As amusing as Orlando is, there’s something to be said for escaping the thick of the crowds, traffic, and chaos. Long-term or repeat visitors and locals alike tend to tire of the fast-paced, high-cost theme parks. It can be a welcome relief to discover fun off the beaten path, and some may be surprised by how much there is to do just a short distance from the center of the tourism hub. Volusia County’s Family Fun Town is one example of a hidden gem worth seeking out.
From the road approaching Family Fun Town, you can easily see their mini golf course (just one of the six attractions on-site). This 18-hole course is one of the more unique and challenging mini golf sites in Central Florida. There are the usual hills, streams, and waterfalls, but there are additional pitfalls to consider during your game. One of my favorites was the occasional false-hole, a red cup to avoid or suffer the consequences of additional strokes on your score. Strategically placed ponds served as an extra hazard, and they were especially tricky to dodge. I thoroughly enjoy mini golf, but I am nowhere in the vicinity of good at it. Usually, a round of the game for my family finds my husband with a dramatically embarrassing lead over the rest of us. Perhaps I enjoyed this course so much because it evened the playing field. He still won, and I still stunk, but it was challenging enough to not be such a “gimme” for him.
The golf course is peppered with fun photo ops, and a few surprises as well. Speaking of surprises, Family Fun Town regularly offers special deals and contest opportunities via their Facebook and Twitter accounts, so keep your web-eyes peeled for fun chances to cut costs. In all reality, this is the type of venue where cost-saving measures aren’t really necessary, but a little discount here and there (or a freebie) never hurt, right? Family Fun Town is a venue that lends itself to repeat visits, so deals are a welcome way to encourage that. One full game on the golf course is $8.00 for adults, with discounts for seniors and children under 13.
When you enter the Family Fun Town facility, you begin to see that there’s much more to see and do than you first realized. For starters, there’s a well-stocked, modern arcade with more than 40 diverse games to tackle.
From classic favorites to the latest machines, there’s something for everyone. Games are rotated regularly, so you’re likely to find new challenges with each visit. “Fun Cards” are pre-loaded with your chosen spending amount, and these cards also retain redemption points for the prize center.
The main building also contains a private party room. Party packages start at $10.95 per person with a minimum of eight guests. Bring your own birthday cake, and let Family Fun Town take care of the rest. Party add-ons are also available, so your shindig can be as simple or elaborate as you want it to be.
Aside from the arcade, two other notably original attractions are housed in the main building. The first, Lazer Frenzy, is an IAAPA-promoted, interactive experience, and for lack of better wording… it’s just cool! This laser maze incorporates disorienting mirrors and fog effects for an added challenge as you “mission impossible” your way around the room trying to avoid the beams. Your experience in Lazer Frenzy is essentially customizable, allowing you to set the difficulty level – and the beams never fall the same way twice, so the pattern is not learn-able. While you explore your capacity for limber flexibility, your friends can enjoy watching the effort via video monitors outside the room. Your score awaits you when you complete the timed mission. How many beams will you break before your escape? I may have crawled my way out like a ballerina-dancing spider, but there was no video captured to prove that, thankfully. Lazer Frenzy is $3.00 for one person or $5.00 for two people.
Balladium is an interactive group gaming competition. UV lights highlight the vibrant day-glow colors within the Balladium play zone, which is a haven of fun for the whole family. Grab as many foam balls as you can and head for a “ball blaster”, because once the door closes and the lights go down, it’s ON! Although there are targets to aim toward for points, you’ll inevitably find it’s much more fun to set your friends and family in your sights. Foam balls go whizzing in rapid fashion, back and forth across the room. Props are placed throughout the room, offering a little bit of cover when you need to seek out more ammo for your blaster, but it’s safe to assume you’ll get pegged a time or three… maybe you’ll even catch a few foam balls directly to the face when you find yourself going against a team of your uber-competitive husband and daughter! I can personally assure that these can sting your pride, but actual physical harm is not much of a threat. I can’t remember the last time we all cackled so much, or scrambled so nimbly! The Balladium is $2.25 per person, per game, or three games for $5.00.
Behind the main building, Family Fun Town has batting cages. I have a special love for baseball and softball, and batting cages were a fixture during my childhood. I haven’t seen any in a while, and this positively made me giddy. I geared up, plugged in a token, and took on 20 pitches. I made contact with most of them, but I have always been the queen of foul balls. The pitches were spot on, and it’s adjustable as you go. There are settings for baseball and softball, with speed guidelines, and you can raise or lower the pitch as needed. There are even different cages for varied playing levels. One token gets 20 pitches for $1.75, or you can get eight tokens for $12.00.
If you remember from my I-Drive NASCAR adventure, go-karts are not my thing. I tend to find the whole experience intimidating and frustrating. I was hoping to get out of the first-hand experience of go-karting at Family Fun Town, but I got goaded into participating with the family. There are single karts and passenger karts. We tried each, and I have to admit – I had a blast! I haven’t enjoyed go-karts for the better part of my life, but I loved this… and I’d do it again! This 800 ft long track boasts all of the necessary features and elements. Each kart features a “turbo” button for a speed boost (think Mario Kart… very cool). The entire design of the track is actually quite brilliant. The electric karts are eco-friendly and very easy to maneuver. Electric karts are not the norm, and they really are far superior to the traditional gas-powered karts. Safety features are commendable on the track. Track attendants are in full control of the entire track at all times. One thing that always irks me when go-karting is that one random idiot who seems to make the entire experience a nightmare. You may have shared a track with him too. He gets around, it seems… and he’s obnoxious. At Family Fun Town, when someone attempts to employ unsafe or rude behaviors, the track attendant can put a halt to the entire race until the situation is dealt with. It’s better than the usual screaming, embarrassing exchange on kart tracks, which usually only serves to confuse everyone and disrupt the experience. Karts reach a top speed of 18 mph, not counting turbo speed boosts of an additional 4-5 mph. It’s a fun ride, but a safe one. Go-kart pricing comes in many options, but single rides start at $7.00.
Family Fun Town has a reasonable menu of snacks as well – all freshly made and affordable. This is a great place to kill a few hours without breaking the bank. Perfect for families, date nights, parties, group outings, or teen hangouts. For more information, visit Family Fun Town online.