Orlando, Florida is one of the top family travel destinations in the world. People from all over the world come to visit the theme parks including Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and SeaWorld. They also come to visit the beautiful beaches on the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. But whatever your reason for visiting Central Florida, there’s no reason to pay more than you have to. Here are three essential tips for saving money on your next vacation to Orlando.
Buy Your Theme Park Tickets Ahead of Time
Once you’re at the park’s front gate, you’re going to pay full price for your tickets; they don’t usually offer discounted tickets at the front gate because they know if you’re there, you’re going to pay the full rate. But if you buy your tickets ahead of time on the theme park’s site, you can usually buy them at a discounted rate and print them out, avoiding long lines to buy tickets at the front gate.
You can also buy advanced tickets from a AAA office or on their website. And if you’re an active duty or retired member of the military, check with your local base’s recreation office for discounted tickets.
Decide If You Need a Rental Car
If you’re staying at a hotel on International Drive, the main tourist area in Orlando, you may not need a rental car. International drive is an 11 mile stip with many hotels, restaurants, shops, and attractions. At one end of International Drive is Sea World and at the other end is Universal Orlando Resort, home to Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. If you’re staying at a hotel on International Drive, you can easily get to SeaWorld and Universal Orlando Resort by using the I-Drive Trolley. And if you’re going to Walt Disney World, most hotels offer a free shuttle service and, by taxi, is only a 10 minute ride. By not having a rental car, you’re also saving on the theme park parking fees, which are between $15 and $17 a day for a car.
Buy Your Theme Park Ticket and Hotel Together
Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld all offer vacation packages in which you can book hotel, theme park tickets, transportation, and even meals in one package. By doing so, you can often save a lot of money.
Walt Disney World’s vacation packages include only accommodations at Walt Disney World, but Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld’s vacation packages include the option for off-site resorts in addition to onsite hotels (for Universal Orlando Resort; SeaWorld does not have any onsite hotels).