Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf                                                                                      Return to Florida pageCity Mini Golf


Walt Disney World (across from the Swan hotel)

Lake Buena Vista, FL


Price: $14.00 (discounted 2nd round, carries over to next day with receipt)

Par: 53 (Gardens Course), 72 (Fairways Course)


Gardens Course                                  Fairways Course

Difficulty: 7                                       Difficulty: 10

Creativity: 9                                      Creativity: 9                                                 

Atmosphere: 8                                   Atmosphere: 8          


2018 Ratings

Gardens Course                                  Fairways Course

Difficulty: 5                                       Difficulty: 10

Creativity: 9                                      Creativity: 8             

Atmosphere: 9                                   Atmosphere: 9          


We took on these courses late at night during our recent stay at Disney World (this course sits right on the Disney property, between MGM and the Swan hotel) and that brings us to our first point- they were open incredibly late!  The course gives out “tee-times” to ensure people are staggered at the start and the last time on the Fairways course in the middle of January was 10:30.  We didn’t get off the course until almost midnight.  Flexible hours were definitely a plus.  As for other general items, the price was a bit steep for 18, but the ˝ price option for the second round was nice and the length of the courses and overall condition warranted the cost.  The grounds were in good condition, but there were places that looked a little worn by time (much the same way certain sections of Disney World do).


The easier of the two courses is the Gardens Course and it follows a theme from the movie Fantasia.  Each of the holes has something to do with one of the movements in the movie, culminating with the Sorcerer’s Apprentice scene at the last two holes.   The integration of the theme is very good, as it provides for a variety of unique holes, including having to putt through fountains and a nifty surprise in the cave.  As noted above, the overall condition of the course was clean, but it did have a worn look about it, and as with all things Disney, the mouse ears were quite prominent.


The Fairways Course is a course on which there have been USPMGA tournaments played on, and it is the toughest course we have ever played.  The best way to describe this course is imagining making a series of actual golf course holes, then making it to about 1/10 the size.  Each of the holes is closer to 100 feet long and has little to no edging (ball on the grass is a penalty).  While the course also has sandtraps (real ones), there is no penalty for hitting the ball in there.  Our best advice is to read the signs before putting because they do give some advice as to how to best attack the course.  While it is possible to throw an ace or two into a couple of the holes, the best strategy for most players is to not go straight for the pin, but try to set yourself up for an easier two or three.  We also suggest playing this course first, because it is quite hard to transition from a course where you use the edges frequently to one where you have none to use.


We only really have one gripe about the entire course.  As noted in other reviews, we are big on the metal putters here at the Putting Penguin.  At this course, there are both metal and rubber-head putters, but you are only allowed to use the metal ones on the Fairways Course.  We were a little perturbed at this, especially since we played at 10:30 at night, there were few people there in total, and although we asked, we couldn’t get a metal putter for the Gardens Course.  Other than that one minor gripe, we could definitely recommend this course to anyone who is visiting Disney or happens to be in the Disney area.


2018 Update

Twelve years later and we’re happy to say that this course is just as good as when we first played it and might be a bit better! We once again played these courses at night, hitting up the Fairways course one evening and then the Gardens course the next evening as we were staying at the Swan hotel (an easy walk over to this course). On both occasions the staff was very friendly and we even chatted about some of the tournaments they used to hold at the course. We had a similar experience as to the last time in that there weren’t many people on the course, so we still can’t speak for how it plays when crowded. One thing we didn’t note last time is you can buy beer there to take on the course.  We also noticed the benches this time around which were very nice and there was of course Fantasia music playing throughout both the courses.


They seem to have increased the par on the Fairways course as it was 60 when we lasted played but is now 72, which is probably accurate for a majority of part-time putters. The one thing we noticed on replay of this course was the part of the difficulty stemmed from the last 10 feet or so of the holes. While the holes are long, you can get fairly close to the cups by either following the signs or being a bit more aggressive with your putts.  However, down by the hole there are very few “natural” putts as you might see on other difficult minigolf courses.  Generally, the greens don’t flatten out until you are less than 4-5 feet from the hole.  Anything beyond that and you usually have a severe bump, dip, or drainage pipe in the way of the putt. It seems to take a little skill out of the hole as that’s where some of the better miniature golfers might distinguish themselves by better mastery of the 6 foot and under putts, even if there are the normal breaks to the green. Notwithstanding, we were able to keep it under par in the 60s and likely could have shaved off a few more strokes easily on a second play of the course.  Despite the lack of edging we actually didn’t go out-of-bounds at all.  We also knocked the creativity down a little in our re-review.  While there is still a decent amount of variety in these “golf” type holes they did get to feel a little repetitive as we closed out the back nine.


The Gardens course we found to be a little bit easier this time. We thought the par was a little high for the course considering there a decent amount of ace chance and the holes can be figured out rather easily once you take a look at them.  However, there is the occasional hole that can turn into a quick 4 or 5 if you miss the initial route. One of the holes even plays some music after you sink the putt which is fun!  It definitely makes for a nice juxtaposition to the Fairways course and we’d suggest you play both to get the full experience.


Overall we bumped up the atmosphere score for both these courses as they continue to represent what is great about miniature golf in two different manners. The cost isn’t that bad compared to the other major courses these day and it looked like the course had seen some upkeep and we didn’t noticed as much of the “worn” feel as we did back in 2006.  It still remains a recommended play!


Reviewed by Pat, Chris, Putt & Mini Putt

Reviewed in 2006 & 2018


Visitor Review #1




Fantasia Gardens Pictures  (click to enlarge)


Fantasia Fairways                Fantasia Fairways                Fantasia Fairways


Fantasia Fairways                Fantasia Fairways                Fantasia Fairways


Fantasia Fairways                Fantasia Fairways                Fantasia Fairways


Fantasia Fairways                Fantasia Fairways               


Fantasia Fairways Pictures (click to enlarge)

Fantasia Fairways                Fantasia Fairways                Fantasia Fairways


Fantasia Fairways                Fantasia Fairways                Fantasia Fairways


Fantasia Fairways                Fantasia Fairways


2018 Pictures


Fantasia Fairways                Fantasia Fairways                Fantasia Fairways


Fantasia Fairways                Fantasia Fairways                Fantasia Fairways


Fantasia Fairways                Fantasia Fairways


See our album for pictures of all 36 holes and more.




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Visitor Review #1 (2019)


Price: $14

Par: 53 (Gardens Course)


Gardens Course

Difficulty: 2                                      

Creativity: 9                                     

Atmosphere: 8                                                                      


The Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Courses: fitted with two very different and very unique courses. The Fantasia Gardens is situated on Walt Disney World property, hidden around the Dolphin and Swan resorts, and the future resort of The Cove. And once when The Cove opens, these miniature golf courses will become even more secluded. I only played the Gardens Course, not the Fairways Course, so obviously this review will only have in depth remarks about the Gardens Course. The Fairways Course looked like a more exciting challenge: pure golf on a small scale; complete with a par of seventy two, water hazards, sand traps, grassy roughs, and dog legs that demand skill from the most seasoned of players. This Fairways Course looked very difficult and most likely would have taken quite some time to complete the full eighteen holes. No question, this course looked more maintained than the whimsical Gardens Course.


The Gardens Course is an entire different eighteen holes of playful challenges that take the players through the five orchestral movements of the Disney classic, Fantasia. The Garden Course touts that the course is accompanied with dancing fountains, musical instruments, and animated statues that all add up to a "golfing fantasy you'll always remember". Upon first arriving to the Fantasia Gardens, the wait times for both courses seemed very long: over sixty minutes for the Gardens Course and forty five minutes for the Fairways Course. We put our name on the list and went to Disney Springs, the large shopping area of Disney World. I was somewhat annoyed with the lengthy wait, but at least Disney World has many other attractions and experiences to keep you busy while waiting.


When it was finally our turn to play, we received our putters and balls (you get significantly nicer and greater quality metal putters for the Fairways Course, most likely to be able to strike your ball further distances, as it is a larger course (distance wise)), I noticed immediately that there was no practice green present on their premises. As regular readers would know from my previous reviews, I always appreciate miniature golf courses with practice greens so the players can get properly acclimated with the speed of the putting surfaces and the depths and sizes of the cups of the holes. Which brings me to the most significant positive aspect of the course: the uniformity of the Gardens Course's cups of the holes. These holes' cups were very deep and were all identically symmetrical, which the miniature golfer can always appreciate and that there's no randomness associated with the balls going into the cups.


The course seemed unique, as it was Fantasia and Disney themed, but did not that special. I think that the Gardens Course's relative usualness was due to the fact that I have been exposed to countless of other more unique miniature golf courses. The course was accompanied with many moving parts and unique obstacles, but overall the Gardens Course seemed very easy, and did not test that much of miniature golf skill (unlike the Fairways Course, where I am sure that it would have been much more difficult). Most of the eighteen holes on the Gardens Course had a par of three which seemed very high for many of the holes, as it would have been nearly impossible to get anything less than two strokes when it comes to some of the holes. Also, many (if not all of the holes) had slight curves and hills towards the cups of the holes, where even if the golfer mis-hit the ball (wrong speed or wrong direction), the ball would slowly redirect itself towards the hole. This made the Gardens Course significantly easier, and myself and my fellow competitors christened this phenomenon as the "Disney Roll". Another criticism of the Garden Course was that none of the water features were operational while we were playing the course. This greatly affected the play of the course, as some of the holes on the course were relatively lame without the water fountains; this was also quite annoying as this is a Disney World miniature golf course and one would expect nothing but the best from Disney.


Overall, I felt that the course obstacles needed a new paint job, a new "tee box" area, and new carpeted greens as everything seems a tad "run down" for Disney. In summary, the Garden Course is just adequate when it comes to satisfying my miniature golf needs, but I am sure that the Fairways Course would have been a much greater experience. Also, Disney has two other miniature golf courses at another location called The Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Courses (where you "join Santa and his elves at their off-season retreat"), right next to one of Disney's water parks, Blizzard Beach. I would recommend playing those courses too, as I have played them both before (but not that recent enough to write an entire thorough review). The Garden Course is not really that unique, but I guess it seems somewhat special just because it is Disney.


Reviewed by Andrew Rifkin

Reviewed in 2019