Free Fore for Four

by 9/14/2014 03:29:00 PM 0 comments
There's lots to do inside the parks at Disney World, but there's also plenty to do outside the park as well. The guys running Disney parks, they aren't stupid. They know that not everybody wants to go to the parks everyday. Personally I feel those individuals need to have their fun glands checked for deficiencies, but I'm not a physician so what do I know? At any rate, in addition to Disney's theme park offerings you can also find the Downtown Disney (soon to be named Disney Springs) area that offers shopping, dining, bowling and even an indoor arcade/theme park. If you found Animal Kingdom a bit too warm then there are also a pair of water parks at your disposal. Disney offers up Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. Blizzard Beach is also where you can find one of Disney's two mini golf courses. And possibly your first magical meltdown.

In our vacation package, along with our park admission tickets, Disney mailed us vouchers for 4 free games at either of their mini golf courses. When I found out about free putt-putt I felt a bit of joy. If you remember from my previous post regarding how much I enjoy fishing, mini golf is a close second. Why I like the punishment that golf offers me I have no idea, I typically lose as many golf balls as lures, but I digress.The courses are Fantasia Gardens, which has a fantastical whimsical feel, and Winter Summerland, a pair of Christmas themed 18 hole courses. We opted for Winter Summerland, and here's how it played out.

Santa's Airstream

That's a whole lotta turkey!

It's like a Christmas Sandtrap.

As I said, Winter Summerland is actually 2 different courses on the same property. Both sides are Christmas themed, but with a twist. Half of it is Christmas at the beach where the other half is basically the North Pole in Orlando, which is as close as many of the natives will get to a Winter Wonderland short of waiting the hour to get inside Wandering Oaken's Trading Post (Yoohoo!) at Hollywood Studios. Personally, I was all for the winter side of Winter Summerland. It looked cool (I see what I did there) to me, but being that my kids think I'm uncool it was decided by majority rule (whatever shuts them up) that Summerland was where they would play. Seriously? Nothing's gone my way so far. Somebody better get hurt fast or I'm done with this trip.

It took two holes. :)

See those smiles? Yea, that's all about to change.

We arrived in Orlando just as the afternoon showers were ending so parking lots still had puddles, sidewalks were still damp, and fake sand dunes were still slick. Very slick. If you combine slick, fiberglass resin objects just big enough for a flipflop clad 8 year old to mount along with the force of gravity, then divide that by his dad telling him repeatedly to "get down, that's not for climbing" it will equate to a boy body surfing face first downhill onto a soggy, rubbery sand substitute like Ramón from Happy Feet. This will lead to said 8 year old boy laying face down on a par 3 wailing while his father leaves him there just long enough for a nice calm "I told ya so" before picking him up and wiping the grit off his face. Finally. Now it's a vacation!

The rest of the game played out as expected. My 14 year old was a 14 year old about it, the youngest genuinely had a great time and won, and my 8 year old got frustrated beyond belief resulting in yet another fit being thrown and my wife running interference between her putts. I kept score because I can only count to 5.

Let down ye drawbridge!
The course itself was rather neat and had some cool animated additions to the holes. My favorite was the HUGE sandcastle with a working drawbridge which only one in our party actually managed to putt across. The kids, however, liked the rather misplaced striped barber's pole you had to put into and watch the ball travel to the top before plopping down near the hole.

The course ends by meeting back up with the Winter side inside a house. Hole 17 had us putt up a ramp, over a model train and under a Christmas tree before finishing us off at 18 with one of those holes you can't help but get a hole in one on. Unfortunately, this is where the entire Winter Summerland property gets a little dated. You sink what should be, barring a sudden and complete loss of motor skills, your final putt into a computer which then plays a video clip sent from Santa himself. On an over sized monitor. From the early 90s. I swear I saw someone playing Oregon Trail on one right before we got there. The video clips weren't too bad but the mocked up style of computer really killed it for me. Outside of that, I really enjoyed the course and thought the decor was fun, if not potentially life threatening. A word of warning: the fish will spit.

Up the ramp, over the train and under the tree.
Remember how I said this was all for free? Well, that may or may not be true for you with your trip. It all depends on your final trip package. We stayed 5 days in two rooms at a value level resort, had the dining plan with table service, counter service and snacks and took advantage of the Memory Maker program so your mileage may very. Included with all that was also a free round of REAL golf at any of Disney's premier courses, but I didn't have time to take advantage of it. There was even a discounted rate on a guided fishing excursion that we're not going to talk about. Like I'm not going to talk about my wife being the only one to miss her putt on the final "Helen Keller could ace it" hole.

Just one shot under the computer. See?

Mikey Whisenhunt

Pseudo-blogger, Dad, Husband, Disnerd

I'm Mike. I'm a married father of 3 boys. When not at work I spend my spare time talking my wife into Disney trips.


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