Golfing Vacation at Walt Disney World
Fun for the WHOLE Family!

A statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse welcomes guests to the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.  Cinderella's Castle is seen in the background.

The State of Florida boasts some 1,500 golf courses easily making it one of the best vacation destinations...most anywhere. As an added bonus, five of the best golf courses are found at Florida’s most famous resort, Walt Disney World, some 21 miles southwest of Orlando. Over the course of several visits, we’ve had the opportunity to play or tour all of Disney World’s layouts.

Disney's Palm and Magnolia Golf Courses may be among the most famous of the five as they are where the annual Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic is held. The Classic has been held yearly since 1972, usually in the month of October. Jack Nicklaus not only took the top spot at the inaugural event but also went on to win it the next two years. This streak gave him the most consistent wins of any other player in the nearly 50 years of the competition. The list of the tournament’s other winners shines with the names of some of the best in the sport including Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Hal Sutton, Payne Stewart, Mark O'Meara and Davis Love III. 

Here is a brief description for each of the five courses:

Magnolia Golf Course:

Disney's Magnolia Golf Course represents a paradise for serious golfers, as well as a thrilling challenge for players at all levels.

Featuring broad fairways and sprinkled with some 97 bunkers, this is the king of the courses at Walt Disney World. These beautifully manicured links are named for the abundance of fragrant blossoming magnolia trees making this course truly magnificent and a treat for the senses. The course design masterfully incorporates the area's natural features to enhance the beauty of the lush, rolling greens and sparkling water hazards—all for a course deserving of its excellent 4 star rating by Golf Digest.

Disney's Magnolia Golf Course represents a paradise for serious golfers, as well as a thrilling challenge for players at all levels. The greens are as good as you will find on any golf course…anywhere! When you step onto the first tee, you feel the power from other golf champions who have stood there before you and you'll find yourself powering your way down sweeping fairways at the home to the final rounds of the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.

Palm Golf Course:

Disney's Palm Golf Course has received an excellent rating of 4 stars by Golf Digest.

At Disney World’s Palm Golf Course you will see and feel the natural beauty of the Florida woodlands. This majestic course is both a pleasure to play, as well as an exciting test of skill be it tee box, fairway or green. Avid golfers will appreciate the design of the course which features strategically placed lakes and sand traps; all across a golf landscape that's dotted with palm trees.

Elevated greens, 9 water holes, 94 bunkers plus a fair sprinkling of water and woods make this course distinctive. Be prepared to enjoy and encounter deer and other wildlife on this particular layout. The course provides plenty of challenges for novice and seasoned players.

Osprey Ridge Golf Course:

Golf Digest recognizes Disney's Osprey Ridge as one of the best in Florida with a rating it 4½ stars, the highest of all of the Disney courses.

The Osprey Ridge Golf Course is a Certified Audubon Cooperative Wildlife Sanctuary and features majestic live oak, pine, palmetto, cypress and bay trees. The surrounding vegetation and wetlands serve as a breathtaking backdrop for a championship course that blends all the majesty of nature with superb design by Tom Fazio. Golf Digest recognizes Disney's Osprey Ridge as one of the best in Florida with a rating it 4½ stars, the highest of all of the Disney courses.

This sweeping 18-hole course is arguably one of the most tranquil locales in all of the Walt Disney World Resort. It boasts 7,101 yards from the longest tees for a par of 72—making Osprey Ridge suitable for golfers seeking a serious challenge.

Lake Buena Vista Golf Course:

The Lake Buena Vista course provides the feeling of a classic country-club course with a distinctive high-end atmosphere.

The Lake Buena Vista course presents meandering fairways that wind their way through pastel villas, pine forests, palmettos and sparkling lakes. This course provides the feeling of a classic country-club course with a distinctive high-end atmosphere. The boats navigating the scenic canals add to the tranquil setting and not to be missed is the enchanting lighthouse overlooking the course. Golf Digest rates Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course an impressive 4 stars.

An impressive claim to fame for this course is that it is one of the few courses having hosted PGA Tour, LPGA Tour and USGA events. The course most notably features elevated bunkered greens putting a premium on accurate approach shots. The picturesque island green at the 7th hole will certainly test your skills and fortitude.

Oak Trail Golf Course:

Disney's Oak Trail 9-hole, par-36 course is where players enjoy undulating greens and testing their skills.

Florida based golf course designer, Ron Garl created the Disney Oak Trail Golf Course. This is a delightful and charming 9-hole walking layout set amidst a beautiful natural environment. Created for families to enjoy together, this course promotes fun and fitness and is ideal for those seeking a casual 9-hole round. Players are most apt to see and enjoy being amongst deer and waterfowl that occasionally wander out of the surrounding woodlands.

Disney's Oak Trail is a 2,913-yard, 9-hole, par-36 golf course where players enjoy undulating greens and testing their skills with holes ranging from 132 to 517 yards from the back tees. There are plenty of exciting challenges, including holes 5, 6 and 7 which are routed around a deep canal and a picturesque pond. The course certainly provides fun for everyone, from developing golfers to experienced players.

Attire for the Disney Golf Courses:
In order to provide the best possible putting surfaces, Disney's Osprey Ridge Golf Course is a non-metal spike facility. Golf shoes with metal spike alternatives, or tennis shoes, are permitted. Proper golf attire is also required on all Disney courses. For men, this includes polo-style shirts with collars, turtlenecks or mock turtleneck shirts, slacks or Bermuda-length shorts. For women, proper attire consists of polo-style shirts with collars or other suitable shirts or blouses with or without collars, slacks, skirts or Bermuda-length shorts.

Disney offers golf courses and facilities for all playing levels.

For More Information:
Walt Disney World Golf Courses

Booking a Tee Time at the Disney Golf Courses:
Book Tee Times at any of the Disney golf courses.

Click here to view rates for all courses.

About the Walt Disney World Resort:

The Walt Disney World Resort was created and inspired by none other than Walt Disney himself. It was initially slated to be not just a destination, but an experience. Disney had already been very successful with the popular Disneyland in Anaheim, California, which opened July 18, 1955 and wanted to bring a similar park on a larger scale to the east coast. The Magic Kingdom was the first park built for Disney World. It opened its doors on October 1, 1971 and was followed later by Epcot on October 1, 1982 Disney's Hollywood Studios on May 1, 1989 and Disney's Animal Kingdom opened its wild gates on April 22, 1998. In total the Walt Disney World Resort encompasses some 30,080-acres and overall includes four theme parks, two water parks, 23 on-site themed resort hotels (excluding eight that are on-site, but not owned by the Walt Disney Company), a campground, two health spas and physical fitness centers, and other recreational and entertainment venues. Though Disney never lived to see Disney World open it is safe to say his dream of creating an experience lives on. 

The Magic Kingdom features most all the Disney characters where Mickey Mouse is considered "The King."

We visited the park most recently in September 2011. While it would take months to fully take in all Disney World has to offer, we were able to sample all four parks and create a list of not-to-be-missed attractions. Our first stop was the Magic Kingdom, which is home to Disney’s famous Cinderella’s Castle. Seeing the castle in person will bring anyone back to his or her childhood, there is just something inexplicably magical about it. Many of the rides at Magic Kingdom are similar to those found at Disneyland in California. While the rides names may be familiar the actual ride experiences are very different so do not be fooled into thinking if you’ve been to Disneyland that you don’t need to do it again because you do! Our tip for this park is for the Haunted Mansion: there are two lines to get to the attraction, one takes you through the graveyard, be sure to be in this one! Magic Kingdom is currently undergoing some major renovations and adding some brand new rides based on Classic Disney stories including The Little Mermaid and Aladdin.

The next park we visited was Hollywood Studios where we immediately found a new favorite ride in the form of Rock’n’Rollercoaster starring Aerosmith. This is a great rollercoaster (think Space Mountain meets Steven Tyler) and is actually a fun wait as the walls are lined with all kinds of rock’n’roll memorabilia. The ride that is absolutely not-to-be-missed in this park is one of the newest rides at Walt Disney World, Toy Story Midway Mania. Riders sit in 2-person spinning booths and try and hit virtual targets while playing various classic midway games. This ride is fun for all ages, 4-104, it does not matter, you will enjoy this interactive ride and the competition it will surely spur. Be sure and get there early though as this ride is popular and the line can be long. We didn’t experience many long lines during our visit but this was by far the longest clocking in at about 65 minutes. Hollywood Studios is also home to many stage shows and tours. If you have a chance, catch the backlot tour, which takes you behind the scenes to learn about how some amazing movie effects are created. 

Our safari included rhinoceros, giraffes, several species of birds elephants and even a warthog.

With Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios under our belts it was off to Animal Kingdom. This park was easily the least crowded park we visited and the most out of the way being that it is approximately a 12-minute bus ride from Magic Kingdom. While it only boasts three large rides, they are so well done that we are putting all three on the do-not-miss-list. Whether traveling with kids or friends Kilimanjaro Safaris is exciting. This attraction is as close as most of us will ever get to an actual African safari and Disney has taken great care to make experience as realistic as possible, which includes filling it with real animals. On our safari we saw rhinoceros, giraffes, several species of birds elephants and even a warthog. Our next stop was Expedition Everest a Tibetan Yeti themed rollercoaster. This attraction makes the list for two reasons, first, the wait line takes you through an informative and suspenseful ‘museum’ which makes the experience that much more real and second the rollercoaster has an epic twist or two which I won’t reveal here but should be experienced if you only have time for one attraction at Animal Kingdom. The last attraction stop at Animal Kingdom was Dinosaur. This attraction is not for the faint of heart. The ride itself is mild, but the sights and sounds are intense and will leave you feeling like you just ran a marathon.

Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival is the Holy Grail for the food and wine lover.

The last park we visited was actually the purpose of our trip that was to explore Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival. This is the Holy Grail for the food and wine lover. It is scheduled each fall from late September to mid-November. Here you will find everything from tasty foods and refreshing beverages to celebrity chef demonstrations and rock star performances, there's something to satisfy most every appetite, taste and social interest. Upon arriving at the Festival Welcome Center, be sure to pick up your Marketplace Discovery Passport. This will be most helpful in planning your experience. From there, you can wine and dine your way around the world – literally! Some of our favorites included the Lobster and Scallop Fisherman’s Pie found in Ireland, the Golabki (pork stuffed cabbage) from Poland and the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup from Canada (the later also happens to be a park employee favorite). Take in a cooking or spirits demonstration, savor wines of your choice and kick back to the sounds of live music from the outdoor amphitheater. If you can, try and schedule your visit to the Food and Wine festival on a weekday when lines tend to be much shorter and crowds are minimal. 

All of the parks provide transportation to other parks, which makes getting around between them very easy.

All of the parks provide transportation to other parks, which makes getting around between them very easy. There is a plethora of shopping at every park but don’t make the mistake of waiting to purchase an item thinking you will find it later, we saw very little overlap of merchandise between parks especially in items that were themed for that particular park. Whether you are there to play golf, taking in a special event or just looking for a place to take the entire family you’ll find it all at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

For More Information:

Walt Disney World Resorts