Fantasia Miniature Golf features two 18-hole courses, within walking distance of Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and the Crescent Lake resorts at Walt Disney World. In this post, we’ll review the courses, offer tips on which to choose, and share photos from our visit to Fantasia Gardens & Fairways.
We were looking for something to do after the Walt Disney World theme parks had all closed particularly earlier one recent evening, and found that Fantasia Gardens (open until 11 pm!) was our best option. It was pretty much either that or Disney Springs, and on a weekend, that didn’t sound tremendously appealing.
This was actually our first visit to Fantasia Gardens, something we always told ourselves we’d do “next time” or “someday” because, as with Winter Summerland, it looks pretty cool when passing by. One of the things we love about Walt Disney World is that even though we visit regularly, there are still things we have never done, and each trip can include something new-to-us.
Unsurprisingly given the name, these miniature golf courses are both themed to Disney’s classic animated film Fantasia. As noted, there are two courses. Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course is the whimsical, family-friendly option with a ton of thematic flourishes, twirling obstacles, dancing fountains, and musical surprises. There’s a lot going on here.
By contrast, Fantasia Fairways Miniature Golf Course resembles a traditional golf course built on a miniature scale. For better or worse, this cuts the cuteness and whimsy, and emphasizes skill over chance. There are sand traps, bunkers, water hazards, and sloping greens, some of which are over 100 feet long. Fantasia Fairways Miniature Golf Course is serious business.
Originally, we were just going to do the Fantasia Fairways. Not my personal choice, but the friend we were with are quite competitive about that course, and actually have an annual competition there (complete with trophy and everything). Towards the end of that round, we ran into a huge back-up, and a Cast Member generously offered to let us move over to the Fantasia Gardens side.
Full disclosure: I’m not a golfer. I have golfed many times (largely not by choice), and let’s just say I understand why so much of the sport on an amateur level involves the copious consumption of alcohol. I’ve found golf to be excruciating. In fairness to those of you who enjoy golf, I’m incredibly impatient. It also certainly doesn’t help that I am atrocious at golf. Typically, when I’m that awful at something, I just don’t do it. (Blogging aside.)
The point of that tangent is that Fantasia Fairways is much more my speed than “real” golf. Everything has been condensed and it’s generally easier but still requires actual skill. It’s also more of a social activity since you’re never that spread out, and is quite fun.
I was pleasantly surprised, as I was sort of dreading the experience when I saw that we were doing the Fantasia Fairways course. We both agreed that we’d absolutely do it again.
With that said, we wouldn’t recommend Fantasia Fairways to families with small children, or really anyone just looking for whimsical fun.
For one thing, all the thematic elements of the Fantasia Gardens side are visible from the Fairways, so your kids are going to question why you’re torturing them with the “boring” side when they could be chilling with dancing hippos and whatnot.
As for the Fantasia Gardens side, it was a blast. Here, skill is still relevant, but it takes a back seat to luck. Both take a back seat to course design, details, and themed elements. That’s primarily what we enjoyed about Fantasia Gardens–the interactive nature of the themed experience.
Some of the holes here involve skill and creative thinking. I finally had a chance to put some of the lessons I learned during the billiards scene from Donald in Mathmagic Land.
Other holes at Fantasia Gardens seem to have been dictated entirely by chance, which was a bit frustrating. You’d put towards a small target, and the other side of that target would spit the ball out onto various tracks on a (seemingly) random basis.
Nevertheless, Fantasia Gardens was a lot of fun. We weren’t really keeping score at this point, just having a good time. To that extent, I think we definitely benefited from playing (much of) Fantasia Fairways first, as we got the competitiveness out of our systems there, and moved our to Fantasia Gardens for a more laid back and fun round.
We’d likewise do Fantasia Gardens again, but probably only when accompanied by children.
I know miniature golf has become serious business, and there are a number of exceptionally well-done mini golf courses. It’s worth noting that we come to this review pretty much “cold.” While we both really enjoyed our experiences at Fantasia Gardens & Fairways, our real world mini golf experience is minimal.
This review is against our own expectations and based upon our impressions, and does not account for how Walt Disney World’s miniature golf courses stack up to real world counterparts. If you have extensive experience with both, we’d love to hear some informed comparisons in the comments.
For about the cost of seeing a movie at the Disney Springs AMC, we were able to play mini golf for a roughly equivalent amount of time. Given that, we have no quibbles with the present pricing of $14 per round. We were a bit surprised to see so many people on the courses after 10 p.m., but I guess a lot of others had the same idea as us with all the parks closed.
It’s worth noting that a round of mini golf is included as a “Plus Option” on that variety of Park Hopper tickets. If you’re going for value, mini golf is a poor use of the Plus Option (they’re better used at Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach, or Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course).
Of course, if you’ve already done those things or aren’t interested, mini golf is another way to spend your Plus entitlements. Additionally, some vacation packages include vouches for free rounds of mini golf–just be sure to check time restrictions, as you might have to play before 4 p.m.
As far as transportation goes, your best approach is going to be walking from Disney’s Hollywood Studios (take the Epcot path and head towards the Swan & Dolphin), Epcot, or the Crescent Lake Resorts.
If walking is not appealing, take bus or boat transportation to the Swan & Dolphin. Fantasia Gardens & Fairways is about a 5 minute walk from the Swan & Dolphin. Driving is another alternative, as are Uber, Lyft, or Minnie Vans. There is no direct bus transportation from the Walt Disney World theme parks to Fantasia Gardens.
Overall, we found Fantasia Gardens and Fairways to be an incredibly enjoy experience. The Fairway side was nicely designed and competitive, whereas Fantasia Gardens was ornately decorated and had some fun effects. Whether you have ticket entitlements or have to pay out of pocket, we’d recommend Fantasia Gardens and Fairways, particularly for a night after the parks are closed or a non-parks day at Walt Disney World.
Have you been to Fantasia Gardens and Fairways or Winter Summerland? Have a course that you prefer? Do you agree or disagree with our review and tips? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!