With spring finally here and summer right around the corner, Let us help you plan the Ultimate, money-saving trip to Orlando, Florida. Orlando, Florida, is a dream destination for many families, thanks to its world-famous theme parks like Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld. However, a memorable vacation doesn’t have to break the bank. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore budget-friendly vacation ideas and tips for a family of four, including how to save money on accommodations, dining, and attractions and recommendations for off-site restaurants and hotels. So let’s dive in and start planning your unforgettable Orlando family vacation!
Careful planning and smart choices can save money on a family vacation to Orlando, FL. Here are some tips to help you enjoy theme parks like Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld without breaking the bank:
- Travel during the off-peak season: Visiting Orlando during the off-peak season (January-February, September-November) can help you save on accommodation, airfare, and theme park tickets.
- Bundle tickets and accommodations: Look for package deals that bundle theme park tickets with accommodations. Booking these together can often result in significant savings.
- Discounted theme park tickets: Check for discounted tickets through authorized resellers, your employer, or organizations like AAA. Also, consider multi-day or multi-park tickets for better value.
- Stay off-site: Staying at a hotel or vacation rental outside the theme park properties can be more affordable. Look for hotels that offer free shuttle services to the parks.
- Rent a vacation home: If you’re traveling with a large family or group, consider renting a vacation home or condo. This can save you money and give you access to a kitchen for preparing meals.
- Eat off-site or pack meals: Eating in theme parks can be expensive. Have breakfast at your hotel, pack snacks and lunches, or dine at nearby restaurants to save on food costs.
- Use grocery delivery services: Order groceries online and deliver them to your accommodations to save time and money on dining out.
- Use public transportation: If you don’t plan to rent a car, use Orlando’s public transportation system, like the I-Ride Trolley or the LYNX bus, to save on transportation costs.
- Plan for souvenirs: Set a budget for souvenirs and look for deals at off-site stores or online retailers.
- Free attractions: Take advantage of free or low-cost attractions in Orlando, like Disney Springs, Universal CityWalk, or local parks and playgrounds.
- Prioritize experiences: You may need more time to see and do everything in each park. Prioritize the attractions and experiences that are most important to your family to make the most of your vacation.
By planning and being mindful of your spending, you can enjoy a memorable family vacation in Orlando without overspending.
The time it takes to visit each theme park in Orlando can vary greatly depending on factors such as crowd levels, park size, and the number of attractions you want to experience. Here’s a general overview of how long it may take to visit each park in a day:
Magic Kingdom: At least one full day, preferably more, to experience most attractions and shows.
EPCOT: One full day.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios: One full day.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom: One full day.
Universal Studios Florida: One full day.
Universal’s Islands of Adventure: One full day.
Universal’s Volcano Bay (water park): One full day, depending on your interest in water attractions.
SeaWorld Orlando: One full day.
Remember that these estimates are for a single day at each park, and it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to experience everything each park offers in just one day. So if you want a more leisurely pace or have specific attractions and shows you want to attend, consider allocating more than one day for each park.
To make the most of your time, arrive at the parks early, use park maps and apps to plan your day, and take advantage of any available time-saving services like Disney’s Genie+ (previously known as FastPass+) or Universal’s Express Pass.
Orlando offers a wide variety of off-site restaurants with entertainment options that cater to diverse tastes and interests. Here are a few popular options:
- Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament: Enjoy a medieval-style feast while watching a live show featuring knights, jousting, and sword fights.
- Capone’s Dinner & Show: Step back into the 1920s with this Prohibition-era gangster-themed dinner show featuring singing, dancing, and comedy.
- Mango’s Tropical Cafe: This vibrant venue offers a mix of Latin cuisine and live entertainment, including salsa dancing, Brazilian samba, and a Michael Jackson tribute.
- The Cirque Magique: Enjoy a family-friendly circus-themed dinner show featuring clowns, acrobats, and other performers.
- Sleuths Mystery Dinner Shows: Participate in a live-action, interactive murder mystery dinner show where you help solve the crime.
- Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant: In Disney Springs, this authentic Irish pub offers traditional Irish fare, live music, and Irish dancing.
- House of Blues: Also located in Disney Springs, House of Blues offers a mix of American and Southern cuisine with live music performances from local and national acts.
- Bahama Breeze: This Caribbean-inspired restaurant features island-themed dishes and live music, including reggae and steel drums.
- B.B. King’s Blues Club: Located in Pointe Orlando, this venue offers Southern comfort food alongside live blues music.
- Taverna Opa: Enjoy authentic Greek cuisine and entertainment, including belly dancers and plate smashing, at this lively restaurant located on International Drive.
Check each venue’s schedule and make reservations if necessary, as these popular spots can fill up quickly.
There are numerous affordable off-site hotels in Orlando that offer comfortable accommodations and convenient access to theme parks and attractions. Here are a few options to consider:
Comfort Inn & Suites Convention Center: Located near the Orange County Convention Center, this hotel offers free breakfast, a pool, and a shuttle service to theme parks.https://www.booking.com/hotel/us/hotel-canada-avenue-orlando.html
Rosen Inn at Pointe Orlando: Situated on International Drive, this hotel features an outdoor pool, on-site dining options, and complimentary shuttle services to major theme parks.https://www.booking.com/searchresults.html?aid=330632&label=msn-4_5jOeN3NNOsJX3eIHFRQA-16812926182%3Atikwd-16715157998%3Aloc-190%3Anes%3Amte%3Alp92619%3Adec%3AqsRosen%20Inn%20at%20Pointe%20Orlando&sid=b0a0d36d01593b1e746235e32207c992&city=20023488&expand_sb=1&highlighted_hotels=56266&hlrd=no_dates&keep_landing=1&redirected=1&source=hotel&msclkid=95854e1168d01e8a15622a3ac7b54235&room1=A,A,;
Best Western Orlando Gateway Hotel: Located near Universal Studios, this hotel offers an outdoor pool, fitness center, free Wi-Fi, and a shuttle service to theme parks.https://www.booking.com/hotel/us/orlando-gateway.html
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Orlando – Lake Buena Vista: Close to Disney World, this hotel provides free breakfast, an outdoor pool, and complimentary shuttle services to nearby theme parks.https://www.booking.com/hotel/us/holiday-inn-express-suites-orlando-lk-buena-vista-area.html
La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Orlando Universal Area: Located near Universal Studios, this hotel features an outdoor pool, complimentary breakfast, and free theme park shuttle service.https://www.wyndhamhotels.com/laquinta/orlando-florida/la-quinta-orlando-universal-area/overview
Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Orlando Lake Buena Vista: This hotel is close to Disney World and offers free breakfast, an outdoor pool, and shuttle services to nearby attractions.https://www.marriott.com/en-us/hotels/mcolz-fairfield-inn-and-suites-orlando-lake-buena-vista-in-the-marriott-village/overview/?scid=6d31c709-905e-4b0f-bff5-2d58ada56b1c&gclsrc=ds
Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Orlando, FL: Situated near Universal Studios, this hotel offers complimentary breakfast, an outdoor pool, and a free shuttle service to theme parks.https://www.radissonhotelsamericas.com/en-us/hotels/country-inn-orlando-fl
Ramada by Wyndham Orlando Near Convention Center: Located near the Orange County Convention Center, this hotel features an outdoor pool, free breakfast, and shuttle services to major attractions.https://ramadanearconventioncenter.orlandohotelsweb.com/en/
Clarion Inn & Suites Across from Universal Orlando Resort: Close to Universal Studios, this hotel offers an outdoor pool, on-site dining options, and complimentary shuttle services to theme parks.https://www.choicehotels.com/florida/orlando/clarion-hotels/flc78?checkInDate=2023-09-28&checkOutDate=2023-10-04
Red Lion Hotel Orlando Lake Buena Vista South: Located near Disney World, this hotel features an outdoor pool, on-site dining options, and free Wi-Fi.https://www.booking.com/hotel/us/red-lion-orlando-lake-buena-vista-south.html
When looking for affordable off-site hotels in Orlando, consider factors such as location, amenities, and transportation options to theme parks. Booking well in advance and keeping an eye out for deals and discounts can help you secure the best rates.
The budget for a family vacation to Orlando for 4 people can vary widely depending on factors such as accommodation, transportation, dining preferences, and the number of attractions you plan to visit. Here’s a rough estimate of costs for a 7-day trip:
- Airfare: Prices vary depending on your departure city and time of year, but expect to spend around $200-$400 per person for round-trip flights. Estimate: $800 – $1,600.
- Accommodation: Budget hotels can range from $60-$150 per night, while mid-range hotels and vacation rentals can range from $150-$300 per night. Estimate: $420 – $2,100 for 7 nights.
- Transportation: Car rental prices can vary, but expect to pay around $30-$50 per day for a mid-sized car. Alternatively, consider using public transportation or hotel shuttles. Estimate: $210 – $350 for car rental or $50-$100 for public transportation.
- Theme park tickets: Prices vary by park and the number of days you plan to visit. For a 4-day Park Hopper ticket at Disney World, expect to pay around $500-$600 per person. For a 2-day Park-to-Park ticket at Universal Studios, expect to pay around $300-$350 per person. SeaWorld single-day tickets are around $90-$110 per person. Estimate: $1,880 – $2,240 for tickets.
- Dining: Food costs can vary, but budget around $30-$50 per person per day for meals and snacks if you plan to dine off-site or prepare some meals in your accommodations. Estimate: $840 – $1,400.
- Souvenirs and miscellaneous expenses: Allocate around $100-$200 per person for souvenirs, snacks, and any additional expenses. Estimate: $400 – $800.
Based on these estimates, a 7-day family vacation to Orlando for 4 people might cost between $4,550 and $8,590. Keep in mind that these numbers are rough estimates, and your actual expenses may be higher or lower depending on your choices and the deals you can find. To save money, consider traveling during the off-peak season, staying at budget-friendly accommodations, and looking for discounts on theme park tickets and dining.
Planning an unforgettable family vacation to Orlando doesn’t have to break the bank. With careful planning, intelligent choices, and a focus on budget-friendly options, you can create lasting memories with your loved ones without overspending. From exploring world-class theme parks to enjoying off-site restaurants and entertainment, Orlando offers many exciting experiences for families of all ages and budgets. So start planning your dream Orlando vacation today!