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Are you planning a Disney Golf getaway? Then, I have you covered with my favorite Disney golf courses, restaurants, and hotels in Orlando, Florida.
Read further on my recent experience with a golf weekend trip to Disney!
Disney Golf Experience
I am married to an anti-Disney World man. Now don’t get me wrong he has nothing against Disney World in general, he just hates crowds, traffic, and theme parks. I, on the other hand, love the whole idea of Disney and can put up with a little inconvenience.
So, I cooked up an idea to convince him to visit the area by dangling the promise of two of us (you know a couple of senior smoothies) trying out some Disney area golf courses.
Disney Palm Golf Course vs Magnolia
As St. Petersburg residents were only an hour and half away from Walt Disney’s Palm and Magnolia golf courses which are located very close to Mickey Mouse’s home, the Magic Kingdom.
After careful consideration, we decided to play the Palm Golf Course as golf reviews indicated that it was more challenging than its sister course, the Magnolia.
After arriving we were greeted by very friendly staff and starter. One thing you can always count on when visiting any Disney property is cleanliness and friendliness. At least this has always been the case when I have visited in the past.
Disney Palm Golf Course
As Florida residents, we were given the discount rate of $55.00 per person including the cart after 1:00 pm. Of course, this is September so the rate is lower due to the off-season. Pat and I joined two older gentlemen from Belfast, Ireland to make our foursome.
Our group had a delightful day playing the challenging Joe Lee designed course. Pat concluded that the Disney Palm Golf Course had a good layout with large greens that ran slow. This no doubt was due to the large amount of rain from the previous week. Several of the holes were cart path only, but in reality the whole course should have been cart path only, as many fairways were getting torn up.
Overall, we felt the course was maintained well, but was starting to show wear from so much continued play.
Shades of Green at Disney World
While visiting the Palm and Magnolia golf courses I noted that there was a substantial-sized hotel located between the two courses. This hotel is very close to the theme parks, walking distance in fact, but I had never heard of it. It is called Shades of Green and with further investigation found out that it is owned by the U.S. Armed Forces. It is only open to U.S. military personnel and their families.
Shades of Green is a unique resort that has swimming pools, a waterpark, restaurants, and the availability of discount tickets and promotions for many Disney attractions. I was very pleased to see that eligible military personnel and their families have this opportunity to enjoy the Disney experience with a more cost-effective plan. Way to go Disney!
Hilton Bonnet Creek
After leaving the Palm golf course we checked into our room at Signia by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek which was fairly close (6.4 miles). This hotel in my book is fairly pricey but I was able to snag a room through Traveluro for $140.00 a night which I thought was a pretty decent deal.
Unfortunately, I was unaware or naïve that there were extra charges to be considered. Tacked on to the bill was a daily resort and self-parking fee of $45.00 and $32.00; now throw in some sales tax and you are well over $200.00 a night. Whew! What happened to the $140.00 room?
The hotel itself is going through a renovation, but in all honesty, it did not really affect us except for the lack of choice of restaurants. After checking in we headed to La Luce, an Italian bar and grill in the hotel for a quick drink and possible dinner. I ordered my usual “house” cabernet (in most places in Florida this is the cheapest wine by the glass order) and Pat ordered Absolute and tonic. Both drinks came in small glasses and the wine a very small pour.
Now maybe it is just me, but when the bill arrived I was blown away with the $38.00 price tag, this of course was without the tip. Needless to say, we did not eat dinner there.
We did find a more reasonable restaurant called the Harvest Bistro, on the lower level of the hotel. We ordered cheeseburgers for $22.00 each which proved very tasty. There were two other restaurants opened in the hotel; the Beech and Zeta Asia which we did not try. Our room had been recently renovated which was a bonus.
Hilton Bonnet Creek Pool + Room Features
The room was very comfortable with the usual amenities. Pat was also pleased to see that the room included a 55-inch HD flat screen which included the golf channel. We also had a lovely view of the pool.
Speaking of the pool, the hotel has an incredible 3-acre lazy river lagoon pool which is loads of fun. If make-believe river tubing is not your thing, they also have poolside cabanas. The cabanas are total relaxation. You can sip a cool drink from the pool bar, the Beech; watch TV on your own HD flat screen or indulge your appetite from their refreshment basket which is provided for your enjoyment.
Celebration Golf Club
The next day we had a tee time for an early afternoon at the neighboring Celebration Golf Club. We had been looking forward to playing this course for some time. Celebration was designed by the legendary father and son design team, Robert Trent Jones Jr. and Sr.
The course they created worked around a natural wetland that provided unsurpassed views of a variety of wildlife. The terrain is very rolling with plenty of ponds and sand to get you into trouble. Pat loved this course. He felt it was challenging but fair. In his words, “it rewarded you when you made good shots and the greens were very true.” Another added bonus; we were able to play this course for $45.00 per person, cart included as we were Florida residents and it is off-season. We were ecstatic with our good fortune.
Windmill Restaurant at Celebration Golf Club
Before teeing off we enjoyed lunch at Windmill Restaurant next door to the pro shop. The restaurant is situated near the large Windmill at Celebration Golf Club.
The menu has the typical bar food fare with a few variations. Our food was delicious and very reasonably priced. I enjoyed the Southern Fried Chicken salad at $11.00 while Pat ordered the Chicken Sandwich with a salad for $11.00. Both the food and service deserved a return visit in the future.
Villages of Celebration
Leaving Celebration Golf Club we decided to check out the Villages of Celebration. I had heard of Celebration years ago as the city that Walt Disney World designed and created. It is a suburb of Orlando located near the theme parks but certainly not within walking distance.
The homes are uniquely designed and the majority were built during the 1990s. The community has a Shangri-La feel which for me brought back waves of nostalgia. It reminded me of the old Leave it to Beaver television show. You could almost imagine seeing the Beav and Wally walking down the street. As we left the beautiful homes behind, we entered the delightful hamlet of Celebration.
Celebration Town Center
Celebration Town Center was similar to the surrounding neighborhoods. It is charming, cute, and very inviting. This lovely little town center is the perfect place to shop, eat, and play. Stroll along the brick-lined streets, take in the scenic views of the lake, and pop into any of the charming shops or restaurants. There’s something for everyone here! And if you’re a golfer, it’s conveniently located near the Celebration Golf Club.
Lakeside Bar and Grill
After we arrived we headed over to the stunning Bohemian hotel for a quick drink. Well, one quick drink turned into two as we enjoyed the Lakeside Bar and Grill so much. The Lakeside bar overlooks the Hillsborough River creating a fun place to sit and relax.
The bar was offering “celebration hour” which is really happy hour in Celebration world. They had a special menu just for celebration hour; Pat ordered the Kessler Margarita, which was a margarita with Grand Marnier for $6.00 and I had their house cabernet for $7.00 which included a generous pour. What a deal!
Avocado Mexican Grill
Leaving the Lakeside Bar and Grill was tough, but we thought we should explore the city and find a place for dinner. So many choices for dinner made it difficult, but we settled on the Avocado Mexican Grill. Now in the past I usually avoided Mexican restaurants due to the large amount of food; you know the main dish, then plenty of rice and beans, but since Pat had a hankering for Mexican I decided to indulge.
This is a true Mexican restaurant that had down-to-earth entrees and super margaritas. They also had a one-man band playing assorted instruments and singing no doubt Mexican favorites. Our food arrived, I ordered the enchiladas and Pat had the burrito; and you guessed it rice and beans. Yes, I left there with the old adage, “I ate the whole thing.” Overall, great food, great service, and great prices, we will be back.
The town of Celebration has much to offer regarding food and drink. Some of the other restaurants we passed included: The Columbia, Celebration Town Tavern, Downtown Diner, and Imperium Food and Wine. We will certainly keep these places in mind for a return trip.
Final Thoughts on Disney Golf
Well, what can I say? Pat enjoyed the Disney golf experience very much. Next time though, maybe I can throw in one of the parks, or not.