Want to go on an Orlando vacation, but your budget isn’t cooperating? With a little strategic planning and some best practices, you can find yourself enjoying the country’s number one vacation spot sooner than you think.
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Save Money on an Orlando Family Vacation
I put together this handy guide for a budget-friendly family vacation in Orlando. It features almost everything you need to know about saving as much as possible while still having a great trip. It’s easy to cut down on costs in Orlando, the theme park capital of the world.
But to be honest – the costs do add up. Food, hotels, souvenirs, tickets – the list goes on and on. And let’s be real here, vacation isn’t as fun if you blow your budget the first day. All of those little expenses on vacation can really add up quickly if you aren’t careful. Even if the vacation is wonderful, the magic will surely fade when you get home and see your credit card statement. You may up deciding you are never going on vacation again.
But my tips will make things easier on you – and your bank account. Below you’ll find a ton of money saving ideas on just about every aspect of your Orlando vacation.
22 Tips To Saving Money in Orlando
When To Visit Orlando
- If at all possible visit during the off season to save on hotels and tickets. This is usually when school is in session.
- Some park tickets, hotels, and airfare are cheaper if you go during the week versus the weekend
- For your flight, try to pack carry-on bags if your airline charges for checked bags. Most airlines let you take one carry-on bag per ticket for free. So, even if your child’s clothes are tiny, you can still use a whole extra carry-on bag with their ticket.
- Pack your own stroller and car seat, as they are free to check. I recommend a gate check for the stroller to push the kids and/or your carry on bags.
Where To Stay
- Rent a resort residence where you stay in a home basically with the amenities of a hotel. The major money saver is having a full kitchen where you can prepare all of your meals. So much cheaper than dining out! We love Summer Bay Houses
- Use a Vacation Planner – Now this may sound crazy, but travel agents often have access to deals that no one else can access. This means it’s more than worth it to get a free quote. Fill out this form for a free quote, just for Mommy Travel readers!
- Consider researching and finding a timeshare presentation in exchange for a free stay. Some timeshares have great pools with slides and splash pads, as well as fun activities for the kids, so you can skip the water parks and still have a great time.
- Choose a hotel with complimentary breakfasts and shuttles to theme parks to save on food and transportation and parking costs.
- Here is a list of 5 Affordable Hotels near Disney
- Some websites offer tickets ahead of time for a discount.
- Don’t forget to check for discounts to theme parks you may be eligible for: AAA, military, etc.
- Be realistic about time spent at the park. Sure, you can theoretically save money for multiple day park hoppers, but for things like SeaWorld you would only need a one day pass to enjoy the whole park. And don’t forget you and the family might want a “do nothing” day of downtime at the hotel pool.
- Discovery Cove tickets include admission to Sea World and Aquatic so you get three parks at one price.
What To Eat
- Pack snacks to take to the park, but not junk. Instead, choose more filling options like granola bars, etc.
- Bring your own reusable water bottles and refill at the park. The water tastes bad in the Magic Kingdom so take something to flavor the water.
- Split Meals – Meals in the parks are usually large enough to share, especially if you have young children.
- Eat a kids meal. At counter service restaurants the kid’s meals are usually large enough for an adult. They are not going to ask who the meal is for, so have a kid’s meal.
- Make your own meals if you have a room with a kitchen. Having breakfast in your room each day will save a ton of money during the week. Amazon Fresh will deliver groceries to most places in Orlando.
- Buy food at Target or Walmart. Also, buy some sunscreen. It’s very expensive to purchase at the park. As are bandaids and aspirin. Here is a list of what I pack to go into theme parks, so I do not end up spending money in the park.
- Restaurant.com Certificates – Save money on restaurants in Orlando by using Restaurant.com. Use zip code 32836 to find restaurants like the House of Blues.
- Don’t buy your souvenirs at the theme parks. They are a lot more expensive. Take note of what the children want and look at Goodwill, order online, or buy at a Wal-Mart in Orlando during your trip.
- Disney Outlet – There is a Disney clearance store in the outlets near Disney World. You can often find cheap souvenirs here.
- Don’t be shy, ask the camera guys to take your photo – The photographers that take your family photo when you enter the park will also take a picture with your smartphone if you ask. That way you don’t have to buy the expensive park copies. While I appreciate the value of a professional photo take with a quality camera, this purchase is not always possible on a budget.
I hope these tips help with budgeting a fantastic money saving adventure in Orlando! I’d love to hear any other ideas to save money! The more you save, the sooner you get to plan the second trip to Orlando!