Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Disneyland Paris On A Budget

Disneyland Paris is a popular destination choice especially for families, heck you can even go to Disneyland Paris without kids let we did in January!  Disneyland Paris is great fun but it can be expensive. When you add the cost of hotels, flights, food and park tickets together it's not very budget friendly. However here are some tried and tested ways of saving money when visiting Disneyland Paris on a budget. 





How to get there

The easiest and quickest way is to fly into Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris. Easyjet is one budget airline that provides Paris flights. Don't forget you will have to add on suitcases and airport transfers which can quickly add up. If you are visiting for a couple of days, see if you can manage with carry-on luggage to keep costs down. There aren't any super cheap ways to get to Disneyland Paris from the airport that I know of. If you travel outside of rush hour, the TGV train is quicker and cheaper than the Disney bus at 17 Euros 50 each. If you have a large family, you may want to look at a shared transfer. Always book your transfer and train online in advance for the cheapest rates. 

Other options include Eurostar from London as a foot passenger. At certain times of the year they have some great deals on. You can also get a direct train to Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy station which is directly in front of the parks. Another option is to drive yourself from C
alais to France and then over to your accommodation. Factor in petrol and tolls which are approximately €22. You do have the convenience of taking your car directly to your door and if you are not a fan of flying this is a popular choice.

Where to stay

It's A Small World

For a budget traveller, I would say avoid Disney hotels. None of these hotels are particularly cheap. If you have set your heart on a Disney hotel then the cheapest one is usually the Sante Fe. Instead of staying in a Disneyland Paris hotel consider accommodation in the Marne-la-Vallée area as any hotel in this area is perfect for the parks. There are some apartments in this area if you have a number of kids.

If you are looking at holidays to Paris and want to combine Disneyland with a trip exploring Paris and the surrounding area then a stay in a holiday park can be a cost-effective option. Some sites like those by Eurocamp have a high standard of mobile homes, with fridges, washing machines, DVD players and more, and are a fraction of the price of a hotel stay. You also have your own indoor and outdoor space which is great for large families.

When to go


Pirates Of The Caribbean 

If you are on a tight budget, avoid school holidays if you can; Easter and Christmas including when the French children are on holiday. The cheapest time to go is often between Christmas and Spring but November is often cheap and you will get the Christmas decorations going up straight after Halloween. Midweek is quieter than the weekend too.

Park Tickets
Sleeping Beauty Castle

To get the cheapest tickets I would avoid buying at the gate. With the gate price of €79 for a day ticket, you can see it makes sense to compare prices online beforehand. Check out places like AttractionTix and Attraction Tickets Direct. 

If you are visiting for more than a couple of days, check out the annual passes as it may be cheaper to buy these. They offer a wealth of discounts and perks and you can even buy a pass just for 150 days that you can use in low season. 

Souvenirs


Disney Merchandise

To save money buy your souvenirs before you go. Ok, this may only work with younger kids but why not give it a try? Shops such as Poundland and Primark in the UK have a selection of Disney merchandise at bargain prices. You can buy dressing up outfits, Mickey ears, autograph books, light up toys and more, and this will always be cheaper than buying in the parks. 

Pressed pennies are a cheap souvenir, seek out the pressed penny machines for a lovely keepsake that won't break the bank.  Check the park map for the free character meet and greets too and if you take an autograph book they will sign it as well.

Currency

Tower Of Terror

The currency in France is the Euro, so if you are not from a country that uses the Euro, you will have to get currency beforehand. Never get it at the airport, the exchange rate will be terrible. Instead, use a comparison site like Travel Money Max to get the best rates.

Also, ensure you get a credit card with no currency conversion charge like the Halifax Clarity Card, otherwise you may be charged a fee on top when you use it abroad. Most debit cards with charge a foreign transaction fee so don't use your debit card unless you absolutely have to. 

Food


Earl Of Sandwich 

Food in the parks is overpriced and can be disappointing especially the table service meals.  Check out TripAdvisor for reviews. 
One place that has decent reviews is the Cowboy Cookout Barbecue and the prices are reasonable.  

I would suggest you either take a picnic into the parks or go to the Disney Village for food to keep costs down. 
Near the Val d’Europe RER station, there is an Auchan Supermarket, so why not buy some baguettes, ham and cheese and do like the French do and take a picnic in? In the Disney Village, there are a few decent options for a quick service meal like Earl of Sandwich and if you are on a tiny budget you can always try Mcdonalds. It's worth using Google to find discount coupons too as we managed to find coupons for Earl Of Sandwich in the past. 


pin for later

There are water fountains around the park so be sure to take a water bottle and fill it up to save on the price of Evian bottled water. For a quick snack why not take some snacks from Poundland into the parks with you, you will be grateful for a Kit-Kat when you see the price of the cupcakes?

So here is a guide to doing Disneyland Paris on a budget. Have you been to Disneyland Paris? Do you have any tips?

*PR collaboration 
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Tuesday, 14 August 2018

The Must-Do Summer Attractions In Queens, NYC

Last year we went to New York and had the best time exploring this exciting city. It was my first time in 'The Big Apple'  and of course, I had to do all the tourist things such as the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge and the 9/11 Memorial Museum which was sobering but a must see. 

While we were there, we took a trip over to the borough of Queens, which quickly became one of my favourite areas of New York. Well connected to the city, it offers a break from the craziness of Times Square and downtown New York City.  We are planning to go back to New York next Summer to explore Queens more, so this is my guide to the must-do summer attractions in the borough of Queens New York. 

Wander Around in the Flushing Meadows–Corona Park


Photo by Ajay Suresh, CC 2.0 License  

You could honestly spend two days in this park as it's huge and has so many attractions! Want to know how the Big Apple built such a reputation worldwide? Come to this part of town. The Unisphere shape, a massive steel replica of the Earth, of Flushing Meadows–Corona Park used to be home to international fairs and still is one of the largest global structures in the world.

If arts and culture are of your thing, get lost in the Queens Museum or the New York Hall of Science. Get tickets in advance, if you want to see a show at the Queens Theatre, featured in the movie Men In Black.

Go to the Museum of Modern Art in the evening





The Midtown Museum of Modern Art has a beloved extension named MoMA PS1, which turns into a dance floor during the summer on weekends. Have you ever partied in a museum? Coming to Queens is your opportunity to cross that off your bucket list. Meet the coolest people in town and dance the night away in artistic surroundings.

Visit the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center



The USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre is the world's largest public tennis facilities. Every year, it hosts one of the four biggest tennis tournaments: the U.S. Open. The complex is so big that in addition to the tennis courts, you will also find a food village, a museum of the U.S. Open and a sculpture garden.  Soaking up the atmosphere and passion here is a great way to enjoy tennis and every year players and fans gather to enjoy the end of the Summer and their favourite sport.

Check Out the Welling Court Mural Project



Now, here’s a must-see place for artists, especially photographers. Located in Astoria, I was told that it’s the best “aerosol art” alternative in Queens. Here, street artists come from all the corners of the world to share their artwork. A word of advice: start your artistic journey at the intersection of 30th Avenue and Welling Court, you don't really need a map as art is everywhere but if you search online you can find one. With over 130 works of art, it's a great place for art lovers everywhere to soak up the atmosphere. Who knows, you may spot an up-and-coming version of Banksy?

Take an Evening Walk at the Gantry Plaza State Park


Photo by Alan Strakey, CC 2.0 License

Take a walk along the riverfront for one of the most iconic views of New York. From there, you can enjoy the most beautiful landscape the city has to offer: the sunset between the Manhattan skyscrapers, the United Nation, the Chrysler and the Empire State Buildings. It's a lovely walk with your partner or friends, and then stop off in one of the neighbourhood bars for a drink watching the sun go down.

So this is my must-do attractions in Queens New York. Have you been to New York? 
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Monday, 13 August 2018

Why You Should Go To The Theatre

Going to the theatre is one of those events that used to be exclusive to the upper classes but is now much more accessible.  



Research by One Poll has shown that people go to the theatre for different reasons and that varies with age. So let's look at why people go to the theatre and why you should too.

It's an event


The open-air Minack Theatre 

There is something special about going to the theatre. It's an event and often a spectacle. Most people think of it as a special occasion and dress accordingly. The surroundings of the theatre often make it feel extra special, especially in the traditional theatres such as those in London's West End or The Globe Theatre. The buildings and the interior can feel glamorous and there is so much history in some of the older theatres. Cornwall's open-air Minack Theatre is a place I really want to go next. 

The storytelling can be pure escapism but it can also educate and inform

You can be transported to another place, to another time, through the set, actors and storytelling. The storytelling can bring the pages of a book or play to life. It can be immersive and it can be thrilling. A point in case - I went to see The Woman In Black, and there were only three actors in the show, it was so brilliant how they acted and told the story with such a small cast. It was spine chilling and I would highly recommend it.  The storytelling can also educate and inform the audience and bring social issues into a spotlight.

You can see well-known actors or spot a star in their making


The Globe Theatre London

The theatre brings some of the best actors in the world, and can also be a place to spot up-and-coming stars. People come to see big-name actors perform in an intimate setting. Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews both started in theatre and some of Hugh Jackman's first acting roles were on the stage in Austrailia. It's also a larger than life performance as they are often in close proximity to the audience. You can feel a real connection with the actors. There is also a prestige of acting in famous books and plays, for example, actors will often go out of their way to play a leading role in a Shakespeare play such as Hamlet or Macbeth or a play by Tennesse Williams.  

It's a great social experience


The theatre brings friends and family together, people often go for a meal or drink first then experience a show together. It can also be a tradition, maybe you go once a year at Christmas to a pantomime, of course, that's a theatre show we often forget, ('Oh No We Don't!') or always visit if you are in London or New York. Or maybe every birthday you save up and visit your local theatre with your partner and book an overnight stay in a hotel to savour the experience. 

It's not as expensive as you think


The theatre can be surprisingly affordable.

Theatre tickets aren't that expensive if you compare them to a concert by your favourite band or even your favourite comedian but of course, the top tickets in the West End and Broadway can be pricey. However, there are some things you can do to keep the cost down. Some ideas are to go to your local theatre production instead of a show in London or New York, look for deals online, visit on a matinee performance, or see a show that has been running a while.  If you don't want the best seats cheaper tickets will be found further to the back of the theatre. If it's a small theatre you may still get a good view. Students and OAPs can sometimes get discounts on tickets too, so if you are in that category, it's always worth asking.

Accessibility

It can make that book you studied in school or that Shakespeare play you tried to get your head around, accessible and easier to understand. This is why many school and college groups visit the theatre especially when studying the same text. You can connect easier to the story as there is a bond that forms between the performers and the viewer and that can only be a good thing.


So these are some reasons why I think we should all go to the theatre, tell me, have you been? Has it been a good experience for you? What's your favourite show?

*PR collaboration 

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Sunday, 12 August 2018

Pure One Maxi Series 3 Dab Radio Review And Giveaway Ends 09/09

Pure is a company known for it's designing and manufacturing of digital audio broadcasting and DAB+ radios.  They are world-class leaders in digital radio design, so when I was offered to review a radio from Pure recently I was keen to do so.

I was sent a Pure One Maxi Series 3 radio to review and also one to give away to my readers, more of that later!




The One range represents Pure's entry-level radios and is the world's best-selling digital radio range. Models include the One Mini, One Midi and One Maxi. Designed for portability, they can be powered with AA batteries or an optional rechargeable ChargePAK.



First impressions of the Pure One Maxi Series 3 radio were good. A slate grey colour (they actually call it Slate Blue) the radio is modern in design, although a little bit boxy. It was bigger and slightly heavier than I expected though so although portable I think it's the sort of radio that would be good listening to at home. I think the Pure One Mini would be a more portable version.



Set up was super easy - all you do is connect the plug and connect the power, push the on button and wait for the radio to autotune. The radio comes with both a European and UK plug to connect to the mains but you can also buy a ChargePAK D1 which is a rechargeable battery pack to make it eco-friendly. if you wanted to use normal AA batteries you would need 6 of them. 



The sound is crisp and clear, not tinny and far superior to an old-fashioned radio, no crackle here! The display is clear and easy to read, brilliant for an oldie like me.



It has a number of features as you can see above, including a socket so you can plug in your headphones, a kitchen timer, two alarms so you can wake up at different times to your favourite stations, and a sleep timer which puts your radio into standby mode after a set amount of time. I managed to connect my phone with the AUX socket and could play my Spotify through the speakers. Volume can be turned up loud without distortion too.



The 20 station preset was incredibly easy to set up, with 10 digital radio and 10 FM radio presets.

The Pure One Maxi Series 3 DAB radio is a solid choice for a digital radio, that's easy to use with a modern design. Pure has an excellent reputation and I feel that coupled with a three-year warranty for peace of mind, means the radio will last you a long time.

Today on my blog you can win a Pure One Max Series 3 DAB radio. Entry is via the Gleam app below and is free to enter. Why don't you bookmark the page and come back for a daily entry? Whilst you are here check out my other competitions too. Good luck!

Win a Pure DAB radio
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Friday, 10 August 2018

Post Office Digital Drop-In Service Educates And Informs

Technology is part of most people's lives these days, and of course, it's ever-changing. With smartphones, apps, smartwatches, smart TVs, laptops, desktop computers, tablets, streaming films, streaming music, online banking and online shopping, there is a lot to get to grips with, and that's just for starters. It can be bewildering at times even if you have been brought up with technology. If you haven't it can be overwhelming.


As a full-time blogger, with two blogs, this one and Fly Drive Explore that I write with my husband, and a YouTube channel, I've had to get to grips with spreadsheets, web design, online banking, video creation, photo apps and social media. Even for someone with an I.T. degree like me, it's a lot to take in. Imagine if you weren't brought up with technology? It must be hard to ask for help without feeling silly. Well, the Post Office Broadband digital drop-in sessions run in conjunction with Google Digital Garage can help you out. 

Post Office Broadband decided to run these workshops after completing research on over 4000 people. The main results were 73 % of people would like to improve their tech skills, with over a fifth struggling to use everyday devices such as smartphones and apps.

With this research in mind Post Office Broadband have teamed up with Google Digital Garage this summer to run these free digital training sessions in cities around the UK. I was invited to pop down to my local session in Cardiff and find out what it is all about.


The session in Cardiff was based in the Central Libray next to John Lewis, a five-floor state of the art library. Lily from the Post Office team was there to welcome everyone as well as the Google guys and fellow bloggers Kaz from Ickle Pickles Life and Alina from We Made This Life.



Immediately I was impressed with how welcoming and friendly everyone was, and it wasn't long before people were walking in asking for advice. With lots of tea, coffee, biscuits and help we worked together to help solve problems and put the world to rights!



People of all ages were welcomed, with the majority being of the older generation. I think that if it hadn't been held at the beginning of the school holidays we would have had more mums too, as happened in the other sessions run by the Post Office.

Some themes seemed to appear a number of times. People often lack confidence when they try new technology and are afraid of doing something wrong. I guess not being afraid of doing things wrong is one way of learning - trying out different methods to find a solution and developing your problem-solving skills. 


For example, if you want to find out information, Google can be the font of knowledge but look at the authority of the site Google directs you to - is that site trusted and respected? You would feel confident in having health advice from the NHS website but not from a health website with no obvious credentials and that you hadn't heard of.  

I enjoyed talking to a lady called Jennifer. She wanted advice about her email as she had been hacked. The Google staff worked with her to help set up another email and advised her on what to do with passwords and security, never divulging her password and always signing out when using a shared computer. 



Sometimes the Google guys couldn't help with an issue but pointed the customers in the right direction. One such lady had a problem with her Ipad and iPhone not syncing and the Google digital staff helped her by writing down the issue for her to take to the Apple store.  

They were brilliant in dealing with people of different levels of competence in I.T. From a man who wanted to upskill his I.T. skills for a job and someone who had his own online business, to someone who wanted to know how to use apps on their phone, or write basic emails. 

Nothing really was a silly question, and with patience and an understanding of technology from basic issues to the more advanced knowledge, they helped people and were never condescending.


The customers really seemed to enjoy the experience and trust the Post Office brand and this conjunction with Google.




The next session is in Norwich and if you think this would appeal to you register here, for any upcoming sessions. The Post Office Broadband team would like to hold these free sessions on a regular basis up and down the country and if they get enough interest then they most definitely will.  

Do you know of anyone who would benefit from this service? Do you have any issues with technology?

*PR collaboration 
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Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Boost Your Home Comforts With These Five Little Upgrades

Home improvement is usually a costly venture, isn’t it? It often takes a long time too. When you think about the ways that you could change your home, you may start imagining building work being done on your kitchen and having no water for a few weeks while your bathroom is upgraded. Thankfully, those aren’t always necessary when it’s the little changes that you want to make to your home that can have the big impact that you’re looking for. 

The most important thing about your home is that you are comfortable. While it’s nice to add to the value for when you choose to eventually sell it, it’s nicer to think that you are doing everything possible to make sure that your home is somewhere that you actually want to come home to at the end of the day. So, with all that in mind, how can you upgrade your home without breaking the bank and living in a building site?



1. Living Room

Usually the place in the home that people come to relax in at the end of a long day, a living room should be functional, social and comfortable. Think about switching out the shabby chic sofa with the hardback for a huge L-shaped suite instead. It’s social to sit in with your friends, it’s comfortable when you want to kick back and watch a movie and it’s a talking point in the room.

2. Kitchen


A lick of paint can change the entire look of a kitchen, even if you have a small one to cook in. Wallpapering is far more complex than choosing a light colour to maximise the space and make it look bigger than it truly is. Pick a colour that opens out the room and avoid dark colours that can make the room look small and close the space up.

3. Bedroom


If you’re going for comfort upgrades, visit www.mattress-guides.net/ and think about the type of mattress that you have currently. Upgrade your bed and your mattress to one that is newer and so has a long life on it. The bed you choose should fit the shape and theme of the room, but you should invest in one that will last you a while, too!

4. Bathroom


A small upgrade such as changing the taps and the light switches may seem like a small one, but it is one of the best things that you can do for your bathroom, and it doesn't have to cost a fortune too. You can instantly change the way the bathroom looks with a switch of your cabinet knobs for metal handles; functional and modern!

5. Outside


While we’re talking about your comfort, think about how your house exterior makes you feel. If you can’t look at it without cringing, then perhaps you need to think about giving your home an external makeover with some plant pots or artificial grass and a border of pretty flowers. Invest in decking or outdoor furniture to make your exterior comfortable for you and any guests that you have.

Five changes, five small switches to make a huge impact on your comfort in your own home. What are you waiting for?


*Collaborative post
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Monday, 6 August 2018

101 Money Saving Tips For Orlando Florida

Orlando is our happy place and with a twenty-one-year-old son who loves the theme parks, it's a trip we take every couple of years. We are always on the lookout for cheap money saving tips and saving money in Orlando in certain areas means we can spend it on luxuries such as cocktails, nice meals out or cool experiences.

A trip to Orlando isn't cheap from the UK, and with flights alone starting at £400 and doubling in high season, you can see it can be a costly vacation. However, over the years I have learnt some tips and tricks to save money and here I am sharing them with you. If you have any tips yourself on how you save money on your Orlando vacation please let me know and why not pin this post, or bookmark it for your next trip?

Flights
Magic Kingdom

1. Use a comparison site like Skyscanner or Kayak to book your flights.  Two airlines that seem cheaper than BA or Virgin Atlantic are Norwegian Air and Thomas Cook. Compare the differences between the in-flight entertainment and food options and see if its worth the cheaper price. Here is our video of Virgin Atlantic economy to MCO Orlando

2. Avoid peak times like school holidays, Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving if you can, as flights and accommodation will be more expensive. 

3. Flights midweek can often be cheaper than the weekend, so if your dates are flexible then try flying out and coming back midweek. 

4. If you have been searching for flights online but then you want to book, go invisible. Saving your cookies on your browser may bump the prices up so if you go invisible (called incognito on Chrome, or InPrivate browsing on Internet Explorer) your flight prices may come down.


5. Sign up to airline loyalty schemes if you are a fan of a particular airline. If you are a frequent flyer the points soon add up. We've managed to get upper-class flights on Virgin Atlantic at half the normal price.  

6. Check out if there are any discounts on cashback sites before you book your flight. Topcashback and Quidco may give you a percentage back on the cost. Sign up with my Quidco link and you get £5 and I do too. Thanks! 
There are often discounts for hotels, car hire and more on cashback sites.

7. If you are staying at a Disney resort, Disney does a free transfer from MCO airport using their Magical Express service. 

8. If you need a transfer from the airport Mears run transfers at a reasonable cost. Also, Lyft and Uber are available and are cheaper than a traditional taxi.

ESTA
Universal Studios

9. The majority of people from the UK will need an ESTA to travel to the US and the current price of this is $14. Be sure to go to the official site to apply as other sites will charge you more and you can do it yourself. It is valid for two years.

10. Use a credit card without a foreign transaction fee such as the Halifax Clarity credit card to pay your ESTA wherever possible. You will be paying in dollars for the ESTA and some credit and debit cards will charge you on top for a foreign transaction fee otherwise.

Currency

Hollywood Studios

11. When getting your currency, always get it in advance if you can, and never at the airport. The exchange rates are awful if you get your currency at the airport.

12. Check out the online tool from Money Saving Expert called Travel Money Max to get the best rates on your currency. We also then compare it to the exchange rate at John Lewis as we find it's often the best rate on the high street. 


13. Getting a prepaid card like FairFx can save you money if you load it when the exchange rate is good. It gives you the rate on the day, and then you can use it to budget for your holiday. Use my link to get £10 on the card free if you load £500 and I get £10 too, thank you.

Before you go



Flights Of Passage Animal Kingdom 

14. If you are buying travel products and accessories such as adaptors, travel cushions, ponchos and suncream have a look in your local reputable bargain shops such as BM Bargains or Poundland. They will be much cheaper than buying at the airport or in your resort hotel. Don't forget to check the UVA and UVB rating on the back of the suncream for the protection it offers, and go for a high level of SPF as the Florida sun is strong. We never use lower than an SPF 30.

15. 
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.  If you are nervous of a DIY holiday consider a package with ATOL protected companies such as TUI, On the Beach and Ocean Florida. Sometimes you can get amazing deals last minute too.

16. Check out in advance your mobile roaming charges for the US. I have a Three UK sim and their Feel At Home service allows you to use your phone with the same data plan as in the UK. For more about saving money on your phone calls in the USA, check out this post on Money Saving Expert

Off-Site Accommodation


Sonesta ES Suites International Drive

17. If money is tight staying on International Drive is a good bet for cheap hotels within walking distance of restaurants, bars and International Drive attractions like Icon 360 and Pointe Orlando. Check out the Avanti Hotel or the Rosen Inn hotels for budget option hotels that seem to get decent reviews. 

18. If you have a big family, consider a condo apartment or a villa to save on booking two or more rooms. You can also cook your own food to save money on eating out all the time. We've stayed at Sonesta ES Suites and Vista Cay and can recommend both. Check out this post on Kissimee vacation rentals to see what you can get for your money. 


19. 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. 

20. Have breakfast in your room, many hotel rooms have a fridge and small kitchen so have some cereal and save on the pricey breakfast in the parks.

21. Check out a comparison site like Trivago for the best prices on accommodation, then go to the hotel direct to see if they can match the price.

Disney and Universal Hotels

Cabana Bay

2
2. Disney and Universal hotels have a range of activities like free movies by the pool, so make the most of these if are staying here. One cool thing is the free animation class at the Art Of Animation hotel. Every day in the lobby (usually three times a day) you can take this class for free.

23. If you are looking to stay in Disney accommodation, there are often offers at certain times of the year for a package with free Disney Dining. You have to book park tickets and accommodation at the same time.


24. You could consider renting Disney Vacation Points to get a bargain on your Disney accommodation. 

25. The Chip and Dale campfire singalong is free. Bring your own marshmallows and sticks or buy at the Fort Wilderness Resort. Stay for movies by the campfire later.

26. There is live opera singing every night at Loews Portofino Bay.

27. Did you know you can go on a tour of Jiko or Boma restaurants in Animal Kingdom Lodge for free? The culinary tour with a few tidbits is around 4 pm to 4.15pm.  You don't have to be staying there either, check with the hotel which days it is running. Thanks to the Disney Food Blog for this tip.

28. You can pool hop if you stay at one of the Univeral hotels. With a lazy river at Cabana Bay and underwater music and a beach at the Hard Rock Hotel pool, it's worth it. If you stay at a Disney All-Star hotel you can pool hop too to another All-Star hotel. Guests at Port Orleans Riverside may use the pools at Port Orleans French Quarter.

29. Use the free transportation such as the water taxis and buses if you stay in a Disney or Universal resort. 

Disney Parks
Club Cool Epcot

30. A multi-day ticket is usually very good value, compared to the day ticket price if you are visiting more than once. There are often good deals for UK tourists if you buy your ticket in the UK. Check out sites like Attraction Tickets Direct and Florida Escapes. 

31. Skip the park hopper option on the ticket to save money.

32. Take snacks and lunch into the parks to save on the pricey park food. There may be certain rules though so check out the relevant website first. Here is a guide to taking food into Disneyworld Florida,

33. Don't buy bottled water, you can ask for a cup of iced water free in all the kiosks and restaurants in the parks. Or take your own water bottle in and have it refilled.


34. Buy a refillable Disney bottle. You pay for the souvenir bottle then refills of soft drinks tea and coffee are a much lower price. Share this to save even more money.

35. Eat all your meals at quick service restaurants if money really is tight.

36. Try the free soft drinks at Club Cool at Epcot. Although they are only samples you can try as much as you want.

37. The cheapest character meals are often at breakfast. So if your kids definitely want to have a character meal, shop around to see which is the best value and which characters you will see.

38. Take your own autograph book into the parks, you can buy them cheap from places like Poundland and Primark in the UK and outlet centres in Orlando. It will save a load of money than buying in the parks.

39. The pressed penny machines only cost a small amount and make a lovely little souvenir in the both Disney and Universal parks.

40. Hunt around for Hidden Mickeys in the Disney Parks to keep the kids amused for free.

41. You could always take a trip out of the parks to have food and then return to save money. Just check if its worth the time and the savings involved.

42. The Disney photo pass is expensive but why not ask the photographers to take a photo with your camera as well? 

Transportation

The Hogwarts Express Universal Studios

43. You can self-park at Disney Springs for free, why not do this and take the free shuttles to the Disney parks to save money on parking?

44. If you are a guest staying at a Disney Resort hotel, you receive complimentary standard parking at Disney theme parks for the length of your resort stay.


45. If you pay for parking at a Disney theme park you pay once per day even if you go to another Disney park. So keep your parking ticket.

46. Why not sing for your parking at Disney? There is anecdotal evidence on the Disney forums like The Dibb that this works. Obviously, a Disney song would be preferable and cute kids are optional. Tell me if it works!

47. If your hotel has free shuttle buses to the Disney or Universal parks it can save you a fortune on parking over the course of a 2 week holiday.

48. The IRide trolley can be a reasonable way of getting around International Drive, especially if you are travelling on your own or as a couple. Compare the cost to Uber and see if it's worth getting a weekly ticket for even more savings. Also, they have discount coupons on their site. Lynx buses are another way to get around and get to the parks. Buy a pass for a number of days to save money too.

49. Car hire - It ’s worth 'prepaying' your first tank of fuel for your rental car as the rental companies will charge about 1/3 more than the current fuel prices. Also, try the Gas Buddy app for the cheapest gas (petrol to us Brits).

50. If you hire a car, many don't have Sat Nav, so to avoid paying for this use your phone as a navigation device through Google Maps. Use the free Wi-Fi at your hotel, for example, to plan the route then when you are out and about it won't cost you more on roaming charges.

51. If you haven't got a smartphone or don't want to use Google Maps, consider hiring a Sat Nav from Ebay before you go which will always be cheaper than hiring a Sat Nav with your car hire company.

52. Check out the law for car seats in Orlando. You can save money by taking your own or buy one there but if you rent it from a car hire company it will often be more expensive. Way up the pros and cons. 

53. Consider pre-paying for car hire in advance, so you are not pressurised into buying extra insurances and upgrades you don't need. Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) is essential to cover you for any damage to you and others and won't be included in the car hire so don't forget to include this. 

Universal Parks



Universal Studios

54. Buy a refillable Universal bottle. You pay for the souvenir bottle then refills are a much lower price as it is in Disney parks.

55. Consider a Universal Dining plan meal deal.

55. Go to Universal Studios and Islands Of Adventure after 6pm for free parking. Especially worth it if you have multi-day tickets and you want to do your favourite ride again with often a smaller queue. 

56. Don't buy fast passes when it's not essential  If it's busy why not do the single rider queue? It can cut the queuing time immensely although you will miss some of the theming of the queue. 

57. Another way to save money on fast passes is to get to the parks early and do the big and popular rides first. If you are staying in a Universal hotel like Cabana Bay you can get in an hour earlier, if you are not, still get there before the official opening time as they often open it earlier.

58. At busy times it's worth staying at a Universal resort that offers free fast passes. With up to 5 people can sleep in the room and fast passes ranging from $40 to $150 you can see it can be worth it to skip the queues at busy times. Not all the Universal resort hotels do though so check out this comparison. 

Restaurants


Hard Rock Cafe City Walk

59. Appetizers are large in restaurants so unless it's super posh you will be fine to share. Just don't forget to tip.

60. Kids meals can be really big, why not order one for yourself or get your kids to share one? 


61. Kids can eat free at a number of restaurants.

62. There is also a specific kids eat free card that you do pay for but can save you a fortune, so check out the benefits online. 


63. Some restaurants have 'Happy Hours' where there are deals on food as well as alcohol. Check out Bahama Breeze, Applebees and Millers Ale House for example.

64. Eat a table service meal at lunch instead of dinner as often lunch is cheaper (but not always).

65. Sign up to restaurants email list up to two weeks before you go. You may get offers for your stay. Olive Garden, Maggianos and Millers Ale House are three such places that do that.

66. The Landry's Select card is a loyalty card that can save you money. It costs you $25 to sign up which you get loaded onto the card and you can get off your first meal. You get priority seating at places like T Rex and Bubba Gumps and Rainforest Cafe and if it's your birthday month you get a $25 bonus.  

67. Certain times of the year Olive Garden has a deal where you buy one meal and take one away. Perfect if you are self-catering and can pop it in a fridge to reheat the next day.

Other Saving Money Tips


Volcano Bay

68. Look out for coupon books for discounts in supermarkets like Wallmart, shopping malls and in your hotel. Often you can get free appetizers, 10% discounts on meals and money off attractions in these.

69. Dollar tree is a really cheap supermarket, like Poundland but everything is, as it says, a dollar.

70. Buy your Disney merchandise at outlets, not in the parks or buy in Primark before you go and give kids the gifts when you are there.

71. If you are celebrating a birthday, get all the freebies you can get. Go to guest services in Disney to get a free badge, mention it in any restaurant and they may give you a free dessert, mention it in any hotel you stay in and you may get a free treat in your room. It's worth a mention!

72. 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. 

73. 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.

74. Check Groupon Orlando and Travelzoo Orlando for deals, discounts and offers. If the website will only accept a US address to register, use the address of your accommodation.

75. Order snacks off Amazon Prime to arrive at your hotel to avoid spending on expensive treats. 

76. In the evening, especially at the weekend, it's worth visiting Disney's Boardwalk.  There are free performing musicians and entertainers and you can get a great view of the fireworks at Epcot.

77. Take a trip to Old Town in Kissimmee. It has an old-fashioned fun fair, shops and restaurants, and on Saturday they have a classic car show that is free.

Disney Springs


Lego Store Disney Springs

78. Disney Springs is great to walk around and you don't pay for parking. Just be careful not to spend too much!

79. If you kids love Lego they can spend a good half hour or longer building lego in the shop there for free. They have car building exercises and then race the model cars.

80. There are two splash zones and kids can have fun running through the fountains. Bring towels to dry off.

81. There are lots of free live concerts at Disney Springs, especially in the evening. Check out the entertainment schedule. 

82. Find a bench and sit listening to the musicians outside the House Of Blues for free.

83. Have a meal with free entertainment at Raglan Road. They have Irish dancers and singers every day.

84. The T-REX restaurant has a 'Paleo Zone', where you can dig for hidden dinosaur fossils, pan for treasure and learn more about dinosaurs through interactive displays.


Greater Orlando

Kennedy Space Centre

85. Orlando is not just Disney and Universal. Check out the attraction and money-saving offers on Visit Orlando.

86. Walk around Celebration. Disney created this community as their idea of small-town America. It's worth a stroll for a relaxing afternoon.

87. Leu Gardens is a cheap day out, a 50-acre botanical garden close to downtown Orlando it also has a museum and a historical home.

88. Ocala National Forest has over 600 lakes rivers and springs where visitors can swim, snorkel and dive all year around.

89. If you are a member of the US Military you can get discounts on park tickets and hotels. 

90. If you are a senior citizen you can get discounts at a range of attractions, it's always worth asking, although you may have to show proof of your age. 

91. Some attractions may give a student discount so take your NUS Extra Card with the ISIC logo on.  If you register on the ISIC website with your NUS Extra Card you can access a range of international discounts such as 15% off Universal Studio's gate price and 25% off Legoland resort tickets.

92. There are free movies under the stars in Orlando, check out the Old Town movie night. Winter Park and Movieola at Lake Eola also offer these in the Summer.

93. In Winter Park about 25 minutes from downtown Orlando, Mead Botanical Garden features scheduled hikes and educational activities.

94. Winter Park also has the Crooked Can brewery company where on a Sunday you can do a tour of the brewery for 5 dollars. Book in advance on their website.

95. The West Orange trail is a 20-mile trail and runs from Winter Garden near Walt Disney World to Apopka, approximately 30 minutes north of downtown Orlando. Hiking and biking is free and you can rent bikes if you haven't brought them.

96. Casa Feliz, a restored Spanish home and museum in Winter Park, hosts live music performances on Sunday afternoons from noon to 3 p.m. The event is free to the public, and children are welcome.

97. You can tour Orlando Brewing the original craft brewery for free starting at 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Tickets are available on a first-come, first served basis, and parking is free. The brewery is next to downtown Orlando’s Amtrak train station.

98. The Lakeridge Winery offers free tours and tastings lasting about 45 mins. The tour takes you through the vineyard and production area of the 80-acre vineyard.

99. An hour's drive from the Orlando theme parks is Cocoa Beach. Famous for surfing and being close to Kennedy Space Centre you don't have to spend anything if you come here for the day. Cocoa Beach Westgate pier is a good vantage point to watch any rocket lunch from Kennedy Space Centre.

100. Buy your tickets in advance at Busch Gardens on their website. If you buy 3 days in advance you get the best discount but even if you book it on the day online you still get a saving. Also, you can get a free bus but you need to book it in advance.

101. Take your own buggy or buy a cheap lightweight one when you are there if you have young kids. With renting a stroller costing $15 a day at Universal and Disney parks, this tip can certainly save money.




photos of Pandora Flights of Passage, Disneyworld Florida, Cabana Bay and Universal Studios

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Phew! So this is my list of 101 ways to save money in Orlando Florida. Tell me, do you have any tips on how to save money in Orlando?
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