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Vacation time is coming and the kids are begging to go to Disney World. While there’s something for everyone in Orlando, the trip can quickly add up, between the shopping, the dining, and of course, the amusement parks all around. But thankfully, a trip to Orlando doesn’t have to break the bank. Check out our tips to enjoy the theme park capital of the world on a budget.
When to Go
Try to plan your Orlando vacation outside of peak tourist times. While the home to Minnie and Mickey is popular all year round, crowds most certainly increase around the spring and summer, when schools are on vacation. Fall is usually the best time to visit, with crowds at a low and temperatures starting to cool.
Where to Stay
An Orlando hotel may seem like it’ll set you back a bit, but there are plenty of budget-friendly lodging options in the Orlando area. Check out hotels and vacation rentals in Orlando that sit outside downtown, as properties in that area tend to be more expensive. Holiday Inn Disney Springs is a great option for the budget conscious family. The hotel is centrally located with dozens of dining and entertainment options nearby. Plus the hotel offers a shuttle service to and from the Disney Parks. The Holiday Inn also has a pool, fitness center, and restaurant where kids eat free (with an adult purchase).
Liki Tiki Village may look like a luxury find, but it’s also a budget-friendly, family-friendly option. Check out their rooms, under $100 per night, with one, two or three bedrooms, a kitchenette with appliances, and living room space. With multiple pools and dozens of activities, plus the option to cook your meals yourself, you’ll be able to save money without compromising quality.
Rosen Inn International on International Drive provides all the comfort you’ll need, at a price you’re comfortable with. Rooms at the Rosen Inn International come with cozy beds, free WiFi, and entertainment systems. With free meals for kids ages nine and under at the buffet, poolside fun, and easy access to the best of Orlando, the hotel has it all.
Things to do
Is it possible to visit Orlando without a visit to Disney World or Universal Studios? No. Is it possible to visit these parks and still save money? Yes.
From the castles of the Magic Kingdom to the jungles of the Animal Kingdom to the studio tours, water parks, and Land of the Future of Epcot, there are many tips and tricks to visit the parks without breaking the bank. Food in the parks can be overpriced and expensive. Try to skip out on the meal plans and if you can, save big meals for outside the parks. When you book your hotel, check to see about a shuttle service to and from the parks. This helps you cut down on car rentals and parking passes. Disney sells a Hopper Pass that lets you jump around from park to park, but if you buy individual theme park tickets and just stick to one park per day, you’ll come out ahead, not to mention you’ll save time, too.
Universal Orlando is fun for the whole family, from studio tours to thrill rides, to themed adventures. However, if you’re not careful, the park’s prices can add up. The park offers a Meal Deal, allowing you to pay one set price for all your meals during the day, but even this may not be worth buying when compared to simply buying food outside the park and eating in advance. Save some cash by skipping out on Express Passes. The pass allows you to cut lines, and while some may be extraordinarily long, others may be relatively short, not requiring a special pass at all. Universal’s Citywalk is one of the best ways to save money, with cheaper dining options, as well as shopping and nightlife options.
Check out Disney Springs for quaint cafes, charming boutiques, live music performances, shows, the Lego Imagination Center, and more — all at a low price. Disney Boardwalk Area is another great spot to hang around the waterfront, catch a show, or grab a bite to eat. If you’re looking for your dose of nature, head to Harry P Leu Gardens or Mead Botanical Gardens for manicured lawns and rows of gorgeous flowers. Or you can shop til you drop at the Premium Outlets. Buy the high fashion brands you want at just a fraction of the price. Elsewhere, history buffs will love nearby Winter Park, full of historic buildings and museums. Not to mention, if you have a budding NASA astronaut with you, don’t miss out on a trip to Kennedy Space Center.