Miniature Golf part 1: Winter Summerland

Misc 114

One of my favorite things to do, whether I’m at Walt Disney World or not, is play miniature golf.  I’ve played countless rounds across the country and even the world, and my wife and I have even worked at a miniature golf course and children’s theater.  She learned about this love of mine when we decided to honeymoon at Myrtle Beach, SC, the “miniature golf capital of the world” and we played about a dozen rounds in the 5 days we were there.

At Disney, there are two miniature golf areas: Fantasia Gardens and Fairways, and Winter Summerland.  This post will focus on Winter Summerland.  The two courses there are nearly identical/symmetrical, making it fun to play both sets of 18 and compare the holes.

winter summerland screenshot 11-11-11
(screenshot from 11-11-11 aerial photo on Google Earth)

Winter Summerland consists of two 18-hole courses, one, themed for the winter, and the other, as you can guess, themed for the summer.  As the Disney website states:

Late one Christmas Eve, as Santa was flying back to the North Pole, he discovered snow in Florida. After surveying the strange sight, he decided to build a vacation destination for his off-duty elves—a Winter Summerland.

Seeing that the only thing Winter Summerland lacked was a golf course, Santa and his elves divided into 2 camps, one that enjoyed the warm Florida sun and another that preferred the snow and cold of the North Pole. The elves then built 2 distinctly different 18–hole golf experiences: a sand course named “Summer” and a snow course named “Winter.”

(description courtesy of the Walt Disney World website)

winter summerland 3(Santa has a sleigh and an airstream)

There are funny little things all over to take pictures of: Santa’s airstream, a sleigh you can sit in, a melted snowman, etc.  The Winter Summerland miniature golf course also has a few surprises in store, which I don’t want to give away.

winter summerland 2
(We HAD to golf when we went down for the WDW Marathon!)

Maybe we’re just crazy, but we felt like the winter side had more shade, and felt much cooler than the summer side.  Perhaps it was just wishful thinking?

winter summerland 4
Hot cocoa and mini-golf anyone?

At the end of your round, you get a message from Santa, and when you turn in your clubs, they have a bowl full of candy canes.  The best time to play here? Pick a cool day, if you can, and bring some hot cocoa!

Q4-29 Winter-Summerland June 1999    MRA(Please don’t swing your club like this kid, from a Disney website picture)

winter summerland castle - snowwinter summerland castle - sand

(These photos are from Magical Memories by John, run by vacation planner John Parr)

The only negatives about the experience? One – the computer e-mail message from Santa at the end could use some updating.  The other – getting to this golf course in the winter can be a major pain.  When Blizzard Beach is closed, finding a bus to take you can be a bit problematic, so we opt for a taxi. $10 to save 45-60 minutes on buses is worth it!

For more information, you can also check out Disney-Pal, which has some great photos.

Have you tried these golf courses out?  Which course is your favorite?  If you haven’t tried out Winter Summerland, why not?  Leave your comments below!


10 thoughts on “Miniature Golf part 1: Winter Summerland

  1. Fantasia Gardens is our favorite because it’s a quick walk from the Boardwalk & Beach Club, where we often stay. We always try to have a non-park day that is more low key. Mini-Golf is a perfect way to relax & we all love the whimsy of the Fantasia Gardens courses.

  2. We say every trip we are going to do one of the courses and we never have! We like mini golf here. Maybe we can try this during our trip in January. It looks like fun!

  3. I haven’t tried either yet. Not that we don’t want to but there is just so much do to in WDW. It’s on the plan hopefully for the next trip though! @EnchantedDesert 🙂

  4. I’ve only golfed Fantasia Gardens. This course always looks great. Your pictures look great. Just a matter of haven’t yet.

  5. I wonder why mini golf is so big in Florida, but not in California? I don’t think there is a mini-golf course at or near Disneyland. Is there?

  6. I’ve only done the Fantasia mini golf. It was a fun, new-at-Disney trip we did last year. It was fun, but I’d much rather play in the parks 😉

  7. I have actually tried both the winter and summer courses. I love snow, so I favor the winter side more. The obstacles are a lot of fun too and so many surprises.

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