Hollywood Drive-In Golf: Movie-Themed Mini Golf at Universal Orlando

Lisa Fritscher January 8, 2015 No Comments

Hollywood Drive-In Golf

Hollywood Drive-In Golf beckons visitors entering CityWalk.

Dad and I have played a lot of mini golf in our travels. It seems that every town we visit, no matter how small, has at least one course to offer. When we are in Orlando, we spend a good deal of time on the main tourist strips, where you can’t drive five miles without passing at least two courses. These places always run fabulous deals, making a quick game almost impossible to resist. With so many courses to choose from, is it really worth paying a premium to play at Universal Orlando? We set out to determine just that.

About Hollywood Drive-In Golf
Opened in 2012, Hollywood Drive-In Golf is located in Universal’s CityWalk shopping and entertainment district. You do not need to have tickets to Universal Studios Florida or Islands of Adventure in order to visit. As of 2014, one 18-hole course costs $14.99 for adults and $12.99 for kids ages 3 to 9. Playing the second course in the same night costs an additional $11.99 for adults and $9.99 for kids. Florida residents, military members, seniors over age 62 and Universal annual passholders receive a 10 percent discount.

If you want to turn your experience into a full evening, consider the dinner and mini-golf option. Starting at $20.60 plus tax per person, the deal includes dinner at one of several table-service CityWalk eateries along with your choice of mini-golf course. You can add the second course for an additional fee.

Planet Putt

Whichever course you choose, expect to be immersed in 1950s film culture!

Hollywood Drive-In Golf utilizes cutting-edge theming and special effects to take players back to the 1950s drive-in movies. Whether you choose the spooky “Haunting of Ghostly Greens” or the sci-fi “Invaders of Planet Putt,” the level of immersion beats even Walt Disney World’s spectacular Fantasia Gardens course. The courses take on a completely different feel after dark, when the LED lighting adds an additional layer of creepy atmosphere.

The courses are moderately difficult, but do not contain any highly tricky or technical shot requirements. Even if you just whack the ball around without carefully aiming, you are not likely to get stuck on a hole. Meeting or beating par, however, requires fairly accurate aim. This makes the game fun for the whole family, as the more competitive players can vie for the best score, while those with less experience get the satisfaction of completing each hole.

The Verdict
Dad and I played one evening while waiting for my cousin to meet us for a midnight movie. Although we did not get the opportunity to play the sci-fi course, both Dad and I thoroughly enjoyed the haunted side. The thrills are silly and fun rather than outright scary, and a small scavenger hunt is built into the experience. We found the layout to be just difficult enough to add a layer of challenge, without the frustration and humiliation that comes with losing a ball into a water hazard or chasing it all over the course. As annual passholders, we got a small discount, but we would probably play again even at full price.

Ghostly Greens

The spook factor is silly and fun rather than outright frightening.

Tips for Parents
The major downside to Hollywood Drive-In Golf is the same problem that plagues everything at CityWalk. If you do not have a Universal annual pass, you must pay the same parking fee as you would if you were visiting the theme parks. As of 2014, parking is $16 before 6 p.m. After 6, it is free for Florida residents or $5 for non-residents. Valet parking is $15 for up to two hours.

Although the restaurants, shops and activities at CityWalk (excluding the nightclubs) are generally family-friendly and open to all ages, Universal has a somewhat unusual security policy. After 10 p.m., everyone entering CityWalk must be age 21 or over. It does not seem to be a problem for kids who are already inside CityWalk to stay there, but they will not be allowed to enter even when accompanied by a parent.

Due to this policy, CityWalk does take on more of an adult party atmosphere after 10 p.m. Even if your kids are not actively kicked out, you might feel more comfortable planning to end the evening by that time. Plan to arrive around 6 p.m. when the parking fee drops, and you should have plenty of time to eat, play and even do a bit of shopping before 10.

avatarAbout the Author:

Lisa is a full-time travel writer. She lives in an RV with her disabled father and writes about their experiences. Although she has no children of her own, Lisa loves being an Aunt to her own relatives and the children of all her friends. You can follow her adventures on her blog, Travel Confessions.

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