Money Saving Tips For Orlando Family Vacations
Warmer weather is officially here which means many families are considering taking a vacation. We traveled to Orlando during Thanksgiving break and it was one of the most memorable trips we have ever had. The weather is amazing and there are so many fun and exciting places to visit while vacationing there. The one thing I wished I had done before we visited was do more research on ways we could have saved. I felt so unprepared once there and realized (throughout our trip) that were ample amount of times I could have saved money, had I done my research first. So I have put together a list of money saving tips for Orlando family vacations!
How to get there: The first part of planning your vacation is of course figuring out your traveling arrangements. For those who are planning to travel to Orlando from the UK, you will be surprised to discover that there are many cheap flights available. Finding a cheap flight deal can really make a difference in your vacation planning and leave you with more money to spend on the actual vacation. Thomson Airways offer flight deals that don’t blow your budget!
Where to stay: There are plenty of great places to stay in Orlando for families on a budget and you will find that there are lots of hotel specials…so shop around! Options range from budget accommodations starting at about $50 per night to value-oriented hotels with rooms in the $80 range. Also look into vacation homes, home exchanges, bed & breakfasts and campgrounds if you would rather stay somewhere other than a hotel.
Eating out: This is also one of your biggest expenses when traveling to Orlando. Meals undoubtedly account for a significant portion of the family vacation budget. When you are selecting places to stay and eat out in Orlando, make sure to consider accommodations with kitchen facilities and look for “Kids Eat Free” deals. Hotels with “Kids Eat Free” In addition, make sure to investigate the Dining Plan that is available with theme park packages at Walt Disney World. Look on the Walt Disney World website for more information on this package to see if you will be visiting during a time period when the plan is offered. Families can easily save up to 40% off on the total cost of meals by using this plan! Also, consider eating in your hotel room. When we vacationed to Orlando, we stopped by a local grocery store and purchased groceries for the week. We saved so much money just by making our food ourselves! Many parents also carry a backpack loaded with snacks and drinks when they go to the parks.
Getting around: Transportation to major Orlando attractions is often included in your hotel stay. If you are staying at the Walt Disney World Resort, the Disney transportation systems (monorails, buses and boats) provide free door-to-door access to all of theme parks, water parks, Downtown Disney, and all 23 resort hotels.They also have something called the Disney’s Magical Express, which provides free transportation from the Orlando Airport to Walt Disney World hotels. If you visit downtown Orlando, a free circulating bus called LYMMO provides rides along a 3-mile loop in the downtown area.
Visiting attractions: Let me warn you before you take a look for yourself… theme park tickets are expensive! But there are many ways to enjoy these attractions without breaking bank. One of the best ways to save money is to buy your theme park tickets in advance. We purchased ours on black Friday and when they were doing a BOGO sale. Then we purchased the remainder of our tickets from the hotel room the day we were going, this saves us tons! If you plan on visiting more than one attraction, Walt Disney World offers money-saving packages that combine theme park tickets with resort stays. It’s important to plan out your vacation in advance and think about how many days of admission you’re really going to use. Compare prices from a wide variety of sources, check directly with each theme park’s online site to determine their best ticket values, and then buy your tickets in advance.
Freebies: One thing that I did do prior to visiting Orlando was look for fun free places that I thought would be entertaining for our family! The Peabody Orlando hotel is a place where you can watch the March of the Peabody Ducks twice a day. Resident ducks walk a red carpet to and from the Royal Duck Fountain. Make a visit to the Lego store at Downtown Disney where the kids can make their own Lego creations. Admission is free to the Harry P. Leu Gardens on every Monday morning from 9 a.m. to noon. This is a beautiful 50-acre botanical park featuring a butterfly garden and the largest camellia collection in eastern North America. The park also offers a free storytime program for young children on the third Monday of every month. Lastly, you can order a free Orlando Magicard, which provides up to $500 in savings at 87 Orlando area establishments including restaurants, local attractions, and other sightseeing.
I hope these tips were useful to you! I can not emphasize enough the importance of planning ahead. The more you do in advance, the less you have to worry about during your vacation. Plus you will have an even greater time knowing you saved so much money on your family vacation to Orlando!