Miniature golf is a great activity for the entire family and a nice change from the hectic touring of the theme parks. Here are our favorite miniature golf courses in Orlando.
Years ago, the Disney intelligence patrol noticed that as many as 113 guests a day were sneaking out of Disney World to play Goofy Golf. The thought of those truant guests making millionaires of minigolf entrepreneurs on I-Drive was enough to give a fat mouse ulcers. The response to this assault on Disney’s market share was Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf, an 11-acre complex with two 18-hole dink-and-putt golf courses. One is an “adventure” course, themed after Disney’s animated film Fantasia. The other, geared more toward older children and adults, is an innovative approach-and-putt course with sand traps and water hazards.
Fantasia Gardens is beautifully landscaped and creatively executed. It features fountains, animated statues, topiaries, flower beds, and a multitude of other imponderables that you’re unlikely to find at most minigolf courses.
Fantasia Gardens is located on Epcot Resorts Boulevard, across the street from the Swan Resort. To reach the course via Disney transportation, take a bus or boat to the Swan. For more information, call 407-wdw-play (939-7529).
Winter Summerland is the other minigolf facility, next to Blizzard Beach water park. Winter Summerland offers two 18-hole courses: One has a “blizzard in Florida” theme, while the other sports a tropical-holiday theme. The Winter Summerland courses are much easier than the Fantasia Gardens courses, which makes them a better choice for families with preteen children. Operating hours and costs are the same as for Fantasia Gardens.
The cost to putt at either park, including tax, is $14 for adults and $12 for children ages 3–9. They are open daily from 10 a.m. until 11 p.m.
Our very favorite miniature golf destination in Orlando is Hollywood Drive-In Golf, in Universal CityWalk next to Universal Orlando’s parking garage (just off the walkway to the parks. One hole has the Creature from the Black Lagoon spitting water over the walkway that you have to pass through; another hole has a huge alien ship that you walk through and for which you need to press a button so that a door opens, Star Trek–style, to let you out.
It’s a nonstop barrage of clever in-jokes, insanely well-designed holes, and unique lighting elements. There’s also a mobile app (for iOS and Android) for keeping score, plus misting fans for keeping cool. Open daily, 9 a.m.–2 a.m.; cost is $16 for adults, $14 for children ages 3–9. Two courses are available. For more information, call 407-802-4848.
For all there is to do when visiting the theme parks, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World by Bob Sehlinger and Len Testa and The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando by Seth Kubersky. If you enjoyed this post, sign up for our newsletter here.