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Orlando golf: Disney may be top dog but it ain't the only show in town

By S. Adam Cardais,
Osprey Ridge golf course at Disney
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Tom Fazio's Osprey Ridge golf course is widely considered the best of the Disney tracks. (Brandon Tucker/WorldGolf.com)

When a city becomes synonymous with "Disney," you know it's a major resort destination.

Home to Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando is America's, if not the world's, resort mecca. With its five fun parks, five golf courses, three spas and myriad accommodation options, Disney alone can keep you occupied for weeks.

And Disney, while clearly the biggest name in town, is far from the only one. Orlando is full of top-rate resorts, many with world-class golf. Whether you love or loathe the Mouse, his adopted hometown gives you plenty of options.

Walt Disney World Resort: The Mother of All Resorts has accommodation choices for every taste and budget and an entertainment menu that can only be called a smorgasbord: Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios, Disney's Animal Kingdom Park, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon water parks.

In the evening head to Downtown Disney. Grab a bite and tour Tinseltown memorabilia at Planet Hollywood, or sample celebrity-chef cuisine at Wolfgang Puck Café. Then rock out to a live show at House of Blues music hall or, for something a little tamer, check out Cirque de Soleil.

There are six Disney golf courses, and Osprey Ridge is often reckoned the best. The brainchild of course-design sultan Tom Fazio, it got four and a half stars from Golf Digest and is recognized as one of the top golf courses in Florida.

Osprey Ridge lives up to the accolades, with its impeccably maintained holes and large-scale bunkering. "It all seems the perfect compliment to the Disney World entertainment machine," Derek Duncan wrote in a story for OrlandoGolf.com.

After 18, treat yourself right with a trip to one of Disney World's spas. Indulge in a sports massage or a Zen Harmony Facial at the Grand Floridian.

JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes: This resort has 1,000 guest rooms and 64 suites. Many of the rooms have balconies, and all come with robes and high-speed Internet access.

Unwind at one of three tennis courts, the sand volleyball court or the Lazy River Pool. The resort even offers horse-drawn carriage rides.

Guests have access to the Ritz-Carlton Spa and the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club Orlando, with its signature Greg Norman course. The track is filled with ponds, live oaks and cypress heads and features wide fairways, generous landing areas and subtly contoured greens.

International Plaza Resort & Spa: The International Plaza's grounds are filled with exotic flowers, wood bridges and tropical birds. All 1,100-plus rooms and suites are newly renovated, with bay windows that bring an abundance of natural light.

Wile your days away in the sun beside the three palm-tree-lined pools, or relax in the waterfall at the lagoon pool. Dining options include the Blue Marlin Grille, a Caribbean-style seafood restaurant, and, for quick eats, Max's Deli. There's also a cocktail/wine bar called Coconuts Lounge.

While there's no golf course at the resort, there is a miniature green to keep your short game sharp. The L'Espirit Day Spa offers massages, facials and body treatments.

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