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Universal's Hollywood Drive-In takes miniature golf in Orlando to a hole new level

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Universal's Hollywood Drive-In takes miniature golf in Orlando to a hole new level

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It looks like Universal Orlando has really hit a hole-in-one with its new Hollywood Drive-In Golf complex.

Copyright Universal Orlando. All rights reserved

Though the painters were still putting a few finishing touches on these two 18-hole courses while I "played through" at last night's press preview, it was hard not to be impressed with this new Universal CityWalk venue. Which (I predict) is going to quickly become Central Florida's new gold standard. At least when it comes to miniature golf courses.

This miniature golf course's silly signage does a great job ...

"And why is that exactly?," you ask. To be blunt, Universal Creative (who partnered with Adventure Golf Design and Development to produce these two courses) didn't stint when it came to "Invaders from Planet Putt" and "The Haunting of Ghostly Greens."  Virtually every hole in the facility features interactive elements like air blasts and water spurts, not to mention elaborate sound and lighting cues.

... some of the colorful challenges that you'll
 encounter as you wander the links.

Speaking of which ... If you really want the full experience when it comes to Hollywood Drive-In Golf, then I suggest that you schedule your visit for after dark. Which is when -- thanks to their spectacular fluorescent lighting packages -- these two 18-hole courses (which draw their inspiration from classic drive-in era horror and sci-fi movies of the 1950s) really come to life.

Copyright Universal Orlando. All rights reserved

Then when you factor in this miniature golf course's witty soundtrack (EX: When you're playing on the "Haunting of Ghostly Green" side, you'll hear songs like "The Monster Mash," "Witchy Woman," "Time Warp" from "Rocky Horror Picture Show." Meanwhile over on the "Invaders from Planet Putt" side,  you'll enjoy tunes like R.E.M.'s "The End of the World as We Know It" and David Bowie's "Space Oddity") as well as all the silly signs that you'll find scattered in & around these two courses, Hollywood Drive-In Golf is one fun & funny spot to kill a few hours the next time you visit the Universal Orlando Resort.

"So what's your favorite part of this new UOR venue?," you query. I don't know if it was Universal Creative's attention to detail (EX: those cactuses that were planted in & around Planet Putt's Area 51 to give this hole a genuine desert feel) to some of the more unique aspects of this course (How many times to you get to play through a giant space slug? Or bring a mad scientist's lab to life with a quick tap of a ball?). All I know is that -- compared to Hollywood Drive-In Golf -- WDW's Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland will now seem tired & tame.

More to the point, you really have to go out of your way on property if you're looking to play miniature golf at Walt Disney World. Whereas Universal's new Hollywood Drive-In Golf facility sort of redefines centrally located. Guests who have parked their cars in UOR's two huge parking facilities can't help but notice these two new miniature golf courses as they make their way to Universal Studios Florida and/or Islands of Adventure. The speed ramps & walkways that safely carry people across Hollywood Way and Universal Boulevard actually pass directly over "The Haunting of Ghostly Green" and "Invaders from Planet Putt."

Copyright Universal Orlando. All rights reserved

In fact, if you'd like to eyeball both of these miniature golf courses before you then commit to playing, this elevated walkway is actually makes for a great viewing platform. You can get a real lay of the land from up there.

You may notice that the mascots for these two
miniature golf courses ...

But -- of course -- because this is Orlando that we're talking about here, you have to pay if you want to play.  If you're looking to play a single round of golf on one course at Universal's Hollywood Drive-In Golf, that'll be $13.99 plus tax for adults and $11.99 plus tax for children (ages 3 to 9). If you're looking to experience both "The Haunting of Ghostly Green" and "Invaders from Planet Putt," you'll then be paying $24.99 plus tax for adults and $22.99 plus tax for kids 3 to 9.

... share certain similarities.

Mind you, Universal Orlando annual passholders can expect to get a 10% discount on admission to Hollywood Drive-In Golf. Which is currently scheduled to be open for business daily from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m.

So if you're looking for a hole new way to have fun the next time you're in Orlando, then why not swing on by Universal's Hollywood Drive-In Golf? Sure, you'll have to spend some green in order to get in. But you're sure to have a ball once you get out on these two new miniature golf courses. Though -- that said -- I can't guarantee that you won't get wind up in the ruff.

Copyright Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved

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  • Dracula looks like a vain mobster stereotype.

  • This seriously looks spectacular. My family are planning a trip to IOA and Universal this summer, and we're really excited about all the new stuff they've added to their resort. My wife thinks mini golf is lame, but me and the kids love it, so we will definitely be putting around on this course. :)

  • I hate to be that person, but the name of the David Bowie song is "Space Oddity."

    EDITOR'S NOTE: My mistake. Thanks for pointing out that error. It's now been corrected.

  • David Bowie has NEVER performed a song named "Major Tom."

    EDITOR'S NOTE: You're correct. The proper song title -- "Space Oddity" -- has now been inserted in this article. Thanks for pointing out that error.

  • Thanks for the correction.  I take my Bowie seriously!

    (In your defense, there IS a song named "Major Tom" and it's even about the same character - it just wasn't Bowie who wrote or performed it.  Peter Schilling did that one, but there's a more recent and arguably more popular cover by Shiny Toy Guns.)

  • Looks like fun! Hopefully, it'll inspire Disney to revamp (or at least do a major rehab on) Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland; frankly, they were looking tired and tame even before Uni opened their course.

  • And is it me, or do Uni's mascots look like the character on the box of Quisp cereal? ;)

  • I have a question. How come we don't see more  Universal walking characters at the park?  Seeing those Universal monsters and their license characters from other studios make me wish that happen more often.

  • Three questions:  (1) When does this (mini golf at Universal) open to the public?   (2) Am I to gather that Disney still hasn't refurbished the Winter Summerland mini golf courses?  They were super-cute when I visited and played them approximately six years ago, but I noticed they were in need of an upgrade.  I would expect much better upkeep from Disney!  (3) Is the Fantasia course in good shape and worth the expense of playing?  Thanks.

  • At $2 more per adult than Winter-Summerland and Fantasia Gardens, it seems they are¬†stretching the price point for mini-golf in Orlando. But it is also clear they have really gone the extra yard in design and creativity terms. It's sure to be a big hit with the Brits as they absolutely LOVE their mini-golf, and this is a particularly fine example.

  • Looks great. And are Brits mad about mini golf? It's called crazy golf over here.

  • Well, I made it to Universal Citywalk last week and played the two new mini golf courses.  A few comments:  Night-time play is both more fun (thanks to the lighting details) and more comfortable (given that roughly half of each course lacks shade).  Both courses have some super-lame holes, but overall I found the sci-fi course to be more challenging and more creative.  The final holes for both courses are great!

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