Few things are as sacred in the family vacation as a trip to the miniature golf course to see who reigns supreme on the shrunken links. Many family members have won bragging rights with hole-in-one shots and skillful work on the green to save par.
Walt Disney World in Florida is one of the hottest family vacation spots for kids of all ages. So, it should be no surprise that they offer two mini golf courses for guests to try their hands at while on Disney’s property.
Below, we look at everything you need to know about Disney World mini golf, so you can decide if taking a trip to one of the two courses is a worthwhile use of your time while at the Most Magical Place on Earth.
- What Miniature Golf Options Does Disney Offer?
- Which Mini Golf Course Is a Hole-in-One?
- How Do I Get To Disney’s Mini Golf Courses?
- When Are the Mini Golf Courses Open?
- Do They Take Reservations?
- How Long Should 18 Holes Take?
- What Other Alternatives Does Disney Offer Away From the Parks?
- Final Thoughts: Disney World Mini Golf
What Miniature Golf Options Does Disney Offer?
Disney World offers two distinct mini golf courses. And you can be sure that Disney has put its trademark quality on them, as they are both popular attractions. One cast member has played mini golf at Disney over 550 times!
The two courses on offer are Winter Summerland and Fantasia Gardens. Disney opened Fantasia Gardens in 1996 and Winter Summerland in 1999, though they have given both courses touch-ups over the years.
Winter Summerland is the younger of the two courses, and most players consider it to be the easier of the two options. Winter Summerland has a central theme and shares similar elements with one of Disney’s water parks, Blizzard Beach. And in true Disney fashion, this golf course even has a backstory to its creation.
The story goes that Santa Claus designed the course while on a trip back to the North Pole. He noticed snow in Florida and decided to investigate; Kris Kringle decided it was the perfect spot to build a vacation destination for his elves.
The biggest thing missing from this vacation spot was a golf course, and the elves split up. The elves who enjoyed the Florida heat joined one side, and the elves who preferred the winter got to work on their course. Thus, Winter Summerland was born, and two distinct 18-hole courses now stand at the site.
With a fun backstory like this and exciting themes, this is an excellent choice for young children with an active imagination. It is easier to play on too, making it perfect for inexperienced golfers and your little ones.
The Summer Course has a Christmas in July theme to it, with Santa and his elves adding a Yuletide flair to sand castles and surfboards. You will see humorous sights like a palm tree Santa has decorated like a Christmas tree, which is certain to give kids a laugh.
Disney Imagineers were inspired by Santa’s Workshop at the North Pole when making the Winter Course. It is the perfect course for children who love Christmas, and you will even have a chance to see Mickey and Minnie as snowmen.
- Easier course
- Perfect for children
- Fun theme
- Imaginative backstory
- Too easy for experienced golfers
- Missing some of the nostalgic charms of mini golf
Fantasia Gardens and Fairways
Fantasia Gardens and Fairways are the elder statesmen of Disney mini golf courses, and golfers find these two courses to be more difficult than their younger sibling’s offerings. As you may imagine, Disney based the theme of this golf course on the film Fantasia. When entering the grounds, you will be greeted by a statue of Sorcerer Mickey and his magical brooms.
While this course does not have the elaborate backstory of Winter Summerland, it does have a theme that immediately screams Disney. Like Winter Summerland, there are two courses, with Fantasia Gardens resembling a traditional mini golf course and Fantasia Fairways being closer to an actual small-scale golf course.
Fantasia Gardens gives a classic mini golf feel with a Disney coat of paint. The difficulty is a masterfully-crafted balance between challenging and fun, and it is the perfect course for the family to try.
Fantasia Fairways is perhaps the most ambitious mini golf course you will find, and we only recommend it for experienced mini golf players. The courses have actual golf obstacles like water hazards, bunkers, and sand traps.
The holes at Fantasia Fairways are also longer than the traditional holes of mini golf courses that average just above 50 feet. These holes range from 109 feet at the longest to 63 feet at the shortest. If you want the highest mini golf challenge at Disney, you will find nothing better than Fantasia Fairways.
Much like a real golf course, Fantasia Gardens and Fairways don’t have an ample amount of shade. If you’re visiting in the winter months, this should not be a critical problem, but we want to warn families taking a summer vacation that it will be hot and sunny while playing at either of the courses. So pack sunscreen and hats!
- Classic Disney theme
- Step up in difficulty
- Resembles traditional mini golf more than Winter Summerland
- Fantasia Fairways may be too difficult for young or inexperienced golfers
- The theme may not be as whimsical for young children
- Lacking shade
Which Mini Golf Course Is a Hole-in-One?
So now that you know the basics of the two courses, you’re probably wondering which Disney mini golf course is the best. While there is no one answer to the question, we think the decision of where to spend your mini golf time depends on your family and what they value out of mini golf.
If you want a more family-friendly experience that’s perfect for younger children, we recommend heading to Winter Summerland. The theme will appeal to children more directly, even if it doesn’t exactly scream Disney. The courses are easier than the alternatives, and they are both wonderfully crafted for beginners.
Even experienced parents can have an exciting time at these courses as they teach their children the joys of mini golf. The ample shade at these two courses is also a bonus, as it will keep kids from overheating and wanting to go home before the round of golf has concluded.
Fantasia Gardens also provides an excellent game for an entire family, though the difficulty is a small step up from the two courses at Winter Summerland. It’s as close as any course at Disney gets to your neighborhood links, and parents might enjoy the nostalgic factor of it.
We can only truly recommend Fantasia Fairways to adults or teenagers who have spent ample time playing golf or putt-putt over the years. The holes are long and difficult, and playing through them will take more time than at Winter Summerland or Fantasia Gardens.
While children will likely not have an enjoyable time at Fantasia Fairways, it’s still the best choice for those seeking a challenge and families looking to truly prove who rules the roost.
So, what do we think is the best Disney World mini golf course? Winter Summerland is probably the best overall choice. The course is slightly more modern, and there is ample shade. You will also have an easier time reaching the course by bus, which is why we give it our vote.
But just because Winter Summerland is our favorite choice, that doesn’t mean Fantasia Gardens and Fairways isn’t worth checking out. Those two courses are well made and perfect for the right circumstances.
Despite the substantial differences between the courses, they are all priced at the same entrance fee. One round of golf costs $14 per adult and $12 for children ages three to nine. If you have a car available, parking is free for both courses. These prices are a solid value compared to the cost of some other Disney attractions.
Disney includes its putt-putt golf offerings with a few ticket options as well. Standard Disney tickets don’t include entry to either mini golf course. Some packages for staying at a Disney hotel will also give you a free voucher to enjoy a round of mini golf with the whole family. You may also receive discounts included with your ticket packages.
The Water Park and Sports Option on Disney tickets gives you admission to:
- The mini golf courses
- The two Disney water parks
- Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course or FootGolf
- The NBA Experience
- ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
Finally, if you purchase the Park Hopper Plus Option, you will receive the benefits of the Water Park and Sports Option.
How Do I Get To Disney’s Mini Golf Courses?
The simplest option to reach either golf course is to drive yourself or hire a ride. But if those options aren’t possible, you can still make your way to the courses.
Disney built Fantasia Gardens and Fairways near the Swan and Dolphin Hotel. Getting to the hotel by bus takes considerable time, and you may find yourself walking to the course from either Epcot or Hollywood Studios. While it’s not a marathon, the walk may be too much for some individuals.
Winter Summerland is the easier of the two to reach, and you can take a bus directly to Blizzard Beach to get there. Be warned that Blizzard Beach is not always open, and buses won’t run when it is closed for the season. In this situation, you will need to drive there or take a bus to one of the All-Star Resorts and complete a one-mile walk to reach it.
When Are the Mini Golf Courses Open?
Both mini golf courses are open most of the day, with hours of operation from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. These extended hours of operation make them perfect for heading to after an afternoon of fun at one of the theme parks.
Do They Take Reservations?
If you’re concerned there will be too many golfers or you will miss out on a chance to play 18 holes, you can call ahead to reserve a tee time for the next day. The company takes reservations at any of the Disney putt-putt courses.
How Long Should 18 Holes Take?
On average, you should expect your golf outing to take anywhere from one to two hours. The time you take will depend on several factors, such as how many people you have in your group, how quickly you take your shots, and how many people are in front of you.
Disney has employees monitor each course to keep the flow going and ensure things don’t get backed up.
Fantasia Fairways will be the longest course to play, as the holes are the longest distance and will take the most time to get through. You can expect to spend a few hours with your group to play through it.
What Other Alternatives Does Disney Offer Away From the Parks?
If you have already enjoyed all the putt-putt Disney offers and are looking for an alternative, may we suggest trying Disney’s FootGolf course at the Oak Trail Golf Course? FootGolf involves players attempting to kick a soccer ball into the hole rather than hitting a golf ball. The sport is a challenging and unique experience and will fill that golf urge.
The best thing about FootGolf compared to traditional golf is that kids can get in on the fun. If you have younger teens who aren’t ready to try their hand at golf, this is an excellent alternative and will leave them smiling.
Final Thoughts: Disney World Mini Golf
Whether you visit Winter Summerland, Fantasia Gardens, or Fantasia Fairways, you will find that Disney World mini golf is just as magical as the other elements of the parks.
If you’re looking for the best challenge, Fantasia Fairways is the course for you. Those seeking a less arduous game perfect for younger children will enjoy the two options at Winter Summerland. And if you want a balance of both, you can head to Fantasia Gardens.
Whichever option you choose, we hope you will enjoy your time away from the parks at Walt Disney World and that you learned everything you need to know about Disney World mini golf.