WSL New RatingDisney’s Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course
1548 West Buena Vista Drive
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
(once on Disney property, follow the signs to Blizzard Beach)
(407) 939 6244

Open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Adults $12.52, children (ages 3-9) $10.39 per round.
50% off for Walt Disney World Seasonal and Annual Pass Holders.

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Disney’s Winter Summerland has two playfully designed courses, both oddly Christmas themed: Christmas in winter (in Florida?) on the Snow Course, and Santa’s off-season in the Sand Course. The Summer/Sand course invites visitors to putt their way through Santa’s summer vacation hangout. Expect to encounter strategically placed surf boards, air stream trailers, spitting fish, snoozing elves and a Magic Kingdom inspired sand castle.

We recently played Disney’s Winter Summerland’s Sand Course and found it a fun course that the whole family can enjoy. imgp0296 The course is colorful, very clean and well kept. The varied terrain is made of a soft recycled tire playground substrate which is both durable and well suited to the sandy theme of the course.

Designed for all ages, the course is not too difficult – which might seem boring to more experienced putters if it wasn’t so well themed down to the very last jolly detail.imgp0283

Overall the course is a weird but playful mix of summer time vacation activities and Christmas as the obstacles take the form of peppermint inner tubes, sand castles, a melted snowman, a ball-spiraling “South Pole” and a sand-covered imgp0295sleeping Santa Claus. The most difficult obstacle is on Hole 6, which features a snapping clam that will deliver your ball closer to the hole if you can properly implant it before it closes. Beware, however, even if you get your ball into the clam, it may bounce back out of the gap in the front of the bivalve’s closed shell.

Prepare to be humming a set of Beach Boys tunes before you reach the end of your game – the course’s surf soundtrack is atmospheric and inescapable. The Christmas theme, somewhat subtle throughout this side of the attraction, increases when you reach Hole 15. From here on out it’s all presents, Christmas trees, dollies, and toy trains.

Like many courses, the 18th hole is designed only to collect your golf balls at the end of your game. While it serves its purpose, it is sort of a lame imgp0304hole, either guaranteeing a hole-in-one, or causing immense frustration when one botches such a simple putt. Crowned with Santa’s outdated, early 1990s desktop PC, you must putt up a short incline in order to receive your farewell E-mail video message from Old St. Nick. This part is cheesy (not a joke referencing the PC’s block-of-cheese mouse) but very small children might enjoy it.

In fact, the entire Santa and Christmas theme is rather bizarre, especially for Disney. The course is right next to Blizzard Beach, the winter-themed water park, but the Christmas-year-round thing is inexplicable when Disney has so many other situations from which to draw inspiration. Though it is the secularized Christmas that is being promoted – there are no mangers to be found, thank the gods – we can’t help but wonder how this attraction resonates with non-Christians. But, again, maybe it’s just an excuse to play awesome beachy music and Elvis’s “Blue Christmas.”

We find the oddities excusable when we reflect upon how much fun we had playing the rest of the course – especially after the desk clerk hands us our complimentary “special edition” Winter Summerland golf ball and a mini Sharpie as we exit. We highly recommend this course for people that want a fun and unique mini golf experience, although bringing the whole family could be costly unless you can get the pass holder discount.

Visit Putt Plug’s Facebook fan page to see more photographs from this course.

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