Congo River Golf is a Florida miniature golf chain with nine locations, three of which are in Orlando. They all have the same theme, but all of the courses are unique. Like most of Central Florida's mini golf establishments, they are of the "adventure golf" type, which basically just means that the individual holes lack interactive elements (like, say, windmills) and most of the theming is off to the sides. These courses also generally share the same theme throughout, rather than each hole being something different.
I have to admit that I'm rather fond of Congo River, and consider their 36-hole I-Drive location to be the best mini golf in the area. This was our first time at this location, though, built on the east side of town, far from any other attractions, and consisting of just one 18-hole course.
Congo River Golf, East Orlando
Does your local mini golf establishment have live alligators? No? Well, I guess you don't live in Orlando then.
The price is $10.95 for adults, and $8.95 for children under 10. They also offer a "play all day" option for $2.00 more, which is a bit odd, considering that there's just the one course.
Feed live gators. Feed them children.
The stream through the jeep is a nice touch.
I stood on it. It's not really quicksand.
It's a very pretty course. Rather new, too, I take it.
I am hiding from the hippos.
(I believe) all the Congo Rivers have one of these zebra planes.
That's Misty's mom and sister, by the way. One of the other reasons we moved back to Orlando is that we both have family here.
View from the top.
I pity the real explorers of the Congo, who did not have the luxury of a Chili's next door.
Your ball could come off this ramp either way, allegedly. But somehow we all ended up over there.
As you can see from the parking lot, the slope of this course is entirely artificial. It is Florida, after all.
Something about the theme of this hole just makes me laugh: "Stanley looks in the tomb."
My camera also looked in the tomb. And I'm not laughing now.
"Are you following me, sir?"
I like Congo River's style.
Misty's smiling way too much at the end here. She must have won.
In addition to the mini golf course and the live alligators, there's a "party room"...
...an arcade, and gem mining.
You can even buy souvenir shirts and stuffed monkeys.
FEED US YOUR CHILDREN!!!
Sorry. Anyway, this particular course is a fine addition to the Congo River chain--and is also, by far, the closest mini golf course to Smisty's family's house. So I like it.
Epcot is a strange park. It has its charms, to be sure. But even if you really, really like it, you have to admit that it's somewhat weird and dated. Of course, many areas have been updated and changed over the years, but that's mostly just served to make the park even more odd. One area that I think has been improved by recent changes, though, is The Seas with Nemo & Friends (formerly, The Living Seas).
The main entrance to The Seas pavilion.
The entrance leads to a queue. Which sounds normal enough, but somehow manages to be weird in this case. Welcome to Epcot.
I really like these railings. (It's the little things that make me happy.)
That's a big butt.
The school of synchronized pointing fish from Finding Nemo direct you through the queue.
Almost to the ride. (Which I'm pretty sure shares the same name as the pavilion it's a part of. Epcot.)
You ride in "clamobiles," which should be fairly familiar to Haunted Mansion and/or Inner Space fans. But while these do turn around corners, they don't turn completely around. (So you constantly face "out.")
The jellyfish bounce up and down. It sort of loses something in this photo.
The scenery is a mix of props, animatronics and video displays.
One of the ride's coolest tricks is projecting animated fish into an area with real fish.
It's a nice, pleasant dark ride. Not quite Haunted Mansion, but above standard Fantasyland-quality.
Erik & Smisty, sitting in a clam....
The ride dumps you (and I use that phrase with love) into Seabase, which is an aquarium, essentially.
"Turtle Talk with Crush" was originally located in the Nemo & Friends area of Seabase, but proved so popular that it was moved to its own larger area.
Basically, an animated Crush interacts with children in the audience, telling them to say "dude" a lot, and such. Honestly, I was skeptical going in, but it won me over pretty quickly.
"Bruce's Sub House," sadly, does not serve sandwiches--but is, instead, a small interactive play area.
When you rub the sharkskin, Bruce moans "Oh, that's nice" in a particularly disturbing way.
Spin the wheels, line up the animal parts. Pretty standard stuff, really.
One of these things is not like the others.
Well, to be honest, it was sort of a leading question....
A perfect score! It's almost like we were playing a game designed for children!
"Nemo and Friends" features real life (Nemo-like) fish.
And here's Dory's good friend, Mr. Cuttlefish, who would like to speak to you about doomsday.
Manatees. Like at SeaWorld (and everywhere else), they are very boring.
This exhibit is two stories, so you can experience the dullness in two different ways.
On the second level is a large "undersea" viewing area.
A turtle and a not-particularly-hidden-but-still-pretty-cool-Mickey.
"Explorers' Club" features fish and educational videos, and is very much the sort of thing The Living Seas was all about.
Fun fish facts.
Looking down from the second floor mezzanine. The exit gift shop is middle left.
Would you like some Nemo crap?? (By which I mean, overpriced plush animals and stuff, not actual fish poop. Although....)
Misty found something she wanted.
And I found something that suited me.
Also note the cool blue-tinged exit doors that suggest being underwater.
Outside is this children's jungle gym.
But we're not quite through with The Seas just yet....
Part of The Seas pavilion, but only accessible through a seperate outside entrance, is the Coral Reef Restaurant.
This place doesn't look like it's ever been updated, which gives it a sort of retro cool.
The menu. As you can see, it's not cheap. But it's not outrageous either, by Disney standards.
Appropriately enough, Coral Reef features aquarium views.
Pretty good table.
Smisty declared this the best salmon she's ever had. So much for "fish are friends."
I opted for the "appetizer for two" as my meal. It doesn't look like much, but it was a perfect amount of food, and quite tasty.
And, of course, I had to have a dessert. This is the "Chocolate Wave" (which, according to our waiter, is one of only two items still on the menu from when they first opened).
One last view of the aquarium from our table. Would I recommend Coral Reef? Definitely.
This sign is cool for two reasons: 1. Water occasionally splashes up on it like a wave, and 2. the animatronic seagulls that cry, "Mine! Mine! Mine!"
"The Seas with Nemo & Friends" is cool for lots of reasons. In fact, it's one of our favorite areas of Epcot.
Last edited by Electerik on Fri Mar 12, 2010 5:18 pm.
Has the Coral Reef restaurant been around for over 30 years? Or was there another similar "undersea" restaurant that existed back then? Because my dad was telling me about when he was at Walt Disney World, there was this restaurant that makes you feel like you were inside an aquarium. I'm guessing he's referring to Coral Reef.
Crazy_Behemoth_Lady_Jess wrote:Has the Coral Reef restaurant been around for over 30 years? Or was there another similar "undersea" restaurant that existed back then? Because my dad was telling me about when he was at Walt Disney World, there was this restaurant that makes you feel like you were inside an aquarium. I'm guessing he's referring to Coral Reef.
My understanding is that Coral Reef opened with the rest of The Living Seas in 1986 (four years after the debut of Epcot itself). And I can't think of anything else he might be referring to, except maybe Sharks Underwater Grill at SeaWorld.
brilinjo wrote:Does this mean I need a new avatar?
The Coral Reef did indeed open in 1986 with the rest of the pavillion.
If you should hit up Priate's Cove golf on I Drive, say hello to the pirate in the hammock for me. We are very close. So close, that he and I made our way back to our hotel one drunken evening, and he spent the night outside one of my co-worker's room.
It's nice that they refurbed the old "tank" to a more contemporary theme. I did the DiveQuest and Dolphins in Depth programs that they offered there a few years ago, still the best diving I've ever done to this day. Looks like they still offer it, I may have to give it another go.
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