An Orlando vacation might be at the top of your travel bucket list. Yet, it may well feel like a pipe dream due to its various expenses, such as accommodation, theme park tickets, food and drinks, and souvenirs.
If you’re concerned about your cash flow spiraling out of control, you don’t need to worry, as there are many ways to reduce your outgoings before and during your trip. Need a little help with this? No problem, here’s how you can make your Florida dream a reality by saving money on an Orlando vacation.
Choose Your Resort or Hotel Wisely
An Orlando vacation doesn’t need to be costly. Browse the market for reasonably priced resorts and hotels that will lower your expenses without compromising comfort, fun, and convenience.
According to Visit Florida, Orlando is home to 486,727 hotel and motel rooms across 4,442 properties. With so much choice on offer, you can trust you will find accommodation to match your taste and budget.
In any case, it’s wise to research the options available to ensure you receive a value-for-money stay in a central location. For instance, you will never need to sacrifice fun for savings at one of the many Westgate Resorts in Orlando.
A good example is Westgate Town Center Resort, which offers spacious villas, a pirate-themed waterpark, many fun activities, and various dining options to complete your Floridian vacation. Also, it is a short distance from Walt Disney World Resort, SeaWorld Orlando, and Universal Orlando Resort, which is handy for when you want to explore the area for even more adventure beyond the comfort of the resort.
Stay Closer to Disney Than Universal
Find great deals, cheaper room rates, and better nearby attractions by staying at a hotel or resort near Walt Disney World Resort or SeaWorld Orlando over Universal Orlando Resort.
Many people feel torn between staying close to Walt Disney World Resort or Universal Orlando Resort. Both are not too far away from one other by car, but you could save more money by staying near the Disney theme parks.
Compared to Universal Orlando Resort, it is common to find better hotel and resort rates and deals near the likes of Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Plus, there are often more attractions and activities near the iconic resort, such as Disney Springs and International Drive. Also, don’t overlook accommodations near SeaWorld Orlando, as they often provide more value-for-money options.
Avoid crowds while reducing your expenses by traveling to Orlando during the off-season, and don’t visit on public holidays, such as Christmas and Thanksgiving.
Like most destinations, Orlando has off-seasons when room rates plummet, and ticket prices drop. Save money and skip the hordes of tourists by visiting O-Town in:
- Mid-January to early March
- September to early December (avoid a trip during Thanksgiving week)
If you don’t want to miss out on a summer getaway to Orlando, you could receive more value for your money by booking a stay from late July to early or mid-August. Plus, try to avoid peak times like Christmas, Thanksgiving, or summer break since these periods see higher prices and bigger crowds.
Research Airport Options
Reduce the cost of an Orlando vacation by traveling to the less popular but more affordable Orlando Sanford International over Orlando International Airport.
Most people visiting Orlando choose to fly to Orlando International Airport (MCO). However, you could save money by traveling to Orlando Sanford International (SFB) instead. Flights are usually more affordable, as they often feature budget airlines, such as Allegiant for US flights and Thomson for UK flights.
Don’t Buy Food and Drinks at a Theme Park
Stock up on snacks before visiting a theme park to avoid high prices at the likes of Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Epcot.
Orlando’s theme parks are notoriously expensive for food and drinks. However, you are free to take coolers and backpacks into all Disney theme parks, which you should stock up with lunches, snacks, and drinks to save money throughout the day. Still, always check a theme park’s website before a visit to learn about its specific rules for packing food and drink.
Buy Discounted Theme Park Tickets Before Travel
Shave hundreds of dollars off your vacation by booking tickets in advance and upgrading to a multi-day ticket to enjoy huge savings and plenty of fun.
Never buy theme park tickets at the gate unless you want to pay full price. Instead, it is a smart idea to research the market for discounted tickets before you travel, as it could help you save hundreds of dollars.
You could even purchase multi-day tickets to save a significant sum if you want to visit a theme park more than once during a vacation. In some cases, the more days you add to a multi-day ticket, the cheaper the rate will be. Plus, some online providers offer a free day when purchasing a four-day ticket. Overall, this is a smart choice if you want to vacation in Florida for many weeks.
Source: Instagram, posted on July 4th, 2022, Icon Park Orlando’s official profile.
Treat Yourself to an Orlando Explorer Pass
Avoid paying full price for attraction tickets with the Orlando Explorer Pass, which will allow you to secure savings on four of its 14 attractions.
An Orlando Explorer Pass will slash the cost of entry into four of 14 attractions across the city, such as:
- SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium
- The Wheel at Icon Park
- Fun Spot America Theme Park
- Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition
- Madame Tussauds Orlando
You will have 30 days to visit your chosen four attractions, and it also includes a three-day I-Ride trolley ticket to help you travel from A to B. Amazingly, it is believed you could save up to 35% off the attractions when buying the handy pass.
Book a Breakfast Character Meal
A meal with Mickey, Goofy, or a Disney Princess doesn’t need to destroy your travel fund, as you can save money with a breakfast experience.
Many families cannot wait to have a meal with their favorite Disney characters, such as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, or a Disney princess – but these experiences can be pricey.
However, you can save yourself money by booking breakfast with a character instead, as it tends to be lower cost than lunch or dinner. Also, research the options available in Orlando to find the best value experiences since some will be much more expensive than others.
Find Hidden Mickeys for Free
Stop the kids from draining your bank balance by searching for the many hidden Mickeys peppered around Walt Disney World Resort theme parks and venues.
If you are looking for free things to do at Walt Disney World Resort or an official Disney hotel or attraction, make it your mission to find the Hidden Mickeys. The most common formation is the three circles that create a silhouette of Mickey Mouse’s head and ears, which is known as the “Classic Mickey.”
They are often subtly dotted across the venues, and you will need a keen eye to spot them. The hidden Mickeys might be painted or made up of various objects, such as three rocks in silhouette form. It is a great way to keep the kids amused and stop them from nagging you for expensive souvenirs and snacks.
Find Kids Eat for Free Deals
Many restaurants across Orlando provide Kids Eat Free deals, which could save your family a substantial sum throughout your trip. Most venues have age limits you will need to consider, such as 12 years and under, and it might be for dine-in-only meals.
It is advised to call ahead before grabbing a table to avoid disappointment because a restaurant might no longer provide the offer, it may have time restrictions, or there may be other conditions attached to the deal. For example, you could receive a free kid’s meal for every adult meal purchase instead of an outright complimentary dish for the little ones. Also, you might need to dine before or after a specific time to secure the offer.
Therefore, a little research could help you discover the right deal for your family and ensure the offers you find are still applicable, which will provide more money to spend on attractions, snacks, and souvenirs.
Fantastic restaurants that provide kids’ deals may include:
- 4 Rivers Smokehouse
- TJs Seafood Shack
- The Townhouse Restaurant
Purchase Souvenirs Away from the Theme Parks
Steer clear of overpriced merchandise at Walt Disney World Resort theme parks and buy souvenirs off-site.
Authentic Disney merchandise isn’t restricted to the theme parks, and you will likely pay a costly sum for a souvenir at Magic Kingdom, Epcot, or Animal Kingdom. Alternatively, you can buy genuine Disney items at a discounted rate in Disney’s Character Warehouse at the Orlando Premium Outlets or Walmart. Shopping elsewhere will allow you to treat yourself and your kids while protecting your finances at the same time.