for Saving Money on an Orlando Vacation with Kids
A trip to Orlando can
be quite costly so it is very important to plan for the trip in advance
so that you can save some money. Listed below are some tips that I
have learned over the years that I would like to share.
to cut costs on an Orlando Vacation.
We enjoy staying
outside the park in either a suites hotel, or a time share.
The rooms are usually cheaper and you have lots of additional space.
In most cases you will have more than one bathroom which helps to get
everyone ready quicker in the morning. Separate bedrooms makes it
easier to get the kids asleep at night. You will have a full size
kitchen with refrigerator, microwave and stove so you can eat some meals
in your place. Not to say that you can not get some good deals
through Disney to stay in the park. Do your homework and think
about the space requirements that you want for a week.
We stock the
refrigerator when we arrive with snacks, lots of drinks and breakfast
foods. It is important to eat a good breakfast before you go to
the parks because you never know exactly what time you will stop for
lunch. We always purchase bagels, muffins, yogurt, cereal, fruit
and frozen waffles. This gives a variety so you can change up your
meals each day. In fact I found that the grocery store sold single
boxes of individual size cereal so you could pick the exact amount and
type that you wanted. I would recommend taking tea bags and sugar
packets from home so that you do not have to purchase it there.
Eating breakfast in the room saves time especially if you want to get to
the park when it opens. You could even have some food available
for an occasional dinner in your room. Pick something simple like
pizza or pasta. This is especially convenient after a long day at
the park. You can quickly feed the kids and then head out or go to
the pool for a night swim.
Water and snacks at the
parks are extremely expensive. I would advise you to take a
backpack from home to hold your water and snacks for the park. The
night before you can put a few water bottles in the freezer to take to
the park the next day along with a few that will be ready to drink right
away. If you don't want to carry it around all day you can always
rent a locker to store it. This will save you a great deal of
The meals are very
expensive at the parks so try and limit it to only one time per day.
If you are eating in the park be creative with sharing meals with young
children. For instance order a double burger with an extra bun and
you can share it.
reservations at all sit down restaurants. Note that Disney
increases the prices at on-site buffets and character meals during peak
season. If you decide to schedule character meals a cheaper option
is breakfast or lunch rather than dinner. I made my
character meal reservations at the same time I booked my hotel and
flight. This way it will guarantee that you get will get your
Staying outside the
park will mean that you need to rent a car but it also means that there
is a great deal of restaurants and stores that are available to you.
I have found from experience that you can often get dinner outside the
park for cheaper than a lunch inside the park.
You will need to pay
for parking at the parks. Regular parking is approximately
$14 or $15 in 2011. We opted for the preferred parking at
Universal Studios for an extra $5 and I found it to be worthwhile.
We had a parking spot very close to the entrance area both days that we
There are many good
books available that you can borrow from the library that will be very
helpful with planning your trip. I would advise you to pre-plan
your entire trip including what areas of the park to go to at what point
in the day. There will be many rides that are very popular
so you want to try and beat the crowds. At the very least head to
the back of the park because everyone tends to start at the front.
It is important if you are going to get to see and do everything.
In the Magic Kingdom
when the parade is starting you may find characters by the front
entrance and you can get quick pictures without lines.
If you have the option
to visit the park OFF SEASON then take advantage of it. It is not
only cheaper but much less crowded. You will find that hotels as
well as airline tickets with be substantially less money.
Bring your own rain
ponchos. These can be purchased in dollar stores at home for a
fraction of what they would charge in the parks.
Purchase an autograph
book at home prior to the trip and take it with you. Make sure you
take your own pen as well.
I find that parks
everyday can get really crazy, so consider taking a side trip or
spending the day at the pool. We have gone to Cape Canaveral as
well as St. Augustine which were both great day trips. You can
also investigate some of the free things available to do at Disney World
like Downtown Disney, or Disney's Boardwalk.
Purchase park tickets
prior to your trip. You have many options for tickets from single
day one park to multi-day hopper passes. Buying in advance will
save money as well as time when you get to the park. Remember that
AAA and AARP members often get special rates.
I found it to be fun to
give the kids their own camera (disposable works) and have them take
their own pictures of the trip. It is very interesting to see the
trip through their eyes.
The Disney stores all
carry the same products for the same amount of money so there is no need
to comparison shop. It is all expensive. You will find
souvenirs cheaper outside the park even in the local drug stores or at
the Orlando Premium Outlets. Establish a souvenir budget and stick
to it. You will find it difficult with the kids because each ride
lets you off in their souvenir shop. You need to set rules with
them right from the start to avoid meltdowns in the park.
Kids love the glow in
the dark sticks, and necklaces when it gets dark in the park. Tip:
purchase them at home from your local dollar store and take them with
you. It is much cheaper than buying them in the park.
Lastly, if you are
traveling with older children or all adults try using the "singles only
line" for the rides. We did this for the first time this trip and
it cut the wait time from 40 minutes to 10 minutes. I was worried
at first that we would get separated but we were within a minute of each
other at all times. We did this on the high intensity roller rides
where you really can't talk to the person next to you anyway.
The single line just fills in the ride when there are not enough for an
individual group to fill it. For instance if the ride holds 4
people and there is a group of 3 they will take one from the single line
to fill the ride. Works great so give it a try!!!