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Live Active Cultures

Disney makes it OK for some people to jump the line; Universal's new mini golf course is ingenious but undemanding

As the name implies, Hollywood Drive-In is a tongue-in-cheek tribute to monster movies from a half-century ago. The Haunting of Ghostly Greens is an 18-hole journey through graveyards populated by parodies of Universal's classic ghouls, culminating inside a mad scientist's basement laboratory. The other course is Invaders From Planet Putt, where you play past adorable aliens and attacking robots and walk through Area 51, a flying saucer and a spaceworm's intestinal tract, which are all rendered in a goofy, kid-friendly style.

Both courses feature pun-laden plaques setting the story at each tee and mood-setting soundtracks; hidden speakers serenade you with “Space Oddity” and “Rocket Man” on the sci-fi side, while on the horror half you'll hear “The Time Warp” and “Thriller.” Best of all, the entire layout sports integrated LED lighting with an array of theatrical projections. I highly suggest playing post-sunset for the most spectacular visuals.

Neither course is challenging; I'm a terrible golfer and managed to come in only 1 over par … per hole, that is. There are a handful of ramps and windmill-type obstacles but most of the layouts are straightforward, excepting their elaborate aesthetics. The price is somewhat steep by area standards ($14 adults/$12 kids per course, plus parking; 25 percent off second course) and nonplaying parents can't watch their kids for free (unlike at Congo River Golf's locations). But how can you put a price on sinking a ball into a glowing alien orifice under a starlit sky?

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