I’ve visited many countries but Orlando, Florida is one of the places I’ve been multiple times; from the UK its not a particularly expensive place to get to. Once you get there though it’s a different matter. If you want to save money in Orlando you need to think smart.
Trying to be frugal in this place is extremely difficult. So to help out we’ve managed to come up with a few great ways to save your family’s precious hard earned money. Every dollar/pound you can save can be put to good use in investments and savings when you get home. That being said if you’ve made it this far you probably just want to have as much fun as you possibly can.
Seven Ways To Save Money In Orlando, Florida
Take water into the theme parks
All of the parks have different rules regarding what food and drinks you are able to take on. It pays to research but they all let you take water. At Disney water is $3.50 (currently £2.66) a bottle.
Take in a large bottle and fill up from the water fountains when you can. If your hotel has a freezer then definitely freeze the bottle to keep cool for at least a part of the day.
Embrace a large breakfast
On days when we had a large breakfast (think Dennys, IHOP or Ponderosa) we were full almost all day and didn’t need to eat in the park. If you have a large appetite this may not work for you but for us this worked a charm. We did treat ourselves to an ice cream during some visits but that was to keep the wife happy as much as anything.
If there was a day when we really wanted to eat in the park then we would have breakfast in our hotel room first. We had Porridge (oatmeal) or cereal and coffee and orange juice. This would save us around £20 per breakfast.
Another theme park cash cow, price varies, but it is somewhere around $20 to park for the day. If your hotel offers a shuttle and you are flexible with timings then I would advise using it.
Due to the location of our hotel on one trip we were able to walk to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and Citywalk. This saved us upwards of $60.
The Disney parking allows you to park at one site and then move to any others throughout the day for free. Great if you want to hit up maybe Disney studios and a water park in the same day. Our park tickets for Busch gardens, Seaworld and Aquatica came with free parking. We used this at all three parks saving $20 a day.
To go boxes
Try taking home leftovers from your evening meals and eat them the next day. Portion sizes in the USA are significantly bigger than the UK. Almost all restaurants will offer a to-go box if it turned out you had eyes bigger than your belly.
Red Lobster currently offer a 4 course meal for $17.99 including soup, salad, an entrée and dessert. Olive Garden currently offer a “buy one take one” for the measly price of $12.99. This gives you one meal to enjoy onsite and another full meal to eat when you
Most of the car rental companies now offer an upgraded GPS device which offers WiFi in your car and free calls. One company wanted $18 a day for the privilege.
Firstly everywhere has free WiFi, if you can’t go twenty minutes without going on Facebook then there is a problem.
Secondly for me I am going on vacation to get away from everything, I don’t need to be calling home every day.
Utilise your phone even if you are from the UK. Most phone companies offer different roaming packages. We got 7 days roaming for £25 with a good amount of data to use on google maps. This worked out as a £75 saving per week. After a few days you might end up not using maps at all as you’ll know most of the directions to various places.
The USA is truly the home of the coupon, and to take advantage of it you need to use a little guile.
Firstly sign up to various shopping outlet email lists for such as Orlando Premium Outlets, Gap and Old Navy. They normally send a discount coupon you can use from your phone to give you 10% off everything including sale items.
- Secondly sign up for restaurant mailing lists. IHOP for instance offer free pancakes for signing up and also on your birthday. If it happens to be your birthday whilst here then I would advise telling them it’s a day or two before you leave so you can print off the coupon at home.
Don’t go in the first place
This may sound negative but you’ll never really save money in Orlando, you’ll just spend less. If you are planning on visiting the theme parks you are going to be spending (lots of) money. If you are taking kids (or a Disney loving wife) you will be spending even more money.
Disney is not interested in frugality. Some people see the magic of Disney, I see the rides and attractions as a break between the shops and restaurants. Although once you get me in the Star Wars shops it’s game on!
So there you have it, 7 ways to save money in Orlando. If you are interested in buying tickets to the theme parks in advance; a great idea in my opinion, try attractiontix. They offer good discounts over buying at the park gates.
If you have any other great money saving ideas then please let me know in the comments section below.
n.b the current pound to dollar exchange rate is £1 to $1.29. The link to attractiontix is an affiliate link. If you click through and purchase tickets I receive a small financial incentive at no cost to you. This helps to keep hotelsandmoney.com running.