How to Visit Orlando on a Budget
Orlando is an incredible destination and one of the most popular with international tourists visiting the United States. Home to Disney World, theme parks and entertainment, Orlando will not disappoint.
However, due to its popularity, Orlando is not cheap with prices for accommodation, theme parks and entertainment coming at a premium.
There are though lots of ways to save money and avoid spending a small fortune.
Check out our top 10 tips for travelling to Orlando of the cheap below.
1. Cheapest Time to Visit Orlando
Orlando is popular all year round, but summer from June to August is the most expensive time of year. If possible, avoid Orlando during summer, you'll get much cheaper prices if you visit out of this season.
March, April, May, September, October and November are still very warm with also lower December is also really good, too. You can also check theme park crowd calendars which can help you to decide your dates.
2. Work Out a Budget
Try to have a budget in mind, this way you can see how much you can put towards flights, accommodation and sightseeing.
3. Use Discount Brochures & Websites
On arrival at the airport and your hotel you should be able to find brochures with lots of information, discounts and coupons which give you money off at popular restaurants, bars and tourist attractions. You might also like to check out Dontpayfull.com where you can find great local deals.
To get the best rates on prices book well in advance and use a comparison website like Skyscanner.
Airlines which fly to Orland direct from United Kingdom include: British Airways, Norwegian Air, Virgin Atlantic and TUI.
Other airlines flying to Orlando from international destinations include: Delta, Lufthansa, SWISS, American Airlines, Air Canada, Avianca, United, WestJet, Air Transat, KLM, Aeromexico, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, LATAM and Aer Lingus.
If you can be flexible on your schedule, you will find flying on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday can save you tons of money compared to Friday, Saturday and Sunday which are usually much higher in price.
Night flights are also usually cheaper than leaving in the morning.
5. Where to Stay
Staying at a hotel in one of the largest resorts will set you back a lot of money, so most tourists stay nearby in areas like International Drive.
I Drive as it is know is home to lots of hotels, malls, restaurants, the city’s convention center and the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye, a giant Ferris wheel offering views across Orlando.
I Drive is also the perfect located moment away from all the main theme parks, including Walt Disney World.
There are hotels for all budgets, from luxury too little affordable motels. You can get a decent hotel room at around $75 - $125 per night, although it depends on the month. Staying in August, expect to pay double what you would in December.
If you choose to stay further away from the main resorts and International Drive you can find hotels in greater Orlando for lower rates, but you will be further out which can make getting around harder/more expensive if relying on taxis. If you don't mind about the distance, there are also lots of cheap places to stay in kissimmee Florida.
To make savings on accommodation, use a website like Booking.com to search and compare the best rates. Also before making a reservation, check to see what is included and if there are also any hidden fees e.g. internet use, breakfast, parking etc.
6. Getting From Orlando Airport
If you are on a small budget, the cheapest way to get from the airport is the #42 Lynx bus which goes to iDrive for only $2. This journey takes around 1 hour, depending on traffic and your hotel location.
A taxi on the day costs around $50-$70 but a cheaper option is to take an Uber, this costs around $25–$35. Benefits of paying more for a taxi/Uber include door to door service and a quicker ride.
Some hotels also invoice shuttle services, sometimes free.
7. Getting Around Orlando
Some hotels in Orlando offer free transfers to the most popular theme parks which is fantastic! You could also use taxis, Uber or hire a car.
If you stay on International Drive we also recommend the I-RIDE Trolley. This is a convenient and affordable way to get to hundreds of exciting destinations within the International Drive Resort Area. Prices are cheap, from around $2 one way or you can buy a 7 day pass for around $12.
8. Food & Drink
Orlando is home to hundreds of restaurants, including cheap fast food joints and world class establishments. Prices for food and drink in the main parks is excessive, especially for families.
General prices for food in Disney:
- Burger and fries: $12
- Hot dog: $7
- Churro: $4
- Beer: $8
We recommend visiting a local supermarket where you can buy food cheaply and take with you. This is more healthier and also will save you so much money. Be sure to be a responsible tourist and use a reusable water bottle too, so you avoid too much plastic use.
If you get a hotel with breakfast included, this will really help your budget. You can also sneakily pack sandwiches, fruit and snacks for the day ahead.
9. Disney World
Disney World is undoubtably the number one attraction in Orlando and one of the best places to see in Florida. This is usually the number one place to go for international tourists visiting Orlando so it's hard to say no, even though entry ticket prices for adults and children come at a high cost.
Summer is the most popular but also one of the worst times to visit as prices are high and so are the crowds and queue times. Throughout the year outside of summer there are though amazing discount packages available allowing you to save big.
If you buy your tickets online in advance you will also be able to save money. By pre-purchasing your tickets, you will get much better value prices than purchasing on the day.
10. Prioritise Your Parks
These are some of the most famous parks in Orlando/Florida:
- Magic Kingdom
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Universal Studios
- Islands of Adventure
- Discovery Cove
- Busch Gardens (Tampa)
But do you really need to see all the major parks? Why not prioritise your list and just see a few of the parks and save some for the future? This way you will save a lot of money as entry prices are not cheap.
Also please be a responsible tourist by avoiding Seaworld, it is really unethical to still keep orca whales captive when they should be in the wild.
Orlando is an amazing place to visit and with our tips, hopefully you will be able to save money.