Did you know that Disney World isn’t just home to the theme parks? They have tons of additional entertainment options, including three different types of golf – regular, footgolf (like soccer or football golf), and miniature golf! The Walt Disney World Resort is home to two different miniature golf locations which each have two unique courses. The following article will give you a summary of where the mini golf courses are, what makes them fun, and why you should engage in the activity in the first place.
Will I Enjoy Mini Golf?
Yes! At least, I hope you will – even if you’re not one to normally enjoy sports-related activities. Mini golf is a great way use a relaxation day respite during the middle of your vacation. You can take some time to avoid the crowds of the park, explore some resorts, and catch a round of good clean putt putt fun. If you have the time available in your vacation, I always strongly recommend visitors take a day or two off to catch their breath. You want your Disney vacation to feel like a vacation, not a stressful week of running around trying to see and do everything. Disney has done a very poor job recently managing crowds and increasing attraction and entertainment offerings, which has made the parks feel just a bit more hectic. Slowing down the trip to just take a couple of days off to enjoy the Disney hotel you’re staying at (and paying ridiculous prices for!) is a must. Or, if you’re not staying at a Disney resort, taking the opportunity to travel around to see all of the beautiful hotels and extras that Disney has to offer. A resort-hopping and mini golf day is one of my favorite things to do!
The cost for all courses around Walt Disney World is $14 for adults, and $12 for kids age 9 or less. Admission is also included as part of the “Water Parks and More” ticket option. If you did plan to add this package to your ticket, mini golf is a great way to make use of it. Keep in mind that times available for mini golf (and the other “more” sports options of the ticket) can be limited depending on the time of the year.
In my opinion, the best mini golf in Orlando is Fantasia Miniature Golf. The courses are located near the Swan Reserve resort, behind the Epcot Resort boardwalk area. It’s a bit of a walk from the Skyliner stop, but the whole area is beautiful. You could also take a boat from either Hollywood Studios or Epcot, hop off at the Swan and Dolphin stop, and take a short stroll across the street to arrive. Parking is free if you end up driving.
Fantasia Gardens is home to two different 18-hole courses. The Gardens course is the easier of the two, and features whimsical fun based on Disney’s Fantasia film. There are multiple sound, lighting, and water effects which make the experience very fun. You’ll travel through caves, putt the ball through a spinning snowflake, and finish up by knocking the ball down the whirlwind Mickey finds himself trapped in during the Fantasia film.
The Fantasia Fairways course, on the other hand, is very difficult. It’s effectively an entire PGA tour course shrunk down to fit in a smaller space. That being said, the holes are still very long, and the course includes many par 4 or even par 5 holes. It also has tons of hills, bunkers, and rocks in the way that will make you think twice about every shot. That’s what makes it so unique and fun! At the same time, due to its difficulty, parents should be warned that overly competitive kids may become frustrated. When starting off, be sure to grab a spare ball in case you hit it off course and lose it! On both courses, take the time to read the short poems and map of the hole, which add to the fun (and can help with your strategy if you’re playing to win)! As a pro tip (coming from someone who has played the Fairways course more than 10 times), I like to hit the ball hard and bank it off the walls for better positioning!
Visiting Fantasia Gardens in the afternoon or evening gives you the chance to have a meal at one of the many great dining options around the Boardwalk area. The Flying Fish, Il Mulino, Trattoria Al Forno, the Yachstman, and many more are just a short walk or boat ride away from the courses. Another hidden gem is Jellyrolls, the dueling piano bar. It’s located at the end of the boardwalk closer to the Swan and Dolphin, so it’s not far at all from the mini golf courses. You can also catch the Epcot Fireworks show from the boardwalk area!
Fantasia Gardens has facilities with restrooms and a small gift shop, so don’t worry about trying to pack extra stuff. You should note that the courses are fairly popular, so you may experience a bit of a wait if you try to go with a large group (especially in the evening hours).
Winter Summerland Mini Golf
The Winter Summerland Miniature Golf courses are located on the southwest side of Disney Property at the same spot as Blizzard Beach Water Park. This side of the resort is also just down the road from Animal Kingdom, making it a great spot to swing by after a day in the park (since Animal Kingdom usually closes somewhat early). Keep in mind that even if the Blizzard Beach Water Park is closed, the mini golf is almost always open. Just drive up (or take a bus) to Blizzard Beach and enjoy the free parking and easy access to the courses.
Similar to the Fantasia Gardens courses, Winter Summerland has two course options to choose from: the aptly themed Winter and Summer Courses. They both feature Santa Claus themes, whether its St. Nick relaxing in the sand and beach-type environments or having a jolly time in the snow. There are lots of sculptures of Santa’s shenanigans throughout the courses, such as him sleeping in the middle of the hole. Be sure to read through the hole summary signs at the start of each hole to follow along the theming and story!
In general, both courses are mostly similar. The types of obstacles along the holes are often matching, themes are mirrored, and they both finish in a really cool moving Christmas Tree and train set model. Overall, Winter Summerland’s courses are both fun, but they’re not quite as special as the ones at Fantasia Gardens. There’s no “Disney Magic” you might say, since they’re more closely related to a local course you may have seen before instead of something truly unique. However, a fun round of mini golf is still a great activity if you’re on the Animal Kingdom side of property. Similar to the other mini golf location, Winter Summerland has bathrooms and other amenities nearby to ensure you have a great time.
Other Nearby Courses
It is worth noting that there are multiple other miniature golf locations located around the Disney World resort along State Road 535 and U.S. 192. These courses aren’t really any cheaper (some are more expensive than Disney!) and would require you to go off of Disney property to reach. Some are fairly fun, so they may be worth stopping by if you’re not staying at a Disney resort and are passing right by on your way to/from your rental home or hotel. If you’re looking to save money and avoid Disney food prices, parents with a large family of younger kids might like Bonanza Mini Golf, for example. The spot is located right on top of a Cici’s Pizza, which offers a cheap all-you-can-eat pizza buffet. If you are staying off of Disney property, be sure to pull up maps of your area to see what activities and restaurants are close by.
Disney’s mini golf courses are a great way to spend a more relaxed day during your Disney World vacation. Fantasia Gardens in particular has two super cool courses, and most guests will have a blast playing a round of putt putt with their families. If you end up having a great time, you should know that a second round at the location’s second course will be half price if you visit the same day!