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 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)
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.
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?
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!
(Please don’t swing your club like this kid, from a Disney website picture)
(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!