Want to try an activity that’s a bit different on your next trip to Disney World? We recently had a chance to do something my kids have been begging me to do for ages: play a round on one of Walt Disney World’s two miniature golf courses. We had been meaning to do this for a while now, but the timing never worked out. This past September, though, we had a free morning and decided to go to Disney’s Winter Summerland.
The course, which is open daily from 10 am to 11 pm, is located right next to Disney’s Blizzard Beach and indeed shares a similar backstory: one Christmas Eve, Santa Claus discovered the perfect vacation spot in Florida, where a freak snowstorm had created a paradise with both palm trees and powdery snow. He moved Mrs. Claus and the elves down in a trailer. The elves were split on whether to build a snow or sand miniature golf course, so they built both and named it Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course.
Players can choose between the two sides: the Summer Course has ornaments hanging from palm trees, peppermint striped inner tubes, and a melting snowman while the Winter Course features a snow castle, a squirting snowman, and a fishing hole. The courses end in a stone “lodge” that is decorated for the holidays and they both have fun, interactive moving features that, unlike the miniature golf courses of my youth, all seem to function perfectly. And there is a cheerful soundtrack of classic Christmas songs playing throughout the park.
At the suggestion of the cast member at the desk, we chose the Winter course. After a quick glance at the Summer course, we decided we preferred the Winter side’s holiday theming (or maybe it was just wishful thinking because the day was so warm!) The course is fun and has enough twists and turns to keep the whole family entertained. There is shade and the occasional bench if you want to have a rest or if the course gets very backed up. There were vending machines, but no snack bar. The course wasn’t very crowded at that time of day and took us around an hour to complete.
I have heard that the other Disney course, Fantasia Gardens and Fairways, is much more challenging but I was afraid my younger daughter, who had never golfed before, would be too intimidated, so we picked Winter Summerland.
A coupon for golf has been included with vacation packages for the past couple of years. If paying out of pocket, the cost is $14 plus tax for adults and $12 plus tax for children 3-9 years old. There is an annual pass discount offered. And if you play one round and show your receipt later that day, you can get 25% off an additional round.
There is a small, free parking lot in front of the course (there’s more parking just behind it at Blizzard Beach) or you can take the same Disney bus that goes to Blizzard Beach. The course is not in walking distance from any resort, but it is in the Animal Kingdom resort area.
While I might not choose to play miniature golf every vacation, this was a fun break from the “same old same old” routine. Since it only took an hour or so, it wouldn’t be difficult to combine with, say, a day at Blizzard Beach or Disney Springs. The kids have asked if we can do Fantasia Gardens on another trip, and we may just put that on our schedule for our spring time visit.
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