[Today's photographs can be found on my Flickr and the whole collection of days can be found here.]
Fantasia Gardens Mini Golf + Disney Quest + Dinner at Bongo's Cuban Cafe
August 26th, 2013
Today we visited 3 places we've never been to before - Fantasia Gardens Mini Golf, Disney Quest and Bongo's Cuban Café in Downtown Disney! It made for a great day (although, we did have the rain! )
Having not managed to get a round of miniature golf in on our first trip, it was a 'must do' on this visit, and so, bright and early (wanting to beat any crowds) we drove to the Fantasia Gardens course which isn't too far from the Swan & Dolphin hotels.
We were there a bit too early though, and had to hang around for 20 minutes or so whilst we waited for it to open, but no worries, with the sunshine and the warmth, we just hung out and I took photographs!
Hubs and the boy tried to pull their best "we don't want to wait" faces…
…and I carried on snapping! I was pretty excited at the prospect of some Disney crazy golf!
A few more people turned up and before long the shutters were opening up and we went to the counter. With our 21 day, ultimate tickets, we were able to play a round of golf at either of the Disney courses for free, once a day, so this cost us nothing! Free is always good!
In addition to the crazy/miniature golf, there is also a mini regular golf, which, to me is no fun haha, I prefer the crazy! Out of the other people that turned up, we were the only people to go and play on the Gardens course, everyone else went to the Fairway.
We then picked our golf balls (mine was purple, of course!) and clubs, as well as a score card and a pencil to keep track. And the game was ON!
I've taken lots of photographs of the whole course as we went around - for trip reporting purposes of course! As always, you can see all of the day's photos on my Flickr!
Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf is based on the film Fantasia, so it has a musical theme to it and the characters from the film too. I love Fantasia and it was fun to see the film brought to life on this course.
The sun was beating down and not having anyone else on the course when we started made for a really pleasant time, and a nice way to slow down the pace. Some of the holes are deceptively tricky! Hole number 3 was one such hole as the steps down made a sound as the ball bounced down each one, like a xylophone. Only Liam managed to do it!
The surroundings are just beautiful too…
As I mentioned before, we do get rather competitive when playing crazy golf, and today was no exception!
There are 18 holes on the course, so it takes a while to get around, we maybe spent an hour playing? I'd imagine that time would be doubled if it was busy, so bare that in mind when planning your time here. We also lost our golf balls a few times in the surrounding waterways, but you can easily pop back to the start and pick up another one.
There are times when you may get wet when playing at Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf!
The eventual winner was me ^_^ so I bought my boys a consolation Mickey ice cream bar! I had a Mickey ice cream sandwich (yum!) There is nothing wrong with ice cream for breakfast!
We didn't have much of an agenda today, we just decided to go with the flow, so we headed to Downtown Disney to go and ride Characters in Flight.
We parked on the West Side near to Disney Quest and walked towards the giant balloon that is Characters in Flight. The weather was bright and sunny and so, we didn’t expect any problems riding - if there is inclement weather (thunderstorms) then the close down the balloon ride for safety reasons. Every time we've tried to go on Characters in Flight, this has happened to us…and it happened again! Whilst it wasn't immediately obvious that bad weather was on its way, they had the ride closed down because it was coming. When it comes to weather prediction in the Orlando area, they are always safe than sorry (in our experience) and more often than not, right.
So with a bit of a sigh, we decided to buy a pretzel and a drink from Wetzles Pretzels ($14.77) and then go into the Vinylmation and Candy Cauldron, because, shopping always cheers me up ^_^
The pretzels were nice, hubs and I shared the cheese and chilli one. Liam had a regular one to himself with a pizza dip and a cheese dip. We also shared a strawberry lemonade. The birds were hanging around wanting to have a bite too!
We bought a new Vinylmation figure and then the rain came…this little squirrel ran to get away from it :P
Not wanting to let the rain beat us today, we decided to go to DisneyQuest, which my son was really up for since he was having some serious Xbox withdrawals! The next photo was when we first walked into Downtown Disney, hence the bluer, sunnier skies!
DisneyQuest is billed as an indoor, interactive theme park, and is a great place to spend a few hours if the rain is stopping play! There are 5 levels of fun, and we all had a fab time in here - better than expected to be honest! With our 21 Day Ultimate Ticket we didn't have to pay to get in, (again, it may also be free to enter on the other tickets, but I'm not 100% sure) and once inside, pretty much everything is free to play - all the arcade machines, the rides and the activities.
With games like Q-Bert, Frogger and Pac-Man, it is retro-gamer heaven in DisneyQuest, and we spent a lot of time on the arcade machines! There was also a Fix It Felix Jr game machine, and the fact that, it wasn't too busy meant you could play for as long as you wanted without running out of money!
As well as tons of arcade machines, there are also rides. We went on a really pants virtual reality thing, the name of which I can't remember. You wear these huge helmet/visor things and they're pretty claustrophobic! I was glad to get it off my head!
We went on the Virtual Jungle Cruise where we sat in a rubber dingy and had to paddle our way through the river. There was a big inflatable underneath the boat which made it move about - hilarity ensued! We also went on the Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for Buccaneer Gold which was a lot of fun too. Liam captained the ship whilst Steve and I had to blast the cannons at other pirate ships.
The boy then decided he was hungry, so we gave him some money to go and buy something to eat at FoodQuest. Hubs and I were way too busy trying to beat high scores on arcade machines ^_^
My friend texted me whilst we were in DisneyQuest asking what we were up to today as the rain was pouring. I told her where we were and hoped to bump into her and her family as she said they would try and pop to DQ. Our paths didn't cross however.
I wanted to go to the Animation Academy to do a little bit of Disney drawing, so left the boys to do their own thing and come and find me when they wanted me.
I had missed the start of a class so had to hang around on this level until the next one was available, so went and tried to make a freaky toy on Sid's Create a Toy, to waste some time. You can actually buy the toy you've created! Why you would want to though… -_- …if you've seen Toy Story you know what Sid's toys look like!
It was then time for the next animation class, so I took a seat at one of the stations - you drawn on a screen rather than with pencil and paper. I couldn't hear a word the girl that was presenting the class was saying, but I don't think I did too bad a job of my Goofy! There is an option to buy your drawing, but I just took a photograph for posterity instead!
While I was drawing, Steve and Liam were designing a coaster on CyberSpace Mountain, which they then got to ride virtually as well. The ride does go upside down (if you put loops into your ride!) and you can buy the video of you riding your coaster as well. We watched it on the screen and they got plenty of hangtime on their design - looked like a lot of fun! We didn't bother buying the DVD though.
After several hours in DisneyQuest we decided to make a move to the outside world. You exit into DisneyQuest Emportium so I bought Liam a Donald Duck cap and a Lotso for me ^_^
The rain had stopped and the sun was shining once again! For whatever reason, we didn't go back to see if Characters in Flight was open again, and instead started to make decisions of where to go for dinner. The choice ended up being Bongos Cuban Café.
The restaurant wasn't too busy and we were shown to a table pretty much straight away. There was music on which added to the vibe, and I can imagine this place to be really atmospheric when it's busy. We were given menus, and once again, there was the option of souvenir glasses when buying a cocktail. As a driver…snooze…the short story is, I asked to have my non-alcoholic cocktail in a bongo glass ^_^ I wanted that bongo glass! Liam got his drink in a light up glass.
After reading through the extensive menu of really delicious sounding foods, we made our choices and placed the order with our friendly waiter.
To start, we shared a platter called Bongo's Combo which had fried stuffed potatoes (papas rellenas), pork tamale (tamal de carne de cerdo), Cuban mojo marinated fried pork (masitas de Puerco) traditional Cuban ham croquettes (croquetas de jamon) and stuffed yuca cups - one with shrimp Cuban criolla and one with minced beef (yuca rellena de picadillo o camarones) The menu says this serves two, but I reckon you could split this between 3 or 4 of you if you fancy a starter.
Since the boy is fairly fussy with food, we asked the waiter what he'd recommend and he suggested the Cuban style Milanese chicken breast (Pollo a la Milanesa) which is a Cuban breaded chicken breast topped with marinara sauce and melted mozzarella cheese. It comes with fried sweet plantains and white rice, but we were able to switch those for fries.
Hubs and I shared a main course dish called The Cuban Tour (El tour Cubano). It's not listed for two people to share, but we made a good judgement on it as there was a lot of food to be had! On the platter was roast pork, shredded seared beef and shredded chicken, served with fried green plantains, white rice, black beans and three sauces - chimmi churri, homemade mojo and a cumin mojo.
My memory has faded here, but I do recall us being able to make some switches and have chips instead of rice, which we gave to Liam and we had his rice, and then we added a salad on the side…which was an avocado salad. Whatever way we did it, we managed to all have a really nice main course!
Saving room for dessert (there's always room for dessert!) we ordered a chocolate ice-cream for the boy, hubs had tres leches (a milky cake with cream on top) and I had flan (like crème caramel). The tres leches tasted soooo good, that I swapped my dessert with Steves :P And, because we're greedy gannets and because I felt we must have churros, we ordered churros to share. They were delish and came with 3 different sauces - which I forget now!
After dinner, (which came to $184.24 - shockingly high, I know, but the souvenir glasses were really expensive) we went for a wander around Downtown Disney. We went back into Candy Cauldron to buy some sweet gifts to take home and when the rain started to spit again, decided to call it a day and drove home.
Read about the previous day: Day 12 - Singing In The Rain: Hollywood Drive-In Mini Golf (City Walk) + Islands of Adventure + Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill
Read about the next day: Day 14 - Happy Feet: SeaWorld + Dinner at Red Lobster
Read ALL the days! Back to the Magic Trip Report Index 2013