REVIEW: Fantasia Gardens Mini Golf: An Ode to Fantasia 2000
When you think of Walt Disney World, usually what comes to mind is the theme parks. It’s the big draw for almost everyone, but when you look past the parks, there is so much more to do on property. One excellent option good for the entire family is miniature golf. Did you know WDW has two complete mini golf courses, each with their own unique theme? One is located right next to the water park, Blizzard Beach, and is called Winter Summerland, themed around Christmas and a melting winter, much like Blizzard Beach’s theme of a melting ski resort. The other course, Fantasia Gardens, is located off of Buena Vista Dr right across the street from the Swan & Dolphin Resort. Yep, you guessed it. This one is theme all around the movie Fantasia 2000.
For years, I’ve wanted to try Disney’s mini golf courses because I love playing min golf, even if I stink at it sometimes, but hey, that makes it more fun! Finally, I got to play a round on Fantasia Gardens. This course is a bit different than you’d think. Like usual, there are two 18-hole courses, but only one side is themed to Fantasia 2000. This is considered the easier side of the two and is expected to take only about 45-60 minutes to complete. The other side, named Fantasia Fairways, is a type of mini golf course I’ve personally never even seen or heard it. Considered to be the ‘hard’ course of the two, it is quite literally a miniature golf course. What I mean by that is, it is as if they took a full size 18-hole golf course and shrunk it down to mini golf size. Complete with sand traps, rough terrain, hills, and flag poles in each end point just like a regular golf course, Fantasia Fairways is estimated to take about 90 minutes to complete. We chose to complete the Fantasia Gardens side and were not disappointed!
At the beginning of each hole, there is a sign indicating the hole number, as well as which musical piece the theme relates to from Fantasia 2000, and a short poem describing the challenge that lays ahead. Whether it talks of how to get a hole in one, describing the theme itself, or a warning of what not to do, this is a very fun detail, so make sure to read each one!
Since Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 are both all about music, of course music details are woven into many of the holes in one way or another. Some of theme display instruments, sometimes you make music with the golf ball itself, and others have music played when you score. Each hole is unique and interesting.
One of my favorite things to see in mini golf is interactive holes. Mini golf is always a fun activity and usually challenging, but when it only contains very basic hills and turns, it can be a little dull. The great thing about Fantasia Gardens is the interactive elements woven into each hole. Sometimes it’s as simple as a sound effect when the ball passes through a specific tunnel, but other times, there is a moving object which you must time perfectly in order to be successful with the hole and stay within par. There was never a dull moment here.
As you can see above, each hole is very different and unique. The course is definitely showing its age with some worn down areas of certain holes. Some affects weren’t working as they should, but thankfully it didn’t hinder our fun. The course is set to go down for refurbishment soon, so hopefully those issues will be addressed. When playing, be sure to keep an eye out for Sorcerer Mickey, Yinsed, and even the Chernabog. They each have their own hole and are wonderful details. We had a great time at Fantasia Gardens and will definitely be returning to play again, and even play a round on Fantasia Fairways!