Get Your Fix for Putt-Putt at These Disney World Mini Golf Courses
As much as we love waiting in lines, going on rides, watching the fireworks, and getting brain freezes from DOLE Whip, every now and then we love getting out of the theme parks and into all the other amazing things the Walt Disney World Resort has to offer. Without a doubt, one of our favorite things to do besides getting Disney brunch or eating our way through a Disney Skyliner food tour is working on our swing at Disney mini golf.
Currently, the only Disney mini-golf location that is open is Fantasia Gardens. As of right now, there is no reopening date set for Winter Summerland. One can only assume that this is due to reduced travel to Disney World as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re fairly certain that this popular Disney World mini-golf spot will reopen, however, it’s hard to say when. As the situation continues to change quite quickly, we recommend you refer to the My Disney Experience app, the Disney World website, or onsite cast members for the most up-to-date information.
Putt-Putt Your Way to Fun at Disney Mini Golf
No matter if you call it miniature golf, mini golf, or putt putt, for many, this nostalgic game is the hallmark of a summer well spent or a successful vacation. For others, it’s a fun date idea that’s sure to make an impression. So, could there be anything more magical than when the creative minds at Disney Imagineering put their heads together to come up with their own unique spin on this classic pastime? Methinks not.
Disney World’s miniature golf courses – Fantasia Gardens & Fairways and Winter Summerland – use Disney’s famous storytelling to create challenging obstacles and whimsical theming, for a Disney activity that is just as fun for the adults as it is the kids. Plus, since miniature golf is a relatively short activity, it’s great for tacking onto your first or last day at Disney World or any other day when you aren’t planning on spending a full day in the parks. And best of all, they’re incredibly affordable.
So, whether you’re a family looking for a break from the parks that everyone can enjoy or a couple in search of that perfect Disney activity before dinner, these Disney mini-golf courses are a hole-in-one.
Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Miniature Golf
Opened in 1996, Fantasia Gardens & Fairways is the original Disney miniature golf course and is located across the street from the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort, not far from Epcot and Hollywood Studios. As you can tell from the name, Fantasia mini golf is split into two separate 18-hole courses – Fantasia Gardens and Fantasia Fairways – with the former being themed after the classic Disney animated musical, Fantasia, and the latter taking its inspiration from a classic golf course. If you’re wondering which Fantasia miniature golf course is best, it really depends on what kind of game you’re looking to play.
For first-timers, those traveling with kiddos, anyone who is just wanting an easy-going & casual game, or fans of the timeless film, Fantasia Gardens is probably going to be the course for you. This is easily the most fanciful course here, with Sorcerer Mickey, broomsticks on parade, and hippos pirouetting and prancing over alligators throughout formal European gardens. Thwack your ball along a vibrant musical staff and through a golden horn, or down Bacchus’s waterfall of wine. But be sure to keep an eye out for those tricky broomsticks – you might get splashed as they try to clean up after the sorcerer’s apprentice from a spell gone awry.
In contrast, Fantasia Fairways is best for mini-golf pros, golfers looking to work on their putting game, or those who are hoping for a battle of skill. An actual golf course in miniature, Fantasia Fairways takes the term “miniature golf” quite literally. That’s right, this pint-sized course takes all the sand traps, water hazards, and bunkers that you’ve come to love (er, hate?) about traditional golf and shrinks them down for some putter-only fun – no golf carts or caddies required.
Here, holes range from 63 to 109-feet long and are either par-3 or par-5, earning the course a par-72 overall. That’s a far cry from the 55-ish that you’ll usually encounter on a course and quite the surprising challenge coming from a Disney World mini-golf course. Keep in mind that as the Fantasia Fairways course is more difficult, it does close an hour before Fantasia Gardens to allow everyone time to play through.
Winter Summerland is the younger, fresher Disney mini-golf course, and opened 3 years after Fantasia Gardens in 1999. While the theming over at Fantasia Gardens is subtle at best, this playful putt-putt spot located next to Blizzard Beach Water Park is where Disney’s storytelling really shines. While many other miniature golf courses tend to be a collection of vaguely themed obstacles, both of the 18-hole courses at Winter Summerland are built around one shared backstory.
As Winter Summerland’s origin story goes, Santa was flying back to the North Pole one night after a busy Christmas Eve. While he was passing over Florida, he spotted a strange sight: Snow in the Sunshine State! Going down to investigate, he decided this was just the place for a vacation resort for his hard-working elves – they deserve a break, after all. Now, while the North Pole cold never bothered some of the off-duty elves anyway, others dreamed of palm trees and a place to stick their toes in the sand. And so, Winter Summerland was born.
On the Summer Course, Santa and his elves take a trip to the tropics. This sand course features everything the big guy and his toy-making crew could ever want from an island escape, from surfboards and epic sandcastles to palm trees decked with ornaments and inner tubes striped like candy canes. But be sure to not play too loud – you might wake Santa from his nap. Hopefully he doesn’t get sunburned! And those silly elves even tried to make a snowman. Too bad they forgot about all that melting snow.
It’s a veritable winter wonderland over at the Winter Course. Each of these North Pole-inspired holes come with a dusting of snow, and plenty of whimsical details to keep both young and old entertained as they wait to shoot their shot. Here, you’ll shoot around all manner of wintery challenges like giant peppermint candies, a towering ice castle, presents, and a perfectly festive chimney. Even Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto make an appearance in the form of snowmen. As you’re walking around, be sure to keep an eye out for Squirty the Snowman – that rascal likes to douse unsuspecting mini-golfers when their balls roll past him.
Which Disney World Mini Golf Is Better?
And now, the question you’ve all been waiting for: “Which is better – Fantasia Gardens or Winter Summerland?” While we suggest you try each Disney World miniature golf course at least once, if you only have time for one, you’re obviously going to have to make a decision. Just like which Fantasia mini-golf course is better, the winner of the putt-putt rumble in the pixie dust jungle really depends on who you’re playing with and what you’re looking for.
On the upside, Fantasia Gardens is a classic with two very different kinds of courses. One side is pure nostalgia with holes that are easy yet still a little challenging, while the other is a miniaturized version of a traditional golf course and easily the most difficult Disney mini-golf course. On the downside, the theming here is minimal at best, and what there is may not be recognizable to younger generations.
There isn’t a lot of shade available here, making it a hard sell during the middle of those sticky-hot summer days. On top of that, even the holes on the easier Fantasia Gardens course can be a bit tricky as compared to those at Winter Summerland. Plus, unless you happen to be staying at the WDW Swan & Dolphin or you have a car, you’ll need to do a lot of walking to get here from either Epcot, Hollywood Studios, or one of the Epcot area resorts.
In contrast, both of the courses at Winter Summerland are chock full of playful obstacles and adorable details, with neither course being particularly challenging. While the theming doesn’t scream Disney overall, it is wonderfully whimsical and cheeky with just the right sprinkling of pixie dust. After all, who doesn’t crack a smile at the idea of Santa working on his tan on a tropical island somewhere during the off-season? There’s considerably more shade as compared to Fantasia Gardens and its convenient location next to Blizzard Beach means there’s usually a bus available to take you there. Unfortunately, it’s still a pain in the butt to get there if the bus isn’t running and you don’t have a car.
Overall, in the battle of the Disney World mini golf courses, Disney’s Winter Summerland Miniature Golf comes out on top. It’s filled with all the Disney storytelling that we have come to know and love with just the right amount of Disney magic. It’s easy enough that even young golfers will be able to have fun, making it perfect for an easygoing game that won’t leave some players frustrated. And, who doesn’t want a little more shade from that famous Florida sunshine? In short, if you’re looking for a family-friendly Disney activity that really is fun for everyone with the perfect amount of over-the-top Disney theming that you’ve come to expect, Disney Winter Summerland Mini Golf is it. Of course, if you’re a diehard (mini) golfer that’s looking for a challenge, then be sure to save some time for Disney Fantasia Gardens & Fairways Miniature Golf.
Other Disney Putt-Putt FAQs
Have we convinced you yet to spend some time outside of Magic Kingdom and Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios? Before you pick up your putter, here’s everything you need to know about getting in a round of miniature golf at Walt Disney World.
How much is mini golf at Disney World?
If you’re looking for a cheap family vacation, Disney World probably isn’t the destination for you. Add in the tickets, food, hotel, and the inevitable souvenirs and you’ve got quite the pricey trip. That being said, there are some cheap activities at Disney World that are available – miniature golf being one of them.
No matter whether you go to Fantasia Gardens or Winter Summerland, a round of miniature golf at Disney World costs $12 for a child ages 3-9 while an adult costs $14 (tax not included). So, although Disney putt-putt isn’t free (but these free things to do at Disney World are), it is a whole heckuva lot cheaper than Disney theme park tickets. Plus, considering that there are four different Disney World mini golf courses to choose from, that’s a whole lot of fun for not a lot of money.
Do Disney tickets include mini golf?
Yes and no. Although standard Disney World theme park tickets do not include admission to Fantasia Gardens or Winter Summerland, you can upgrade your ticket by adding on options that do include Disney mini golf (along with many other activities).
The Water Park and Sports Option allows you to visit one of Disney World’s mini-golf courses, Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon water park, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course or FootGolf, or the NBA Experience. The number of entries to the attractions above is equal to the number of days for your theme park tickets. For example, if you have a 3-day park ticket, you are able to visit three of the specified attractions – or go to the same one three times! A standard, 1-day ticket with the Water Park and Sports upgrade starts at $179 per person per day.
Or, for the most bang for your buck, get the Park Hopper Plus Option. Not only does this give you all the benefits of the Water Park and Sports ticket option above, but it also allows you to hop between the different Disney World theme parks after 2pm. A 1-day ticket with Park Hopper Plus starts at $194 per person per day.
How do you get to mini golf at Disney?
Without a doubt, the easiest way to get to either of the Disney World putt-putt courses is by car. That being said, even if you don’t have a vehicle, there’s no need to miss out on the fun.
Of the two Disney mini-golf courses, Winter Summerland is probably the easiest to get to. As it sits right next to Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, the two attractions actually share a parking lot. So, if you don’t have a car at Disney, the simplest way to get to Winter Summerland is by taking the bus from wherever you are on Disney property to Blizzard Beach. Once the water park closes, however, the shuttle to Blizzard Beach stops running, so be sure to plan accordingly. Those staying at the All Stars Resorts or Disney’s Coronado Springs also have the option of taking a walking path there. However, at just about a mile long (around a 20-minute walk) with not much shade, this wouldn’t be our first choice.
Fantasia Gardens mini golf is located right across the street from the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Hotels. That makes it a prime choice for guests staying in or visiting the Epcot Resort Area – simply make your way over to the Swan & Dolphin Resort and cross the road. Or, if you’re hanging out at Epcot for the day, consider taking a break from drinking around the world with a round of mini golf, with Fantasia Gardens being just a short 15-minute walk from International Gateway at World Showcase.
Does parking cost anything at Disney World miniature golf courses?
No, parking at Disney World mini golf courses is completely free.
When is Disney miniature golf open?
Typically, Disney’s Winter Summerland and Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Courses are open from 10am until 10pm, making them a fun alternative to exploring Disney Springs or hanging out at Disney’s BoardWalk when you aren’t in the theme parks.
How long does Disney mini golf take?
Depending on how many people there are in your group and how busy the course is when you visit, it could take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours to play through one of the 18-hole courses. As the most challenging mini golf course at Disney World, finishing Fantasia Fairways will take the longest. Disney monitors the flow of groups, so things usually don’t get too backed up. However, the more people you have in your party (and the more precious you are about lining up your shot – you know who we’re talking about), the longer it will take you to play.
If you’re looking to kill even more time, consider playing both courses available at either Winter Summerland or Fantasia Gardens. Each of the courses is unique in its own way – with Fantasia Fairways being unlike any other mini golf at Disney World – and we love getting to experience all the fun theming they have to offer.
Want an Alternative to Mini Golf? Try FootGolf at Disney’s Oak Trail!
Already been to both Winter Summerland and Fantasia Gardens? Want to try another family-friendly golf-related activity that isn’t miniature golf? Give FootGolf at Disney’s Oak Trail a try instead.
And just what is footgolf, you might be wondering. Well, picture a combination of soccer and golf. Rather than putting your way through all 9 holes, you’ll take aim with your trusty kicking foot as you boot the soccer ball (no golf balls here!) toward the super-sized, 21-inches-wide holes. And, as you’ll be playing on a course that is certified by the American FootGolf League, you couldn’t have a better introduction to the sport.
There’s no need to let dad have all the fun on Disney World’s golf courses – FootGolf is great for kids and adults alike. Plus, at a roughly 90-minute activity for between $20 to $29 per game for adults depending on when you play (junior players under 18 are 40% off), it’s another unique Disney World activity that is both affordable and fun for the whole family.
Well, golfers, that concludes our tour of mini golf at Disney World. We don’t know about you, but we love miniature golf. Getting in a round or two is a great way to explore all the other amazing things Walt Disney World has to offer, get in a little friendly competition, and soak up some Disney magic, all at a price that is easy on the wallet.