When you are planning your family trip to Orlando, the variety of options, and expense of the famed theme parks, can have you second guessing your decision. Not to worry, we have put together the perfect (affordable) itinerary and important tips for your family vacation to this Florida hot spot. Orlando can be an affordable choice if you know where to go, and how to plan your getaway.
This itinerary is meant to connect you with your family. The cell phones will be put away, the tablets forgotten, and stress of every day life left behind.
The most important thing to remember when planning your family getaway to Orlando, is not to hit the headlining tours first. Build up the experiences, and leave the more expensive (or what you think are the most anticipated) for last. This way your kids won't be complaining to go back to Disney Land while on a bus tour.
Booking flights is an important aspect, so you do need to keep an eye out for deals. According to a recent survey by CheapOAir.com, the best time to book a domestic flight is around 59 days prior to departure. For Canadians you should start looking around 80 days before.
Involve the kids in your planning. Our itinerary is flexible, so see what your kids think by perusing our other Orlando activity choices.
Buy in bulk when you get there. Things like drinks and snacks, should be bought at a grocery or retail store once you arrive. This will (obviously) save you quite a bit compared to corner stores and vending machines.
If you have a hard time saving for vacation check out our 5 Secret to Planning Your Budget Vacation article. It has a lot of useful information, and was wrote by someone who actually had a hard time saving up for their getaway. They implemented these strategies in their own life to prove they work, and now he takes a yearly romp. His most recent was to Italy.
If you are planning on a rental car (which is almost a must), perhaps consider staying in Daytona Beach, about a 40 minute drive from Orlando, for the first few days, and then moving to Orlando for the last few days to hit up the bigger attractions. This option will save you some money on excursions, as the highlight of Daytona is the vast beach, and the accommodation recommendation below has tons of activities included, meaning it saves big and can extend your getaway from four days to seven.
If Daytona is an option, you should consider Sun Viking Lodge. This exceptionally affordable accommodation choice is set-up for families, and one of the best choices in Florida for kid-friendly and cheap. If you stay at Sun Viking, you will have more than enough activities on site, you won't need to worry about tours. The list of activities includes; a 60-foot water slide, heated outdoor pool, heated indoor garden pool, spacious oceanfront sundecks, hot tub, fitness room, sauna, kiddie pool, basketball goal, shuffleboard court, playground, beach volleyball, use of gas BBQ grills and guest recreation program including poolside Bingo.I think you can agree that with rates that start at just $99/night for two adults and two children, this is a serious contender for your budget friendly family vacation!
For a stay that has great value in Orlando we suggest the Hampton Inn. Yes, this brand is well known, and there is good reason for it. Basic rooms come with two, super comfortable and queen sized beds. Breakfast is included, and it isn't just cereal and stale muffins. Fresh juice and fruit, a make your own waffle stand, and more is included in this luxurious breakfast. The average price is $100 per night, and with the breakfast, it's almost like they are paying you to stay there.
To help keep your budget in check pace your tours and activities. Start small and work your way up. If you like our idea about Daytona Beach, then your first few days will be easy on the wallet, with only food being needed. Once you get to Orlando though, there is no beach to head to for some simple rest and relaxation ... but there is the hotel pool.
A seriously affordable alternative to other theme park options in Orlando is Fun Spot Action Park. Here you will find great rides, a huge monster truck, bumper cars, arcade, and more. We suggest you kick off your Orlando adventure with this much more affordable choice. The kids will be happy to have had a day of rides for them to start.
Pricing is as follows:
Rides Armband: $24.95
Kid Spot Armband: $14.95
Free Play Armband (Arcade): $4.95
Go Kart Armband: $34.95
Track Sampler (4 Go-Kart Rides): $19.95
This choice is perfect for a rainy day. Completely indoors, your kids (and you) will have a great time jumping around. An arcade is onsite too. Cheap pizza at lunch time is available ($5 for two slices and drink). You probably won't spend the whole day here, but it's something that is very unique, where you can get a work out, have some laughs, and cherish the memory of this strange option for years to come.
Unlimited Jumping: $17.95
Grip Socks: $2.85 (Required, but you get to keep them)
An alligator farm could be a little scary for some children. But, they will probably be happy you took them in later years. Nothing could be cooler than reporting an Alligator farm excursion at show and tell, especially when the story includes spying an albino gator! At Gatorland you will spend the day discovering the free-flight aviary, petting zoo, one of a kind animal shows, natural alligator breeding marsh, and the "thrilling" Screamin' Gator Zip Line (*extra charge).
We all know about Disney and Universal Studios. But, if your kids love animals you should check out Discovery Cove before making your final decision. Pricing is a bit complicated for these parks, as they have sections within themselves, each with different admission prices. Also pricing can vary depending on the day of the week in some cases. So be sure to do your research. For a family of 4 you can expect to spend a minimum of $400 at any of these given options for the day.
You can search for discounted tickets online, but in our experience, you normally get the same rate through their website or by contacting them via the phone. Also be careful of fake tickets when not booking at the source!
Chances are you will eat at restaurants that are close to your hotel or excursion. This makes sense. But we still wanted to include a few options, one being a dinner show, the other a memorable last meal.
Don't worry, this comedy show is child approved and will have you all laughing. Combining magic, improvisation, impersonations, and comedy, The Outta Control Dinner show proves to be a great choice for the whole family.
$16.99 Kids (4-12) & Seniors
Bonefish Grill has an upscale atmosphere, and menu that caters to a family friendly budget. Expensive choices are found on the menu, like the filet mignon. But burgers, lobster mac & cheese, and shrimp tacos are all around $13 an item. The location is central, and smack dab between the Harry Potter theme park and Sea World.
Based on a family of four: Two Adults and Two Children for a four night / 5
day stay with taxes.
Hotel: (4 Nights) $428
Tours: $274.91 (+ BIG theme park which we will estimate at $400)
TOTAL: $1272.74 (we don't guarantee this pricing, as things change)
Other Expenses - These are options which you will have much more
Flight - This really depends on where you are coming from, but keep your eyes peeled for deals.
Car Rental - Approx. $400
Spending Money - Approx. $400
More Dining & Snacks - Approx. $300