida visitors have never even heard of Disney Wilderness Preserve, let alone been there. But don’t be disappointed as a theme park this isn’t!
It's called the Disney Wilderness Preserve as Disney originally donated funding to set it up but it's run by the Nature Conservancy.
Disney Wilderness Preserve is an undiscovered gem for nature lovers of all ages and interests. It’s home to one of the last remaining undeveloped lakes in central Florida as well as hundreds of species of wildlife and covers 12,000 acres.
There’s a 3 mile hiking trail for the energetic and off-road buggy tours are available for the less energetic who want to learn about the preserve’s resident plants and animals and the Nature Conservancy’s efforts to restore and protect them. The Preserve is where people from all walks of life can come together to learn about Florida’s natural environment – the REAL Florida.
The buggy tours have very knowledgeable volunteer guides who can not only tell you all about the Preserve but also answer any questions you may have. On the buggy tour we were on, the guides gave out footprint information sheets and got all the kids off the buggy to see what they could find – they had a great time trying to spot which species of wildlife had passed that way and left their footprints.
Buggy tours are held on Sundays at 1:30 pm October through May and are on a first come, first served basis so we’d recommend that you arrive at least an hour before and perhaps take a picnic lunch with you to enjoy while you wait.
Disney Wilderness Preserve is open daily 9 am. to 5 pm, October through May. From June through September the Preserve is open Monday – Friday 9 am – 5 pm.
HOW TO GET THERE
Take the Poinciana Boulevard turning off Highway 192 and continue on this road through the traffic light junction with the 17/92, Poinciana High School and Crescent Lakes to the end of Poinciana Boulevard.
Turn right at the traffic light junction with Pleasant Hill Road (signposted Poinciana) and move over to the left lane when you can. After you’ve passed over the bridge (not a raised one but you’ll notice different tyre noise) you’ll come to a sharp right bend in the road – turn left here into Old Pleasant Hill Road. To make this turn, you’ll need to enter a left-hand turning lane. Watch for these landmarks: a sign for Old Pleasant Hill Rd., a green sign reading "The Nature Conservancy," and a large Poinciana sign on stone work — all are on the right-hand side of the road opposite of the turn.
After turning left, go a 1/2 mile to Scrub Jay Trail. Turn left and follow Scrub Jay Trail to The Nature Conservancy’s Conservation Learning Center.
If you miss the left turn onto Old Pleasant Hill Rd., turn left onto Dover Plum Ave., right on Pleasant Hill Rd., and left onto Scrub Jay Trail.
WHAT TO TAKE WITH YOU
If you decide to visit the Preserve, even if you’re not having a picnic there, take drinking water, hats, sun protection, bug repellent and wear appropriate footwear (trainers are fine). Soft drinks and water vending machines are available.
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