Tennis can be a tiring, long-distance journey into your own soul. Table tennis, on the other hand, is a delightful activity that can be found in campgrounds, game rooms, dorm lounges, cruise ships, and game rooms.
Golf, on the other hand, can be a hard, unforgiving trek through an impossible-to-design piece of horticulture that could otherwise be a beautiful public park. However, when it is reduced to a manageable size, it suddenly transforms into a fantastic pastime.
Mini golf putt in and of itself, makes you feel like you’re on vacation, right? There is something intrinsic about the activity that helps you forget all of your worries, whether it’s the whimsical holes or the themed courses. As a popular tourist destination, Orlando has nearly as many mini golf courses as hotels, some of which have their own nine-hole courses.
However, while there are many, only a small number are truly outstanding. Let’s look at it.
The Winter-Summer Land of Disney:
There is a miniature golf course at Disney. In fact, it has a few of them, and they are just as delightful and well-designed as you would expect from the kings of themed entertainment.
There are two courses at Winter-Summerland—one for the winter and one for the summer—that each depicts what Santa Claus does in those specific months. In addition to the usual mini golf holes, this one places a strong emphasis on animatronic mayhem, complete with amusing mechs and gimmicks to keep you entertained.
Waits for tee times can sometimes exceed an hour for the two courses, which can get pretty crowded. That’s especially odd because it’s not far from Blizzard Beach, so getting there can be challenging. However, the wait is well worth it at this delightfully whimsical location.
Golf at a Hollywood Drive-In:
If you arrive at Universal Orlando and have your heart set on completing Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey or Revenge of the Mummy, you might not even be aware that one of the world’s best mini-golf courses is there.
The Hollywood Drive-In Golf course, which is situated right at the beginning of Universal CityWalk, actually has two courses that are themed after movies. One, “The Haunting of Ghostly Greens,” is based on classic 1940s and 1950s horror films. The other, “Invaders from Planet Putt,” is inspired by sci-fi films from the mid-1980s.
With clever homages to the film genres they are based on, both courses are hilariously well-thought-out, and Universal invested enough money in them to make them stand out as unique mini-golf experiences.
On the course, expect to wait while others conquer the challenging greens and take pictures with the mechanisms, similar to the Disney courses. But remember that you will want those pictures for yourself, so don’t get too upset.
Adventure Golf at Pirate’s Cove:
You can’t go wrong with any of the Pirate’s Cove locations in the Orlando area. You’ve probably seen one before, which is just outside Disney Springs and can be seen from I-4 on the way to Disney. Yes, it’s a lot of fun and well worth a visit. In the event that you’re remaining on Disney property, it’s an extremely short Uber/Lyft/Taxi ride away — and, when you’re there, it’s in similar mall as a couple of chain cafés to make an evening of it.
Even better is another location on International Drive near the well-known Wheel at ICON Park. This Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf has a slightly better theme and a slightly nicer selection of holes, in part due to its distance from I-Drive and larger footprint.
Regardless, Pirate’s Cove is a classic mini-golf experience, so you can’t go wrong at any location.
Golf on the Congo:
A downed propeller plane sticking out over a few mini-golf holes is probably the other sight you’ve seen while driving around Orlando. Congo River Golf is another brand of the miniature golf course.
Congo River Golf, like the majority of mini-golf chains, does not have any subpar courses in its portfolio. They’re all a lot of fun, but one stands out more than the others. The location on Route 192 near Kissimmee is without a doubt the most distant from either Universal Studios or Disney. However, its expansive scale and excellent themes make up for it. There are mountains and hills to climb. To avoid, you must avoid tikis and rock formations. Naturally, there is also a pit filled with real alligators to remind you which state you have chosen for your vacation. Congo River Golf is a great option if you’re looking for family fun or just a date night for two.
The Mighty Golf Adventure in the Jungle:
At the Mighty Jungle Golf Adventure, which is on Route 192 just south of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you can find a version of the animal kingdom that is a little bit goofier. The Mighty Jungle maintains a relatively straightforward layout with tricky greens, a few odd obstacles, and a few amusing animal sculptures, in contrast to other courses, which delight and excite with fun animatronics and bizarre whole designs.
However, the fact that it costs almost half of what Disney’s courses do is what gives it a place on this list: it is one of the best deals in Orlando. In addition, its location on the quieter side of the Disney property keeps it quiet and uncrowded, a far cry from International Drive’s madness. This is a great option if you just want to have a fun night of mini-golf without breaking the bank.
Fantasia Gardens at Disney:
Disney was in the midst of what it referred to as the “Disney Decade” in 1996, an expansion project that would significantly alter Walt Disney World’s appearance. Disney was aware that as part of this expansion, it needed to not only come up with reasons to keep guests on its property for longer, but also come up with new reasons why they left. The construction of their first-ever mini golf course was one way they accomplished this: Gardens in Fantasia
At Fantasia Gardens, there are actually two courses, each of which is worth playing for very different reasons. The course, Fantasia Gardens, is a whimsical and beautifully themed retelling of the film Fantasia, which is itself an episodic work that uses animation to explore iconic works of classical music.
Those holes are fun for the whole family and feature everything you love about Disney animation from the 1990s: vivid hues, an incredible state of mind, and a healthy dose of humor. Fantasia Gardens is, in my opinion, the best mini golf course in the world—or, at the very least, it has the most Disney feel to it.
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