Friday, 11 September 2015

Orlando Money Saving Tips

Orlando, Florida is the fun capital of the USA. I have been to Orlando on a number of occasions with my family, visiting the theme parks and enjoying the beautiful weather. 

Here is my guide to saving money on a holiday to Orlando.




  1. Booking a hotel and flight yourself often has considerable savings on a package holiday. If you are new to this get a holiday brochure for ideas and replicate the package you like. Book using a credit card for extra protection. 
  2. To compare the cost of flights use websites such as Skyscanner and Kayak. When you are ready to book a flight online, clear your cookies on your computer or go incognito or through private browsing, as it may give you a cheaper price. 
  3. If you are nervous of a DIY holiday consider a package with ATOL protected companies such as Low Cost USA, Ocean Florida and Teletext Holidays, companies that are very cost effective. 
  4. If you can avoid peak times such as school holidays in the UK, Christmas and Spring Break everything will be considerably cheaper. Booking a flight midweek is often cheaper than the weekend too. 
  5. You have to buy an ESTA to travel to the US for a small fee. Beware unofficial sites that can charge you extortionate prices.

  6. If you are buying travel products and accessories such as adaptors, travel cushions and suncream have a look in your local reputable bargain shop such as BM Bargains or Poundland. Much cheaper than buying at the airport. 
  7. If you are looking to stay in Disney accommodation, there are often offers for free Disney Dining if you buy park tickets at the same time. 
  8. Consider staying in a villa or apartment with self catering facilities. It can save a fortune even if you only have breakfast there every day. 
  9. If you are looking to book a hotel, check out the popular budget chains such as Homewood Suites which give free breakfast and happy hours with complimentary snacks and drinks. 
  10. Travelzoo and Groupon have regular deals for Orlando on hotels, attractions and restaurants. Go to the US version of these sites for the best deals and when you go to pay use the zipcode of the accommodation you are staying at.

  11. Sign up for emails with hotels and restaurants before you go for special offers. It's worth registering with the restaurants just before you go as occasionally they will send you a discount voucher via email straight away or a couple of weeks after you sign up. If you have a birthday while you are out there you may get freebies too. 
  12. Hiring a car can save on taxis if you are not centrally located, but you do have to budget for petrol and parking in the parks. Alternatively use public transport - the Lynx bus goes from International Drive to the main tourist attractions and the IRide Trolley goes up and down International Drive. Some hotels have shuttle buses too. 
  13. If you do hire a car consider renting a SatNav from eBay or buying one in Walmart. This is much cheaper than hiring one from a car hire company and if you buy one you can resell it later or keep for next time. Alternatively if you have a smart phone the Navmii app allows you to use your phone as a SatNav. 
  14. Most parks will let you take in snacks and drinks, and some are even more lenient. It's not unheard of for families to take a picnic into some of the theme parks. Always check with the attraction website first though for restrictions. Refillable cups in Disney and Universal parks can also be cost effective if you are going to be there all day.

  15. If you are happy drinking water you can get a cup of iced water free in most theme parks. This can save a fortune on soft drinks. I have heard of families taking a small bottle of concentrated squash to add to the water for fussy kids. 
  16. If you are booking any tours in advance search for discount codes online. Sites such as Viator often have discount codes at certain times of the year. Check their social media pages. 
  17. Portions can be huge, especially appetisers. Consider sharing portions - most places will let you do that if you are not in a upmarket restaurant. Some restaurants may charge a fee to split the meal, most won't but you can still save money. 
  18. Buy souvenirs outside of the parks as it is much cheaper. Most of the outlet malls have Disney merchandise for sale as well as Walmart. 
  19. Give your children an allowance for the holiday for souvenirs. This helps them manage their own money and really think about buying any extras. Reinforce that once their money is gone, it's gone.


  20. If you stay in one of the Universal hotels, you will be within a short walk or boat ride to the parks, get early admission and if you stay in the three main hotels, you will get free express passes too. The convenience of staying on site with early admission and free express passes can be worth the extra cost. 
  21. Look out for free coupon books in supermarkets and hotels or search online for 'coupon books Orlando' and print off to take with you on holiday. You can get many discounts for restaurants and attractions this way.
  22. If you have children the 'Kids Eat Free Card' can save you money. For about 20 dollars for the card you get one free child's meal with every adult main meal for 90 days. 
  23. If you are a member of the Automobile Association in the UK (The AA) you can use your card for discounts in the US. If you see AAA discount accepted - show the Arc Europe sign on the back of your card. This link explains more. 
  24. Some hotel chains and many attractions will give a senior discount. It's always worth asking or if booking online search for senior discount and the hotel chain. Age and discounts can vary but Best Western give 10% off to those over the age of 55 for example. 
  25. If you have a smart phone look out for apps to save money. For example Free Prints gives you a number of photo prints free, Touchnote allows you to send your photos as free personalised postcards and Free Wi-Fi finder allows you to find free wi-fi.

If you liked these tips have a read of my Top 10 Tips - Planning A Holiday To Orlando

Tell me do you have any holiday money saving tips?

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44 comments

  1. We are going to Florida in January and can't wait, you have some great tips for saving money, We love the free Disney dining plan deal and always book at times when it's on but out of school holidays so its quieter.
    Great post x

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    1. Have fun when you go Ellie! I have yet to stay in a Disney hotel but I have been tempted to, purely for the dining plan.

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  2. These are some top tips! I've never been to Florida, but loved Disneyland California and Paris so Disney World is definitely on my to do list!

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  3. These are some fantastic tips. I have a friend at work who is disney mad so I know exactly where I shall send him to before he books his next hols.

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  4. Great tips, I've always wanted to go to Orlando, but Disney with my girls would be even better!

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  5. Ahh this is amazing, you know I want to go was this written for me haha! x

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  6. Great post I love Florida. Another tip I would recommend is make sure you fly into Orlando International and not Sanford. I flew into Sanford a while ago and it was too far out and very hard to get transport to International Drive. This is especially worth saying, if you don't drive. Public transport to the main tourist area can take a very long time and involves changing buses a few times. Not great after coming off a long flight with luggage, At Orlando International their are many buses and taxis available and its only 30 mins from the main tourist area. Disney's Magical Express don't pick up from Sanford either x

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    1. What a great tip Hannah about Orlando International. Yes public transport does take a long time, the public transport system is not as good as the UK. For convenience I would always recommend a car.

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    2. We refuse to drive abroad. It's too much hassle, especially when you come off a really long flight. You're really tired and then have to drive to where your going and it might be dark too. We find it much easier to just get a coach to our hotel and go from there. I read on a trip adviser forum that if you try getting a bus from Sanford to international Drive it can take at least 2 hours and the nearest bus stop is not by the airport either x

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  7. These are fantastic tips. I've always dreamed of going to Orlando with my family x

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  8. i've always really fancied going to disney land in America but as I'd be going as an adult with no children in tow, I don't think I'dfancy spending more than a day or two there without getting bored. great tips though

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    1. You would be amazed how many people go without kids. There are four main Disney parks in Orlando just for starters, and that is without Universal, Islands of Adventure and the water parks.

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  9. Whilst Disneyland has never been on my list of places ive wanted to visit, but there are some great tips here x

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  10. I think #14 is a hidden gem of a comment. Taking food and drinks into the parks will save a considerable amount of money and many people just don't realize this is an option.

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    1. Thank you Jaclyn, as you say many people don't realise you can take food and drink into the parks. I would always recommend checking with each park first though as I know Seaworld don't allow much to be taken in.

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  11. Useful tips! It's good you can get free tap water in every park!

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    1. Yes it is and it can be so humid in Florida so it's important to keep hydrated.

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  12. Ahhh sooo excited! We go for the first time (for me) in January. Great tips here, especially the accommodation and dining ones.

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    1. Thank you! I hope you enjoy it, I am sure you will.

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  13. I've been to Orlando a few times, and it can get expensive. These are wonderful tips on how to save.

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    1. It can do so I am glad my tips are useful!

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  14. Also if you want free dining you need to be staying at a disney resort already, which if that is the case, it depends on which resort you stay at because sometimes they offer a 20-30% off room rate which can be cheaper than free dining ;)

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    1. Yes there are a few offers around so best to look at what is best for your situation.

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  15. OOO... some great tips hadn't even thought about the groupon for where we are staying! We are going in a few weeks and going self catering sow ill look out for that! Thanks for some great tips!

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  16. Fantastic post. I am a keen money saver and always love to find ways of saving money whilst away. I would not have thought about a lot of these ideas. Thanks for sharing.

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  17. What a great list! We are thinking of going to Disney Land, I'm sure lots of these ideas are transferable!!

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    1. Yes many of these ideas can apply to any holiday!

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  18. Great tips! I would love to take my daughter to Disney World one day! x

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  19. I've been to Orlando loads of times with my family, and it is just the happiest place on earth. My favourite memories are from there. My friends and I are currently trying to save to go next year so these tips will come in handy! We're going to look for a villa :).

    Thanks for sharing :)

    - A

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    1. I am never stayed in a villa, but I have stayed in a condo apartment and it was huge. A villa is great if you have a big family, need the space and want to save money by cooking for yourself.

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  20. many of these tips can apply to just about everywhere! I'm a huge fan of Skyscanner, found so many good deals there in past! Lately I started using Kayak too and it's doing good as well!

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    1. Hi Kami, yes Skyscanner and Kayak are both amazing sites, and brilliant for comparing flights.

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  21. I think these are great tips, and this is a post I will definitely be coming back to for when we head to Florida!

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  22. This is a very comprehensible list for traveling to the US from the UK. Even being US, I picked up a tip or two to use when I visit Orlando.

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  23. Nice tips! Never been to Orlando but looks like a good place for kids.

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    1. Also adults too! There is so much to see in Florida as a whole. We are goingto be exploring the Gulf Coast on our next trip.

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  24. I really want to go to Disneyland :( I always wanted badly! I wont get USA visa :(

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  25. I know a mate that's currently in Disney Land! There are some great tips there, personally a fan of skyscanner, they are ace!

    x

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    1. Skyscanner is an awesome site to compare flight prices.

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  26. Brilliant post - I have been to Orlando 3 times and hope to go back again when Pickle is a little older. I will be pinning this post :) Kaz x

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    1. Thanks for the kind compliment and for the pin!

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