We took our girls to Orlando last weekend and had three jam-packed days full of fun. But the best part about the weekend, aside from the constant smiles across both of my girls’ faces, was the cost. My husband and I have been taking Aubrey for weekend getaways to Orlando since she was barely old enough to walk. And we have learned that a trip to the biggest tourist city in Florida doesn’t have to break the bank account.
Hotel: My husband and I both hate to waste money on an expensive hotel that we never end up spending much time in. We usually spend no more than $40 a night tops on a reputable, clean hotel by taking advantage of online discount sites. This past weekend, however, we “splurged” and stayed at Disney’s All-Star Movie Resort. For about $70 a night (prices vary depending on dates), we were able to enjoy the amazing amenities at the hotel: two beautiful pools, huge statues of famous Disney characters like Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story and Pongo from 101 Dalmations, a poolside movie under the stars and ongoing children’s activities like a scavenger hunt.
Food: We always make sure to bring a cooler and pack enough food for breakfast and lunch. The girls loved eating donuts down by the pool, and we didn’t have to waste money eating a $5 hot dog in a theme park. By packing food and snacks, we were able to splurge on one dinner at the T-Rex Café at Downtown Disney. And because the servings were actually pretty big, splitting a meal was definitely an option.
Theme Parks: Right now there are a ton of great deals being offered on tickets for the Orlando Theme Parks. Children 5 and under can visit Sea World (and Busch Gardens) for free all year with a PreSchool Pass. Teachers can also get a free pass into Sea World for the year! That left us just having to buy a ticket for me, for which there were two options. An adult Fun Pass, good until the end of the year, costs $81.99. Instead, we purchased the annual pass for $119.99, which includes parking. (The cost to park is $14 per car per day!) Monthly payment options are available, too!
Disney is also offering a great deal on tickets! Florida residents can enjoy three days at the Disney parks for only $99. A fourth day can be added for $30 more.
Goodies: It’s almost impossible to take kids to Orlando without buying a few goodies here and there. Luckily, we didn’t have to spend any cash on ice cream treats and souvenirs. Instead, we used Disney reward dollars that we earned from our Disney credit card. We use the card pretty frequently, pay off the balance right away, and earn 1 percent back in rewards to spend at any Disney location, restaurant or store.
Do you have any tips for enjoying Orlando on a dime? How do you save money?Tags All-Star Movie Resort, deals, Disney, Sea World, T-Rex Cafe | Category Uncategorized